ISD 709 News 5/14/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

As we head toward the finish line of a challenging school year, we continue to receive positive news related to national, state and local COVID guidance. Governor Walz announced significant new information regarding Minnesota’s fight against COVID-19 and the lifting of various restrictions statewide.

As this is being interpreted by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), we will continue to update staff and families on how those changes affect current and future school programming. All districts are working to do so as quickly as possible but here are some of the highlights.

Please know that this is an evolving situation and that state guidance for schools may change in the coming days or weeks - this is our understanding to date:

  • Minnesota schools will continue following the state’s Safe Learning Plan until the last teacher contact day for their schools.

  • Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), the state requires that masks continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus. Face masks are not required outdoors.

  • Schools will continue to follow the Stay Safe – Entertainment Venue Guidance for celebrations for graduation and other such events. These guidance documents will continue to be updated.

  • Additional health and safety recommendations for summer programming will be provided by MDE and the MN Department of Health to schools in the coming weeks.

MDE is continuing to partner with the MN Department of Health to plan for next fall. They remain very hopeful that schools won’t need to have a Safe Learning Plan for the 2021-22 school year. And so do we! Thank you for your patience and support.

With deep respect and appreciation,

John Magas

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

Thank You, Duluth School Nurses

National School Nurse Day May 12, 2021

Thank You, Duluth School Nurses

Governor Walz Proclamation
Celebrating National School Nurse Day this week - this year, more than ever, all members of our school communities, school nurses included, have been required to take on unprecedented roles and adapt quickly to changes in their jobs. During a time of pandemic, many thanks for the experience, skill and authoritative voice of these health care professionals. They help keep us up to date on the latest from the MN Department of Health, screen children, advise and train our staff and families on the best ways to prevent illness and so much more.


COVID Vaccines: 12 to 17 Year Olds

The Minnesota Department of Health has created a resource with information about COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 17 year-olds.

At this time, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been studied and authorized for use by people ages 12-17 years old. Data from Pfizer vaccine studies show the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group.

There are several ways to schedule a vaccination for 12 to 17 year olds:
  • Use the Vaccines.gov to find a local vaccine. Under “vaccine” make sure to check the box for Pfizer.
  • Schedule an appointment through Minnesota’s Community Vaccination Program. If all appointments are booked, sign up for the Vaccine Connector. The Vaccine Connector will indicate when appointments become available.
  • Reach out to the child’s health care provider to inquire about an appointment for vaccination.
  • Look for information from your middle or high school about local opportunities.


Has COVID 19 made it hard for you to pay your bills? RentHelpMN may be your answer.

COVID 19 Emergency Rental Assistance is available to Minnesotans struggling to pay their rent and utility bills because of the pandemic. If you qualify, you could receive help with rent and utility bills for up to 15 months.

Apply today: www.renthelpmn.org

Or if you have questions, call 211. A RentHelpMN representative will be happy to guide you through the process. We want you to get the help you need when you need it most.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

From the MN School Board Association

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households.

Eligible households can receive:

  • Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals.
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).

Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.

Visit https://www.getemergencybroadband.org for details.

2021 Kindergarten Registration

Are You Getting Ready to Send Your Child to September 2021 Kindergarten?

Enroll Online Today!

ISD 709 Elementary Schools provide a rich learning experience for students grades K-5.

  • Highly skilled, caring teachers
  • Fun, engaging, creative learning activities
  • Music, Art, Physical Education, Media
  • Reading, Math, Social Studies, Science
  • Emphasis on Family Partnership
  • Community partnerships for learning

#Inspire709 #BrightFuture

Hiring Americorps Workers

The need is now, offer your time and talent as an AmeriCorps Emergency Response member! Duluth Public Schools are looking for people to help students this summer. Members will provide much needed support for education and youth enrichments.

Positions are 35 hours a week from June 7 - August 14, click here to view the full position description. As part of the Emergency Response Initiative, AmeriCorps will provide:

● A stipend of $750 every two weeks

● Individual health insurance (monthly premium 100% paid)

● An additional $1,311 for tuition or student loans

In order to begin serving in June, candidates need to apply by May 21. Additional start dates may be available if positions are not filled.

To learn more, visit www.truenorthamericorps.org or contact Alice Werle, Program Director awerle@duluthymca.org

In The News

MN Public Radio: MPR talked with students from Denfeld and Duluth East High School as teens move to forefront of MN's COVID-19 vaccination effort.

