ISD 709 News 4/1/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

Today marks our first day of in-person teaching for our secondary schools. Having spent some time at sites, it was certainly a pleasure to see students in our halls and classrooms, smiling, chatting, and learning together. Admittedly, some of the students, after a year away, looked a little tired, but still happy to be in school. It was a good reminder that we need to check in regularly with them to see how they are doing and how they are feeling as we transition.

Speaking of transitions, several grade levels at the elementary level are beginning to reach capacity. As some families are considering transitioning from distance learning to in-person, we encourage them to please inform us as soon as possible. It may become more challenging to accommodate these requests as time progresses.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching the East Boys Basketball team compete in the State Semi-Finals. They did well against Wayzata, and although the tide eventually turned, they can be very proud of their season and how well they represented Duluth!

We're also celebrating National Paraprofessional Appreciation Day! As I have mentioned before, our paraprofessionals have taken on so many additional responsibilities this year, from childcare to supporting our distance learning and in-person students. Both my wife and I have worked as paraprofessionals, and so, knowing the role, I want to let our paraprofessionals know how much we all appreciate the countless ways that they support our students, staff and families.

With deep respect and appreciation,

John Magas

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


First Day! 4-Day In Person

Today, Thursday April 1, marks the first day of the 4-day in-person model for middle and high schools. We're grateful for the work of principals, teachers, staff, students families and all who make this possible.

Students and families should have received detailed information from their schools regarding this model and what to expect. Please contact your school if you need this information.

  • April 1 & 2: In-Person Student Days
  • Week of April 5 until further notice: In-Person Student Days, Mon/Tues & Thurs/Fri
  • Families may choose to continue in all distance learning if they wish.

Secondary Hybrid, In-Person Web

Thank You, Duluth Paraprofessionals

Paraprofessionals provide essential, supportive services to students and their families, especially during the pandemic - instructional assistants, Title I paraprofessionals, pupil support assistants, special education paraprofessionals, job coaches, lunch room and playground assistants, hall monitors, media center assistants and health office assistants and more.

We appreciate everything you do everyday, many thanks.


Resources to Support School Communities

From the MN Department of Education:

Last year, feelings of anger, grief, frustration and sorrow followed the death of George Floyd while he was in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. There is no doubt that as the trial of Derek Chauvin continues, tensions will rise and the feelings that many felt last May will return.

We understand the difficulty that students, educators, staff and families may encounter throughout the trial. Many of you may be looking for ways to continue to support your students, staff and families throughout the trials. Below are some resources that may be helpful as a starting point:

Additional resources are available on MDE's Responding to Trauma and Tragedy webpage.

Bagged Meal Changes

As more students return to in-person learning, bagged meal distribution will change.

Please note the dates and changes below:

  • Beginning Thurs April 1 and until further notice: Mon/Tues, Thurs/Fri at Denfeld and Ordean East, 11:30AM - 1:00PM.
  • Beginning Wed April 7 and until further notice: Each Wed at Denfeld, Lincoln Park, Ordean East and Duluth East, 11:30AM to 1:00PM.

Check online for details.

September 2021 Kindergarten

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. Schools are scheduling Kindergarten Registration Events for families, check ISD709.org/Kindergarten for details.

#Inspire709 #BrightFuture

21-22 KEY Zone Registration Opens

2021-22 school year registration for KEY Zone opens on April 5, 2021. KEY Zone offers a safe and engaging year-round out of school time care program that fosters positive youth development and academic success. For more information or to register visit www.duluthcommunityed.org or contact the main office at 218-336-8900 x2.

21-22 ECFE Registration Opens

2021-2022 school year registration for Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes opens on April 1, 2021. ECFE programs include parent education, early childhood education, and parent-child interaction for families of children prenatal to age 5. For more information or to register visit www.duluthcommunityed.org or contact the main office at 218-336-8815 or earlychildhood@isd709.org.

NEW! Duluth Community Education Course Catalog

Duluth Community Education provides opportunities for all ages through classes and activities serving people’s social, recreational, enrichment and academic needs.

