From the Office of the Superintendent 1/17/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week we continued work on the Boundary project, sharing three draft scenarios and inviting community input through survey and community meetings. Detailed information is available on our website.

The scenarios presented are not final recommendations and we're not looking for people to choose one of the scenarios, but rather to provide feedback on each element of all of three. Our hope is to use all the feedback to create a single scenario with preferred elements that Board could consider in the coming months.

The scenarios have been generated by staff, families, students, and community members through a process facilitated by Cooperative Strategies. They have been revised based on the feedback received from people throughout the community who have participated in focus groups.

To date, over 800 people have completed the survey and many are indicating an interest in next week's community meetings. We appreciate all the people who've participated in the process so far, and look forward to your continued involvement.

Kind regards,


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

Help Develop The Superintendent Leadership Profile

The profile will describe district strengths, challenges and goals along with the characteristics, abilities and experiences a superintendent will need to be successful in Duluth.

The Board’s search firm, BWP & Associates, will collect information through online surveys, focus groups with community groups and organizations, and a walk-in focus group for the public.

  • Online Survey: Available now through 12Noon January 24. Take the Survey!
  • ISD 709 Staff Walk-In Focus Group: Monday January 27, 2020, 4:45PM - 5:30PM
  • Community Walk-in Focus Group: Monday January 27, 2020, 5:30PM - 6:30PM
  • Both focus groups take place at Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Ave West, hosted by BWP & Associates.

View the Superintendent Search Timeline and other Search information.

Invitation to Review ISD 709 Draft 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.

Three more scenarios, released January 14, 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.

· Community Information & Online Survey: Survey available now through 8AM February 3, 2020 at www.ISD709.org/district/isd-709-boundary-project

· 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.

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

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.

Timelines, links and other information related to Duluth’s Boundary Study are available at www.ISD709.org/district/isd-709-boundary-project

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

Open: Companies to Classrooms, Free Supplies for Teachers


•215 North 1st Ave East (Historic Old Central High School) Enter on Third Street between Lake Avenue & First Avenue East

•3-6PM - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Our next Saturday opening will be Jan. 25 from 9AM-Noon.

•218-336-8700, ext. 1180 or email c2cduluth@gmail.com

Check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freesuppliesforteachers/

2020 Twin Ports MLK Tribute Events

January 19 & 20

This year’s theme is centered around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Give Us the Ballot and We Will Transform the South." In his speech, Dr. King speaks to the importance of political power and the right to vote. He states that the right to vote is a sacred right. A right that should be defended and aggressively upheld.

Download the full speech here.

Details: Duluth NAACP Website

Interfaith Worship Service

January 19, 4:00PM: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 219 N. 6th Ave. E., Duluth

Community Breakfast

January 20, 7:00AM: Holy Family Catholic Church, 2430 W. 3rd St., Duluth

MLK March

January 20, 10:00AM: Washington Center, 310 N 1st Ave W, Duluth

March begins at 11:00AM

MLK Rally

January 20, 12:00PM: DECC, 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth

From the MN Dept of Health: Flu Season Resources

Influenza (flu) season is in full swing in Minnesota. Flu season can last until April, so we potentially have several months of flu season left.

Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, body aches and extreme tiredness. It's not the same as “stomach flu,” which people often call unrelated gastrointestinal illnesses that have symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting.

To prevent the flu, we encourage everyone to:

  • Get your flu vaccine. It is not too late to get vaccinated for this season.
  • Cover your cough. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water when possible, but alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Help stop the spread of germs by avoiding contact with other people if you are sick.

School administrators, teachers and staff: for instructions on how to report an outbreak at your school and additional resources on flu, visit School Health Personnel Influenza Information.

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:





Meeting Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey joined local workout groups during tour stops in the Twin Cities. One surprise was for the KwePack, a running group of Indigenous women based on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The group includes parents of students in the Misaabekong Ojibwe Immersion program and ISD 709 staff! Look for Edye Binesiikwe Washington, American Indian Education Department Coordinator; Katie Danielson, District Homeless Liaison and Sarah Agaton Howes, founder of the KwePack. Ms. Howes presented Oprah with a blanket during their visit.


Learn More About Misaabekong: https://bit.ly/2uXzzV3


Laura MacArthur Elementary In the News

KBJR 6 Today anchors CeCe Gaines and Ryan Haff stopped by Laura MacArthur Elementary to learn what it takes to teach kindergarteners. The team sat down with teacher Sally Weidt to learn what students experience on a regular basis, and what it means for her to educate the young minds in our community. Great job, Ms. Weidt and students!



