From the Office of the Superintendent 1/31/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

Paraprofessionals play a vital role in student achievement. As part of our educational teams, they're committed to ensuring every child has the support they need to be successful.

They work closely with teachers, work one-on-one with students and with groups of students. They’re present in classrooms, hallways, media centers, cafeterias, playgrounds and more. From tutoring to student monitoring, supporting classroom lessons to assisting with activities, they're dedicated to helping Duluth’s students achieve.

Many thanks to our Duluth Public School paraprofessionals for the support they provide in our schools and for making a positive difference for every child, every day.

Kind regards,


If you have questions or thoughts about what's going on in our school district, email: Superintendents@ISD709.org. Twitter: @billgronseth

Paraprofessional Recognition Week January 27-31
Many thanks to Duluth's Paraprofessionals!
You are an important part of the educational team, providing so many supportive services to students and their families. We appreciate everything you do everyday.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz proclaimed January 27 - 31, 2020 as Paraprofessional Recognition Week.


Facilities Review & Recommendation

During a special meeting held January 29 the Duluth School Board received a recommendation to consider for use and disposition of three properties: Historic Old Central High School, Central High School and the Transportation Building.

Work Group Considerations:

>>Relocation from HOCHS

  • Consensus from the work group is now’s the time take advantage of outside interest in the building.
  • Because this building is such an important community asset and the district recognizes that it can no longer adequately care for it, a relocation creates opportunity for continued viability in the community.
>>More effective square footage uses and investment savings over repairing HOCHS
  • The district can vacate a building which is in excess of 3 times the square footage needed for current programming and staff needs.
  • More effective facility space can contribute to cost savings.
>>Better utilization of a portion or all of Central High School (CHS) Site
  • Maintaining and utilizing the Central High School site, which already houses District facilities, can provide for a variety of options for the district and community.
  • A proposed District relocation plan includes an investment of $31.5 million at the CHS site to address HOCHS and transportation needs, saving $17 million compared to the proposed feasibility repair costs required to remain in HOCHS.

>>Lease space for Area Learning Center and Adult Basic Education

  • The District currently has lease levy authority for instructional educational services and there are several lease opportunities within the District boundaries to consider. This provides flexibility to adjust for future programming changes or mandated requirements.

>>Legislative support necessary to responsibly invest taxpayer resources

  • If the District remained in HOCHS, LTFM funding could complete qualifying deferred maintenance and indoor air quality repairs at a cost of $48.5 million. But it would not address public access, space, and efficiency issues. Legislation would allow for the alternate use of LTFM funding for projects designed to better utilize levy authority and taxpayer contributions.

Detailed Information

Watch the Board Meeting

Enroll Online Today for September 2020:

Do you know people getting ready to send their child to high school, middle school or kindergarten in September 2020?

High School Registration, February 1 - 23
Middle School Registration, January 22 - February 23
Kindergarten Roundup Events, March & April
Denfeld, Duluth East High School Registration, Feb 1 -23

>>Advanced placement, honors courses

>>College in the Schools: Earn College Credit in High School

>>Career & Technical Education: Engineering, Education, Graphic Arts/Digital Design, Medical Occupations, Business/Marketing/Finance, Construction Technology, Automotive Technology, Aerospace (Aviation), Culinary Arts/Hospitality Industry, Agriculture and Forestry

>>Art and music, including Band, Orchestra, Chorus

>>Dozens of extracurricular activities including award-winning robotics, speech, music listening, business, cheer teams

>>School Spirit – Greyhound and Hunter Pride!

>>Dozens of Unique College/Post-Secondary Scholarships

Web Page

Duluth Superintendent Search

Information, timelines, leadership profile and more are available online.

Duluth Superintendent Search Web Page

Current Search Timeline: (Subject to updates)
· January 2020: Development of leadership profile. Presentation of final profile to the School Board in public meeting.
· March 3 – 7, 2020: Consultants screen and interview and develop an initial slate of candidates.
· March 9 - 13, 2020: School Board public meeting to review and select candidates for initial interviews.
· March 16 - 20, 2020: School Board interviews 6-8 candidates in public meeting, narrows the field to two or three candidates.
· March 23 - 27, 2020: All day interview process for semi-finalists. Includes open forums available to staff, students, community members and a final School Board interview in a public meeting. School Board makes final selection.
· March 30 - April 3, 2020: Act on the new superintendent’s contract in public meeting. Announcement of new ISD 709 Superintendent.
· July 1, 2020: New superintendent takes office

ISD 709 Draft Boundary Scenarios:

Survey Available Through Feb 3

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: Survey available through 8AM February 3, 2020

Timelines, links and other information related to Duluth’s Boundary Study

Duluth School Board meeting schedules are available online and board meetings are streamed and archived online: www.isd709.org/district/School-Board

ISD 709 News

We know there are a lot of great things going on in our schools - let's make sure we're letting everyone else know, too! Share your school, student, staff accomplishments, projects and events with Kathleen.Kaufman@ISD709.org, they'll be used in email newsletters, social media, websites and other communication venues.
Recognition for Area Learning Center Students

Alexandria Whitley, Eriven Pegues, Julia Severance, and Autumn Wallace were recognized by the Duluth School Board for making history. They're the first students from Duluth's Area Learning Center to become Junior Rotarians.

Since becoming Junior Rotarians, these students have been pitching in and helping their community. Last month they joined members of Harbortown Rotary as volunteers at Bentleyville. Students recently volunteered in the kitchen at Union Gospel Mission, helping set up, serve lunches, greet people and clean up afterwards.

They were acknowledged and congratulated at their first meeting with the Harbortown Rotary earlier in the year for their willingness to serve. The Harbortown Rotary issued a $1,000 grant to the ALC to be used to further alternative programming, community based outreach, and educational service projects.

These activities are part of on-going service projects incorporated into educational experiences at the Area Learning Center by teachers, staff and our Office of Education Equity.



State Bound Denfeld Music Listening Team
Congratulations Logan Griggs, Phoenix Ocean and Aidan Anderson, they took First Place in the MN High School Music Listening regional competition with a high score of 94/100. They move on to the State competition in February.
This is the "Knowledge Bowl of Music," contest materials cover classical music, global perspectives, and a variety of musical influences.
Kudos to all Denfeld Music Listening Team members and their adviser Clare Chopp:
Keziah Pop, Madison McKean, A'staria Perry, Josie Nichols, Eric Stolee, Annika Swanson, Ariana Wisniewski, Haven Anderson, Ella Ruble, Sam Gilbert, Hanna Hovland, Cassandra Franzen, Acacia Novy.

Thank you, Clare Chopp, for the photos and info.

Ordean East Robotics Team Success
Another strong showing for the Ordean East Devildogs First Tech Challenge robotics team! In their most recent competition the team won four of five matches, ranking #2 of 26 teams by the end of qualifying rounds. As one of four alliance team captains for the semi-final and final rounds the Devildogs selected We Robot #11565 from Eden Prairie & Spontaneous Construction #14779 from Shoreview as alliance partners. The alliance won the best of three semi-final rounds by sweeping the first two matches and moving on to the final round squaring off against the #1 seeded alliance. The Devildogs were also named as finalists for two tournament awards and accomplished many of their season goals. Many thanks to the team’s coaches, mentors and sponsors.
Thank you, Ordean East, for the photos and info.

Lincoln Park Middle School Students in UMD Honor Choir
Congratulations Kristina B., Reagan K., Kaitlyn S., and Molly T. who are participating in the University of Minnesota - Duluth Honor Choir. They'll rehearse and perform with over 150 students from Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin! Participants are nominated by their directors, and represent dedicated and promising middle school singers from throughout the Northland.
#Inspire709 #TalentedWildcats

Duluth East Varsity Cheer, 2020 Crimson Cheer Large Varsity Non-Tumbling Champions!
#Inspire709 #GoHounds #SchoolSpirit

Lincoln Park Students Celebrate 4.0

Students at Lincoln Park Middle school celebrated their 4.0 GPAs with a little ice cream party. Sweet!

Hunter Pride

CJ Ham, repping Denfeld Hunter Football at the ProBowl...



Denfeld Speech Team Success
During a recent meet in Andover Sydney Rabold earned First Place in Serious Interpretation of Prose and the Denfeld Speech Team took Third Place, congratulations!

#Inspire709 #HunterPride


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From Caitlyn Hakes, PACER:

ABCs of the IEP: Making the Individualized Education Program Work for Your Child

Friday February 25, 2020 6:30PM - 8:30PM

LaQuinta Inn & Suites 1805 Maple Grove Rd Duluth, MN 55811

Free workshop will help parents understand how to use the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to benefit their child. To participate in the workshop, parents will need to bring a copy of each of the following:

• Their child’s most recent special education evaluation report

• Their child’s current IEP

If an ASL interpreter is needed, contact PACERWorkshops@PACER.org or call (952) 838-9000 with 48 hrs. notice. This workshop is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

To register: PACER.org/workshops or (952) 838-9000