Classes offered in a variety of formats including in-person, online and at-home kits with instructional videos

Take a ceramics, watercolor, beginner crochet, amigurami or CPR/AED class; learn beginning backpacking for women, how to navigate with a map and compass, Tai Chi, Yoga, guitar, banjo, Zumba, golf; take aqua fitness, swim lessons, much more.

Register for classes online using VISA, MasterCard or Discover.

View the Spring/Summer 2021 Online Catalog

Register for Classes Online

COVID Vaccine Opportunity

From Mary Junnila, Executive Director, Lighthouse Center for Vital Living:

The County has asked us to publicize that vaccines slots are available Friday April 2 at Life House Annex (16 North 1st Avenue West) from 12:30-3:00pm. They are offering 1st dose of Pfizer and have quite a few slots open.

This is for anyone who is 16+ and who is LGBTQ, BIPOC, a person with a disability or a person who is homeless. People can self-register at the link below OR contact the Lighthouse Center for Vital Living for assistance, 218-624-4828.


Questions? Call 218-624-4828

We're Hiring!

Clerical, paraprofessional, transportation, substitutes - check online for details and other job opportunities!


In The News

NDN Sports: Zaaga'Igan Buffalo, leading Duluth East Greyhound basketball team to gichi-niimi'idiwin (The Big Dance).

Photo: NDN Sports

Duluth News Tribune: Students in the Misaabekong Ojibwe Immersion Program at Lowell Elementary School in Duluth learn science, math and Ojibwe culture through process of making maple syrup and maple sugar.

Photo: Duluth News Tribune

Duluth News Tribune: Each year, students at Lester Park Elementary collect food and funds for donation to a local food shelf. This year students, staff and families brought in 3,175 pounds of food and $2,100. Lester Park paraprofessional Pat Pfingsten helped organize the food drive this year, and she said the students really stepped up.

Photo: Duluth News Tribune

Watch the Video

State Bound Huskies & Hounds

Congratulations to the following students moving on to the Minnesota State Virtual History Day 2021 Competition!

Ordean East Middle School

Hannah Mason - Averting Disasters At Sea: The Wireless Ship Act of 1910

Margaret Johnson - Margaret Hamilton’s Code: Communication from Earth to Space

Duluth East High School

Natalie Miller - Our Bodies, Ourselves: How The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective Communicated Women’s Health in a Time of Little Understanding

Elly Rectenwald - The Deep Space Network - Communicating Beyond Earth

Emma Ambrosi - The Photography of Ansel Adams: The Key to Understanding the importance of the American Wilderness

Garin Hackbarth & Samuel Phillips - Packet Switching: The Foundation of Technological Communication

Each of these students took on the challenge to work on their History Day project from home, great job and best of luck at the virtual state competition on April 3!




Piedmont Students Explore STARBASE

The rigorous and engaging standard based activities focus on science, math, technology and engineering. The students had a fantastic learning experience and a whole lot of fun.

Thank you, Mrs. Schweiger, for bringing Piedmont students on this week-long, hands-on learning journey each year.

From the STARBASE webpage:

At STARBASE, we imagine students as future scientists and engineers. Then we develop an experience so they will, too. The STARBASE experience puts STEM in students’ hands. Then lets them use it. Engaging activities are standard in every STARBASE program. Fun experiences rooted in math, science, technology and engineering launch student energy and focus on a path toward bright futures.

Learn more about STARBASE

#Inspire709 #STEM #PantherProud


Learning Lab for Congdon Students

It's full STEAM ahead for students at Congdon Park Elementary as they engage in fun learning activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.



Greyhound Proud

Our Duluth school community gave the Duluth East Boys Basketball Team a warm send-off to the state tournament, including outdoor visits to Lester Park and Congdon Park elementary schools, a parking lot assembly for friends and family and an escort to the highway.

69-78 the final, a tough loss but a great game to end a fantastic season and strong effort! Proud!

#Inspire709 #GreyhoundProud


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