From the Office of the Superintendent 2/13/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week we recommended to the Board a phased approach to the Boundary Study, see below for details. As we move forward we'll continue to share information regarding adjustments and seek out review and feedback from staff, families, students and citizens.

March will be a busy month for the Board's Superintendent Search - the Board is scheduled to review potential candidate applications and interview semi-finalists and finalists. Interviews by the Board will take place in public meetings, so look for opportunities to hear what candidates have to say.

February 17-21 is Minnesota School Board Appreciation Week. Board members spend many hours each month attending meetings, responding to citizens, conducting research, getting up to speed on school finance, education issues and policies. It's a tough job - and one of the most important jobs in our community because it impacts children. Many thanks to our Board members and to our Student Representatives to the Board for committing their time, talent and abilities to education in Duluth.

Wishing all a safe and restful break!

Kind regards,


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

Governor Proclaims February Black History Month

Governor Tim Walz proclaimed February Black History Month in Minnesota. "The history of some of us is the history of all of us, and our history is what shapes us as a state and nation."

#Inspire709 #BlackHistoryMonth

Websites and Resources Related to Black History:

Take Note: March 10 Emergency Communications Test

Communication is important, especially during a school emergency.

On Tuesday March 10, Duluth Public Schools and the Duluth Police Department will conduct a test of emergency technologies such as alert systems, two-way radios and school building communications.

The test will include Infinite Campus Parent Portal notifications.

  • On March 10, you may receive a test phone call, text or email from your school or from the district.
  • The message will clearly state “This is a test of Duluth Public Schools notification systems."
  • No response is necessary on your part.
Families who aren't already signed up for Infinite Campus Parent Portal may wish to do so before the test by contacting their school.

We appreciate your patience as we test our emergency notification systems on March 10.

Update: ISD 709 Boundary Project

Duluth School Board to Consider Phased Approach to Boundary Project

During the Duluth School Board’s February 11, 2020 Business Committee meeting, Superintendent Bill Gronseth presented an administrative recommendation for next steps in the Boundary Study. The recommendation is based on feedback received during the first two phases of the process and involved work groups, focus groups, an online survey and two community meetings.

Watch the Board meeting, discussion begins at 2:45:24.

The recommendation for next steps is to develop a phased approach for the Board and community to consider.

● The first phase would be (1) to consider smaller adjustments to elementary school boundaries to make room at critical areas of over-capacity (2) to consider strategies regarding the immersion programs at Lowell Elementary. A draft proposal would be shared with the community and Board this spring. If feasible, adjustments could take place as early as September 2020.

● The second phase would entail the creation of a work group to do more research and work on developing recommendations for high school/middle school boundary adjustments and explore additional strategies. That work could take place over the next school year, the earliest any changes might be implemented is September 2021.

Detailed information regarding the Boundary Project

Thank You, School Board Members!

Minnesota School Board Appreciation Week Feb 17 - 21

School Board members are chosen by their communities through election or appointment to manage local schools. They formulate school district policy, approve curricula, maintain school facilities and adhere to state and federal education law. Legal concerns and the complexities of school finance, including budgeting and taxation, require them to spend many hours in board training programs and personal study to enhance their understanding of these issues.

We extend our deepest appreciation to the dedicated people who make it possible for local citizens to participate in education in our community.

Please take a moment to thank our Duluth School Board members (and our Student Board Representatives) during Minnesota's School Board Recognition Week.

#Inspire709 #ThankABoardMember


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
Are You Getting Ready to Send Your Child to September 2020 Kindergarten?

Enroll Online Today!

Check out our Kindergarten Roundup events, too - we look forward to meeting you!

ISD 709 Elementary Schools provide a rich learning experience for students grades K-5.

  • Highly skilled, caring teachers
  • Fun, engaging, creative learning activities
  • Music, Art, Physical Education, Media
  • Reading, Math, Social Studies, Science
  • Emphasis on Family Partnership
  • Community partnerships for learning

#Inspire709 #BrightFuture

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.

Denfeld Student Named Youth of the Year

Congratulations Makayla Pearson, Denfeld High School, named 2020 Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Club of the Northland!
"Pearson said she's been a part of the club for 11 years. At school, she is involved in a number of leadership roles, including executive board of the Key Club and Native Leadership Circle. She was also named the National Honors Society's Chair of Events."

