Weekly Update

Duluth Public Schools News May 27, 2022

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear colleagues,

The past few days have certainly presented both the bright and positive aspects of humanity, as well as things as dark as can be imagined.

We all learned in horror about the senseless mass shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday afternoon resulting in 20 students and two adults being murdered in their school. Schools must represent a safe place for all learners and that is why the safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority.

When horrific events like this happen it can increase the number of threats to schools across the nation, and Duluth Public Schools is no exception. Recently there was a threat made to students at Lincoln Park Middle School and I want to assure you that the district and the Duluth Police Department will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure all of our schools and students are safe.

Our hearts go out to the families, friends, students and educators in Uvalde.

It is often in the times of great challenges that we have even greater appreciation for the good in the world, and this week we had much to be grateful for.

The Special Olympics Unified Track and Field event at East High School Tuesday could not have been more uplifting! Students with special needs from Duluth, Proctor, Cook County and Cloquet participated in a variety of events with great joy and enthusiasm. Peer volunteers supported and encouraged our athletes, while many teachers and other staff members also assisted with the event. A perfectly warm and sunny day, and glorious view of Lake Superior made the day even more special.

Wednesday night, we held the 2022 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Awards at Lincoln Park Middle School. This was the first in-person appreciation event of its kind since before the pandemic!

Nominees included Jebeh Edmunds (Congdon), Michelle Bowker (Myers-Wilkins), Paul Manoppo (Lincoln Park), Lisa Lochner (Homecroft), Cindy Sutherland (Piedmont), Kara (KC) Pavlisich, Heather Kemp (Lakewood), Linda Puglisi (Stowe), Peter Graves (East), Amy Auran (Laura MacArthur), Moira Olson (Elementary Residentials), Alison Wood (Denfeld), Sue Janchar-Baker (Lester Park), Jeffrey Stork (Secondary Residentials), Heidi Schuchman (Lowell) and Mike Zwak (Area Learning Center, AEO).

One elementary and one secondary educator were selected from the 16 nominees, all of whom are deserving! So congratulations to Denfeld teacher Alison Wood and Piedmont teacher Cindy Sutherland!

Closing with two more positive points; our COVID-19 rates in schools are going down and we are hopeful that we will be able to hold mask optional graduations, and we have been approved to hold two optional 5-11-year-old booster clinics on June 8. Once again, we will be one of the first school districts to be able to offer such clinics in the state and nation. More information will be shared very soon.

I want to thank all staff for stepping up this week and wearing masks once again. We realize wearing masks has its drawbacks but it has really helped our COVID-19 numbers within the district and it’s most appreciated.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Best regards,


If you have questions or thoughts about what's going on in our school district, email:


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Alison Wood and Cindy Sutherland were named 2022 Goldfine Gold Star Teachers

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Congratulations to all of our Gold Star Teacher Nominees

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Barry Fisher was named Assistant Principal of the Year

Lincoln Park Middle School Assistant Principal Barry Fischer was named Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals Northeast Assistant Principal of the Year.

So if you see Assistant Principal Fischer around tell him congratulations on the award!

Thank you to staff from a parent

Dear Superintendent Magas and all educators, paraprofessionals, and school support staff,

Thank you for all you do to show our kids you love them, support them, and teach them. Thank you for caring and showing up. I'm a mom of 2 kids. One is in school at Stowe and her little brother will be in pre-k next year.

In response to the school shooting in Uvalde, I need to let you know that I see you. I appreciate you. and my heart is heavy for you. I see the uphill work you do with the limited resources, limited public, and limited parent support.

I see the constraints you operate under. I know the responsibility you carry to protect our children, keep them safe, keep them fed, keep them clothed, keep them healthy, and keep them loved. I see you.

Thank you.


Mother of 2 kids in school

Duluth Public Schools Retiree Train Ride

Duluth Public Schools retirees are invited to ride the North Shore Scenic Railroad train and tour The Depot on June 21. The 75 minute train excursion will leave the St. Louis County Depot in downtown Duluth at 3 p.m. Before your train ride, you are invited to a complimentary guided tour of the St. Louis County Depot starting at 2 p.m. Each retiree may bring one guest. The North Shore Scenic Railroad asks that you arrive at 2:30 p.m. for boarding. Light refreshments will be provided.

Please go to z.umn.edu/NSSRRtrain to register online for the event. To ensure further details reach you, please provide your non-district email address when you register. Please register by June 1. The registration link will stay active until June 10 to accommodate late registrations but early registration is recommended.

If you have questions regarding the train ride, please contact Stacey at deroches@stlouiscountymn.gov. If you know a fellow retiree that may not have received an invite (i.e. they retired before June) please forward this invitation to them.

This event is sponsored by the North Shore Scenic Railroad and St. Louis County Depot in partnership with the Duluth PTSA Council.

