William Gronseth, Superintendent of Schools
Thank you for your interest in the Duluth Public Schools, where we strive to open a world of potential for every student. We are proud of our schools, our students, our staff, and are excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead. Having been a lifelong member of this community, I consider it an honor and a pleasure to lead ISD 709. Together, as educators, parents, and citizens, we can make a difference for every student, every day.
William L. Gronseth
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There are over 300 independent school districts in Minnesota. Each exists to educate the youth of their communities and strives to meet the unique needs of its students. By statute, each is led by a school board of elected officials.
The Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) provides opportunities for educational leaders to learn with and from each other. Last week, MSBA held their annual statewide conference, featuring nationally known keynote speakers, general sessions and workshops geared toward improving public education. The conference was packed with school board members, superintendents and education leaders from across the state.
The Duluth Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in greater Minnesota. As such, we’re often on the leading edge of educational initiatives and practices. We’re regularly asked to share our work at the MSBA state conference and this year was no exception.
The conference opened with music by the Duluth East A’Capella Choir. They performed several songs including the Star Spangled Banner and a beautiful piece called “Awake,” with such grace and feeling that many in the audience were moved to tears.
More of our high school students were in a booth in the “Show and Tell” section of the exhibit hall, sharing firsthand experiences in our new Aerospace Physics course. They brought model airplanes, describing with smiles and enthusiasm what they’re learning. Science Curriculum Specialist Aaron Salmela, Career & Technical Education Coordinator Brad Vieths and I conducted an hour-long workshop, “Taking Flight,” for those interested in embedding state standards in hands-on, career-oriented courses.
We provided another workshop, “Technology in the Classroom,” led by Innovation Coordinator Tammi Wilkins and School Board Member, Annie Harala. Attendees learned how to leverage the use of technology to enhance student learning and engagement. One attendee said he believed this was the best session he ever attended at an MSBA conference.
School Board Member Rosie Loeffler-Kemp helped lead a workshop on Building Full-Service Community Schools, along with Principal Brenda Vatthauer, Rachel Thapa, the new Community Schools Coordinator at Lincoln Park MIddle School and Josh Gorham from St. Louis County Health & Human Services. Full-service community schools are an important strategy for meeting the needs of students so they come into the classroom ready to learn.
To encourage other school districts to include student voices at the board level, as we do in Duluth, MSBA asked Member Loeffler-Kemp to facilitate a panel of current student school board representatives as they shared the benefits of student involvement and best practices.
Member Harala, along with the Minnesota Department of Education and partners from UMD talked about the importance of student health in a session on the new wellness policy requirements from the US Department of Agriculture. We are adopting a new policy that aligns with those requirements.
Duluth can be proud of the work being done to expand and grow educational opportunities for all students. Educators from across the state often ask “What is Duluth doing?” when they’re taking on something new. From alternative pathways to graduation to Spanish and Ojibwe Immersion to preparing students for college and career, we’re happy to be able to share our work with others.Bill GronsethSuperintendent of Duluth Public Schools(218) email@example.com