Congdon Park Weekly News 9/7/2022

Powerful Learning in a Peaceful Environment

Hello Congdon Park Families!

Welcome back! It was so wonderful to see all the kids back in the building yesterday - so many familiar faces, but also lots of new ones! There are also many changes to our staff: a few have left the building, a few have changed rooms/grades and a few are brand new to us. Each week we will highlight one that is new to the building.

We hope you had a wonderful end to your summer with the long holiday weekend. We are ready to get down to the business of teaching and learning, seeing old friends and making new ones. Please read any info that comes out from our Foundation and PTA, there are many ways to get involved at Congdon Park. While both organizations do a lot to support our school, they do it in very different ways.

Some concern has been expressed that our main lobby doors are now locked all day. This decision was made in the best interests of protecting our staff and students. Sadly in this day and age there is a need to control who comes into the building.

Please reach out at any time with questions. Email is my preferred method of communication

We are desperate for playground and cafeteria monitors!

Everyday from 10:30-1:15 the children are outside for recess and eating in the cafeteria. Monitors are needed to help keep them safe outside and assist with lunches. Somedays the struggle is real to get a milk carton open:) What a great chance to see all of our kids.

You do not have to commit to everyday, can you give us one or two days a week? We will be as flexible as possible. You can choose to be a volunteer in either of these positions or it can be a paid position as well. Pay for monitors will be raising to $13.50/hr

For more information or to apply, please contact or call the school office at 336-8825.

How can I reach my student's teacher or other staff? EMAILING IS BEST

We have a list of staff and their extensions that you can access by clicking HERE. You can also find this on our website. Click on "About Us" then look for link on the right side of the page directly under the Classrooms title.

On the list you will also find their full name to use for an email:

email: (first name).(last name)

Our parent pick up staff work hard to keep your kids safe, please do the same.

Big picture

Parent Pick up and Drop off: Your cooperation is vital!

Congdon is big and students come from all over. Our parent pick up and drop off takes your cooperation and your patience to make it work smoothly. Below are the main rules:

  • STAY IN YOUR CAR - do not get out, say good-byes at home, give car hugs, teach your students to buckle and unbuckle themselves. If you need to assist your student, you need to park
  • KEEP PULLING FORWARD - never stop if there is space in front of you. The more cars in our pick up/drop off line, the more cars off Superior Street.
  • USE THE BUS!!!!! - in the end, the best way to improve PPU/DO if to reduce the number of cars. Contact our secretary to sign up for the bus.

It will take longer to complete Parent Pick-up and Drop-off during the first month. With your adherence to the 4 rules above, by the end of September, we can be be done in the afternoon around 2:25.

Your patience, kindness and preparation help the whole Congdon Community.


For some it might be a big deal and for others it's not - but pizza day is now on Thursdays if your child takes hot lunch.

Tip for parents with the Infinite Campus App

Just an FYI...If your child is late for whatever reason, you will get 2 notifications because of how the system has us check them in.

* One will look like they are absent for the whole day.

* The next will be that we check them in at the time they arrived.

We get a lot of calls from parents worried because they were marked absent and then have to explain this confusing process.

Breakfast and lunch at Congdon

Breakfast begins at 7:20am. Bussers who want breakfast should go to the cafeteria immediately after getting off the bus. Students are expected to focus on eating and not talking as they need to be in their classrooms by 7:45am.

Breakfast will be free for all students. Lunch will not be free to all students. That means that families will need to complete the Free and Reduced-price Family application to qualify for free or reduce-price meals.

Students who do not qualify for free or reduce priced meals must pay full price for lunch. Lunch prices are: Elementary Schools--$2.70. Middle and High Schools--$2.95. Students that wish to bring lunch from home and purchase milk from the school, the price for milk is $.50. Elementary students are never denied a lunch even if their lunch account is in the negative.

You may pay for your child's lunch by either sending cash/check (made out to Child Nutrition) with your child, give to the office, or pay online with

Harvest Festival

So many of our students and families have been busy growing flowers, fruits and vegetables in their gardens this summer. We invite every student to bring in something from their garden starting Sept 20th. Forms (color coded by grade) will be sent home next week. Please fill out the form and send in with your child's harvest.

Latest on Covid (for more information go to and click on Safe Learning Plan

Positive COVID-19 Results, Contact Tracing, Testing & Notifications

● If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the building health office should be notified by the family or staff member receiving the information immediately. The Student COVID Reporting Form must be completed immediately for all COVID positive results. All other COVID related concerns should be addressed with the building health office.

● All positive COVID-19 cases will be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health per the Minnesota Rule 4605.7070 which requires any person in charge of any institution, school, child care facility, or camp to report cases of COVID-19 to MDH.

● Community groups using our facilities will be required to submit a COVID plan that includes how participants will be notified of a positive case, who will notify the MDH of the positive case, and notifying the district of a positive case in their group.

Isolation following POSITIVE COVID-19 Results:

● Isolate for 5 days, returning on day 6, if the positive individual wears a well fitting mask, the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved.

● If the positive individual cannot wear a well fitting mask or continues to have a fever or other symptoms that have not improved after 5 days of isolation. The individual will isolate for 10 days, returning on day 11.

● For counting purposes, day 0 is the day the positive COVID-19 test was administered.

○ Day 0- test date

○ Day 1-5- isolation dates

○ Day 6-10- return to school/work as long as the positive individual wears a well fitting mask, the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved.

■ “Improved symptoms” means that the individual no longer feels ill; they can do their daily routine just as they did before they were ill, and any remaining symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose, are very mild, or infrequent.

○ Day 11- return to school/work if unable to wear a mask or if criteria to return on day 6 was not met.