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Duluth East hosts first Special Olympics Unified Sports Track & Field Day

Duluth East High School hosted a Special Olympics Unified Sports Track & Field Day Tuesday and we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

Unified Sports is a program that assigns Special Olympics athletes and athletes without disabilities to the same teams for training and competition.

Students from Cook County Isd166 & Community Education, Cloquet Middle School, Cloquet High School, Proctor Public Schools and Duluth East High School participated

Duluth East is working to become an official Unified Champion School.

Education Field Trips

Stowe elementary students are enjoying some fun and educational field trips this spring! Last week, our 4th-grade students had the opportunity to spend some time learning at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. The trip included a visit to Enger Tower, too!

Meet & Greet with author Angeline Boulley

Welcoming local teens and young adults for a meet and greet with Angeline Boulley, author of the "Firekeeper's Daughter." Free to attend and no RSVP is required. Guests are encouraged to bring a copy of the book if they have one. Light refreshments will be available.

Sunday, June 5, 2022 | 3:30 PM

Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center

202 W 2nd St, Duluth, MN 55802

A Long Walk to Water

Mrs. Timmersman's 8th graders at Ordean East Middle School did a 'walk to water' simulation as a wrap-up of talking about water access in Global Studies this year. Students read the book A Long Walk to Water, and went and collected water and reflected on what it would be like to gather all the water they use every day!

22-23 Duluth Public Schools Blended Learning Form

A new blended learning agreement is required each year to ensure access for your student to all of the licensed materials and their device.

If your student is attending summer school the form will need to be filled out before they begin. If they are not attending summer school, it needs to be filled out before the beginning of next school year.

Get it done for each of your students now so you don’t have to worry about it in the fall!

Click on the link below.

22-23 Duluth Public Schools Blended Learning Form

Denfeld Engineering & Manufacturing students shine at compeition

Congratulations to the Duluth Denfeld Engineering & Manufacturing students who took part in the CAD and Welding competitions at LSC on Friday, May 13th.

Denfeld finished in First Place, winning the team welding competition! Welding team members Grant Thompson finished 3rd place individually, and Clarissa Thompson finished in 8th place individually.

The team also had success in the CAD competition, with Denfeld student Calvin Kinziger taking home First Place honors.

Congrats to all of our Engineering & Manufacturing students. They did an amazing job competing today!

Looking for Homebound Teacher

Duluth Public Schools is in dire need of Homebound Teachers for one Middle School and three High School Students. The rate of pay is $24.41 per hour (up to 5 hours of instruction per week, plus 1 hour for prep) and can take place after regular school hours if that works for the family. The person has to be a licensed teacher and it could be in person or virtually depending on what you and the family decide. You are also reimbursed for mileage for in-person instruction.

Please see the homebound teacher responsibility sheet below. If you have any questions or want to know more information, please contact Mikilia (Kayla) Carroll at mikilia.carroll@isd709.org.

Laura MacArthur student council visits the Mayor

Summer meals are available to all kids

Duluth Public Schools will be serving summer meals once again from June 20 through August 19. Meals will be available to all kids age 18 and younger at no cost. To eat, just show up.

Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laura MacArthur Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lowell Elementary, Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Piedmont Elementary and Stowe Elementary.

If you have questions, please call 218-336-8707.

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Americans can order additional free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests

It was announced Tuesday that COVIDTests.gov is now open for a third round of orders. U.S. households are now able to order an additional 8 free at-home tests at COVIDTests.gov.

The tests available for order:

  • Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR.
  • Can be taken anywhere.
  • Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required).
  • Work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Are also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OCT) tests.

You should take an at-home test:

  • If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
  • At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or
  • When you're going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk for severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.

You can also get a rapid antigen or PCR saliva test at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) for free Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students should stay home if they are sick

For the safety of our students, staff and families, we ask that you please continue to screen your child daily for any symptoms of illness and keep them home if they are ill. COVID-19, Influenza, Strep Throat, Norovirus, and basic colds are still present in our community and affecting some of our students.

If your student is experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms, please keep your student home and test as soon as possible. Please review Duluth Public Schools district webpage for our current COVID-19 guidelines.

District COVID-19 numbers

These numbers reflect positive COVID-19 cases by site. The total includes all self-reported positive cases based on the date the case was reported to the school district. Not every person who reported a positive case was in a district building while contagious. These numbers include at-home COVID-19 test kits.

The CDC and Minnesota Department of Health only report positive cases where the person was inside a school building while infectious. The department’s numbers do not include positive cases determined by an at-home COVID-19 test kit.

They do this because there is not a medical professional present to:

  • Confirm who is taking the test,

  • That the home test has not expired,

  • That a proper sample is taken and more.

The CDC and Minnesota Department of Health is also reporting numbers that are at least a week old. If you have questions regarding these numbers, feel free to send your questions to covidquestions@isd709.org.

Detailed updates are available from the Minnesota Department of Health and St. Louis County Department of Health.

Minnesota Weekly COVID Report

Minnesota Situation Update

St. Louis County MN COVID-19 Dashboard

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