From the Office of the Superintendent 3/5/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week and last week we took part in conference calls related to Coronavirus Disease COVID-19. School districts across the state, including ours, are taking their guidance from the MN Department of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the MN Department of Education. They're conducting weekly conference calls, checking in with school districts and keeping schools up to date on new information or recommendations. See below for links to the MN DOH and CDC websites, they have information specifically for schools.

Next week on Tuesday March 10 we'll be working with the Duluth Police Department to test emergency notification systems. This includes Infinite Campus Parent Portal. We've been communicating with families, asking them to expect to receive a phone call, text or email from the district of the school. It's all part of being prepared for emergencies. Thanks to our schools for sharing this information, too.

March is Music In Our Schools Month, see below for great examples such as Denfeld Solid Gold Show Choir and students from Lincoln Park Middle School participating in the UMD Honor Band and Lake Superior Youth Chorus.

    A big thank you to our Duluth School Social Workers during National School Social Workers Week! They help bring together home, school, and community to support student

    well-being and success. Thanks for all you do!

    Kind regards,


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

    Thank You, Duluth School Social Workers!
    Duluth's school social workers play a vital role in helping students meet academic, social, and emotional challenges. They emphasize the whole child, collaborating with other professionals, providing direct and indirect services to children, families and school personnel. They help bring together home, school, and community to support student
    well-being and success. Thanks for all you do!
    National School Social Worker Week March 1-7, 2020
    #Inspire709 #ThankASocialWorker

    From ISD 709 School Nurses/Special Education Department

    Information for Schools, Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

    There's a lot of information in the news right now regarding Coronavirus disease. School districts across the state, including ours, are taking their guidance regarding COVID-19 from the MN Department of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the MN Department of Education. They're checking in with school districts regularly via conference call and keeping schools up to date.

    As new information or recommendations become available we’ll share them with staff and families. Please check these websites periodically for updates, they include information and guidance for schools:

    According to the MN Department of Health:
    >>No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Minnesota at this time (March 5, 2020 1:00PM).
    >>As always, the MN DOH and CDC are recommending that people stay home when sick, cover their coughs/sneezes, and practice good hand hygiene. These recommendations are especially important during cold and flu season.

    General Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Guidelines:
    • Stay home if you are sick. Help stop the spread of germs by avoiding contact with other people if you are sick.
    • Cover your cough. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth.
    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Use soap and water when possible, but alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol can be used - rub hands together until all sanitizer has dried on hands before touching any surface.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. The CDC has additional resources on how to clean and disinfect schools and ISD 709 Facilities Management staff are included on communications regarding special instructions that may be received.
    • Families are asked to report whether their child has a fever and/or cough or sore throat when calling in to report their child is home sick.

    ​Tips for Helping Children:
    • Sing the “ABCs” song or “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing your hands – that’s about 20 seconds.
    Child-Friendly Video on Covering Sneezes & Coughs
    • New York Times Article: How to Talk With Children About Coronavirus

    Duluth Superintendent Search Meetings (Subject to updates):

    · March 10, 2020 12Noon - 3:00PM, School Board public meeting to review and select candidates for initial interviews. Location: 2nd Floor Board Room, Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth.
    · March 19, 2020 4:00PM - 9:00PM & March 20, 2020 8:00AM - 1:30PM, School Board interviews 6-8 candidates in public meetings, narrows the field to two or three candidates. Location: 2nd Floor Board Room, Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth.
    · March 23, 24, 25, 2020: All day interview process for finalists, schedule TBD. Includes a final School Board interview in a public meeting. School Board makes final selection.
    · March 30 - April 3, 2020: Act on the new superintendent’s contract in public meeting. Announcement of new ISD 709 Superintendent.
    · July 1, 2020: New superintendent takes office

    Duluth Superintendent Search Web Page

    MDE Releases 2019 Graduation Rates

    The Minnesota Department of Education released the official graduation rates for the graduating class of 2018-2019. Detailed information will be presented at an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting.

    • The district's overall 4-year, on-time graduation rate decreased from to 78.09 for the graduating class of 2018 to 76.01 for the graduating class of 2019.
    • The graduation rate for American Indian students increased from 45.71 to 55.00. The district's graduation rates decreased for all other student groups.
    • Denfeld High School's graduation rate increased from 73.73 to 77.87. The graduation rates decreased for each of the other high schools in the district.

    MDE Press Release

    MDE Graduation Rate Information

      Please Respond to the 2020 Census This Spring

      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.

      • Starting in March 2020, 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 about Statistics in Schools Program

        Learn more about the Census at 2020CENSUS.GOV.

        NEXT WEEK! March 10 Emergency Communications Test

        Communication is important, especially during a school emergency.

        On Tuesday March 10, Duluth Public Schools and the Duluth Police Department will conduct a test of emergency technologies such as alert systems, two-way radios and school building communications.

        The test will include Infinite Campus Parent Portal notifications.

