This is a list compiled by Katie Kaufman of some good things happening in the Duluth Schools. These things have happened despite uncertainty about which facilities we might or might not close. They are partly the result of several years of stability both on the Board and in the Administration. When the big fish are in a frenzy the little fish get eaten.
Public Schools Quality of Education:
of our schools have earned the MESPA School of Excellence Award:
recent report shows our students scoring above state and national averages on
the ACT college entrance tests five years in a row.
2002, our high school students earned over 5000 college credits through advanced
courses, and our graduates qualified for over $7 million in scholarships.
of our elementary schools had the #1 reading scores in the state in 2002.
reports show our third and fifth grade students exceeding state reading averages
five years in a row.
Out of 850 schools, two of our elementaries scored in the top ten statewide for
reading, and four had reading scores in the top 10%.
our Family Survey 2002 results, over 80% of respondents gave their school a
grade of "B" or higher.
three regular high schools have an average graduation rate of 92%, and a drop
out rate of only 2.9%.
school "report cards" are now available to the public on the Minnesota
Department of Education website at http://education.state.mn.us.
The cards give schools a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 star rating based on a variety of
factors, including academic achievement, opportunity, school safety, and
participation, among others. All Duluth Public Schools received at least a
"3 Star" rating, which means they are making adequate yearly progress
In July 2003, the Minnesota Department of Education released a preliminary list
of over 250 schools and districts that may be cited as "needing
Average Grade 5 math scores for the district
up 25 points from last year.
Average Grade 3 math scores up
District scores are above state average in all
Children scoring at or above grade level is
above state average in all categories and growing.
Children identified by the test as
academically "at-risk" went down.
Schools with high numbers of
socio-economically challenged students made significant
Students scoring at or above grade level has
grown every year for the past four years.
high schools and alternative programs had good results on the Grade 11 MCA Math
tests. Central, Denfeld and East
high schools had scale scores above grade level proficiency.
Even alternative programs like Unity, Woodland Hills and the
district has been selected to receive an Emerging District Leader Award for
service learning programs. The award is presented by the Minnesota
Department of Education.
have a well-defined curriculum. There
are still districts struggling to align what they teach with state requirements,
and haven’t delineated by grade level where certain skills should be
introduced, taught, and reinforced. We’ve
done a good job with that.
provide data to our schools to help them focus on improvement.
We review test data, do parent surveys and create site improvement plans
with help from site councils comprised of parents, teachers, and community
have new grounds, fields, and athletic facilities at our high schools.
School Stadium: artificial turf and
Field - renovated baseball field, new soccer/football field.
who need extra help, or something beyond the regular classroom experience
don’t need to go out of district. The
district offers alternatives through
recent article in the St. Paul Pioneer press reported on the gap between ethnic
groups when it comes to performance on state tests. The article ignored the
positive results we’ve achieved here in
can Duluth Public Schools offer your child?
schools emphasizing language, music, math and science.
Advanced placement and college prep courses, opportunities for high school
juniors and seniors to earn college and vocational credit.
Learning opportunities – combining service to the community with in-depth
competent teachers: some of the most experienced in the state.
support of hundreds of volunteers throughout our schools.
We have site councils, comprised of parents, teachers, staff and
community members to advise our principals and help create school improvement
plans. PTA and PTSAs provide invaluable input and support.
Many volunteer groups are involved in our classrooms, including
measured by nationally standardized tests, Minnesota State Achievement tests as
well as Basic Skills tests in math, reading and written composition.
education, and programs for students with special needs.
wide range of extracurricular activities: Boys and Girls Athletics, Intramurals
, Speech, Drama, Yearbook, Magazine, Newspaper, Language and Cultural Clubs,
Debate, Knowledge Bowl, Math Club, Physics Club, Band, orchestra, ensemble,
choir, DECA, Odyssey of the Mind, Student Forum, National Honor Society and much
welcome and encouraged.
Education programs provide learning opportunities for all ages, ranging from
foreign languages to physical fitness to cooking.
