From the Office of the Superintendent 12/12/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

Our music teachers, students, administrative, facilities and support staff spend many hours preparing for holiday programs and concerts. One of the best parts of the school year is attending those performances.

Denfeld and Duluth East groups make it a point to go out into the community, too, reaching out to nursing homes and assisted living facilities and scheduling visits. And recent news stories highlighted our choirs singing in the Duluth Skywalk (see below).

In relation to the Skywalk performances posted on the ISD 709 Facebook page, the following exchange occurred, an example of responsiveness and kindness. Thank you, Paul Christenson.

  • Connie Ware: They should visit some assisted living homes. The residents and staff would love it.
  • Connie Ware: Keystone bluffs
  • Paul Christenson: Hi there Connie! I’m the Denfeld Choirs director. I contacted around 20 assisted living homes this year; we are visiting over ten! Our students love to share the holiday spirit all over town! If you have a specific place in mind, please put in a request for them to contact me. We are quite booked, but could squeeze in a few more visits. My email is paul.christenson@isd709.org
  • Connie Ware: Paul Christenson thank you so much!

Just a few examples of why I'm proud of our people and proud to be part of the Duluth Public Schools. Thanks for all you do.

Kind Regards,


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

Upcoming Duluth School Board Meetings

(This is not a comprehensive list)

>>Committee of the Whole School Board Meeting - Superintendent Search

Monday December 16 5:00PM HOCHS Board Room

ISD 709 Superintendent Search Web Page

>>Regular School Board Meeting

Tuesday December 17, 6:30PM HOCHS Board Room

Detailed meeting schedules, agendas and Board materials are

available online.

Meetings are also streamed live and available on YouTube.

December 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

>>Annual Independent Audit Report

>>Truth in Taxation Hearing

View School Board Meetings on YouTube

2020 Greg Irons Teacher/Staff Award - Submit Applications by January 15, 2020

Know a great colleague who deserves a pat on the back or some special recognition? Consider nominating them for the Greg Irons Teacher/Staff Award.

Named after a former ISD 709 teacher, the Greg Irons Award recognizes teachers/school staff who ‘demonstrate their belief that all students have worth and the desire to succeed and that responsibility, sincerity, honesty and hard work are the foundation of a person's life.’

Past winners have received a cash award of $500.

Nominations may be made by students, teachers, other school staff, parents or community members and are due to the Community Foundation by January 15, 2020.

Forms are available at www.dsacommunityfoundation.com/forms-and-applications and can be submitted electronically.

For more information, contact the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation at

scholarships@dsacommunityfoundation.com or 218-726-0232.

DSACF Scholarship Applications - Due January 15, 2020

Now is the time to apply for the huge bounty of scholarships available to graduating high school seniors. Duluth is truly blessed with a huge number of awards. Some are based on academics, but others like the Duluth Lions Club Scholarship recognize community volunteerism. Other scholarships limit their eligibility pool by financial need, prospective major, school attending or religious affiliation and, with over 70 scholarships, there’s something for everyone!

Find out what’s available by using the Eligibility Quiz on the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation website.

Applications are due by January 15, 2020 but the application will take some time, so start early. More information can be found on the website of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation or by phone to 218-726-0232.

Job Opportunity: Special Education Paraprofessional - Building Wide

Denfeld High School
32.5 hours/week | Monday - Friday | 8:45 am - 3:45 pm
Starting Wage: $16.08/hr + Benefits

Apply Online

Follow Duluth Public School Job Opportunities on social media:




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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:





Denfeld Boys Hockey Team Helping Others

For the eighth year in a row, the Hunters sponsored two families and the team did some Christmas shopping for them. The team raises funds for the program throughout the year. For the older players, this event is a big part of the Denfeld tradition and it doesn’t take much convincing to get the younger players to help out too.


The Season for Music
Carolers from local high schools, including Denfeld & Duluth East, were singing and strolling their way through portions of the Duluth Skywalk, spreading holiday cheer. Great job, students, teachers!

