From the Office of the Superintendent 12/20/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

Winter break is a few short hours away! Before we wrap up and head out, there are a few thank yous I'd like to share.

We've experienced record snowfall this year and our facilities crews have been hard at work moving mountains of snow. We appreciate your efforts, many thanks!

And thanks to the people involved with concerts and programs at our schools this month. Student talents are showcased with music, singing, art work and more and we open schools to share it all with the community. I know it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make this happen. Kudos to music teachers and art teachers; facilities crews for setting it all up and cleaning up afterwards; staff and family volunteers for helping everything run smoothly and the community for attending. The programs are a great way for Duluth communities to come together to celebrate students.

While visiting a school I overheard one student wish another student a “Merry Christmas!”

“Thanks, and I wish you a Happy Hanukkah!” they responded.

“Oh, yeah, thanks!”

It was a sincere, comfortable exchange, demonstrating their understanding and acceptance of each other. They recognized that their cultures, beliefs, and traditions were different. They honored each other by respectfully sharing their own greetings.

This time of year means different things to different people. Whatever it means to you and your family, I hope the season is filled with joy and that it is exactly what you are hoping it will be.

Until next year and with kind regards,


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

ISD 709 Boundary Project - January 2020

As 2020 begins, citizens will be asked to review information related to current school attendance areas and discuss potential changes.

Week of January 13, 2020: Detailed information regarding draft scenarios, maps, impact analysis to be available online, in preparation for community meetings. Feedback immediately available through online survey.

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

>Presentation of scenarios and impact.

>Opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.

>Online materials and survey continue to be available.

ISD 709 Boundary Project Web Page

January 2020 Superintendent Search

The Duluth School Board values your ideas regarding public education in Duluth and what kind of leadership will best take us into the future. A timeline with extensive public input opportunities is being developed and will be shared with the community as the Board works to identify the next Superintendent for ISD 709.

Superintendent Search Web Page

Board meetings are streamed live and archived online.

Board meeting schedules and agendas are available online.

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.

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:





Recognized for Leadership

Jamie de la Cruz received the 2019 K-12 Counselor/Liaison of the Year Award from the Minnesota Indian Education Association. The Duluth School Board recognized Ms. de la Cruz for this achievement this month. Ms. de la Cruz is a member of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin and an American Indian Home School Liaison for the ISD 709 Duluth American Indian Education Program. The Award recognizes leadership, work in the American Indian Education Community, the reflection of American Indian culture in life/work and other achievements.


Duluth Office of American Indian Education

Denfeld, Duluth East Support Students with New Mental Health Program

Sources of Strength creates a positive environment for students to support one another at Denfeld and Duluth East. Thanks to all who are making this new program happen!


Hunter Breaks Pool Record
Duluth Swim Team and Denfeld Junior Joe Rudd broke the pool record at Cambridge in the 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:01.07, congratulations! The previous mark was set in 1987.

Thank you, Cliff Knettel, for the photo and info.
#Inspire709 #HunterPride #GoDuluthSwim

Duluth East Students, Staff Helping Out

Over 250 gifts were bought, wrapped and delivered to local children in need through Duluth East High School's Giving Tree. Many thanks to all who organized and supported this community-minded project.

#Inspire709 #HoundsHelp #GivingBack


Laura MacArthur Elementary Students Helping Others

Young leaders from the school's Student Council spent time bell ringing at Super One in West Duluth this month.

#Inspire709 #CommunityMinded


Students & Teacher Create Kindness Video

Students from Myers-Wilkins Elementary and their SEL teacher Ms. B created a Kindness video. Check it out, a great way to share.


View the Video


Lester Park Students Bring Cheer to Local Hospital Patients

Students from Lester Park Elementary, sharing kindness in our community...

“I’ll always remember what they did and will keep my tree up year-round,” Rose Sweeney said.
#Inspire709 #CaringIsSharing #GivingBack

Duluth News Tribune



CBS3 Duluth

Award for Ordean East Robotics Team
The OEMS Devildogs First Tech Challenge robotics team competed at the North Branch Regional Tournament and won a Judges' Award, congratulations! Tournament judges present the award to a team which, based upon overall performance, merits an award yet did not win a specific team award. The Devildogs competed well and did an excellent job representing OEMS. Students look to build upon this performance at their second and final qualifying tournament in Burnsville in January.
Thank you to coaches and mentors at OEMS for their time and making this team possible.
Thanks to Tim Churchill for the photos and info.
#Inspire709 #STEM

Super Spellers Advance to Regionals

Six students will represent ISD 709 at the Regional Spelling Bee in Mountain Iron Buhl in February 2020. Congratulations to those students and to all spelling bee participants!

Elementary & 6th Grade Division

Champion: Eli Johnson, Homecroft Elementary

Runner up: Maddie Singer, Ordean East Middle School

Third place: Jack Fink, Lester Park Elementary

7th & 8th Grade Division

Champion: Anders Breidenbach, Ordean East Middle School

Runner up: Owen Griggs, Lincoln Park Middle School

Third place: Lola Lillo, Ordean East Middle School

Thanks to Ally Austin and Katie Oliver for the photos and info.

Season's Eatings!
Cafeteria staff at Lester Park Elementary, using veggies to share holiday cheer with students at lunch time. Beautiful!

Thank you, Pam Bowe, for the photo and info.
#Inspire709 #LoveOurLesterLunchCrew www.ISD709.org/Lester-Park-Elementary

Budding Architects at Lester Park

First graders at Lester Park Elementary clearly had lots of fun making gingerbread houses - those faces!

#GetTheGumDrops #GetTheIcing #IsItEdible


Season for Song and Community

Packed houses in our elementary schools this week, wonderful performances from every grade level, lots of beautiful student artwork on display. Thank you to music teachers, art teachers, facilities crews for setting it all up and cleaning up afterwards, staff and family volunteers for keeping things running smoothly and to the community for attending. The programs are a great way for our Duluth communities to come together to celebrate students.

#Inspire 709 #CelebrationInSong

Video clips from Homecroft Elementary and Lowell Elementary Holiday programs.

View the Video - Homecroft

View the Video - Lowell

View the Video - Misaabekong

Above and below, wonderful photos from Congdon Park Elementary. Thank you, photographer Amy Broadmoore.

#Inspire709 #SeasonForMusic

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