From the Office of the Superintendent 10/3/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

With the help of MDE funds and a Federal COPS grant, we've begun adding additional security features in all of our schools.

We're installing equipment that will compliment currently locked doors into school corridors and will allow doors into a school's main office to be locked during the school day. Camera and voice communication systems will be installed in the entry vestibule so people working in offices can see and talk with those who want to come in. We'll have new technology to remotely open specific doors.

We'll provide training for office staff in how to use this new equipment and help families and community members understand new protocols for entering schools during the day. We expect to begin using the new equipment and protocols in January 2020.

Thank you to Dave Spooner, Facilities Manager, and Jeff Horton, Assistant Superintendent for the work they're doing on this project. They recently worked with the Duluth News Tribune and KBJR-TV to share information with the public.

October 2 is National Custodian Appreciation Day, a big shout out to the dedicated folks who work diligently to maintain our school facilities. Maintaining safe, healthy, clean buildings plays an important role in student learning and everyone's comfort. Thanks for all you do!

October is National Principal Appreciation Month, take a moment to #ThankAPrincipal for all they do to support students and families. Many thanks to our Duluth school principals.

Please help me welcome Kelly Durick Eder to the Duluth School Board. Dr. Eder was appointed after the Board reviewed applications and interviewed 17 people.

A quick plug for our Duluth Debate Team, they're in need of judges. See below for how you can help out.

Kind Regards,


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

October is National Principals Month

Many thanks to our Duluth principals for the essential role they play in making school a safe and welcoming place for all students to learn. Take a moment to #ThankAPrincipal this month.

National Custodian Appreciation Day October 2

Many thanks to all the people who work diligently each day to maintain our Duluth school facilities!
"The quiet hero of the school. The first to arrive at school each day; cleans up messes no one dares touch; befriends everyone that passes by."

Duluth School Board Appoints Kelly Durick Eder to Vacant At Large Seat

Following a four hour public meeting in which 17 individuals were interviewed, the Duluth School Board voted to appoint Kelly Durick Eder to its vacant At Large seat.

Dr. Eder is an Assistant Professor at the College of St. Scholastica. In her application she said, “As a member of the School Board, it will be my role to balance the needs of all our kids and build consensus among the community while protecting those children who are in the greatest need.”

The interviews took place during a public meeting held September 30, 2019 from about 5:00PM to 9:00PM at Historic Old Central in Duluth, MN. The Board received 21 applications for the open seat, three applicants withdrew before the September 30 interview and one applicant did not appear for their interview.

Following the interviews, Board members expressed their appreciation to the applicants and said they hoped that people would pursue opportunities to be involved in Duluth’s schools in the future.

“I’m excited by the background and skill set Dr. Eder brings to our Board,” said Chairperson Rosie Loeffler-Kemp. “She expressed knowledge and familiarity with our school district and issues that impact public education. We look forward to working with her as she joins the Board.”

Per Minnesota Statute, Dr. Eder’s appointment was made by resolution and will be effective 30 days following adoption of the resolution.

A list of all who applied for the vacant seat and their applications are available online.

Duluth News Tribune

From Jill Lofald:

Duluth Debate Needs Judges

The Duluth Debate team is a combined team of East and Denfeld high school students.We are a Minnesota State High School League activity and we compete on Saturday's through out the months of October and November.

We are currently recruiting judges for our program. We need 3-5 judges every Saturday. >>Most of our meets are in the north metro area and would necessitate riding a school bus at 5:30AM on Saturdays.

>>We will have training sessions with anyone interested in joining us on these events.

>>We have a wonderful group of debaters, who will make your time with them so rewarding.

If interested please contact Jill Lofald at: jill.lofald@isd709.org

For more information about our team visit our team website at duluthdebate.org

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

As a community, we value creating welcoming environments where the uniqueness of each person is honored and valued, recognizing that we all come from many different circumstances and cultures. With that in mind, we work to ensure schools are safe, respectful, caring environments for children and adults.

