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August 6, 2018

ISD 709 School News

New ISD 709 and School Websites

The week of August 6, 2018, we’re transitioning to a new website platform.

You’ll still find us at www.ISD709.org it’ll be a different website, designed to be more user friendly and work well with mobile and assistive devices (ADA compliant). Our schools are moving to the new website platform, too.

After August 6, please check out the new website and update your bookmarks. Email kathleen.kaufman@isd709.org if you have questions.

Free Summer Breakfast and Lunch for Children Through August 24
Funded by the US Department of Agriculture, meals are provided to children 18 years of age and under without charge, adults who accompany their children can purchase a meal for $4.00.
No paperwork necessary, just show up for good food and friendly service. Menus include a variety of food items: hot entrees, salads, sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, bread, milk, and dessert items.
--Breakfast: 8:00AM to 10:30AM
--Lunch: 11:30AM - 1:00PM
ISD 709 Summer Meal Locations
>Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood Street
>Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N 8th Avenue East
>Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Avenue
>Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 North Central Avenue
>Stowe Elementary, 715 - 101st Avenue West
Note: Denfeld High School, 401 North 44th Avenue West, has regular breakfast and brown bag lunch service this summer.

2018 Education Levy - November 6


Part of our preparation for considering an operating (education) levy vote on November 6 included the Think Kids community conversation and a professional community survey. We received the results of the community survey in July.

>>Overall, the survey shows most of those polled (77%) rank the quality of our schools as good to excellent.

>>77% agree that Duluth schools are a good value for the investment

>>81% support or strongly support renewal of the current voter-approved education levy.

>>58% support or strongly support increasing the current education levy.


On Thursday July 26, the School Board approved an intent to move forward with an operating levy vote on November 6. Between now and the August 21 school board meeting we'll be working on specifics regarding renewal of the current levy, increasing the current levy and how those funds would be used.


Taking into consideration input from Think Kids and from the Community Survey, we know class size is on the minds of many. We also know our community may be willing to support increasing the education levy to support managing class size.


Please watch for more information as we begin the school year, it's important for all of us to understand details regarding the upcoming November 6 Education Levy vote and the impact it could have on our schools.

School Safety is a Priority - ALICE Training

In July, the Duluth School Board approved a contract for staff training in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate). Training provides flexible, proactive strategies individuals and organizations can use to maximize safety in the event of an active threat emergency. Training will begin this school year for all staff in the district. ALICE is used by school districts across the country and by health care, businesses, government and other organizations. The district’s Safety Leadership Team is working to redesign classroom guides to incorporate more language to assist students and staff in protecting themselves during lockdowns.

Welcome, New and Newly Appointed School Leaders

Please help welcome and support all in their new positions, best wishes for a successful school year!


>>Jim Erickson, Principal, Laura MacArthur Elementary: Jim's experience includes Denfeld Assistant Principal, substitute administrator at East High School, Curriculum Specialist, band director at East and Denfeld High Schools and Arts Administrator for St. Olaf College. He is a member of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Northland Brass Quintet, the Minnesota Music Educators Association and the adjunct faculty at the College of St. Scholastica. He is a Minnesota Music Educators Association Band Vice President Nominee, a Best Buy Innovations in Technology Grant Award Winner, and a finalist for Conductor of the Air Force Band in Washington, DC. Jim holds an Educational Administrative License from St. Mary’s University, a Master of Music from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music – Music Education from Concordia College.


>>Amy Worden, Principal, Myers-Wilkins Elementary: Amy previously served as principal for Homecroft Elementary. Prior to that she was Assistant Principal for Sunrise Elementary School, ISD No.138 North Branch, providing leadership for a building with over 1,000 students and 110 staff members. She worked to enhance the school-wide PBIS program, supported implementation a new literacy and mathematics instructional framework, co-facilitated processes for Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and utilized site and classroom data to conduct conversations about alignment of curriculum, instruction, and extended learning opportunities for students at every achievement level.

During her career, she designed a regionally recognized induction and mentoring program for teachers based on the Minnesota Standards of Effective Teaching and observed and coached teachers to improve instruction, organization, and classroom management. She also created a multi-year professional development structure to initiate STEM education in K-5 sites.

Amy holds K-12 Administrative Licensure from Hamline University, St. Paul, MN, a Master of Arts in Education from St. Mary’s University, Minneapolis, MN and a Bachelor of Arts in K-6 Elementary Education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.


>>Tom Cawcutt, Principal, Homecroft Elementary: Tom joins us from Barnum Public Schools where he served as Principal for Barnum Elementary, recognized as an MDE Reward School four times and one of the highest performing schools in the region. Tom’s experience includes principal for Cromwell-Wright Public Schools and teacher for Carlton and Moose Lake Public Schools. As a principal, Tom developed framework for MTSS intervention and integration, directed district improvement plan and WBWF initiatives, utilized FAST, BAS and MCA data for academic analysis and initiated PBIS/behavior policies to ensure the safety of students and staff.

He holds K-12 Principal Licensure and a Masters of Education - Teaching and Learning from St. Mary’s University and a Bachelor of Arts - Elementary and Middle from Bethel University.

Tom's service includes MESPA Northeast Division President, MESPA School of Excellence Committee Member and MESPA 21st Century Learning Community Grant Director. He is the recipient of the Cromwell-Wright Public Schools 2016 MESPA Division Leadership Award and 2012 MN School of Excellence Validation.


>>Tom Tusken, Assistant Principal, Denfeld High School: Tom’s experience includes Ninth Grade Program Coordinator for Denfeld, arranging ongoing training on asset building for school staff, facilitating risk review and team meetings to work toward success of all students, providing communication between administrators, staff, students and parents, evaluating program success and forging relationships with community organizations to provide program support & funding.

He’s been a Social Studies teacher for Denfeld & Duluth East High Schools, stepped in as a temporary Assistant Principal, served on the Denfeld Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Team and as a Duluth Public Schools Curriculum Specialist. Tom works with the Denfeld LINK Crew, organizing ninth grade orientation assembly & breakout sessions.

Tom holds Principal Licensure K-12 Administrative Certification from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; a Master of Science in Education and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin Superior and a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Teaching Secondary Social Studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

He's served as a member of the Staff Development Committee, Denfeld Site Council, Marie Saltwick Scholarship Committee, Duluth Boys & Girls Club Scholarship Committee, Darin Cannon Memorial Scholarship Committee and was a coordinator for Kids Voting. He coached football at Denfeld and served as an advisor for Student Government and Leadership. Tom is a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award Recipient for Minnesota.


>>Mike Emerson, Assistant Principal, Ordean East MS: Mike joins Rachel Jackson as an Assistant Principal. He's served as Dean of Students for Ordean East since 2016, coordinating and supervising the daily operations of the school’s attendance program, transportation, student suspension and detention operations and providing leadership to engage all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to support students’ academic achievement and social development.

As a Culinary Arts Instructor in our Career & Technical Education program, Mike used his extensive professional experience as a business owner and his community connections to provide students job and life skills necessary to be successful after graduation.

Mike holds a Master of Educational Leadership with emphasis on History, Secondary Education and Sociology from Concordia College and Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from the College of St. Scholastica.

He’s a volunteer for the Jack Moon Scholarship Committee, Hospitality Advisory Committee and served as a volunteer for the Greater Denfeld Scholarship Committee and Life House – a refuge and resource center for homeless youth in Duluth. Mike is the recipient of the Business Leaders of the Year Award and is a Minnesota Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist.


>>Kyle Rock, Assistant Principal, Duluth East: Kyle joins Jon Flaa as an Assistant Principal at Duluth East. His experience includes Dean of Students and Special Education Teacher for our Duluth Area Learning Center, Duluth Central HS and Duluth East HS. He’s been responsible for teaching and co-teaching classes, collaborating with general education staff on lesson plans and accommodations, monitoring student grades, behavior, credits, attendance and student progress. He’s worked on development and implementation of IEP’s, evaluations and progress notes, scheduling and conducting IEP and evaluation meetings. Kyle’s previous experience also includes Special Education Teacher/Setting Four Secondary Coordinator for Cloquet Area Alternative Education Program, Special Education Teacher and Paraprofessional, Duluth Public School Academy, and Residential Treatment Counselor for Northwood Children’s Services.

Kyle holds a Masters of Education from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; a Special Education License, Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a Bachelor of Arts, Secondary Education from the College of St. Scholastica. He is an active volunteer and coach for Duluth youth basketball and soccer programs.

ISD 709 News

Recognition for Duluth KEYZone Partnership

In July, the Duluth School Board recognized the success of KEY Zone, provided through partnership between The Duluth Area Family YMCA and our Duluth Community Education Department

KEY Zone is an academic and enrichment out-of-school time program offered year round for students in grades K-5. During the school year, this high quality program is provided at our nine elementary schools. The program continues during the summer at selected sites. KEY Zone activities complement the school day and create an enriching environment, fostering positive youth development & academic success.

The benefits for children are amazing. The program supports learning, development of life skills, regular school attendance, homework help and mentoring. There are opportunities for year-round fun and adventure through creative arts, field trips, service learning projects, STEM, health & wellness and more.

KEY Zone is an important contributor to student achievement in Duluth.