#Inspire709 #FutureLeader

Duluth East Three Time Section 7 Champs

Congratulations, Duluth East Girls Nordic Ski Team, three time Section 7 Champions!
Duluth News Tribune

#Inspire709 #Whoooosh


Virtual Reality Inspires Denfeld, Duluth East Students
With help from the College of St. Scholastica, medical occupation students used virtual reality to learn more about being a Physician Assistant and how the heart works.
In one program, a large, 3-D version of a beating heart could be manipulated and studied using virtual reality. Another program took students inside a clinic to observe while a professional Physician Assistant worked with a patient. Duluth East principal Danette Seboe stopped by the classroom and tried out the virtual reality gear, too. Thank you, CSS, for the opportunity!
#Inspire709 #CareerTechEdMonth

Laura MacArthur Elementary &

Prairie Fire Children's Theater Present:

Peter Pan

Friday, February 14 at 7:00PM

Saturday, February 15 at Noon

Denfeld High School Auditorium

401 N. 44th Avenue West, Duluth

$5.00 Adults, $1.00 Students

40 of Laura MacArthur's Grade 2-5 students are performing.


Ordean East Super Spellers
Maddie Singer, Ordean East Middle School, won the Regional Spelling Bee held at Mountain Iron! Anders Breidenbach, Ordean East, placed 4th, both students will represent ISD 709 at the Multi-Regional Spelling Bee this month, congratulations!
Congrats as well to all ISD 709 super spellers who made it to the Regional bee:
Owen Griggs, Lincoln Park Middle School
Jack Fink, Lester Park Elementary
Eli Johnson, Homecroft Elementary
Lola Lillo, Ordean East Middle School


Denfeld Music Listening Team State Success
Logan Griggs, Phoenix Ocean and Aidan Anderson took 1st Place at the 2020 State Music Listening Contest, congratulations! This is the "Knowledge Bowl of Music," contest materials cover classical music, global perspectives, and a variety of musical influences.
Thank you, Clare Chopp, for the photo and info.
#Inspire709 #GoHunters

Recognition for Laura MacArthur Student Poetry
Fourth and fifth grade students at Laura MacArthur Elementary had an opportunity to participate in poetry contest built around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote “I am the dream.” The contest was sponsored by the school's Student Council.
Building upon Dr. King’s passion and leadership, students were encouraged to creatively express ways to work together to generate opportunities to better themselves and society as a whole.
Congratulations to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Award recipients and to all students who submitted their work! Thank you, Calvin Harris, for the photo and information.

Duluth East Receives GAPP School of Distinction Award
The German American Partnership Program “School of Distinction” Award recognizes outstanding GAPP Schools in the U.S. for their engagement and best practices that facilitate global citizenship in their schools, communities, and beyond. Duluth East GAPP coordinators and teachers Lynn Hinzmann and Emily Lull will be recognized for their work with GAPP during the school's Red and Grey Week assembly.
For 22 years, Duluth East has successfully developed and integrated the GAPP program in grades 9-12 with support from the School Board, families, students, and the Duluth community. Duluth East and partner schools have hosted over 450 German students, and over 350 American students have traveled to stay with exchange partners in Germany.
#Inspire709 #HerzlicheGlückwünsche

Duluth Construction Career Night

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

DECC, Paulucci Hall

Free Event, All Are Welcome to Attend

Learn about careers in construction at Duluth Construction Career Night. Experience a variety of construction careers through hands on opportunities with local union apprenticeship programs. This event is an opportunity for those that are interested in a building and construction trade career to meet with representatives of local union apprenticeship programs in Duluth.

Don't miss this great opportunity to network, and learn about living wage jobs that are vital to the economic growth of our region.

Hosted by City of Duluth, Duluth Workforce Development, Head of the Lakes United Way



1000 Career Points for Duluth East's Hermanson

A member of the Duluth East Girls Basketball Team hit a huge milestone this week. Congratulations to senior guard Macy Hermanson, who eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark with 19 points in a 71-54 victory against Cloquet!

#Inspire709 #GoHounds


Duluth East German Language Students Succeed

Megan Nygaard, Martha Carlson, Erin Coleman and Mia Kraker received a Certificate of Excellence during a German language competition in Minneapolis, congratulations! The judges complimented their creativity, engagement, and language proficiency. The competition took place at the Minnesota Zoo. After exploring the zoo and making their presentations, students traveled to Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit in Minneapolis for a lunch of delicious German food before returning home.

#Inspire709 ##HerzlicheGlückwünsche


Spotlight: ALC Wilderness Elite

ALC Wilderness Elite students stayed overnight at Bear Head Lake State Park in Ely. They practiced building fires and cooking campfire meals outdoors, they played games, snowshoed, walked out on the frozen lake and spent the night in rustic cabins. They toured the Tower Soudan Mine and visited the International Wolf Center. Everyone had a wonderful time participating in this quality alternative educational experience. The trip was made possible with support from the ALC, The Office of Education Equity, and a grant from the Harbor Town Rotary, many thanks for their support.



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