From the Office of the Superintendent 9/27/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week we dealt with a sad and challenging situation at Lowell Elementary.

A class of very young students and their teacher discovered a deceased individual in the woods by the school. We were saddened to learn that the Duluth Police are saying the individual appears to have died by hanging themselves, our thoughts are with this person's family and friends.

Imagine what you would do if you were walking in the woods with small children and made this discovery. I commend the teacher for keeping themselves and their students calm and getting them back into the school as quickly as possible. Jen Larva, principal, and her staff did an amazing job alerting the police, communicating what happened to families and to people inside the school. The school's crisis response team and school social workers were on hand and ready to support children and adults. A meeting for families of the students who made the discovery was quickly arranged.

We often say the work of education is challenging - in this case, I'm proud of how our teachers and staff at Lowell rose to the challenge and responded to this situation.

Kind Regards,


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

Duluth School Board To Interview Applicants for Vacant School Board Seat

The Board of Independent School District 709, Duluth, MN, is currently in the process of identifying a qualified appointment for a vacant At Large board seat.

At the close of the application period, the Board received 21 applications. A list of those applying and their completed applications are available online at www.ISD709.org/apply-for-at-large-position. Candidates that choose to withdraw their application will be noted on the web page.

“It’s inspiring to see so many individuals stepping forward, willing to serve Duluth's children and Duluth Public Schools,” said Board Chairperson Rosie Loeffler-Kemp. “We’re happy to see people willing to commit their time and talents to serving on the Board and supporting public education.”

The Board will interview all current applicants Monday September 30 beginning at 5:00PM in Historic Old Central High School, 2nd Floor Board Room, 215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth.

ISD 709 Families Invited to Join School Continuous Improvement Teams

When schools, families and communities work together more students achieve at higher levels. Knowing that, we’re inviting families to become more involved in our school leadership teams, which are called Continuous Improvement Teams or CITs

We encourage families to consider joining their school CIT and helping us with this important work. Families can contact their school principal if they're willing to make the commitment.


Boundary Project, Duluth Public Schools

This fall and winter, citizens will be asked to review information related to current school attendance areas and discuss potential changes.

Most larger districts adjust boundaries every few years - it's been over ten years since Duluth made adjustments to boundaries. The earliest any boundary changes would take place is September 2020.

Those interested in participating in a work session in October or focus group in November are invited to call 218-336-8752 or email melinda.thibault@isd709.org.

Current School Boundaries, Attendance Areas

Process Overview, Details

Free Presentation, CEUs Available:

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Building Resilient Communities

Were you impacted by a difficult childhood or know someone who was? This presentation provides information about the ACE study and the brain science that explains why ACEs impact peoples lives. Ideas for resilience strategies and discussions will follow. Continuing education credits available through the Board of Social Work.

Stowe Elementary: Thursday October 3, 6:30PM - 8:30PM

705-101st Avenue West, Duluth MN

Lincoln Park MS: Tuesday October 8, 6:30PM - 8:30PM

3215 W. 3rd Street, Duluth MN

Information: Julie Soderberg, DuluthACEs@gmail.com

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:





There's More to This Greyhound Than Football

Duluth East senior fullback and defensive end Elijah Leonard owns a near 4.0 GPA, has been on the radar of Ivy League institutions, wants to become an orthopedic surgeon - and he knows how to knit.

“When I was younger, I knew how to knit quite well. I would make sweaters and hats,” Leonard said. “It’s more just to relax. It’s pretty chill.”

And yup, he's a pretty darn good football player, too.

Check out Elijah's profile: Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld Student Receives 20 Under 40 Award

Congratulations, Helen Clanaugh, the youngest winner of the 20 Under 40 Award. Helen's accomplishments were also recognized by the Duluth School Board this month, including her appointment to the Minnesota Youth Council representing Congressional District 8.

#Inspire709 #HunterPride

Duluth News Tribune

Duluth Debate Season Starts

Duluth Debaters start the season this month, team members includes students from both Denfeld and Duluth East. According to their coaches, "We are still recruiting for this season so if you know a student at East or Denfeld who likes to argue and win, send them our way!"


Photo: Congress members Madeline and Nikolai competed in their first morning session of Congress at the Wayzata Jamboree Tournament. Using their voices for change.

#GoHunters #GoHounds #GoDuluthDebate


Tom Cawcutt, Homecroft Elementary Principal, said students could slime him if the school's Fun Run surpassed it’s fundraising goal. It did!
Many thanks to staff and community members who supported the Homecroft Boosterthon Fun Run, helping raise $17,000 to benefit many school resources including reading and literacy, technology, student activity expenses, PBIS and general supplies.

We Support Public Education

Congdon Park teachers and staff support public schools, kids, and each other.



School Spirit

A foggy evening game at PSS - and Denfeld Hunter spirit is stronger than ever!

#Inspire709 #DenfeldHunterPride


Book Buddy Time

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” ~Dr. Seuss
Book buddy time with Mrs. Perttula’s kindergarteners and Mrs. Amundson’s 3rd grade in Piedmont Elementary.

#PantherPride #AttendanceMatters


Homecroft Harvest Fest

Thanks to all that came out to Harvest Festival! Shout out to the great volunteers for all the crafts, face painting, games, apple cider and food, many thanks.


Where In The World Is....

Students at Ordean East Middle School practicing geography skills in Ms. Timmersman's class using balloons and markers.


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!*