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ISD 709 News

posted Sep 14, 2015, 11:40 AM by Communications ISD 709

Minnesota Supreme Court to Visit Denfeld High School in October 

   The MN Supreme Court will visit Denfeld as part of a program that seeks to teach students about our court system.  The state's highest court will convene the morning of Thursday October 8 in the Denfeld Auditorium in Duluth, MN to hear oral arguments in a real court case in front of hundreds of high school students.  A question and answer session for the students will follow. In addition to Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools, the Minnesota Supreme Court, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial District Shaun R. Floerke and Denfeld Principal Tonya Sconiers have invited several area districts and schools to participate. 

   A “Meet Your Minnesota Supreme Court” Community Dinner will be held Wednesday, October 7 at the Kirby Ballroom at the Kirby Student Center on the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus.  Doors open at 6:00PM, dinner will be served at 6:30PM. Tickets are being sold in advance for $15 to cover the cost of dinner.  They cannot be purchased at the door. The event includes a short program featuring brief remarks from members of the Supreme Court. Seating to the event is limited.

Tickets may be purchased:

--Online at Use the ‘U of M Duluth School of Fine Arts’ link and select the Supreme Court Community Dinner event  

--By phone by calling (218) 726-8877, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.

--In-person by visiting the UMD School of Fine Arts Ticket Office (1215 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN 55812), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Cash, checks, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.


Lincoln Park Middle School Kicks Off Healthy Northland Farm to School Showcase

   Students at Lincoln Park Middle School provided a tour and information about their
school garden during the Healthy Northland Farm to School Kickoff this week. Healthy Northland is funded via a USDA grant and provides assistance to help schools like those in ISD 709 gain better access to local foods. 

   Students planted the school garden and built four additional raised beds. Learning activities around the garden included science club participation, researching and writing essays about where various foods come from, a visit from Up North Farm & Restoration and more. 
   Among several local, regional and state leaders, the students welcomed Representative Mary Murphy, School Board Members Judy Seliga Punyko, Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Annie Harala, Superintendent Bill Gronseth, staff and community members to this event.

   Several local media outlets came out to cover the kick-off, click below to see the reports.

Duluth News Tribune




From Tonya Sconiers and Joan Sargent:

SPIRIT Program Coming to Denfeld High School – Informational Meeting September 23

   Last spring, in Denfeld High School’s ongoing efforts to be proactive in meeting students’ academic and social/emotional needs, staff researched many opportunities and discovered the US Department of Justice, Community Relations Service (DOJ-CRS). DOJ-CRS, provides a variety of programs and services to schools and communities across the nation.

   Nearly 25 years ago, DOJ-CRS recognized the value of student problem solving around racial and other human rights issues and created a program they implement in schools across the country called SPIRIT.

   Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) is a student-driven process designed to teach problem identification and problem solving techniques through the establishment of a proactive model for collaboration.  This initiative involves students working with administrators, teachers, support staff and community members to identify racial and other human rights issues in schools, develop solutions, and create an action plan for resolving them.

   You are cordially invited to attend an informational gathering led by Justin Lock, DOJ-CRS representative, on Wednesday, September 23rd from 6:00PM-7:30PM in the Media Center at Denfeld High, 401 N. 44th  Avenue West, to learn more about SPIRIT and other programs offered by the DOJ-CRS.  Please be aware that the DOJ will be documenting the SPIRIT process and conducting interviews throughout the time they are in Duluth.   

   On September 24th and 25th, Denfeld, in collaboration with ISD709 Office of Education Equity, the US-DOJ-CRS and the Executive Office of the US Attorney General will begin implementing SPIRIT.

   We are excited about this initiative and the potential it offers students to have a voice in shaping the climate and culture at DHS.  For more information contact Tonya M. Sconiers 218-336-8830 (ext. 1928) or Joan Sargent (ext. 2156), check the link below for information about the DOJ-CRS.


Victory Over Violence Exhibit & Events – Free Curriculum Opportunity

   Educators play a key role in creating a community of peace in schools and surrounding communities.  Victory Over Violence (VOV) provides an opportunity to take action and work with students to address violence in its many forms on a classroom level. 

   VOV helps inspire young people to identify and root out violence, from bullying to physical violence, in their daily lives and in their communities and is in support of the United Nations “Culture of Peace” initiative.   Its goal is to contribute to a culture of peace through awareness, introspection, individual empowerment and a courageous and creative commitment to dialogue. It encourages respect, trust and friendship among young people, families, schools and communities across all boundaries such as race, religion and culture.    
Activities and information promote an understanding of:

--Self-awareness and self-reflection

--Communication and interpersonal skill-building

--How violence manifests in a range of settings, and its impact

--The role of dialogue in ending violence

--How they can make a difference through empowerment

--What it means to take the VOV pledge

   The Exhibit is open to the public from September 21 - October 2 in Swenson Hall, Erlenbach Gathering Place at the UW-Superior Campus.   All educators for all age levels and their students are welcome to explore the exhibit.  Contact Lisa Mattsson at for assistance in modifying the content of the exhibit to a developmental level that fits your students and/or group or class tours with a docent.

   Opening Event with Carl Crawford (Community Activist) and reception to follow:  Monday, September 21, 5:00PM to 6:00PM in Swenson 1004 Lecture Hall.

   Victory Over Bullying: A Northland Summit to Explore Impact, Causes & Response: Wednesday September 30, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Yellowjacket Union.  Click here to register. Cost is $10/students, $25/general, and $35/CEUs.

For more information about the exhibit, visit  Other questions and curriculum ideas, contact Lisa Mattsson, Jen Bird at or Tammy Fanning at