From the Office of the Superintendent 11/21/19

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week a diverse group of over 120 people volunteered in focus groups to provide advice and feedback related to the ISD 709 Boundary project. Prior to the focus groups, dozens more participated in work sessions. The Board received an update on the project during a public meeting this week, more information below.

We're in the middle of a process. All of the thoughts and ideas gathered to date will be used to further develop and research potential boundary adjustments.

In January we expect to share at least two or three possible scenarios and detailed information with the Duluth community. Information and surveys will be available online and in hard copy in early January and community meetings held in late January.

Even then, all the advice and feedback gathered will need to be taken into consideration before any steps are taken to change attendance areas.

A big thank you to all who are helping with the process. And thank you, in advance, for your help and support in January.

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 Update

Following work sessions and focus groups in October and November, district leaders and the community were provided an update on the ISD 709 Boundary Project.

There's much more work to be done, in preparation for community discussion and feedback in January 2020. The Board will consider adjustments in February, the earliest changes would take place is September 2020.

Watch the Boundary Study Update

ISD 709 Boundary Project Information and Timelines


Duluth News Tribune

Duluth School Board Selects BWP & Associates For Superintendent Search

Following review of requests for proposals and hearing presentations from two firms during a public meeting, the Duluth School Board selected BWP & Associates to support a community process to identify a new superintendent.

According to BWP, their consultants have conducted over 800 successful executive searches. Current superintendent searches include Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin, DeKalb County School District in Georgia and West Chicago Elementary District 33 in Illinois, among others. The firm will help the Board work with the community by developing an online leadership survey, conducting focus groups within the community and the school system. This process will lead to the development of a leadership profile for the District.

The firm will also help the Board create a qualified pool of applicants, review applications, conduct public interviews and involve the community in identifying a new leader for Duluth Public Schools.

Duluth News Tribune

Congratulations, Newly Tenured Teachers

Following three years of rigorous evaluations, observations, in-servicing and mentoring, teachers and administrators who meet district standards and expectations are granted tenure. This year’s newly tenured teachers were presented to the School Board and received formal recognition at the November 19 Annual Meeting.

The Newly Tenured Teacher Celebration was streamed and is available online.

View the video


2019 Duluth Public Schools Annual Report for the Community

Citizens are invited to review the 2019 Annual Report, including student achievement and school climate strategies, cultural competence, staff development, exceptional learning opportunities, use of resources and student progress.Citizens are encouraged to review the information and share thoughts and ideas:

Email: info@ISD709.org
Mail: ISD 709 Community Information, Room 213
215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth, MN 55802

Thanks to all who contributed to this year's report and to the Annual Meeting & Newly Tenured Teacher Celebration - you helped make it a festive, informative evening!


Share ISD 709 Job Opportunities via Social Media!

Duluth Public Schools Human Resources Department has their own social media pages, making it easy to share employment opportunities with others:




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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:





Proud Duluth Public School Alum

Denfeld graduate Mark Sertich, 98, who holds the Guiness World Record as the oldest ice hockey player in the world, competed in a no-check hockey pick-up game Wednesday morning at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center. Mr. Sertich graduated from Denfeld in 1939.

#Inspire709 #Awesome

Denfeld Clock Tower Cafe Students Earn Recognition

Abrina Urrutia and Deon Grennier (left, with Chef Leah McNeil) have been an important part of Denfeld’s Clock Tower Café culinary arts program for four years. They’ve each volunteered over 100 hours in after school community catering events. The Duluth School Board presented the students with certificates of recognition for their efforts, congratulations!

In addition to providing an alternative lunch at Denfeld, Clock Tower Café provides catering service for local organizations with anywhere from 20 to 400 guests. The program caters events ranging from the ISD 709 Annual Meeting to Duluth’s Teacher of the Year reception and the Mayor’s State of the City address.

Students learn professional cooking skills. They learn how to run and manage a deli, from marketing ideas to product options, and learn time management, kitchen skills and safety.

In the advanced class, they explore business management, human resources issues and customer satisfaction. The course emphasizes strong leadership ability, problem-solving skills and reliability.



Duluth East Students Selected for All State Orchestra

Several students from Duluth East High School were selected to participate in All State Orchestra this year, congratulations! They did a week together in the summer; Side by Side concert with Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis in October and will do a final concert together in February in Duluth.

This is an audition required group with the best orchestra students from across the state.

From left to right: Isak Artang (cello), Eric Zhou (violin), Max Schoolderman (bass), Julia Dylla (cello), Mia Kraker (violin), Luke Salistad (trumpet).

Thank you, Jenny and Ruurd Schoolderman, for the photo and information.



Lincoln Park Middle School Students Chosen for All State Honor Choir

Members of the LPMS Choir performed in the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association All-State Honor Choir. Reagan K. and Kaitlyn S. (7th grade) and Adrianna T. (8th grade) were among the 120 singers selected by audition to represent Lincoln Park MS. Congratulations!



Hunters Helping Out

Denfeld’s Random Acts of Kindness Group collected over $100 in toiletries for donation to Duluth’s Life House.



Congdon Park Successful Socktober

Mrs. Edmunds and her fifth grade Social Studies students led another successful Socktober Sock Drive. Congdon families donated 1,269 pairs of socks to Kids Closet and CHUM in Duluth. Service Learning is Social Studies!



Xylobas For Piedmont

Xyloba is a marble run that makes music. Consisting of various components and sound modules, Xyloba allows a player to construct countless tracks and melodies. Students have loads of fun discovering and recognizing note values and distinguish between pitches and intervals. Special thanks to Mrs. Kittelson for bringing these to Piedmont's music instruction and the support of those who contributed and funding from the Piedmont PTA.



An Evening of Music

The Denfeld Orchestra presented their fall concert in the beautiful and historic auditorium, under the direction of Clare Chopp. Well done!



Debate Team Success

Congratulations Maria Freese, Duluth East High School, for her first place finish at the Forest Lake! Maria participated in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.



Spotlight: Duluth ALC

Duluth Area Learning Center Students Visit Frosty Ridge Alpaca Farm
Students toured the facility, learned different ways Alpacas are used to generate revenue and saw a variety of products made from the animal’s fiber. They had an opportunity to feed, pet, and interact with the Alpacas. Afterward, students enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies while working on journal reflections for English class; portraits and photos for Art class and a brief description of Alpaca fiber uses for World History. Upon departure, their generous hosts said this was best group of students that have visited their farm. Many thanks for a great learning opportunity!
#WonderfulDay #FurryFriends

Denfeld Boys Basketball Hosts Tryouts

Nino Franklin, power post player and returning senior starter, along with a talented group of Hunters student-athletes participated in Denfeld boys basketball tryouts at historic Denfeld Gym.

Team leader Franklin says he likes what he sees from his returning and incoming teammates, many of whom got bigger and stronger and improved their already-elite games through self-disciplined hard work in the weight room and on the court during the spring, summer and fall off-season.

"We're a very aggressive, dominating team," said Franklin. "We really depend on (returning starters) Armon (Freeman) and Josh (Reinertsen), and without them we wouldn't get it done. Armon has tremendous leadership and Josh is a great teammate. Coach (Mike Devney) is a champion's coach. He pushes us to our limits, brings the discipline, and he's a perfect coach for Denfeld."

Denfeld Jazz Band

Jazz jam at Wussow's! Denfeld Jazz Band, performing out in the community.



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