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ISD 709 News

posted Feb 20, 2014, 2:08 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Feb 20, 2014, 2:08 PM ]

MDE Releases 2013 Graduation Data

ISD 709 4-Year, On-Time Graduation Rate Up

For ISD 709, the 4-year, on-time graduation rate for All Students increased from 74.94% to 78.55%. The graduation rate for students receiving free or reduced price lunch, students receiving special education services, and Hispanic students also increased. On-time graduation rates for Denfeld increased from 83.74% to 84.59% and Duluth East increased from 89.89% to 91.94%.

Assistant Superintendent Ed Crawford says more must be done to increase graduation rates for students of color and the district’s Area Learning Center. “The good news is we did see an increase in the number of students who continue on to graduate in five or six years,” he said.


March 3 Presentation: Protecting Children In An Age of Electronics and the Internet

On Monday March 3 at 5:30PM, Detective John Parenteau from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department will be in the Denfeld High School Media Center to talk about how to protect children in the age of electronics and the internet. His presentation will include social media, cell phones, sexting, cyber-bullying and other important issues. Parenteau is a member of the Lake Superior Internet crimes Against Chlidren Task Force and a member of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. The event is free; Denfeld is located at 401 North 44th Avenue West in Duluth. For more information contact Deb Peterson, Denfeld Parent Involvement Coordinator, 218-336-8830 x1988.


Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is a time for recognizing and celebrating the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

   As part of Black History Month, students at Lincoln Park Middle School created a series of videos on YouTube, sharing stories about Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall and other African American leaders. Fourth and fifth graders at Myers-Wilkins are researching black Americans who have made a difference and sharing their reports over the morning intercom announcements. They are also hosting a presentation on Toni Stone, the first female baseball player in the Negro Leagues in the 1950’s. At Stowe Elementary, students are comparing and contrasting the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela and their work as Civil Rights leaders. Art classes are studying the work of Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold and other African American artists.  

   Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1915 to increase awareness of the accomplishments of black Americans. Through the Association he established a week dedicated to African American history in 1926 and in 1976 that week became a month-long celebration supported nationally and internationally. 


ISD 709 is one of two school districts in the region invited to apply for the PreK – 3rd Grade Leadership Institute sponsored by MDE, United Way, MESPA, and TIES. A long-time ISD 709 partner, The Northland Foundation, is graciously providing funds to attend the training sessions at Lake Superior College via ITV. The team participating consists of teachers, administrators, one Board member and one community partner. Goals of the Leadership Institute include supporting and expanding education and community leaders’ knowledge of developmentally appropriate educational practices across the PreK-Grade 3 continuum and creating positive relationships and professional learning communities among early childhood educators and elementary school leaders. The first day of the Leadership Institute was in January with three more to follow in March, April and June.


Laura MacArthur Cultural Night

Free! Thursday, February 27 4:00PM – 7:00PM

Laura MacArthur Elementary School, 720 North Central Avenue, Duluth

Celebrating African American, American Indian, Asian, and Spanish cultures with food, performances and exhibits.

6:00 – 7:00: Cultural Food Samples

5:00 – 6:00: Cultural Performances

4:00 – 5:00: Cultural Exhibits & Crafts

Sponsored by: Laura MacArthur Elementary; ISD 709 Indian Education Office; ISD 709 Office of Education Equity; K.E.Y. Zone/21st Century; Valley Youth Center

For more information, contact Mr. Vang at Laura MacArthur Elementary School

by phone (218) 336-8700 x2186 or by e-mail


Students at Lester Park Elementary worked together on a special Valentine’s Day project called “Helping Hands, Helping Hearts,” making fleece mittens to donate to CHUM. Parent volunteers and retired Lester Park principal Bonnie Wolden helped out. This was a service learning project, combining service to the community with lessons in math, reading and writing.


Piedmont Elementary School students participated in “I Love To Read” week with several events centered on literacy. Author and illustrator Debra Frasier (On the Day You Were Born) visited students, staff and family members at Piedmont and Author Carol Birch (1998 recipient of the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Award) visited classrooms to share the art of storytelling with students. Additional included: Piedmont Spirit Day, Pajama Day, Book Button Day (students wear buttons they have decorated in their classrooms with their favorite book as inspiration), and Read a Valentine Day.



-- Students at Ordean East Middle School did well in the 2013 Middle School Essay Contest, sponsored by the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center. Shanze Hayee, Grade 6 and Olivia Nelson, Grade 7 are winners of the contest, Megan Nygaard, Grade 6, received Honorable Mention. The contest was open to middle schoolers in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Students were asked to write a short persuasive essay that answered the question: “How did President John F. Kennedy’s short term in office change our nation and the world?” Center staff read and evaluated all essays and selected one winning essay from each grade.

--Duluth East Cheerleaders took first place in the WOW Factor Cheer and Dance Nationals in Minneapolis. Earlier in the year they took first at the University of Minnesota Cheer Championship and another first place at the Spirit of American Championship at Mall of America.