From the Office of the Superintendent 10/10/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

When schools and families work together more students achieve at higher levels.

One tool in our achievement toolbox is Conference Night. It's an opportunity for families to meet one-on-one with teachers and other school personnel who support their child's learning. They can review and discuss student progress, strengths and needs, and discuss school and home strategies for helping a child do well in school.

Students who are supported at school and at home have a better chance of being successful in achieving their goals.

We appreciate the time families, teachers and school staff invest in Conference Night and helping children feel encouraged and inspired in their educational journey.

Kind Regards,


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

October School Board Agenda Items - Detailed Information Online

(This is not a comprehensive list of Board agenda items)

>>Facilities Management & Capital Projects Status Report

>>Assistant Superintendent and Director of Curriculum Reports

>>Policy Updates

>>North Star Data: At the Education Committee meeting the Board received detailed information regarding Minnesota's North Star accountability system data and district strategies.

>>Superintendent Search: At the HR Committee meeting the Board discussed proposals received from outside consultants interested in assisting with the superintendent search. Three proposals were received, the Board opted to extend their deadline to see if two more firms would submit proposals.

View School Board Meetings on YouTube

Cold, Snowy Weather Strategies

It's never too early to start preparing for cold temps or snowy conditions that may result in school closing for the day or starting two hours late.

All families, especially those with elementary age students, should have a contingency plan for their children in the event of weather-related school closings or a Two Hour Late Start.

Learn More

Firearm Safety Reminder

Did you know:

  • 4.6 million American children live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked.
  • Nearly 260 children 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else—sometimes fatally.
  • Every year, nearly 600 children 17 and under die by suicide with a gun.

The Be SMART framework is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.

Secure all guns in your home and vehicles

Model responsible behavior around guns

Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes

Recognize the role of guns in suicide

Tell your peers to be smart

Safety is always an adult responsibility. Kids will be kids. They won’t always make smart decisions about their own safety. Assume that curious or impulsive kids may find and touch an unsecured gun, even if they’ve been told not to. If a child handles a gun, a bad decision can quickly become a fatal one.

Protect kids by storing guns locked, unloaded and separately from ammunition, and by making sure children are never in the presence of unsecured guns.

Be SMART Website

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.

Follow Us For ISD 709 School News:





Spotlight: Squeamish?

Denfeld & Duluth East Medical Occupation students learned all about medical lab careers, thanks to a visit from professionals at Essentia Health. The visit included drawing blood, handling brain, tumor and other tissue samples, looking for diseases under a microscope and more. They learned what people in medical labs do, what kind of education is required and how they are an important part of any health care team.
#Inspire709 #HandMeThatBrainTissue

Pathways2Teaching Founder Visits Duluth

Dr. Margarita Bianco visited Duluth this week to observe our Pathways2Teaching (P2T) classes and attend the Minnestoa Association of School Administrators presentation. Representatives from Duluth Public Schools, including Sumair Sheikh, presented information about the district's P2T journey.

Dr. Bianco is an associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver and Founder of the Pathways2Teaching program. She is the recipient of several awards including the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Council for Learning Disabilities, University of Colorado Denver’s Rosa Parks Diversity Award, the 2011 University of Colorado President’s Diversity Award, and most recently the University of Colorado’s 2012 Teaching Excellence Award.

From the Greyhound Reader:

Duluth East German Exchange Program

Twenty-four students from Albstadt, Germany, travelled with their teachers to Duluth through the German American Partnership Program (GAPP). Duluth East students took on the role of host and welcomed GAPP students into their homes and families.

The German students explored Duluth and visited the North Shore, State Capitol and the Mall of America. More importantly, there were also able to experience true American life with their host families and make great connections with friends.

In June 2020, Duluth East students will have an opportunity to visit their German partners during a three-week stay in Germany and will visit Berlin, Munich and Austria. For over 18 years, Duluth East High School has had an ongoing exchange program with Progymnasium Tailfingen in Albstadt, Germany.

The Duluth East High School German Department, with teachers Frau Hinzman and Frau Lull, is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to the Duluth East Community for another great year. Thank you, Emily Lull and Duluth East Greyhound Reader for the photo and info.


Food for Thought Student-Run Restaurant Open to Public

ISD 709 high school students offer a classical menu for the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Duluth East.
**Reservations and orders are required at least 24 hours in advance!**
They become part of the lesson plan as students learn introductory and advanced techniques in line cooking, culinary skills and the intricacies of service.

Check online for details
ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

Lincoln Park Smart Cats!
Congratulations to students in the Lincoln Park Middle School Knowledge Bowl Team ... they took second place in their first tournament this month!
#Inspire709 #waytogo #smartcats #wildcatpride
Maroon & Gold Day

Students at Stowe Elementary celebrated Maroon & Gold Day at school (just like the big kids at Denfeld do)! Big school spirit in these future Hunters.


Spotlight: ALC at Hawk Ridge

ALC Wilderness Elite Students Soar
Students from Duluth Area Learning Center visited Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory to experience the raptor migration. They learned how to use binoculars, how to identify birds in flight and were able to help release a Red-tailed hawk and several Sharp-shinned hawks. They learned about the science involved in banding, types of data collected, how to catch birds and what researchers learn from banding birds.
The students are part of ALC’s Wilderness Elite Program. ALC teachers Mike Descombaz, Todd Mickolajak, and Phil Thouin, along with Integration Specialist, Jamie Bennett accompanied the group.
Many thanks to those supporting this outstanding learning opportunity: Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Esperanza Fund, the Office of Education Equity, Duluth Public Schools and Duluth Area Learning Center staff, who always jump at the chance to offer our students impactful, high-quality educational experiences.
Thank you Jamie Bennett and Phil Thouin for the photos and info.

#Inspire709 #LearningInFlight

Duluth East High School Theatre Presents the Musical:



Show Dates: October 24-26 7:00 PM, October 27 1:00 PM

Duluth East High School

301 N. 40th Avenue East, Duluth MN

Ticket Prices: $15 Adults, $10 Students

Tickets sold at the door only. Sales begin 1 hour before curtain, doors open 30 minutes before curtain! Show runs 1 hour and 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

**Some minor adult language and content**

In roaring twenties Chicago, Roxie Hart murders faithless lover Fred Casely and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap...until Amos finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie!

Convicted and sentenced to death row, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess" Velma Kelly vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the American Dream: fame, fortune, and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked the original staging and choreography by Bob Fosse.

Duluth Area Learning Center Blood Drive

(You're invited & all your family and friends, seriously, invite everyone!)


Wednesday, October 23rd from 7:30AM to 2:30PM


Bus parked in 3rd St. & Lake Ave. parking lot

HUGE BONUS: For every unit collected, $10 goes towards a scholarship for an ALC student (minimum of 50 units required between our 3 blood drives).

Last year's two blood drives (one canceled due to weather) resulted in 63 units collected and $630 in scholarship money!

Click HERE to schedule online or contact Jackie Dolentz at (218) 336-8704, ext. 1008 or jacqueline.dolentz@isd709.org

SAVE THE DATES for future blood drives (same time and location):

  • 01.30.20 (Thursday)

  • (Thursday)