School News‎ > ‎

ISD 709 News

posted Mar 18, 2014, 7:51 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Mar 19, 2014, 9:31 AM ]

School Board Honors Student Musicians

   In honor of Music in Our Schools Month the Duluth School Board took time during their regular meeting to honor student musicians Alia Gribbon from Denfeld High School and Madeleine Monson Geerts from Duluth East High School.

   Alia took first place in the 2014 Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra's Young Artist Competition. The competition is open to high school students and college students up to age 19. Alia is a three-time winner of the Youth Orchestra Hester Scholarship competition and recently took second place in the solo competition in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

   Madeleine won the 2014 Youth Orchestra Hester Memorial Scholarship competition. She participated with many students from throughout Minnesota, performing a beautiful and expressive interpretation of the Haydn Concerto in C Major, movement 2, as her winning solo.

Congratulations to two very talented young women!


ISD 709 Adds Instructional Time to Make Up Cold/Snow Cancellations

   During their regular March meeting, the Duluth School Board approved adding instructional time to make up cold/snow cancellations:

--Students attend school Friday May 16 (formerly a Staff Development day with no school for students).

--Students attend school Friday June 6 (June 5 was formerly the last day of school).

--Extend the end of the school day by 12 minutes beginning Monday March 24 and through the end of the school year (adds the equivalent of 1.6 days of instructional time).


FY 2015 Budget Investments Include Reducing Class Size, Raising Achievement and Updating Curriculum

   During the March 18 meeting, the School Board approved budget considerations for the fiscal 2015 school year. Investments include priorities identified through the Think Kids initiative, including about $1.45 million to hire additional teachers to reduce class size, $150 thousand for enriching and renewing curriculum, and $200 thousand to go towards improving student achievement. Together, they represent the $1.8 million gained through the second education levy question.

   About $3 million will be held and used to keep those investments in place over time and provide financial stability, given there’s no guarantee of an increase in the state formula beyond the 2014-15 school year. The Board also approved $275,000 toward aligning curriculum with State benchmarks and standards over the summer, $85,000 to support state mandated changes to employer contributions for pension plans, $200,000 for the modified closed high school campuses and about $275,000 in savings.

   By choosing to invest conservatively, steps taken to reduce class size and impact student achievement and curriculum can be maintained over a longer period of time.


Board Approves 3-Year Contract for Superintendent Bill Gronseth

   During their regular March meeting, the School Board approved a 3-year contract with current Superintendent Bill Gronseth. Total salary and benefits included in the contract remain the same as the previous contract at Gronseth’s request and do not increase. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve Duluth’s schools and look forward to continuing our efforts to raise student achievement, create positive school climates and maintain an efficient, effective and financially stable organization,” said Gronseth.


Change to MN Immunization Law Prompts Free Clinics in April

   In September 2014, changes to Minnesota's Immunization Law will take effect for all schools and will specifically impact students entering 7th grade at that time (students who are currently in 6th grade). Vaccines required by this law:

Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) for all students entering 7th grade in 9/14.

MCV4 (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) for all students entering 7th grade in 9/14.

To help families meet these legal requirements, ISD 709 is partnering with St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services to provide FREE immunization clinics at the middle schools:

Lincoln Park Middle School on Wednesday April 23, 2014

Ordean East Middle School on Thursday April 24, 2014

   In order for a child to receive the free immunizations, a Parent/Guardian must sign the St. Louis County Public Health Vaccine Administration Form and return it to the child's school by March 31, 2014. This form is among the materials mailed to families and is also available at under Health Services.

   Families of students who will not be immunized must file a legal exemption with their school. They may file a medical exemption signed by a healthcare provider or a conscientious objection signed by a parent/guardian and notarized.