ISD 709 News 2/4/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families-

This evening the Duluth School Board will receive an update on planning for secondary hybrid in-person learning. As we share this update, please understand that we are still finalizing details. The February 4 Committee of the Whole update can be viewed here live beginning at 5:30PM, and the recording will remain available for viewing any time. Additional information will be shared with families, staff and the community following the meeting via email and at ISD709.org/Updates.

  • In December we contacted the MN Department of Health to schedule our mandatory consultation session on secondary learning models.
  • At that January 4 meeting, we requested permission and guidance for a timeframe that would allow us to provide in-person instruction for our middle and high schools. We were told we would need to wait and continue to monitor local COVID rates.
  • As local COVID numbers decreased, we set another consultation meeting for January 28 and began working with our middle and high school leaders, teacher leadership and District Advisory Committee to review and prepare for hybrid in-person opportunities for students. I’m proud of the work that’s been done to date.

We are preparing for transition to a secondary hybrid in-person model for a variety of reasons, including:

  • State and local health officials have given us permission to serve students with hybrid instruction

  • Implementation of a hybrid model is a prerequisite for full in-person instruction and we want to be prepared to transition to full in-person should conditions allow.

  • We are seeking a model that serves the need of ALL learners, distance or hybrid.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work to bring students back to in-person learning safely.


John Magas

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


Elementary In-Person: Gr 3-5

Elementary in-person begins for Grades 3 to 5 on Monday February 8. In-person began for PreK-2 on January 25. We're rolling in grade levels as required by the state.

Principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, facilities, cafeteria, transportation, clerical staff, district leaders and many others have been working hard to prepare for in-person learning, as have families. We also appreciate the work of our distance learning teachers as they continue to support families who are choosing to keep their children home during the pandemic.

Many thanks to all as we move forward.


More About Elementary In-Person

Thank You, Duluth School Counselors

School counselors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents. They help families focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children and work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves.
Many thanks to our Duluth school counselors, inspiring and supporting students and families every day!

#Inspire709 #ThankACounselor

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month pays tribute to and celebrates the achievements and vital role of Black Americans throughout United States history. To celebrate Black History Month in February and throughout the year, Duluth Public Schools Office of Education Equity created a Google Classroom. Teachers, staff, students and families are invited to join, learn from and utilize the various learning activities.

Many thanks to Naawakwe aka William Howes, Office of Education Equity Coordinator, and Calvin Harris, Integration Specialist for this resource.

View the Black History Month Google Classroom

Immersion Virtual Information Night Feb 10

Could Language Immersion Benefit Your Child?

All New Families Welcome!

Lowell VIRTUAL Immersion Kindergarten 21-22 Information Night

Wednesday February 10, 2021 5:30PM

Google Meet Link: meet.google.com/vss-fgkq-kcn

Research suggests language immersion may contribute to academic achievement, and that students exhibit greater problem-solving abilities, flexible thinking and advanced language literacy and proficiency.

Learn more about the benefits, the specific Ojibwe and Spanish language program models offered, and steps in the application process.

For detailed information:

Misaabekong Ojibwe Language Immersion

Edye "Binesiikwe" Washington, Office of American Indian Education:

edith.washington@isd709.org or 218.336.8700, ext.1152

Nueva Vision Spanish Language Immersion

Crystal Goldman, Spanish Immersion Coordinator:

crystal.goldman@isd709.org or 218.336.8700, ext.1166

Sources of Wellness: Introduction

For 10 weeks we focused on eight Sources of Strength to bolster our well-being when dealing with the three big emotions of anxiety, anger and sadness. Our next series will highlight Sources of Wellness to ensure and strengthen our physical, mental and emotional well-being. We will continue to share conversation starters, activities and relevant links bi-weekly.

If you have ideas about topics to include please email Jacob Laurent at jacob.laurent@isd709.org

Conversation Starters:

  • Pay attention to your body, how are you feeling right now? Examples = Hungry, tired, thirsty, energetic, hydrated, sore, etc.

  • Changes in learning models can be stressful, where in your body do you hold stress or uncertainty? Where is it tight or upset?

  • What is one part of your well-being that you would like to take better care of over the next few weeks?


  • Have each family member complete one of the wellness inventories listed below.

  • Set a SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) for yourself in one area of wellness


Virtual Wellness Inventory

Teen & Adult Wellness Survey

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 free or reduced-price school meals.
  • If your child does not receive MFIP or SNAP and is not enrolled in free or reduced-price meals, but you think they may qualify for free or reduced-price meals, submit an Application for Educational Benefits through your child’s school as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions:
  • If you did not receive a 2019-2020 P-EBT card but were notified that you were eligible, please complete the 2019-2020 P-EBT Help Form.
  • If you are having a problem using a 2019-2020 P-EBT card, please contact EBT Edge by calling 888-997-2227 or visiting www.ebtEDGE.com.
  • If EBT Edge is unable to resolve problems with your 2019-2020 P-EBT card, such as address changes or date of birth questions, please complete the 2019-2020 P-EBT Help Form.


  • SCREEN: Elementary families, please remember to screen your children or yourself daily for any symptoms before coming to school. Keep children home or stay home if there are any symptoms found per the MDH COVID Decision Tree.

  • REPORT: Please continue to report to your child’s school any COVID-19 symptoms, test results or quarantine status for your child. We track this information for attendance and follow the Decision Tree guidelines for when children may return to school.

COVID Resource: Health Equity Northland

The site is all inclusive with culturally specific community leaders, youth, young adults and medical professionals, working with partners across our city and across our cultural spectrums. COVID does not pick and choose who it impacts, it's main purpose is to impact everyone and wipe out human kind if we allow it to happen.

#maskupbackup #maskupbackuovaxup


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

KBJR-TV6/CBS3-TV talked with Integration Specialists Cal Harris (Laura MacArthur Elementary) and Marlon Grant (Lincoln Park MS) about the new Black History Google Classroom, created by Duluth Public Schools Office of Education Equity.

Teachers, staff, students and families are invited to join, learn from and use the various learning activities.

Black History Google Classroom


Laura MacArthur K-2 Students Try Cross Country Skiing

This week the Laura MacArthur Eagles tried cross country skiing for the first time! The Laura MacArthur Physical Education Department received a grant for the new set of cross country skis. Students recently welcomed back to in-person learning will get outside and active while learning a fun new winter sport.



Duluth NAACP Mask Donation

Many thanks to members of Duluth NAACP for donating 100 masks to students in Duluth Public Schools!





Denfeld, Duluth East Student Athletes Mask Up

Students from Denfeld and Duluth East are doing their best to mask up and follow COVID safety during practices and competitions. It's not always easy but it's worth it to keep the local COVID numbers down and stay in the game. Many thanks to coaches, students, families and community members!

#Inspire709 #WeCanNorthland

Northland We Can

Creative Learning Approaches

Lester Park fifth grade students in two different distance learning formats!



Big picture

Follow Us For ISD 709 School News: