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ISD 709 News

posted Apr 3, 2015, 11:30 AM by Communications ISD 709
Students from Duluth East and Denfeld High Schools took part in the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Day. They joined advocates from across Minnesota to speak with legislators about the importance of active living, physical activity and combating childhood obesity.  The students are enrolled in ISD 709’s CTE Nursing Class and are members of HOSA Future Health Care Professionals. 

   Students visited the Minnesota History Center, listened to speeches from the Lieutenant Governor and the Minnesota Commission of Health.  They visited the Capitol and met with Duluth legislators, including Senator Roger Reinert, Representative Erik Simonson and Representative Jennifer Schultz.  The event was organized by The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Minnesota PTA and other Minnesota For Healthy Kids Coalition partners.  The Coalition paid for the full cost of the trip for students including transportation. 

   School Board Member Annie Harala, Kim Olson, Corrie Powers, Tom Albright and Bob Miller accompanied the students on this trip.


Eight Denfeld High School students traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of the Trio Talent Search Program, funded by the United States Department of Education and the College of St. Scholastica.  According to Susan Kurth, Director of Talent Search, “These young people were very fine representatives of their school, families, community and this program.” 

   Hannah Carlson, Allison Duenow, Rory Freeman, Jade Nelson, Lexy Schulte, Rachel Skurich, Mikayla Stahlman, Kayla Templer and Kashmiere Wiliams toured Georgetown University, various national memorials, took a tour of the Capitol, Arlington Cemetery, the U.S. Holocaust Museum and visited the White House/Lafayette Park.


ISD 709 Health Insurance Costs Lower Than Projected for 2015-16

   Officials from ISD 709 and the Duluth Federation of Teachers announced that the district’s health insurance costs will be about $580,000 less than projected next year.  Information received from the Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP) indicates a less than 1% increase (about .7%).

   “We’ve found PEIP to be a great tool in effectively managing and containing costs,” said Superintendent Bill Gronseth.  He says projected savings will be applied to next year’s budget planning.

   “This approach to health insurance has helped stabilize and reduce costs and ultimately keep more dollars focused on the classroom,” said Bernie Burnham, President of the Duluth Federation of Teachers. 

   ISD 709 employees receive health insurance coverage through the PEIP Advantage Plan, a group which includes 68 Minnesota school districts.  Savings are realized through lower fixed costs, higher negotiated discounts, spreading risk over a much larger group and making employees more accountable for their health care decisions. 

   ISD 709 transitioned to PEIP in 2010, following the work of the district’s Health Insurance Committee, comprised of administration and teachers union representatives.  The group continues to work together as part of ISD 709’s labor management process. The six-year average increase for PEIP across Minnesota is about 1.3%.


Students at Lincoln Park Middle School enjoyed an educational presentation by local Paramedic Terry Wallin this week!  Terry talked about his duties as a paramedic, demonstrated the equipment he uses on the job and showed students how to take a pulse, administer oxygen and measure a heart rate.  Students had an opportunity to see inside an ambulance and ask questions about 911 calls. Terry’s visit was an exciting way to wrap up the unit on First Aid Unit taught in Lincoln Park’s health classes. Many thanks to Terry and Gold Cross Ambulance for this great learning experience!


WANTED:  Ideas and Instructors for Duluth Community Education Classes

   Are you interested in sharing your knowledge and talent through Duluth Community Education?  New classes and instructors are always welcome!  Share your special skill, hobby or expertise with the community, call ISD 709 Community Education to find out how:

--For Adult Classes:  Julie Gandt 218-336-8760 ext. 1; Janis Kramer 218-336-8760 ext. 2

--For Youth Classes:  Tom Margo 218-336-8760 ext. 3

Or email


Duluth East Sophomore and Senior Knowledge Bowl Teams qualified to compete at the 2015 Minnesota State meet thanks to a strong showing at the Regional competition.   Knowledge Bowl competitions are interdisciplinary academic contests. Questions test student's recall, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Duluth East competing members:

10th graders:  Spencer Johnson, Emma Flynn, Rana Imtiaz, Sasha Waxman, Zane Dietlin

