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If United Properties buys the former Nettleton Elementary School from the Duluth school district, it expects to tear it down. A spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based developer said last week that renovating the existing Central Hillside building would be too costly. “We still very much like the location and believe a senior housing development would meet an unmet community need; it’s our hope that it might be possible to move forward with new construction on that site,” Sheila Thelemann, director of marketing for United Properties, wrote in an email.
Denfeld High School has a room that offers free clothes and food for students. The school brings in dental and vision care, and has made it possible for students to get immunized nearby. All that was done through partnerships with Maurices, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Operation Grace, the Lions Club and the Lake Superior Community Health Center. With those programs and partnerships in place, the school was ready to become a full-service community school, principal Tonya Sconiers said.
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will hold its monthly meetings in the Northland this week. It’s the first time the board has met outside of the Twin Cities since 2008, when it last met in Duluth.
Duluth schools superintendent Bill Gronseth has been named one of six candidates for the superintendent position with the Winona school district in Minnesota. It is the third time in recent weeks Gronseth has been publicly considered for another school leadership job, having also been one of a handful interviewed by both the Elk River and White Bear Lake school districts.
Early in Phil Norrgard's career as director of human services for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, a locally-compiled cookbook was sold to make money for health programs. The first step in the recipe for a rabbit stew was to find and catch the rabbit. Norrgard likened the start of the recipe to how he approached his job of 37 years. "If you want to start programs, you need the money," he said. "So my job as a technocrat was to figure out where the resources were. I was a bird dog."
Aerospace physics, orchestra, classical line cooking, engineering research and design. Those courses are among the Duluth school district's offerings, which have more depth than most schools and districts in the region. But a cost-saving measure decided in 2004 for high schools and 2012 for middle schools left kids with only six periods, meaning one less period in the day to take advantage of that rich variety of courses.
Parents raising money to replace rubber playground mulch used on Duluth school district play areas got some good news this week. A family with the last name Miller donated $100,000 to the school district in 1952, to be set up as a trust with the interest earned for playground expenses. The district, Superintendent Bill Gronseth said, can match community fundraising efforts up to $30,000.
Denfeld High School counselor Jennifer Wellnitz worked with a student this year who was struggling to prepare for scholarship interviews. The student, who was homeless, didn’t have the right clothes. “We ran to Kmart and got the kid something to wear,” she said. “But that was a barrier for that student.”
The state standardized tests used to gauge academic proficiency have limited usefulness despite the time, money and effort that go into the testing. That's one of the findings of the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, which released a report on standardized testing Monday. It showed that only 1 in 4 teachers surveyed found Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests to be "very useful." However, it said, the tests allow comparisons of student performance across schools and districts.
In the past year, a handful of bathrooms at Duluth Edison's North Star Academy have been labeled as "gender neutral." "It was just an underlying philosophy that caused us to make the change," as staff became more aware of student needs, said Bonnie Jorgenson, head of Duluth Edison schools. "The goal is for all students to feel safe and accepted."