The Duluth School Board adopted our Bullying Prohibition Policy based on the foundation of MSBA and MDE Model policies and after involving our community to develop meaningful compliance with the state's Safe Schools Act. Teachers and staff receive training to prevent, identify and respond to bullying. Students are actively involved in organizing awareness campaigns.

Bullying is Intimidating, threatening, abusive, or harming conduct that is objectively offensive and:
*Includes an actual or perceived imbalance of power between the students involved; or
*The conduct is repeated or forms a pattern; or
*Materially and substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or performance or ability to participate in school functions or activities or receive school benefits, services, or privileges.

Harassment is harmful comments or behavior, regardless of intent, toward someone because of and as it relates to their membership or perceived membership in a protected group. Protected groups are defined by state and federal law and include but are not limited to; sexual orientation, religion, race, national origin, color, sex, age, and disability.

Information available at www.stopbullying.gov

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:





Food for Thought Student-Run Restaurant Opens to Public October 8

ISD 709 high school students offer a classical menu for the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Duluth East. Fall semester service begins October 8.
**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. All this makes for a unique experience, a hidden gem for dining in Duluth.
Check online for details
ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

Miigwech! 2019 Steps to the Future Powwow
Many thanks to the Duluth Community School Collaborative, area organizations and community members that helped create the Steps to the Future Powwow at Myers-Wilkins Elementary this month.
Thank you, Jamie de la Cruz, for this Duluth News Tribune column about the significance of Steps to the Future.

Duluth Community School Collaborative

Steps to the Future Includes Pop-Up Produce Event

This year community members could harvest produce from the Myers-Wilkins/Grant Recreation Garden and received free produce through Second Harvest’s Pop-Up Produce Distribution.

#ShareTheHarvest #WeAreCommunity


Denfeld Students Support Steps to the Future

Students in the Denfeld Clock Tower Café culinary arts program provided a tasting of Three Sisters Stew made with local produce and Denfeld HOSA students staffed a first aid table.

Denfeld, Duluth East Career & Tech Ed


Congdon Park School Garden Harvest

Mrs. Norton’s and Mrs. Miller’s classes did some harvesting and learned about parts of plants (leaves, roots, fruits) that are used to make a salad.

#GreenThumbs #OurSchoolGarden


Sharing Traditions

In September, Misaabekong students participated in “Gaapizige” parching, “bawishkam” dancing, threshing wild rice and “nooshkaachige” winnowing.

Lowell Elementary Immersion Programs


Piedmont Staff: Learning & Growing Together

A whole school approach in being trauma informed in our work. Collaboration and care in meeting the needs of our school community and beyond. #PaperTigerPD #TraumaInformed #MaslowFirst #Teamwork #PresentPanthers #5050Grant

A is For Applesauce

Fall weather means hands on learning for first grade students at Piedmont. Measuring, peeling, mixing and more equals a yummy serving of learning and applesauce. Way to go first graders; it looked delicious!



Spotlight: National Walk/Bike to School Day

Walk/Bike to School Day

National Walk/Bike to School Day is a great annual, inclusive celebration of active bodies and active minds. Thanks to all who supported events in Duluth this year!

Thank you, Michelle Pierson, for the Congdon Park photos.

Duluth News Tribune Photos

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)

Minawaanigoziwin Round Dance

Friday October 11, 2019 6:00PM - 9:30PM

Denfeld High School Gymnasium

401 North 44th Ave West Duluth, MN

Doors open: 5:00PM (Singers be ready by 6:00PM)

Feast: 5:00PM-6:00PM

Feast provided by the Denfeld Clock Tower Cafe Culinary Arts Students

Emcee: David Northbird

Stickman: Frankie Graves

Invited Singers:

Brennen Potack(LCO) Grindstone Lake

Brendan Strong (Red Lake) Little Bear

Koonce Santos (St. Paul) Ice Wolf Singers

James Cloud (Red Lake) P-Town Boyz

First 10 additional singers to register will be paid! Must register by 6:00PM

For more information contact Edye Washington (218) 213-7188

Vendors: Contact Lydia Shinkle (218) 349-3599 Limited space!

*This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend and participate!*