11th graders:  Cullen White, Moira Weiland, Henry Bray, Emma Kimball, Morgan Wittmers-Graves

12th graders:  Devin Johnson, Alyssa Everson, Justin Taylor, Ji-Won Choi, Tim Renier, Kier Zimmerman, Joel Bergstrand


Derick Rossell, Duluth East High School, has qualified to travel to the 2015 National Speech and Debate competition in Dallas, Texas.  A number of East students competed in final rounds at the Section 7AA qualifying meet and will advance to the 2015 MSHSL State Speech competition:  Derick Rossell, Paul Manning, Hannah Wodrich, Kayla Nyenhuis, and Emma McNamee will compete at the State tournament in April. Taylor Dillon, Grant Carl, Tristan Carl, Pearl Elliott, and Danielle Slotness also competed in final rounds.  Duluth East took 3rd Place as a team in their section meet.


Leighton Strom, Denfeld High School, advances to the 2015 MSHSL State Speech Tournament.  Leighton is competing in Humorous Interpretation.  Denfeld students receiving Honorable Mention in the qualifying meet include Tyrus Garrett- Discussion; Maria Puglisi - Creative Expression; Anna Leonard and Michaela Ossanna in Duo; and Violet Wennberg in Humorous.


Accomplishment, Activities, Appreciation

--Students from Lester Park Elementary collected over a TON of food for donation to the Union Gospel Mission in Duluth!  They collected 2,961 pounds of food, so much that Mission staff had to make two trips to transport it all. They also raised $471 in funds.  This is the 8th year in a row Lester Park students have collected over a ton of food. 

--Students at Ordean East Middle School conducted a “Be a Hero, Fight Hunger”

food drive to help the hungry in March and April.  A group of students who receive special education services and the Student Council worked together to organize the drive, food collected will be donated to CHUM.

-- Emma Haugen, Lincoln Park Middle School, had one of her photographs selected to be on display in the Duluth City Council Chambers for the month of April. Her photograph was selected by the curator of the Duluth Art Institute, Anne Dugan, from the recent student art show at the Depot.

--The Duluth East High School Football team received a Gold Level Academic Award for 2014 from the Minnesota State High School League Coaches Association.  The Award honors academic excellence, the team is coached by Joe Hietala.

--Students at Ordean East Middle School collected $655 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their 2015 Pennies for Patients Campaign. The mission of the Society is to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.  During Pennies for Patients, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are collected over a three week period; the class collecting the most change receives a pizza party.   


East High School Music Department "Dinner and a Concert" May 5

Deadline for Tickets:  April 29

   On Tuesday, May 5th, beginning at 5:30 pm, the East Music Department/Duluth East Music Boosters will showcase the Jazz Ensemble, Sterling Strings, and Choralaires in a “Dinner and a Concert” at the Great Hall, The Depot.  The concert will include dinner, dessert and an evening of great music.

   The Dinner Concert is a fundraising event for students and the Duluth East Music program.  Money raised will go towards music, repair and replacement of broken instruments, as well as other general needs of the Music Department. 

   Tickets for the event are $25 each and available by contacting Kathy Thibault at 525-2396 or  Tables are available in rounds of eight.  Reserve a table with your friends or family.  Ticket deadline is Wednesday, April 29thso make your reservations early.  There is limited room (200) in the Great Hall at the Depot.    


City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Spring Break Activities

Monday thru Friday, April 6-10 Rain or Shine!

Heritage Sports Center, 120 W. 30th Avenue West

10:00AM – 12Noon Non-Traditional Sports

Skill Introductions and Play Time ON THE INDOOR TURF!

Monday:  Kick Ball w/Boys & Girls Club

Tuesday: Ultimate Frisbee w/UMD Mens Northern Lights, UMD Women’s LakEFFECT Teams

Wednesday: Lacross w/UMD Mens Team

Thursday: Rugby w/YMCA Rookie Rugby

Friday: Disc Golf w/area course enthusiasts

2:00PM – 4:00PM Family Skating

Bring your skates (limited skates available for use)

All Activities are FREE and open on a first come-first served basis.  Equipment goes fast!

For more information:  218-730-4322