Duluth East Skywalk:

Watch the Video


Denfeld Skywalk:

Watch the Video





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Lester Park Robotics Teams Advance
Lester Park Elementary’s LEGO Robotics teams did well at the Regional competition in Hermantown. Quantum Mechanics placed 1st for their robot performance and Electro Dragonz placed 7th out of 32 teams. Both teams are invited to advance to the Sectional meet in St. Paul in mid-January.
The teams are part of FIRST LEGO League, engaging children in research, problem solving, coding and engineering. The foundation of the program is FIRST Core Values which emphasize teamwork, discovery and innovation.
Many thanks to the Lester Park Foundation, families and volunteers for their support and to all those cheering on our Lester Park FLL Teams.

Thank you, Tracy Thompson, for the photos and information.

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Denfeld High School: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Students in Mr. Simon's pre-engineering class used a broken piano bench to practice some hands-on skills. The bench was brought into their classroom, students examined it and talked through possible ideas. Within minutes they were taking it apart and putting it back together. It'll be back on stage and in good order for a busy schedule in the historic Denfeld Auditorium.

Photo: Students Brady Johnson and Nicholas Miller

Thank you, JP Rennquist, for the photo and information.



Duluth Debate Team Success
Outstanding effort by Denfeld and Duluth East students at the MDTA JV/Novice Championship in Eagen! Congratulations:
>>Maria Freese and Vivian Shaffer, making LD Double Octos.
>>Clara Brock and Alison Rimolde, making Double Octos.
>>Libby Gdula, making it to the outrounds in LD Novice.
>>Sam Gilbert, finishing 9th place in JV Congress Finals.
>>Milo Amundsen, advancing to the Final round in JV Congress.
>>Rex Troche, advancing to Novice Congress semifinals.

Piedmont Students Explore STARBASE

Many thanks to STARBASE (148th Fighter Wing), hosting Piedmont Elementary 5th graders for an engaging week of exploration, ingenuity, and fun. Students experienced STEM programming in a state-of-art, student friendly learning environment. A shout out to Piedmont's 5th grade team for supporting this incredible opportunity.

STARBASE is finding the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math fields. By providing area youth with innovative, hands-on, free education opportunities in STEM subjects, we help students envision a future in STEM. (STARBASE, 2019)

#LeapingIntoExcellence #PantherProud


Sharing Traditions at Denfeld

Ms. Walker and her students made lefse, a traditional Norwegian holiday treat. It’s a soft flatbread made with potatoes mixed with flour, butter and milk or cream.

A great use for leftover mashed potatoes and a great example of learning by doing.

#Inspire709 #GoodEats


Student Essays Chosen for Tree of Lights

Students from Homecroft and Piedmont Elementaries wrote essays that were chosen to be part of Essentia Health's Tree of Lights event, congratulations!

Homecroft: Sylvie Leino, Callie Douville, Paige Worcester

Piedmont: Ella Stark, Addison LaFave, Alissa Willey, Lyric Hockman, Norah Ronning

Photo: Homecroft students with teacher Ken McNulty.

Thank you, Coleen Nordwall, for the photo and information.



Thank You, Contributors

Many thanks to all the people who take time to send along photos and information about what's going on in our schools. Contributors like Howie Hanson, JP Rennquist, Jamie Bennett, teachers, principals, advisors, school secretaries, students and others do a great job, much appreciated.

Could Language Immersion Benefit Your Child?

All Families Welcome!

Ojibwe & Spanish Language Immersion Open House

Thursday January 9, 2020

5:30PM – 7:00PM

Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road, Duluth

Research suggests language immersion may contribute to academic achievement, and that students exhibit greater problem-solving abilities, flexible thinking and advanced language literacy and proficiency.

Learn more about the benefits, the specific Ojibwe and Spanish language program models offered, and steps in the application process. Registration for September 2020 begins January 9 - space is limited.

For detailed information:

Misaabekong Ojibwe Language Immersion

Edye Washington, Office of American Indian Education:

edith.washington@isd709.org or 218.336.8700, ext.1152

Nueva Vision Spanish Language Immersion

Crystal Goldman, Spanish Immersion Coordinator:

crystal.goldman@isd709.org or 218.336.8700, ext.1166

More at www.ISD709.org