MN Public Radio: Teens jump at appointments, ahead of anticipated COVID-19 vaccine expansion. MPR talked with Tatyana Sanders, Denfeld High School, for this story.

Lincoln Park MathMasters

Four students from Lincoln Park Middle School took part in a Statewide MathMasters competition and earned top spots, congratulations! The virtual event tested students in Order of Operations drills, individual word-problem solving, and team word-problem solving.

Brett Lapcinski, Alaira Temple, Salem Stroud, and Graham Seagroves took second place overall in their division (20 teams), while Graham Seagroves placed 3rd in the individual problem solving and was in the top ten of scores in the Order of Operations category (out of 96 individuals). The team spent several months of extra Google Meets with Coach Scott Anderson to practice and learn new-to-them math, above the 6th grade level.

For more information: www.mathmastersmn.org

Thank you, Scott Anderson, for the photos and information.

#Inspire709 #MathMasters


Nationals Bound Ordean East, Duluth East Students

Over 900 students competed in the 2021 MN Virtual State History Day contest and students from Ordean East and Duluth East are heading to nationals, congratulations!

  • Hannah Mason, Ordean East, received first place for her Individual Exhibit: "Averting Disasters At Sea: The Wireless Ship Act of 1910."
  • Natalie Miller, Duluth East, received first place in the Senior Paper Division for "Our Bodies, Ourselves: How The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective Communicated Women’s Health in a Time of Little Understanding"

  • Emma Ambrosi, Duluth East, received first place in Individual Senior Website for "The Photography of Ansel Adams: The Key to Understanding the importance of the American Wilderness." Emma also was awarded the Tallmadge and Geo. H. Elwell Memorial Topical Prize for the best project on Environmental History.

#Inspire709 #MakingHistory



Denfeld Automotive Class Studies Latest Technology

Representatives from several local dealerships partner with Denfeld Auto by serving on the program's advisory committee and offering Duluth East and Denfeld students opportunities for job shadowing, internships, and employment.

Through a visit from NorthStar Ford trainer and recruiter Andy Saari, students in the Denfeld Automotive Program learned more about a new 100% electric vehicle (BEV). Students were able to get hands on inside and under the car to explore the technology that will carry them into the future. Distance learners were able to study the car online through a partnership by way of the Ford ACE program. Many thanks to Northstar Ford for this experience!

Thank you, Laurelei Moore, for the photos and information.


ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

Construction Students Build a Bright Future

Duluth East and Duluth Denfeld Construction Technology students are building a 24 x 28 storage building at historic Public Schools Stadium.

Through the program, students learn about safety, hand tools, professional constuction/job site standards and and working together as a crew member/team player. They apply reading, writing, and math skills to estimating, building techniques and blueprint reading. Students are exposed to careers available in the construction trades and apprenticeship opportunities related to the construction industry.


ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

Piedmont Elementary Genius Hour

Fourth grade students at Piedmont are participating in Genius Hour. One week they dug into the Top 5 Archeological Sites in the World as a way to extend their reading and writing workshop curriculum. Research teams work collaboratively using the internet and create slideshow presentations using Seesaw. All items are published in the classroom blog so students can show their families, too.

Thank you, Aimee Redetzke, for the photos and information.



Stowe Fit & Fun Run

This month Stowe Elementary students in grades 3-5 participated in a Fit & Fun Run, receiving a t- shirt and ribbon. The event is sponsored by Essentia Health, Young Athletes, Advantage Emblem , and Grandma's marathon. It promotes Wednesday night at the races which take place over the summer months at various locations in Duluth.

Thank you, Linda Puglisi, for the photos and info.

#Inspire709 # FitnFun


Lowell Elementary, Safe Kids Bikes & Books Winner

Lowell celebrated safe biking this month and will receive a bike rack for their school and a prize pack that includes 12 bike-related books for their libraries, bike safety bookmarks for students, and bike safety posters. Thanks to BikeMN for helping provide some of our education materials!

Thank you, Cheryl Hynes, for the photo and information.

#Inspire709 #bikeminnesota #bikemonth #safekidsworldwide


Laura MacArthur "Affirmation Friday..."

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Summer Poetry Out Loud Opportunity...

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