From the Office of the Superintendent 6/5/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

As we wrap up the last week of school, many thanks to every person across every department in our district. We've faced one of the toughest, most challenging years I can recall and your response has been awe-inspiring. All of you stepped up to serve our students and families and found ways to do things differently in a short period of time. I'm proud to be part of our Duluth Public Schools and proud of all of you.

I'm sure you're wondering what the future holds. Will school buildings open up this fall, will instruction take place in our classrooms, through distance learning, a combination? The fact is, that's yet to be determined. There are ongoing discussions and planning sessions going on with ISD 709 school and district leadership. They focus on how best to prepare for what direction may come from the Minnesota Department of Education, the Department of Health and the Governor's office regarding schools. I know there's a lot of planning and discussion going on at the state level as well.

I've been part of our school district discussions and your new superintendent, John Magas, is talking with leaders and preparing himself to continue this planning. John will officially take over July 1 and in the meantime is doing his homework, so to speak. I know that as soon as we know what's going to happen it will be shared with you, families and the community as quickly as possible.

The impact of the death of George Floyd across the country further emphasizes the need for systemic change in our society, including our schools. Members of the Duluth School Board published a column in the Duluth News Tribune and ISD 709 staff have a folder of professional development materials regarding race and racism. It's a great resource, and we're providing help for talking with students about what's going on in our community and nation. Plans are being developed for ongoing training as well.

This week the Class of 2020 Adult Learning Center, Area Learning Center, Bridge Program, Transition 12 Program released their Virtual Commencement Ceremony, congratulations graduates! Next week Denfeld and Duluth East's Virtual Commencements will be broadcast on WDSE/WRPT Explore Channel (8.2, 31.2) and streamed online. These ceremonies are the result of weeks of work with WDSE and with students, to make this event special.

As I approach the end of my 23rd and final year with the Duluth Public Schools, I want you to know that it has been an honor to work with you as a teacher, principal, and administrator. I value the friendships and collegiality we have shared over the years. I am proud of the work we have done together. Best wishes to you and your families, now and in the future.

Kind regards,


If you have questions or thoughts about what's going on in our school district, email: Superintendents@ISD709.org. Twitter: @billgronseth

Duluth School Board Column: Our Children Are Watching

Written By: Duluth School Board members | Published in the Duluth News Tribune June 4, 2020

As former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela so poignantly stated, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love; for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

It is our responsibility and our duty as elected officials of the Duluth School Board — and as humans — to challenge the systems that we have created or perpetuated, as those systems continue to create results that, for some, end with adverse and unequal outcomes.

Our children are watching as we react to the death of Mr. George Floyd while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer now charged with his murder. We must remember that many in our community, especially our children, are grappling with the fear they have just because of the color of their skin, and it is critical that we as elected officials continue to commit ourselves to equity and justice in the systems in which we have power.

As people of privilege, we must close our mouths and open our ears to hear the cries for meaningful change and follow black, brown, and indigenous voices to empower those best equipped to make that change.

We choose to stand with our students, staff, and communities as together we fight injustice while acknowledging the deep and historical pain that underpins the sadness, outrage, and fear.

Our children are watching as we make the choice of change or complacency. We on the School Board of Independent School District 709 choose change.

ISD 709 Summer Programs

As we transition to summer programs and building use, ISD 709 is committed to making decisions based on good policy and data in partnership with state agencies. Information from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) indicates an increase in cases of COVID-19 with a peak projected in late summer. The safety of our students, staff, and community are of the utmost importance.

Educational Programs/Athletics/Enrichment

Begin with the following programs and revisit for possible changes after July 5.

Each program will send out information with specific details and steps taken that ensure the safety of staff and students.

After considering the challenges regarding COVID-19 response and the multitude of variables related to safety and financial efficiency, EXCEL will not be offered this summer.

Emergency Childcare

Free emergency childcare service ends after June 5.

Free Breakfast & Lunch Available Through the Summer!

This information is also available online and via flyer.

Bagged meals available weekdays to Duluth students 18 years of age and younger. No paperwork necessary. Any student can pick up a meal at any location.

June 8 - June 30, 2020 - Distribution at the following school sites & bus hubs:

School Locations 11:00AM – 12:30PM
Homecroft Elementary, 4784 Howard Gnesen Road
Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 N. Central Avenue
Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood Street
Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road
Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East
Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Avenue
Stowe Elementary, 715-101st Avenue W.
Ordean East Middle School, 2900 E. 4th Street

Bus Hubs (Look for the School Bus)
9:50AM 88th Ave West @Hilton Street
10:14AM 9428 Grand Ave/East Entrance Lower Side
10:55AM 3614 Grand Avenue Wheeler Field
1:28PM Lismore and Mcquade Road

July 1 - August 21, 2020 - The distribution schedule will change again to meet USDA Summer Meals program requirements.

Questions? 218-336-8707. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

ISD 709 News

We know there are a lot of great things going on in our schools - let's make sure we're letting everyone else know, too! Share your school, student, staff accomplishments, projects and events with Kathleen.Kaufman@ISD709.org, they'll be used in email newsletters, social media, websites and other communication venues.
Honoring the Class of 2020

American Indian Graduating Seniors were honored at Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools this week. Angela Buffalo is Chairperson for the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee (AIEPAC), she says it's good for students to be acknowledged and respected for their work.

"Lots of smiles, lots of pictures, family," says Buffalo. She encourages people to get involved, be good mentors, open their minds to culture. "And please come to a meeting, we encourage people to join."

AIEPAC meeting schedules and additional information are available online.

Duluth American Indian Education Program's mission is to promote youth leadership, provide academic support and encourage career development for American Indian students based on American Indian values, culture and language.

Duluth American Indian Education

Thank you, JP Rennquist, for the photos.

Big picture
Virtual Commencement: Class of 2020 Adult Learning Center, Area Learning Center, Bridge Program, Transition 12 Program
View the ALC Commencement
Staff spent many hours creating this celebration, many thanks for their work and congratulations, graduates!

#ClassOf2020 #Inspire709 #DuluthPublicSchoolsStrong


City of Duluth Honoring the Class of 2020
Many thanks to the City of Duluth for lighting up the Aerial Lift Bridge, honoring graduates of Denfeld, Duluth East and our Adult Learning Center, Area Learning Center, Bridge Program and Transition 12 Programs. Thanks also to Mayor Larson for taking part in the virtual graduation ceremony - and congratulations Class of 2020, best wishes for a bright future!

Class of 2020 Denfeld High School Virtual Commencement

Tuesday June 9, 2020 6:00PM

WDSE/WRPT Explore Channel (8.2, 31.2)

Streaming online: www.youtube.com/user/StationWDSE

View Promo Video on Facebook

Class of 2020 Duluth East High School Virtual Commencement

Tuesday June 9, 2020 7:30PM

WDSE/WRPT Explore Channel (8.2, 31.2)

Streaming online: www.youtube.com/user/StationWDSE

View Promo Video on Facebook

#Inspire709 #DuluthPublicSchoolsStrong


KDAL Radio Honoring the Class of 2020

KDAL Radio is honoring graduates with an All Area On-Air Graduation. It's a celebration scheduled for broadcast Sunday, June 7 beginning at 11:00 AM.

On the air, KDAL will feature Midwest Communications radio personalities recognizing all the high school seniors from 17 participating area high schools including Denfeld, Duluth East and our Duluth Area Learning Center.

11:19am Duluth Area Learning Center

11:26am Duluth Denfeld

11:43am Duluth East

#Inspire709 #CommunitySupport

Honoring the Duluth East Class of 2020

The Duluth News Tribune is celebrating the Duluth East High School Class of 2020 with photos and interviews. A previous article featured the Denfeld High School Class of 2020.

Duluth News Tribune

Honoring the Denfeld Class of 2020

Nathan Glockle, principal for Stowe Elementary, talking with Fox 21 TV about the GND Rec sign honoring Denfeld graduates.


Honoring the Class of 2020 from Nettleton

Duluth's Class of 2020 includes students who attended Nettleton Elementary School. Former Nettleton teachers remember, and created a video just for you.

View the Video

Piedmont On Parade

“This is our way of saying, ‘We’re here, we love you, and we’ll always be here for you,’” said Jake Laurent, Piedmont dean of students and parade organizer.

Article and photos from:

Duluth News Tribune

Celebrating Students
Myers-Wilkins Elementary drive through, end-of-the-year celebration for their fifth graders, a wonderful success. Next stop is middle school in September, staff say they'll sure miss these smiles! Thanks to all who made this opportunity possible.
Celebrating Students
Piedmont Elementary end-of-the-year celebration for their 5th grade students, on their way to middle school this fall. Congratulations, your teachers and the staff at Piedmont will miss you!
#Inspire709 #PantherProud

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