Duluth School Board Decides No Boundary Changes for September 2020 School Year

   During the regular meeting held February 24, the Duluth School Board discussed the Boundary Project.  They approved a motion that, for the September 2020 school year, all boundaries will remain the same.  This includes elementary, middle and high school.  The Board said it would not make any boundary changes in the next school year and there would be no changes planned for Immersion and English programs at Lowell in the next school year.  Work on the Boundary Study will continue through the end of this school year and into the 2020-2021 school year with further research, discussion and community input. 

February 24, 2020 School Board Meeting Video 


Boundary Project Update, February 11, 2020: 

During the Duluth School Board’s February 11, 2020 Business Committee meeting, Superintendent Bill Gronseth presented an administrative recommendation for next steps in the Boundary Study.  The recommendation is based on feedback received during the first two phases of the process and involved work groups, focus groups, an online survey and two community meetings.

Watch the Board meeting, discussion begins at 2:45:24.  

The recommendation for next steps is to develop a phased approach for the Board and community to consider.

● The first phase would be (1) to consider smaller adjustments to elementary school boundaries to make room at critical areas of over-capacity (2) to consider strategies regarding the immersion programs at Lowell Elementary. A draft proposal would be shared with the community and Board this spring. If feasible, adjustments could take place as early as September 2020.

● The second phase would entail the creation of a work group to do more research and work on developing recommendations for high school/middle school boundary adjustments and explore additional strategies. That work could take place over the next school year, the earliest any changes might be implemented is September 2021. 

Boundary Project Update, February 2020:  

   Over 2000 surveys were received, attendance at the community meetings at Denfeld and Duluth East numbered over 650.

   The Boundary Study is a process and opportunities for public input will continue along the way. Feedback will be used to create another draft scenario and a recommendation will be made for the School Board's consideration. Public input through listening sessions will be held before Board decisions are made. An implementation plan related to the recommendations would be researched, developed and reviewed by the Board and community before proposed changes are put in place.

   Many thanks to all who are participating in the Boundary Study process.

Boundary Project Update January 2020:  Community Invited to Review Boundary Scenarios, Provide Feedback Via Survey and Community Meetings

   The Duluth School District is seeking community review and input regarding possibilities for adjusting school attendance areas. It’s part of an ongoing process to identify adjustments that would help ensure enrollment numbers are appropriate for the capacity of each school. 
Community Information & Online Survey:  
Online Survey is closed, thanks to all who participated.
Interactive Tool:
Draft Scenario Attendance Areas - Enter an address, see current school boundaries and draft boundaries under each scenario for that address.

Community Meetings January 22-23:  
Facilitated by Cooperative Strategies, a firm with expertise in helping school districts gather data, analyze and draft boundaries for public consideration. Includes presentation of scenarios, impact and opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback. The same information is provided at each meeting.
January 22, 2020 6:00PM - 8:00PM: Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Ave East
January 23, 2020: 6:00PM - 8:00PM: Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Ave West

   In October and November, community and staff representatives participated in work sessions and focus groups, providing ideas and feedback. The School Board and public received draft scenarios based on that work. 
   Three more scenarios, released January 13, are the result of further research and community input.  Community members are encouraged to review detailed information and provide input via an online survey and two community meetings. 
   The Duluth School Board is tentatively scheduled to review information and consider possible adjustments in February or March. The earliest any changes would take place would be September 2020.  Significant changes may require planning and implementation over multiple years.
Duluth School Board meeting schedules are available online and board meetings are streamed and archived online.

Boundary Planning Project, Duluth Public Schools  

This fall and winter, citizens will be asked to review information related to current school attendance areas and discuss potential changes.   


  • Consider adjustments that would help ensure enrollment numbers are appropriate for the capacity of each school. 
  • Provide the detailed data and analysis necessary to help make informed decisions.  The school district is working with Cooperative Strategies, a firm with expertise in helping school districts gather data, analyze and draft boundaries for public consideration.
  • Incorporate family, staff, community and underserved communities input into the decision making process.  

Most larger districts adjust boundaries every few years - it's been over ten years since Duluth made adjustments to boundaries.   

The earliest any boundary changes would take place is September 2020.  Significant change might require planning and implementation over multiple years.

Current School Boundaries, Attendance Areas

ISD 709 Boundary Project Update - November 2019

Phase I of the Cooperative Strategies' boundary study began in October when about 80 people came together to brainstorm options for boundary changes (Work Sessions). Participants worked in small groups with enrollment numbers, school capacity numbers, demographic information, and specialized software to brainstorm possible scenarios that would bring more balance to school enrollments and demographics.  Fifteen separate groups worked through the process testing different ways to shift boundaries and rechecking the balance of enrollments with each move. Some of the groups had unique ways of approaching the moves and others were quite similar. Not all of the models created were complete, but all had benefits and challenges.
View Work Group Session Scenarios
During Phase II of Cooperative Strategies’ boundary study process the fifteen scenarios were pared down to four.  In November, Focus Groups were utilized over a three day period as about 120 staff, parents, students, and communtiy members provided input on what they saw as benefits and challenges of the four scenarios. New ideas to consider and include also came out of this process.  Information was reviewed by the Duluth School Board during a public meeting.  Cooperative Strategies will use the feedback gathered to further refine the scenarios before coming back to Duluth for further input.
View Focus Group Scenarios
Phase III in January 2020 will include public meetings, online information and surveys, as well as copies available at school sites.
Phase IV in February 2020 or March 2020 will include open School Board meetings to consider the final recommendations.



October 15-16, 2019 Boundary Work Sessions

  • Three sets of meetings of about 25 people each, representing diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Use an interactive planning tool to create various boundary scenarios and explore the impacts of each.
  • Each set of meeting participants will break into small groups to create their own draft boundary scenario, with a total of ten to twelve rough draft scenarios created over the span of three meetings. 

Research and Analysis

  • School district personnel and consultant thoroughly analyze the impacts of rough draft scenarios.
  • Use results from the work sessions and analysis to identify draft scenarios for further exploration.

November 18-19, 2019 Focus Groups

  • Focus groups of about 15 people each, representing diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Review draft scenarios, discuss benefits, challenges, additional data required.
  • The Duluth School Board will meet publicly in November to review information as well.

Preparation for Community Meetings & Survey

  • Using input from focus groups, school district personnel and Cooperative Strategies determine viable scenarios to present to the community for feedback.
  • Information is prepared to take out to the community via online surveys and community meetings.

January 2020 Information Available Online

  • Look for information the week of January 13.
  • Draft scenarios are available for community review online.
  • Information includes maps and detailed impact analysis.
  • Feedback immediately available through online survey.

January 22-23, 2020 Community Meetings

  • January 22, 2020 6:00PM - 8:00PM: Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Ave East
  • January 23, 2020: 6:00PM - 8:00PM: Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Ave West
  • Presentation of  scenarios and impact.
  • Opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.
  • Online materials and survey are also available.

Preparation of Recommended Boundary Scenario

  • Using input from online surveys and community meetings, draft a recommended boundary scenario.
  • Prepare information for posting online and for presentation to the Duluth School Board.
February or March 2020
  • Post recommended boundary scenario and detailed information online for community review.
  • Public meeting with Duluth School Board to present recommended boundary scenario and detailed information. 
  • Public meeting (regular monthly meeting or special meeting) for Duluth School Board vote to accept recommended boundary.