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The lawsuit brought against the University of Minnesota Duluth by 13 alumni over a teacher licensure issue has resulted in a jury trial expected to begin Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court. The former students, who graduated from UMD in December of 2014, have alleged fraud and misrepresentation by UMD in connection with compliance problems within the College of Education and Human Service Professions' integrated elementary and special education (IESE) program.
When Hermantown school district staff began hearing students discuss the plot of Netflix's popular new series "13 Reasons Why," many became concerned and watched it themselves. "It's pretty graphic," said Jenny Wiese, principal of the middle school. The show is based on a book and tells the story of 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life. She reveals why through a series of tapes intended for people she says played a role in her decision to kill herself.
One is out, two are in and one's not saying. Duluth School Board incumbents Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Harry Welty told the News Tribune this week they plan to run to reclaim their seats this fall. Board member Art Johnston declined to comment on a potential run and Annie Harala said she was opting out. Harala, an At Large member who has served as chairwoman and is completing her first four-year term, said her decision was made for personal family reasons, although she struggled with it.
A decision to move forward with examining school boundary changes was put off by the Duluth School Board Wednesday night. Board members seemed split on whether an outside firm should be hired to both analyze boundaries and helm a process to engage the public in decision-making, and voted 5-2 to decide in May. Members Alanna Oswald and Art Johnston opposed the measure, both wanting to approve a boundary analysis, putting off only a decision about the more expensive public process.
Could Duluth's Denfeld High School draw more students if it offered a customized academy-style education, with tracks for things such as fine arts, STEM and health occupations? Some say a new model is key to making the school more attractive and rebuilding its enrollment. A shared course catalog binds Denfeld and Duluth East High School, in theory giving students at both schools access to the same experiences. But in reality, the fact that there are about 500 fewer students at Denfeld means that doesn't always happen.
Boundaries within the Duluth school district could change in the future, as enrollment is projected to continue to decline, especially at the elementary level. That's according to a new demographic study commissioned by the district, which also shows that most school buildings have room for more students. The information sets the stage for the School Board to decide how to move forward.
It's not unusual to see a group of kids jamming together on guitars, drums and ukuleles before school starts at Duluth Edison's North Star Academy. "Last week, they stuck out a sombrero and got a Jolly Rancher and two dollar bills, and they thought that was pretty awesome," said Aundrea Kinziger, music specialist and teacher at the school. The kids' enthusiasm for making music is fostered by intentional efforts at the school toward using music instruction to help educate "the whole child."
The Duluth School Board approved a plan to address a $2.3 million budget shortfall Tuesday night. Proposed budget cuts include $542,000 from educational support and more than $650,000 from administration and its support staff. Another $700,000 in savings is expected to come from new hires replacing retirees.
A hot topic in Duluth and nationally helped two Ordean East Middle School students win a prestigious award at the state science fair last month. Erin Coleman and Teagan Flynn were given the Seagate Rising Star Award — which recognizes students whose research shows a high level of understanding of the scientific process — for their project that studies the potential toxicity of rubber mulch used on playgrounds, fields and in gardens.
How a pot of state money meant for helping "underprepared" and low-performing students is divided among Duluth district schools is a concern to a community group working to solve equity issues.