ISD 709 News 5/27/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

As you know, the district is developing a short-term operational plan to support our transition from education during the pandemic to a new and better normal for our students, families and staff. Your input is extremely important to us as we develop our plan for district-wide focus in all schools on:

  • Student learning

  • Student mental health

  • Equity Framework knowledge and application

  • Blended Learning implementation (incorporating digital learning with in-person learning)

This short-term operational planning will inform and lead into development of a longer range Duluth Public Schools multi-year strategic plan.

A variety of stakeholder input, including the results of staff and family surveys and focus groups, will be used to inform decision making as we prioritize our strategies and resources. There’s a link to a Family Survey included in this newsletter, please see below. We greatly appreciate your assistance in completing this survey by Thursday, June 10th.

On another note, this week we also held a moment of silence in conjunction with the Governor’s proclamation of May 25 recognizing the anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

While in general people have been supportive of this observation, I’ve also heard from people who are not in agreement, as well as from others who wished that we would have been able to communicate this sooner. We received notification of the proclamation late the evening prior and made the decision that morning to participate in the observance.

As we move forward in our journey to ensure all students have an opportunity to learn and be successful, we’ll continue to take into consideration comments from families and staff.

With deep respect and appreciation,

John Magas

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


ISD 709 Operational Planning Survey

Your input is important as district and school leaders prepare for the 2021-22 school year.

The return to full in-person learning will require district-wide focus in all schools on:

  • Student learning
  • Student mental health
  • Equity Framework knowledge and application
  • Blended Learning implementation (incorporating digital learning with in-person learning)

A variety of stakeholder input, including the results of this survey, will be used to inform decision making on prioritizing our strategies and resources.
Please submit your survey by Thursday June 10, thank you!


School Board Candidate Filing Period June 1 - 15

Duluth School Board Candidate Filing Information is available at ISD709.org/SchoolBoard

Serving as a school board member is an important responsibility, helping to establish educational standards that will affect the future of Duluth’s students, community and society.

--Four seats on the Duluth School Board are up for election. Those intending to run must file an affidavit for candidacy.

--Candidate filings open Tuesday, June 1, 2021 (8:00 a.m.) and close Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (4:00 p.m.). The last day to withdraw is Thursday, June 17th (5:00pm).

Transition to Community Saliva Testing Sites

After June 2, COVID saliva tests at Duluth Public School sites will pause for the summer. Staff and families are strongly encouraged to take advantage of COVID saliva tests available from the state and our local Duluth community over the summer.

COVID Saliva Testing Information

Food Benefits for Young Children

From the MN Department of Human Services:

Families with young children will get a little more help purchasing groceries soon. For the first time, many of Minnesota’s youngest children will now be eligible for pandemic food benefits through a new P-EBT 5 and Younger program.

Read the News Release

Sources of Wellness: Fitness and Nutrition

Proper diet and daily exercise are the best ways to improve and enhance our well-being. Our bodies are the vehicles that allow us to do what we want to do and a healthy body also significantly impacts our mental health. In order to get the most miles out of our bodies we need to fuel it up right and use it daily.

Conversation Starters:

  • What foods make you feel most energized? Sluggish?

  • Set Family Nutrition and Exercise Goals: What do we need to do more of (exercise, eating vegetables, etc); and what can we use less of (couch time, screen time, sweets, meat, etc)

  • What is your favorite exercise to do? What is something you would like to learn to do to get more exercise?


  • Make a meal with your caregivers: Cooking with Kids

  • Make or Follow an Exercise Calendar

  • Write down everything you eat for a few days or a week. Take a look at the My Plate Plan and see how you are doing with your nutrition. My Plate Plan

  • Make a list of healthy foods and go grocery shopping together and then try to have at least two meals together during the week.


healthychildren.org: prenatal to young adult

Be a Fit Kid

Reading Guides & Kid Cooking Recipes

Free ParaPro Certification Prep

Interested in a Career as an Educational Paraprofessional?