After school programs for children include everything from safety to
swimming to baby-sitting. Our
Our schools are active in the community, working with businesses and
have many exciting partnerships with other area educational institutions,
schools and programs enjoy generous financial support from several community
organizations including the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the
Ordean Foundation and Northland Foundation.
Over the last 7 or 8 years these organizations together have provided in
excess of $500,000 for educational programs and equipment
School and District Accomplishments:
following Duluth Public Schools teachers have completed 40 hours of
leadership training and have been named Intel Teach to the Future
Master Teachers. The training enables them to deliver professional
development to their colleagues during the 2003-2004 school year.
These teachers learned
how, when, and where to integrate technology into instruction.
Topics included hands-on use of the Internet, Web page design, multimedia
presentations, student publications, copyright and fair use. Emphasis is on student
use of technology in the classroom for research, communications,
productivity strategies and working in teams to solve problems.
Ed Lewis and
Greg Jones and
Fred Gustafson, Tim Churchill,
Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Region 7, selected
Superintendent Julio Almanza to receive its Excellence Award.
Region 7 consists of 32 school districts in
Minnesota Music Educators Association selected twenty-four of our high school
students to participate in their All-State music camp in August.
Annette Strom, a teacher at
Duluth-based program to promote infant wellness has received national exposure.
Zero to Three Magazine is a bulletin of the
The Seadogs, a drill team for the Navy’s junior ROTC program at
our Secondary Technical center, won a 10-state regional championship.
The team consists of Denfeld, Central and
Hanson, a senior at Central and a student at the
Secondary Technical Center NJROTC Unit has been designated a Distinguished
NJROTC Unit for the 2003-04 school year. The
distinction is made in recognition of the outstanding support STC provides to
NJROTC, and the overall achievement of the program.
students from Medical Occupations classes at the
Christian Hansen, a student at
the Comment section of the Family Survey, positive comments outnumbered negative
comments two to one. Parents most
often said they like the education, classes, high expectations and nurturing
environment provided by schools.
Hillman, an 8th grader at
Reckinger and Macaulley Whitlock were chosen to be among 100 members of the
Minnesota Elementary Honor Choir by the Minnesota American Choral Director's
Association. Both are sixth-graders at
Ken Jensen and Sheryl Jensen of Duluth Public Schools were among
134 teachers nominated statewide to be considered for Education Minnesota's 2003
Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Mary Jo Furtman of
tenth graders scored above average in all categories of the state reading test
and on the state writing test.
students from Ordean, East, Denfeld and Unity had their artwork used in the
Minnesota School Boards Association Journal, a statewide magazine for board
members and educators.
Bartel, East High, had her artwork featured on the cover.
year WDSE-TV8 conducts a High School Essay, Art and Photography Contest.
Hundreds of high school students from across northern
Skoglund of Denfeld took third place in the WDSE-TV High School Art contest.
Megan Bartel from East was among the finalists.
Woodland Grades 7 and 8 Math Team earned second place in the Minnesota Junior
High Math League competition - Duluth Division.
75 students from
Government Class at
the Mentorship Duluth Educators Program, experienced teachers mentor new
teachers in the district. There are
over 40 first and second year teams in operation, and the model is being copied
in other school districts.
improve the image of downtown
Public Schools was awarded a Physical Education for Progress grant totaling over
$300,000. Funding provides
district accepted a grant of over $175,000 to update its telecommunications
systems. This grant not only saves
$175,000 in capital expenditures – the updated equipment will result in
ongoing operational savings as well.
Louis Co. selected
addition to an academic program emphasizing math and science, Nettleton has a
very popular sixth grade drumming group. Twenty-six students play traditional
African Drums and other percussion instruments in a variety of world rhythms,
and they play for community groups and gatherings.
Students in grades 3-6 are creating a poetry book in honor of Sam Solon with the
help of Senator Yvonne Prettner-Solon, Representative Mike Jaros and area
Zywicki, a staff member at the Secondary Technical Center and a licensed English
instructor, has had three stories and one article published in “A Cup of
Comfort,” “Teaching Tolerance Magazine,” and “Between Stone and