From the Office of the Superintendent 4/10/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This spring recess was both familiar and not so familiar.

As usual, the break provided time for many to pause in their duties, an always much appreciated opportunity. And, as usual, others continued their work - although it probably looked different, focused on details related to distance learning, child care, food service and building sanitation. I want to acknowledge those efforts, thank you.

On Monday April 13 we’ll resume distance learning for our students. We’ll continue to provide free child care for Tier 1 critical workers, and free breakfast and lunch service for hundreds of children throughout the district.

All of these services are essential community supports during a difficult time. They’re especially important for children and families with higher levels of need. It can be a challenge to reach these families but it’s important that we do so. Everyone is working diligently to contact every single student - and we’re almost there.

Please continue this work to ensure all of our students have access to the supports they need to be successful. Thanks for everything you do, now and in the weeks to come.

Kind regards,


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

Monday April 13: Distance Learning, Free Breakfast/Lunch Service & Emergency Childcare Resume

  • Distance Learning resumes with new curriculum packets available beginning Monday, click here for details. Electronic packets are available via Google Classroom; families using paper packets will find instructions, times and locations for pickup and drop off.
  • Free Breakfast/Lunch service, available for pick up Monday-Friday for children 18 years of age and younger from school sites and meal hubs. List of times, locations.
  • Free Emergency Childcare for critical workers, consolidating at Congdon, Lowell and Laura MacArthur Elementaries. Detailed information, eligible families, how to enroll.

Prevention Tips: Protecting Ourselves, Our Families, Our Community


  • Wash hands frequently & thoroughly

  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow/sleeve

  • Don’t touch your face/eyes/mouth/nose.

  • Wear a cloth face covering in public places

  • Stay home and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household

  • Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others when you do go out (social distancing)

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

  • Stay home if you feel sick (fever >100, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat)

Pay Attention To Your Mental Health and Reduce Stress By:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise.

  • Creating a regular routine.

  • Connecting with family and friends through calls, texts, or video chats.

  • Getting information from reliable sources.

  • Reaching out if you need to talk to someone.

    • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

    • "TalkWithUs" Text 66746

Help With Cloth Face Coverings for Essential Staff
The health and safety of our community during this pandemic remains a top priority. With new guidance from the CDC regarding cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID, our schools are reaching out for help.
We have staff coming in each day to support emergency childcare for critical workers, make and distribute thousands of meals for students and compile curriculum packets for distribution to families without internet access.
If you or your organization are making cloth face coverings, please consider donating them toward the work of our essential Duluth Public School employees. If you’re able to help, email covidquestions@isd709.org or call 218-336-8740. Many thanks for your support.
CDC, Detailed Face Covering Information, sew & no-sew instructions.

Note, CDC guidance specifically says the cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

    Shape Our Future: Please Respond to the 2020 Census

    Responding to the census helps our Duluth community get its fair share of funding. Census data guides how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year for schools, health care facilities, roads, transportation, recreation centers, social services, and more.

    • Everyone living in your home needs to be counted.
    • You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.
    • Your responses to the census are secure. The law requires the U.S. Census Bureau to keep your information confidential.

      Learn more about the Census at 2020CENSUS.GOV

      ISD 709 News


      Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools join #BeTheLightMN initiative as a sign of hope, and to honor and encourage the Class of 2020, students and community. Lights at Historic Public Schools Stadium and Ordean Stadium will be on at 8:20PM for 20 minutes on Monday nights. Please enjoy from afar and respect social distancing, fields are not open to the public during this time.
      From John Millea, MN State High School League, “We're all still here. We're going to be back under the lights at an event — at some point we're going to be able to gather again, and it's going to be great once we get back to that point. But I think just for now, it's just a symbol ... that there's still light out there and there's hope. And what we're going through now isn't going to last forever."

      Photo Courtesy: Duluth News Tribune
      #BeTheLightMN #HunterPrideDHS #DuluthEastGreyhounds

      We know there are a lot of great things going on in our schools (in building or distance learning) - 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.
      We Love to Read

      Prior to school building closures, students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary dressed up as book characters to celebrate their love of reading. #Inspire709

      Denfeld Success at State
      Prior to the current health pandemic taking over our community's focus, the Denfeld CyberPatriot Team earned 3rd Place in the open division of the Minnesota State Competition. The team received a Certificate of Excellence in honor of the outstanding technical skill, problem solving, and teamwork demonstrated by placing among the top teams in the CP-XII State Round.
      Congratulations team members: Nikolai Breimon, Charles Gilbert, and Madeline Bjonskaas. Coach: Timothy White.
      CyberPatriot puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals managing a small company network. Teams review virtual operating system images and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.
      Thank you, Susan Johnson, for the photos and info.

      #Inspire709 #HunterPride

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