        • On March 10, you may receive a test phone call, text, email or even all three from your school or from the district.
        • The message will clearly state “This is a test of Duluth Public Schools notification systems."
        • No response is necessary on your part.
        Families who aren't already signed up for Infinite Campus Parent Portal may wish to do so before the test by contacting their school.

        We appreciate your patience as we test our emergency notification systems on March 10.

        Interested in a Career as a Paraprofessional?

        In Minnesota, paraprofessionals may work in a variety of positions in a school district, including, but not limited to, instructional assistants, pupil support assistants, special education paraprofessionals, lunch room and playground assistants, hall monitors, media center assistants and family liaisons.

        FREE preparation is available at the Adult Learning Center

        to prepare you to take the ETS ParaPro Certification Assessment for a Career as an Educational ParaProfessional.

        Preparation Classes: Monday – Thursday April 13 – 30, 2020

        1:00PM – 3:30PM

        For Registration Information:

        Call the Adult Learning Center at (218) 336-8790

        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.

        Denfeld Student Athlete Heading to Nationals

        Congratulations, Blake Eaton, Denfeld High School! Great profile on this remarkable student athlete!

        Duluth News Tribune Article

        Denfeld Black History Month Celebration

        Coverage of the Black History Month celebration at Denfeld High School with Victor Williams from the Denfeld Black Students Association sharing information! Thanks to all who made this event possible.

        #Inspire709 #BlackHistoryMonth #MakeHistory

        Double DECC'er Regional HS Robotics Competition March 5-7
        Known as the largest FIRST Robotics Competition held under one roof, the Double DECC’er combines the Northern Lights Regional and Lake Superior Regional. Both host over 60 teams - one coming from Sweden!
        Join the Duluth East Daredevils, Denfeld DNA, Two Harbors Rock Solid Robotics, Hermantown Talon Robotics, Marshall TopperBots and many more area teams! The event is open to the public, and free for all spectators. It takes place at - no surprise - the DECC in Duluth.
        Schedule: https://firstuppermidwest.org/duluth-regio…/duluth-schedule/
        Live Stream links to Northern Lights Regional and Lake Superior Regional:
        Northern Lights Regional: https://www.twitch.tv/firstinspires11
        Lake Superior Regional: https://www.twitch.tv/firstinspires7

        Denfeld Solid Gold Success
        Denfeld's Solid Gold earned third place in their division in the North St. Paul Rock the North Choir competition held in the Twin Cities, congratulations!

        Check out their performance on YouTube at 6:38:36

        Solid Gold will be performing in the Totino Grace Spectacular this Saturday.

        Thank you, Paul Christenson, for the heads up.
        #Inspire709 #GoHunters

        Lincoln Park MS Students Attend UMD Honor Band Festival

        A group of 8th grade band students from Lincoln Park Middle School took part in the UMD Annual Junior High Honor Band Festival. This festival typically features three honor bands each totaling between 80 and 120 musicians.

        Congratulations to Jackson C., Laelia S., Ben B., Addison M., and Leo G., they represented LPMS's musical Wildcats perfectly!

        #Inspire709 #MusicInOurSchools


        Lincoln Park MS Students in Lake Superior Youth Chorus Honor Choir

        Singers are invited by their school music teacher to participate in the LYSC Honor Choir prior to the event. Leading up to Honor Choir, singers are provided sheet music and listening resources for practicing the chosen Honor Choir repertoire.

        Congrats to participants: Ema A., Uriah B., Anja B., Claire E., Sophia I., Cameron K., Makayla L., Saiya L., Kyra M., Samantha M., Angelina S., Brooke T., Maria T., & Lydia W.

        #Inspire709 #WayToGoWildcats


        Lakewood Read for 100,000 Minutes Campaign

        Lakewood Elementary kicked off their Read for 100,000 Minutes Campaign this month by celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday. Principal Darren Sheldon went into each classroom and shared favorite Dr. Seuss quotes with students. Interesting Fact: Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel's first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times before it was published. Now that's a great example of perseverance.

        #Inspire709 #ThePrincipalInTheHat #HortonHearsAPrincipal

        #GreenEggsAndPrincipals #GoPrincipalGo


        Lakewood Students of the Month

        Students at Lakewood Elementary work to be Responsible, Respectful, Safe and Kind (four areas of PBIS). Congratulations to all students who showed what it means to be safe in February!

        #Inspire709 #StudentsShine


        Spotlight: Area Learning Center

        Students Travel to UMD For Anti-Racist Youth Summit, Greenhouse Tour

        Wilderness Elite ALC students took a field trip to the University of MN - Duluth for the first ever Anti-Racist Youth Summit. Students explored racism, racial identity and culture with 150 local youth and heard from fabulous speakers, including Naawakwe aka William Howes from the ISD 709 Office of Education Equity. Afterward the summit students toured the UMD greenhouse to learn about botany, check out Freckles the resident box turtle and create biospheres to take home. Many thanks to the ALC, Office of Education Equity, Duluth NAACP and UMD for making this trip possible.



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