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

Class runs Monday – Thursday July 6 – July 22

12:00 – 3:15 p.m.

For Registration Information:

Call: The Adult Learning Center at (218) 336-8790

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

In The News

WDIO-TV10: WDIO talked with Kyle Rock, Duluth East, about being named Assistant Principal of the Year by the NE Division of MASSP.

KBJR-TV6: Anthony Bonds, Assistant Superintendent, talked with KBJR-TV6 about summer school plans for Duluth Public Schools.

KBJR-TV6: Assistant Superintendent Bonds also talked with KBJR about using the non-profit Marnita's Table to collect community input on SROs in schools.


Denfeld Alum Takes on Hell's Kitchen

Matthew Francis Johnson began his culinary career as a student chef in Duluth Public School’s student-run restaurant Food for Thought, studying with Chef Glenn D’Amour

From the Duluth News Tribune

Francis, now 26, is a 2013 Denfeld High School graduate who went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While in school, he discovered that in addition to preparing food, he enjoyed food media and storytelling. He has been pairing dinner and cameras for years.

From Fox 21 News

FOX’s new season of “Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns” will premiere Monday, May 31 at 7 p.m. Northlanders will be able to tune in and watch a familiar face, as Duluth native, Matthew Francis Johnson, will be on the new season pressing his luck with Chef Gordon Ramsay.



ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

Nationals Bound Hunters, Hounds

The Duluth Debate Team qualified five students to the National Speech and Debate Tournament to be held online the week of June 13-19, 2021, congratulations!

>>Vivian Shaffer, Denfeld, qualified in Lincoln Douglas Debate.

>>Duluth East teams of Harper Deasy/Emily Menze and Alison Rimolde/Kelly Wagner qualified in Public Forum Debate.

#Inspire709 #GoHunters #GoHounds



Denfeld Robotics Captain Receives Dean's List Award

Madeline Bjonskaas, DNA Robotics Team Captain, was selected as a Dean’s List Finalist during the FIRST Upper Midwest virtual awards ceremony, congratulations! The award recognizes Madeline as a student leader, increasing awareness for FIRST robotics and its mission while achieving personal expertise and accomplishment.

Madeline goes above and beyond, providing steady leadership in the midst of a pandemic. When the team couldn’t meet in-person this summer, she poured over 50 hours into making sure the team could function online. Madeline set up zoom meetings and provided team building in the virtual environment, hosting online games for the team to bond over. Madeline is truly the glue that held the team together this year.

Facebook: Denfeld Nation Automation 4009

Website: denfeldrobotics4009.org

Instagram: dna4009

Twitter: @dna_robotics

Honoring the Class of 2021

American Indian Graduating Seniors were honored at a special banquet this month, congratulations! Duluth American Indian Education Program's mission is to promote youth leadership, provide academic support and encourage career development for American Indian students based on American Indian values, culture and language.

Thank you, JP Rennquist, for the photos.

Duluth American Indian Education

Denfeld, Duluth East Senior Walks 2021

Denfeld and Duluth East High School graduating seniors visited ISD 709 elementary schools for a “Senior Walk." Seniors wore their caps and gowns to celebrate and to be role models for the younger students.

Thank you, JP Rennquist, for the photos.


Big picture

Piedmont Students Show Digital Expertise

Want students to remember what they learn? Have them teach it while showing off their 21st century technology skills and presenting to their peers! Students from Piedmont Elementary and their reports on animals.

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



Hound Pack Ice Cream Social

Duluth East ended Spring Spirit Week with a Hound Pack 9th grade ice-cream social and a planting party hosted by Sources of Strength!



Hunters, Take a Bow!

Denfeld students presented an adapted version of Macbeth in a "Theatre-in-the-Park" style. Well done, Hunters, take a bow!

#Inspire709 #HunterPride


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