Go, Hounds!
"The Greyhounds, with seniors Clara Kramer and Haggenmiller and sophomore Lily Brown going 1-2-3, captured the Korkki Classic Invite on Tuesday in Two Harbors. East, ranked fourth in the most recent state poll on skinnyski.com, likely will be favored at the Section 7 meet Feb. 6 at Giants Ridge."

Duluth News Tribune

Dance Club

Students at Lowell Elementary, participating in a Dance Club opportunity!
State Bound Duluth Debate Teams
Anna Huber/Sydney Olson and Clara Brock/Alison Rimolde debated United States ending economic sanctions on Venezuela in Public Forum at the Section V Debate tournament in Eagan. They will compete at the State tournament at the U of M, congratulations!

Spotlight: Cocoa & Cram

Hunters Prep for Finals
Denfeld's annual Cocoa and Cram event, sponsored by the school's Link Crew, is open to all students to help prepare for final exams. Students and teachers working together to find success!
Thank you, JP Rennquist, for the photos.

Spotlight: Forest Forensics

Duluth Area Learning Center Students Conduct Geocaching & Ecology-based Breakout

A group of hardy ALC students headed into the frozen northwoods with snowshoes, GPS devices, and wilderness survival gear. Arriving at the trailhead, they learned of several hidden caches located in the forest - and buried underneath a heavy layer of snow. Using coordinate clues, GPS, and snow shovels, they set to work uncovering geocaches and solving the mystery of the “Wild Grouse Chase.”

Air temperatures were in the single digits, but spirits were high. Along the trails, they observed evidence of life in the woods, analyzed animal signs, and discussed forest ecology and winter survival strategies for animals and humans alike.

District educators Jamie Bennett, Todd Mickolajak, and Phil Thouin led the group. Funding provided through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and Esperanza Fund.

Thank you, Jamie Bennett, for the photos and info.



Duluth East High School Presents:

Evening of the Arts

Thursday January 23, 2020 7:00PM

Duluth East High School

301 N. 40th Avenue East Duluth, MN

Duluth East HS will feature an evening dedicated to the arts, culminating with a public showing of this year's Minnesota State HS League One Act submission Blue Stockings.

A donation will be taken at the door to help defray the cost of the competition.

BLUE STOCKINGS is a moving, comical and eye-opening story of four young women fighting for education and self-determination against the backdrop of women's suffrage.
The setting is Cambridge 1896 and Girton College, home to the country's first female students, is an object of annoyance and derision to the rest of the university. The year's intake of new women face economic difficulty, the distractions of men and radical politics, and the jaw-dropping prejudice that blights every aspect of academic life. Meanwhile, there looms the prospect of a controversial vote to decide: should these ‘blue stockings’ be allowed to graduate?

ALC Blood Drive January 30

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

What/When? Duluth Public Schools & Area Learning Center (ALC) Blood Drive

Thursday, January 30 from 7:30AM to 2:30PM

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

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

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

We collected 18 units at our 10/23/19 drive!!

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

  • (Thursday)

NEW! 2020 Winter Duluth Community Education Course Catalog
Explore a new hobby, learn a new skill, meet new people. The gift of lifelong learning, something for everyone!
>>Arts, Crafts, Hobbies: Cedar Plank Sign, Amateur Radio, Ceramics, Fused Glass Jewelry, Zentagle Pattern Drawing, More...
>>Cooking: Scones & Tea, Taste of Thailand, Taste of India, More...
>>Dance: Swing, Ballroom, Rhythm, Ecstatic Dance, More...
>>General Interest: Adventures in the Himalayas, Bridge, Chemical Free Household, Grafting Apple Trees, Growing Small Fruit, Vegetable Gardening, More...
>>Health & Wellness: CPR/AED Training, Meditation, Tai Chi, More...
>>Language: French, Spanish, Sign Language, More...
>>Music: Banjo, Ukulele, Community Band & Orchestra, More...
>>Swimming Pool Activities: Swimming Lessons, Aqua Aerobics, Scuba Diving, Lifeguarding, Free Family Swim, More...

>>Sports & Exercise: Cardio Walk-Fit, Cross Country Ski Lessons, Zumba, Yogalates, More...

>>Yoga: Chair Yoga, Soma Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, More...

Do you have a passion for cooking or gardening, a talent for art or music, and the enthusiasm to share your interest with others?

Consider Teaching a Community Education Class!

Contact us for details - CommunityEducation@isd709.org - or speak to a Community Ed Coordinator at 218-336-8760.