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ISD 709 News

posted Dec 23, 2014, 12:49 PM by Communications ISD 709

Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season!


Christen Hull, Laura MacArthur Elementary, Selected 2015 MN National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year

   Christen Hull, assistant principal of Laura MacArthur Elementary School in Duluth and a member of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), is Minnesota’s 2015 National Outstanding Assistant Principal. MESPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) present the prestigious award.

   The National Outstanding Assistant Principal program was established in 2011 to honor assistant principals who are doing a superb job in their roles. NAESP is committed to preparing assistant principals to step into the principal role. This program promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade (PreK-8) schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal.


Evaluation Finds Superintendent Performance Exceeds Expectations

   The Duluth School Board completed their annual evaluation of Superintendent Bill Gronseth’s performance in December.  Overall, the Board found that Superintendent Gronseth exceeds the expectations of their job description and job knowledge/performance clearly exceeds job requirements.        

   The evaluation included the following areas:   

--Leadership & Communication Qualities

--Curriculum & Instructional Leadership

--Community & Public Relations

--Business & Financial Management

--Employee Relations

--Board/Superintendent Relations

--Intergovernmental Relations

--Student Relations

--Planning & Goals


Denfeld Students Donate Artwork to MN Wilderness

   Denfeld Hockey players River Alander and Dylan Michaud made and donated stained glass artwork to the Minnesota Wilderness Hockey Team in December.  They made the presentation to General Manager at a recent hockey game between first and second periods and received warm cheers and applause from the audience.  This was a service learning project conducted in an advanced stained glass class.   


Lester Park Students Bring Cheer to Local Patients

   Lester Park Elementary students conducted their 12th Annual Giving Tree Project, spreading cheer to patients at local hospitals by purchasing, decorating and donating small trees. Children bring donations they earned at home or happen to have in their piggy banks to purchase the artificial trees. They make decorations in their classrooms during the weeks leading up to the delivery date.  Students collect enough funds to also purchase small gifts such as coloring books, crayons, story books, cribbage boards and other items.   


Habitat at Duluth East High School Earns Designation as a Monarch Butterfly Waystation

   A collaborative project between Pheasants Forever, Duluth East FFA, Duluth East Green Club, and ISD 709 is now Certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation. Boreal Natives, a division of Prairie Restorations, Inc. of Cloquet, Minnesota has been provided expertise, site preparation, and seed planting since the projects inception.  

   To become an official Waystation, sites need to provide milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America.   


Letters to Santa with a Science Twist

   First grade students at Homecroft Elementary wrote letters to Santa and Denfeld High School students helped Santa answer them.  Most letters have a science twist as the teacher, Beth Kersting-Peterson, conducts Super Science Fridays and students are asking for science materials.


Laura MacArthur Continues Planning for Student Achievement

   This year, the Minnesota Department of Education designated Laura MacArthur Elementary as a Reward School, recognizing significant gains in student achievement.  School planning is now focused on continuing to support those gains.  According to Principal Nathan Glockle, there are many strategies that have contributed to their success, including but not limited to:

·         Common formative assessments

·          A focus on quality classroom instruction

·          Common behavior standards throughout the building

·          Alignment of adults toward a common mission and vision

·         Administrative walk-throughs to measure fidelity of implementation of

chosen instructional strategies

·         Use of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

·         Family involvement

·         Math and reading interventionists

·         A school mental health practitioner

·         Increased learning time

·         Community partnerships

·         A plan designed by the people implementing all these changes. 

   Strategies used successfully at Laura MacArthur are being considered for district-wide use.  For example, PLCs have been expanded to all ISD 709 schools. Budget planning for the 2015-16 school year will continue to focus on strategies to support student achievement.