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ISD 709 News

posted Aug 11, 2015, 3:58 PM by Communications ISD 709

2015 Back to School Information Available at


ISD 709 Community Education Receives Duluth School Board Honors

   During their regular meeting in July, Duluth School Board members recognized and honored ISD 709 Community Education, represented by Director Jay Roesler, for receiving the 2015 Community Service Award from the Duluth Area Family YMCA.  The Award is presented for providing time and talent to strengthen the community through YMCA programs and services and impacting the lives of many.  ISD 709 Community Education was recognized for their Key Zone School Age Child Care and Youth Development Partnership with the YMCA.


Lowell Offers Kindergarten and First Grade Ojibwe Language Immersion Classrooms

   With the successful launch of a Kindergarten Ojibwe language immersion classroom at Lowell last fall, ISD 709 is expanding the program to include both Kindergarten and Grade 1 this year.  Families interested in the Ojibwe Language Immersion Kindergarten or Grade 1 classrooms may contact Lowell at 218-336-8895 or the ISD 709 American Indian Education Department at 218-336-8700 ext. 1149.


ISD 709 Child Nutrition Supervisor Tapped to Mentor Peers During USDA Regional Training 

   Pam Bowe, supervisor of ISD 709’s Child Nutrition Program, was invited by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to

help provide mentoring and best practices during its Team Up for School Nutrition Success workshop.

   School nutrition personnel from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin completed the two-day workshop in Chicago, IL in July.  Participants utilized tailored technical assistance and peer-to-peer mentoring to solve problems and share best practices.

   “The conference encouraged brainstorming and sharing of challenges, ideas, and solutions, all of which benefit student nutrition,” said Bowe.  “There’s a tremendous network of school nutrition professionals, willing to share their knowledge and expertise, in order to continue to improve school meals.  This conference showcases how committed school nutrition staffs are to their students and profession.” 

   “We are fortunate to have many school districts that are succeeding in serving healthy and appealing school meals, while maintaining high student participation and a solid financial footing,” said Tim English, Midwest Regional Administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.  “We are very pleased that they are willing to share their best practices with their peers.”

   ‘Team Up’ is customized for schools that attend, based on their specific training and resource needs. It covers topics like menu planning, financial management, procurement, meal presentation and appeal, as well as youth engagement tactics.  More information at


ISD 709 2015 State MCA and MTAS Test Results

   During the August Education Committee meeting, Duluth School Board members received information regarding 2015 state test scores for ISD 709. State tests include results of the MCA and MTAS (all accountability tests).  Consistent with AYP and MMR calculations, results are reported for students enrolled October 1 in ISD 709. 


--Overall, about half of our schools increased in proficiency and the District’s proficiency has steadily increased.  The

District percent proficient is consistent with the state average. 

--Most grades increased in proficiency.

--Student groups that increased proficiency include American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Black, White and students receiving free/reduced price lunch.  Student group that decreased:  Special Education. 

--The achievement gap narrowed for most groups, others widened or remained stable.

 --Several schools have shown steady increases in proficiency over time including Congdon, Laura MacArthur, Myers-Wilkins, Stowe, Ordean East and Denfeld.


--Overall, the District proficiency steadily increased; the proficiency of approximately half of our schools increased as well.  The state’s proficiency remained stable.

--Student groups that increased proficiency include American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, White, and students receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch.  Student groups that decreased:  Black.  Students receiving Special Education services remained stable.

--The achievement gap widened for most groups, others narrowed or remained stable.

--Several schools have shown steady and significant increases in proficiency over time including Congdon, Lowell, Lincoln Park, Ordean East, Denfeld and East.


--Overall District proficiency significantly increased and has been increasing steadily. 

--The District increased proficiency at a rate faster than the state.

--Most schools increased proficiency, some dramatically. 

--Several schools proficiency rates have increased steadily over time:  Laura MacArthur, Denfeld, Myers-Wilkins, Piedmont, Ordean East, East.

   2015-16 Achievement Strategies (include, but are not limited to):

--Last year’s restructuring of the ISD 709 organization to focus on student achievement

--Cultural competency development for staff

--Up-to-date curriculum aligned with state standards and reflecting cultural relevance

--Multi-tiered system of support to address individual student needs

--High quality professional development – well trained teachers are key to student success

--Professional development for principals – with emphasis on instructional leadership 

--Involving families in their students’ academic success

--After school academic support and tutoring

--Working collaboratively with local organizations:  for example, True North Americorps, Promise Fellows, Reading Corps, Math Corps

--Using individual student data to impact day-to-day teaching strategies.  Last year we created the structures necessary to expand professional learning communities to all schools.  This year we’ll focus on helping teachers and principals leverage the time to provide the most benefit for students, to know at any given time what an individual student knows and to be able to adjust instruction as necessary to help that student meet their targets.

--It’s our expectation and mission to ensure that every student has the ability to realize their highest potential. 

Click here to see the presentation.


High Schools Move From Six to Four Terms

   Beginning in September 2015, ISD 709 high schools will move from six to four terms.  Report cards, grading and information reported will remain the same. The transition is designed to provide students more time to master content before receiving a grade.  The move will also create consistency with middle schools and the majority of high schools across the state of Minnesota. 

   “It’s been recognized as a need and this year we were in a good position to make the change,” said Mike Cary, Director of ISD 709 Curriculum & Instruction.  “The old system of hexmesters was so short that if a student received one low grade on a major assignment there was very little time to recover. In some cases, teachers and school leaders saw a lot of fluctuation up and down in terms of grading.  Four terms will provide a longer period of time for students to demonstrate proficiency before a grade is given.”