Close Contact Exposure to COVID-19

● If you were exposed to COVID-19, it is strongly recommended you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5.

● No quarantine necessary unless COVID-19 like symptoms develop regardless of vaccination status.

The PTA needs you!

The first PTA meeting of the 2022-23 school year will be on Monday, September 26. More info to come on time and place.


We are looking for volunteers to help students off and on the buses safely, into their classes, and with lunch for all grades these first days. Thank you!

Mrs. Miller is looking for volunteers to shelve books and complete projects in the library media center. She will provide training on site. You can choose the time that works best for you, between 8AM and 2PM on any of these days. It usually takes about one hour of your time. Thanks in advance for your help!

Directory form:

Your PTA is proud to offer a printed school directory to every family again this year. To be included in the directory, please complete this form by Friday, September 30th, 2022. :

Welcome Mr. Spoelhof

Name: Greg Spoelhof

Position: Special Education Teacher

How long have you worked in the district? This is my 15th year teaching, but my first year at Congdon.

Tell us about your family: My wife and I have 3 kids. Marin is a 5th grader, Max is a 2nd grader, and Miles is in Pre-K. We also have a 12-year-old dog named Sally. The kids all play hockey and soccer so we're frequently at a rink or field in the evenings.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I love spending time with my family and being active. I also enjoy watching and coaching my kids in soccer and hockey.

What are your hopes for 2022-23? I hope that this school year feels more normal for everyone and that we're able to make a positive impact on each student.

Wecome to 1st grade Ms. Brown

Name - Ella Brown

Position- First grade

Time at congdon- This is my first year within the Duluth School District and my first year at

Congdon. This will be my fourth year teaching first grade!

Family- I grew up in Duluth with my parents and two siblings. I now live in the Denfeld neighborhood with my partner Chaz and our sweet new rescue pup, Gooseberry.

Spare time- In my spare time I love to hike and mountain bike around the awesome trails in Duluth and up the North Shore. I also enjoy gardening, camping in the BWCA, and stopping for coffee and local shops.

My Hopes for 2022-23- This is my first year at Congdon elementary and I am looking forward to getting to know this wonderful community more. I hope to be able to learn alongside my first graders, read new books, laugh a lot, play outside together, and have FUN each and every day :)

Blended Learning 1 to 1 Agreement

2022-23 Blended Learning 1 to 1 Agreement: Required for all families grades K-12:

  • If you are a parent/guardian of a child age 18 years and younger, this form provides consent for your student to use district approved online resources for instructional purposes. To continue to provide students with the most effective tools to enhance their learning, teachers and librarians may use educational web-based programs and applications. Many of the educational web-based programs and applications require parent permission for children age 18 and under.

  • If you are the parent/guardian of a student entering Grades K through 12, this form is an agreement to have available for your child to use in the classroom, a Chromebook or tablet for the school year. The device will be used as part of our Blended Learning Initiative. Blended learning is an educational classroom tool. It enhances in-person learning by providing each student access to digital and online resources.

  • Click here to fill out the form. Before starting the form, Check Infinite Campus for your child's ID number if you do not already know it.

Parent Information about security doors and arriving late and picking up early

  • On School Days, the interior lobby doors are locked.
  • The main lobby doors, by the parking lot, will be unlocked from 7am- 8am and then locked for the rest of the day.
  • All other exterior doors are locked during the school day, and most are locked 24/7.
  • Similar to last year, Parents and other visitors will not be allowed inside the building except for special situations or to view the lost and found.
  • The Office door is only unlocked from 7:15am-8:15am.
  • There is a blue lit doorbell to the left of the office door that you may push to speak to the office staff.


Getting dropped off late:

  • Please park in the 15 minute parking spot by the main doors.
  • Send your child into the building and direct them to come to the office
  • Office staff will check them in and send them to class.
  • Adults - Please do not come into the building.

Picking up early:

  • Please notify your child's teacher by note or email on the day that your child will be getting picked up early
  • Please park in the 15 minute parking spot by the main doors
  • Call the office (218.336.8825) and let us know you are here and where your child is going
  • When your student gets to the office, we will sign them out and send them outside.
  • Adults - Please do not come into the building

Community Activities

Duluth Farm to School supported by Whole Foods Co-op's GIVE Program

The Round Up at the Register Program is part of Whole Foods Co-op’s GIVE program. Shoppers make a difference in their community through small donations at the register by rounding up their purchases.
Duluth Farm to School supports the 9 school gardens in the district along with K-12 cross-curricular based lessons and tastings. Duluth Farm to School is primarily funded via a grant through Essentia Health with fiscal agents being St. Louis County Public Health and Duluth Community School Collaborative.

Funds raised through the WF Round Up will be used for school garden repairs, upgrading garden equipment, tastings and overall program sustainability. We appreciate your help by rounding up at the register when shopping at Whole Foods in September.

For more information about the September Farm to School Round Up check out the following video link and help spread the word about this great fundraising opportunity.

Video Link -

4-H Cloverbud

Please come join us on September 10th for our 4-H Cloverbud Saturday for grades K-2. We will learn more about Pollinators and make a habitat for Mason Bees, an important native pollinator. We will also learn about the Honey Harvest with a hands-on demonstration and possibly even a taste test. Cloverbuds will meet in the classroom at the Depot from 9:30 - 11:30 am. Come join us for some sticky fun.

Please register on-line at, or in person at the Depot that morning.

For event specific questions, please contact:

Brian Kinziger

4-H STEM After School Program Coordinator

AP Cook Building, 2503 Rice Lake Rd, Duluth MN 55811

University of Minnesota ||218.348-5224