ISD 709 News 2/18/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

Although most people can’t refer to the mid-teens as being “warmer weather”, considering that it’s almost 60 degrees warmer than the wind chills we had in the beginning of the week, I’ll take it! Speaking of mid-teens, I am excited to share that our current local COVID-19 rates have also dropped to 16.5 per 10,000, thanks to the hard work and vigilance of the Duluth community as we continue with mask wearing, social distancing, and as vaccinations are continuing to increase.

Along with this news came yesterday’s announcements from the governor about changes to the Safe Learning Plan, particularly related to increasing in-person learning for our secondary students. This followed information shared on school reopening from the CDC. Some of the changes in the MDE Safe Learning Plan include the following:

● Districts should follow through with plans shared previously with the public rather than modify them based on new guidance.

● No rolling start required for future changes

● 5% of total student and staff out with flu-like symptoms in a week to contact MDH to discuss shifting learning models

● Strongly recommend families testing every two weeks

● Physical distancing guidance

○ Early childhood and elementary - 3 feet suggested

○ Middle and high school - 6 feet suggested/3 feet required

○ Rates between 0-10 per 10,000 - distancing recommended, not required

● Must have distance only option

These new changes should have minimal impact on our current plans to move to hybrid instruction beginning on March 8th.

I hope that each of you are finding time to relax a bit over this break. Taking time to rest and reflect is even more important now than ever.


John Magas

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


MN Launches Vaccine Connector

This week the State of Minnesota announced the launch of the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a tool that helps Minnesotans find out when, where and how to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • This system is a proactive way for all Minnesotans to indicate their interest in receiving a vaccine, so that when they become eligible, they can be alerted and connected to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment.
  • The Vaccine Connector is open to all Minnesotans. Please feel free to share this information with your family, friends and others who may be interested.
  • Access the Vaccine Connector by visiting mn.gov/vaccineconnector

Important! Gr. 6 - 12 Families, Learning Model Selection Form Due Feb 19

Duluth Public Schools middle and high schools will begin a transition to hybrid in-person learning in March.

Current planning provides students regularly scheduled in-person opportunities twice a week in the morning and maintains 3 synchronous classes in the afternoon. Families may choose between the hybrid in-person with synchronous sessions or full distance learning with synchronous sessions.

Please complete one learning model selection form for each of the grade 6 - 12 students in your household by February 19. Your timely model selection is critical for thoughtful planning and preparation.


More information: ISD709.org/HybridInfo

Thank you for your patience and partnership as we expand our options for 6th-12th grade students.

Free Tutoring Support For Gr. K-12

Free online tutoring services are now available for Duluth students grades K-12 through partnership with the College of St. Scholastica!

Help available in a variety of subjects, including but not limited to Math, Biology, Chemistry, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, more!

How To Sign Up: video tutorial, how to sign up for a tutor.

Link to Book a Tutor

Questions? Beth LaVigne, CSS at blavigne@css.edu

HS Registration March 2-23

Denfeld and Duluth East provide a wide range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students grades 9 - 12. Families new to Duluth Public Schools can register online any time! Check out the 21-22 Course Catalog, get ready to register March 2 - 23.


MS Registration March 1-21

Lincoln Park and Ordean East provide a rich learning experience for students grades 6 - 8. Highly skilled teachers, a wide range of engaging course work plus many educational and extracurricular opportunities. Families new to Duluth Public Schools can register online any time! Check out the 21-22 Course Catalog, get ready to register March 1 - 21.


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

HOCHS Sale Public Hearing March 2

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday March 2, 2021 at 6:00PM to record public comment on the future closure of Historic Old Central High School. Public hearings are required as part of any schoolhouse closure process.

Please review the detailed information and protocols carefully.

  • To attend the hearing and provide comments in person you must arrive at Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East using the 3rd Street entrance and sign up to speak at the table by the entrance to the 2nd floor gymnasium by 6:00PM on March 2, 2021.
  • Written statements may also be submitted by mail or email and are due by Noon on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Pandemic Benefits for Families

DEADLINE FEB 28! Family Pandemic Food Support P-EBT

Information from the State of Minnesota:

Students who qualify for free/reduced price lunch may be eligible for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to purchase food for days they are not in the school building.

To receive benefits, your child must be enrolled in SNAP, the Minnesota Family Investment Program, or approved for free or reduced-price school meals.

IMPORTANT STEPS to complete by February 28, 2021:

  • If your household has not yet applied for Free/Reduced meals for this school year, it is very important that you apply before February 28, 2021 in order to qualify for additional benefits.
  • Households must have a current mailing address on file with the school in order to receive the P-EBT card in the mail.


We're Hiring!

As we look forward to students returning in-person, we're seeking to add to our roster of talented substitute staff. Substitutes make it possible for our students to continue learning in the classroom, they make a positive difference!

Follow the link to apply!

In The News


The Duluth School District provided a half-million bagged meals to distance learners as the pandemic approaches its one-year mark. Pam Bowe, Child Nutrition Supervisor, spoke with KBJR. Many thanks to child nutrition staff, paraprofessionals and bus drivers for their support of this important program.

Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld's One Act uses digital production to expose digital dangers.

The high school's One Act competitive theater team shines a light on the worries of an increasingly online world. The program is available to rent through Feb. 21 at showtix4u.com; search for "Duluth Public Schools."


Superintendent John Magas spoke with local reporters about Governor Walz's announcement this week regarding updates to secondary in-person learning. Our middle and high schools will transition to a hybrid model beginning March 8, more at www.ISD709.org/HybridInfo

State Bound Duluth East Math Team

The Duluth East Math Team placed 1st in their Division, 1st in the Section and move on to State! Congratulations Greyhounds!

Andrew Sailstad (1st in the Division)

Eric Zhou

Lucas Harrison

Harper Deasy

Jared Johnson

Alex Gran

Zoe Ammerman

Carter Svobodny

#Inspire709 #GoHounds


Lincoln Park, Ordean East Students Advance to 2021 Multi-Regional State Bee

Four Duluth Public Schools students achieved success in the Regional Spelling Bee and advance to the Multi-Regional State Spelling Bee! Big congratulations to these super spellers:

Hayley Dunker (Lincoln Park)

Maxwell Harbson (Ordean East)

Marielle Johnson (Ordean East)

Maddie Singer (Ordean East)

#Inspire709 #SuperSpellers



Denfeld Speech Team Tournament Success

Members of the Denfeld Speech Team competed successfully at the Hibbing Tournament, congratulations!

Tessa Schauer, Champion, Serious Prose

Madeline Watts, Champion, Serious Drama

Marley Bugbee, 6th Place, Informative Speaking

Reagan Kern, Honorable Mention

Thank you, Jill Lofald, for the photos and information.

#Inspire709 #HunterPride


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