School News‎ > ‎

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 2, 2015, 3:02 PM by Communications ISD 709

ISD 709 2015 Annual Report For the Community

   Understand where we’ve been and where we’re going as an organization by reviewing information in the ISD 709 Annual Report for the Community.

   Annual Report Video Overview, featuring students and teachers, Superintendent Bill Gronseth, DFT President Bernie Burnham, and ISD 709 staff reviewing strategies, accomplishments, recent state accountability results and more.

   Annual Report Booklet with an overview of primary and supporting strategies, state test results, financial data and more.

   Share your ideas  through the online survey.

   Links to ISD 709 Community Vision & Priorities, World’s Best Workforce, the Reading Well by Grade 3 Plan, ISD 709 Achievement & Integration Plan and other detailed information.

   Just for fun – ISD 709 School Highlights Video.


Know a great teacher or staff member who deserves a pat on the back or special recognition?  Consider nominating them for the 2016 Greg Irons Teacher/Staff Award.   

   Named after a former ISD 709 teacher, the Award recognizes teachers/school staff who demonstrate their belief that all students have the desire to succeed and that responsibility, sincerity, honesty and hard work are the foundation of a person's life.  Past winners have received a cash award of $500. 

   Nominations may be made by students, teachers, other school staff, parents or community members and are due to the Community Foundation by January 15, 2016. Applications at and can be submitted electronically. For more information, contact the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation at or 218-726-0232.


ISD 709 Students Explore Careers in Wildlife Management

   Students in ISD 709’s Agriculture and Forestry classes explored wildlife management careers during a trip to the French River Hatchery.  The visit included:

>Tours of live smolt traps; holding and breeding tanks, adult traps and pumping station.   

>Research done at the site ranging from deep water fish sampling techniques: netting, shocking, tagging. 

>Technology used on the job in data tracking, information systems, computing.

>Career and College Pathways: Biology, love of outdoors, construction and/or plumbing, chemistry, computer information systems.

>Career Skills:  teamwork, independent, problem solving, manual labor, and communication

Check the ISD 709 High School Course Catalog for more information about Agriculture and Forestry courses and other career/tech ed opportunities.


Denfeld Grad Receives 2015 NSIC Glen Galligan Award

   Denfeld graduate C.J. Ham of Augustana University is the recipient of the 2015 NSIC Glen Galligan Award.  The award is given to a student-athlete who participates at their institution for four years and is academically superior while making a positive contribution to the school.

   The NSIC release states that Ham has been an incredible leader and mentor during his career at Augustana and will continue on that path in the future. He is a physical education and health major at and plans on teaching and coaching football and track and field. Since his freshman season, Ham has volunteered as a peer educator and mentor in the Sioux Falls School District and has volunteered weekly at the Boys and Girls Club.
   "I am so pleased that CJ was voted the recipient of this great honor," head football coach Jerry Olszewski said in the release. "CJ represents all that this award is about in achievement, character and leadership. He is one of the very finest young men and competitors that I have ever coached. As his coach, I have been blessed to watch him grow into the player and man that he is today."

   Ham is a two-sport athlete and a four-year letter winner in football and track. On the gridiron, Ham led the NSIC with 15 rushing touchdowns in 2015 and finished second in total yards with 1,043. He also carries a 3.25 grade-point average while double-majoring in physical and health education.


The Kids on the Block Puppets Perform at Congdon Park Elementary School

   Puppet characters and scripts by The Kids on the Block Inc. teach children about disability, medical conditions and social issues.  During a recent visit to Congdon Park Elementary, the puppets helped students understand what it’s like to have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair.  The Kids on the Block perform over 25 educational disability awareness programs per year at most elementary schools in Duluth.  The program is sponsored and coordinated by ISD 709 Community Education’s Project Access program.


Nearly $500,000 In DSACF Local Scholarships Available - Applications Due January 15, 2016!

   The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation (DSACF) helps coordinate scholarship opportunities for Duluth students, to the tune of nearly a half million dollars.   

   “Few areas in the nation have the bounty of scholarships available to graduates of our local high schools,” says David Hammer,  Scholarship Officer for the DSACF.  “Generous benefactors have dedicated great amounts of money to support our students.”

    The deadline to apply for scholarships is January 15, 2016, students and families are urged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

Begin Applying for Local Scholarships


Community Action Duluth Hosts FREE Family Night Out

   Family Night Out is a FREE event for families with children! Each event is filled with either an art or science project. For December we will be making simple gifts in time for the Holidays with Northern Expressions Art Collective. Bring the kids down and have a great time making gifts as a family!  Children of all ages are welcome, they must be accompanied by an adult to participate. A light dinner is provided.

Wednesday December 9th 5:30pm – 7:00 pm

2424 West 5th Street – lower level cafeteria

(Use 25th Ave West entrance)

Check Family Night Out on Facebook:


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

--Ordean East Middle School students qualified for the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA) Girls Honor Choir and ACDA Boys Honor Choir, earning a trip to perform at the state ACDA conference.  Congratulations to Jack Derner, Kanna Okoro, Nick Posch, Jadan Jones, Macy Salfer, Casiana Sas, and Mayson Whitlock.

--Antony Ferguson, Denfeld High School, received the $1000 Audrey Lundeen Scholarship from the Bluebird Foundation in Duluth. Antony is involved in dance, theater, vocal and instrumental music. He has been a student of the Minnesota Ballet for fifteen years and taken part in a number of their productions including The Nutcracker which is currently touring.  For more information about The Bluebird Foundation go to

-- Brenda Vatthauer, Lincoln Park Middle School Principal, attended a US Department of Education ParentCampThe goal of ParentCamp is to model and provide a platform for parent-teacher conversations ranging across curricular, technological, social-emotional and other family engagement themed topics.  The ParentCamp experience is a hybrid “un-conference” opportunity for parents and teachers to come together and model four core beliefs highlighted in Beyond the Bakesale. The experience levels the playing field, putting all stakeholders in a circle for actual, face-to-face discussion about what is best for kids.  

--Shelby Johnson, Denfeld High School, qualified for the state diving meet and placed 25 out of 32 divers.  


Bullying Prevention and Response - How Families Can Help  

Tips from The Bully Project

>Talk with and listen to your kids – every day.  Research shows that adults are often the last to know when children are bullied or bully others.  Encourage your children to buck that trend by engaging in frequent conversations about their social lives.

>Be a good example of kindness and leadership.  Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you.  Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way you’re teaching your child that bullying is okay.

>Create healthy anti-bullying habits early.  Kindness, empathy, fair play and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations.  Children also need to learn how to say “no” firmly if they experience or witness bullying behavior.  Coach your child about what to do…get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to stop, walk away, ignore the child doing the bullying and find someone else to play with.  It may help to role-play with your child.

>Establish household rules about bullying.  Your children need to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, okay or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and just watch other kids be bullied. Make sure they know that if they are bullied physically, verbally or socially it’s safe and important for them to tell you about it and that you will help.

>Teach your child to be a good witness or positive bystander.  Although it’s never a child’s responsibility to put him or herself in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by saying “Stop – you’re bullying!” or “Hey, that’s not cool!”  Kids can also help each other by supporting the child who is bullied, not giving extra attention to the child doing the bullying, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.

>Spend time at school and recess.  Whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month, you can make a real difference just by being present. Volunteer time must be coordinated through your child’s principal and teacher.

>Help your child’s school address bullying effectively.  Research shows that “zero tolerance” policies aren’t effective.  What works better are ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in school.  That means teaching kids at every grade level how to be inclusive leaders and how to be empathetic towards others and teaching children who are bullied effective resistance techniques. 

Check and for more tips and information.