ISD 709 News 11/5/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families:

Last night was a very important night for ISD 709 and the community of Duluth.

As you may have heard, Laura MacArthur Elementary School was one of the first sites in the country to offer voluntary COVID vaccinations for 5-11 year old students. A parent or guardian needed to be present and needed to give written permission, so it was very much an offering based on family choice.

It was extremely well received, well attended, and efficiently run, thanks to significant support from a broad group of state and local community members. The collective effort that went into making this happen, from families rearranging their days, support of staff from the school, district, county, state and community organizations, to the students rolling up their sleeves for their shots, was really extraordinary to see in person.

It was also very well covered by our local media, which I will share with you:

Duluth News Tribune





As we work through these challenging times, I am grateful for the support of so many. These steps will increase overall safety, decrease quarantining, and increase our ability to reach a rate of local transmission that allows for us to potentially reduce other precautions, like masking.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility.

With appreciation,

John Magas

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


Voluntary School Vax Kickoff

A swell of community support for voluntary COVID vax clinics at Duluth Public Schools!

Many thanks to the Minnesota Department of Health, City of Duluth, MN Government, St. Louis County, Minnesota, Laura MacArthur Elementary School and volunteers from Duluth Public Schools ISD 709, local health organizations and others for supporting the voluntary school COVID vaccination clinic for ages 5 to 11 at Laura MacArthur. Thank you, families and students, for the great turnout! More voluntary clinics next week at ISD 709 Elementary and Middle Schools.

#Inspire709 #CommunitySupport #RollUpYourSleevesMN


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Update: Vaccines for Students 5 Years & Older

In partnership with the MN Department of Health, Duluth Public Schools are hosting voluntary vaccination clinics for students ages 5 to 11.

  • Families are receiving sign up information from their elementary or middle school.

  • Registration is strongly recommended - walk ups will be accepted as supply allows.

  • A parent or guardian must provide written permission and must be present during the vaccinations. Participation in the vaccination clinics is voluntary.

  • The clinics are intended for students ages 5 to 11 only.

  • People ages 12 and older are encouraged to visit mn.gov/vaccine to use the Find My Vaccine map to locate and contact providers near them.

Check the MN Department of Health website for information about COVID vaccines.


  • Thurs 11/4, 3PM - 7PM: Laura MacArthur Elementary
  • Mon 11/8, 3PM - 7PM: Stowe Elementary, Homecroft Elementary
  • Tues 11/9, 3PM - 7PM: Piedmont Elementary, Lowell Elementary
  • Wed 11/10, 3PM - 7PM: Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Lester Park Elementary
  • Thurs 11/11, 3PM - 7PM: Lakewood Elementary
  • Thurs 11/11, 3:30PM - 7:30PM: Ordean East Middle School
  • Fri 11/12, 3PM - 7PM: Congdon Park Elementary
  • Fri 11/12, 3:30PM - 7:30PM: Lincoln Park Middle School
  • Second vaccine opportunities:
  • Mon 11/29, 3PM - 7PM: Laura MacArthur Elementary, Stowe Elementary,
  • Tues 11/30, 3PM - 7PM: Piedmont Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Homecroft Elementary
  • Wed 12/1, 3PM - 7PM: Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Lester Park Elementary
  • Thurs 12/2, 3PM - 7PM: Lakewood Elementary
  • Thurs 12/2, 3:30PM - 7:30PM: Ordean East Middle School
  • Fri 12/3, 3PM - 7PM: Congdon Park Elementary
  • Fri 12/3, 3:30PM - 7:30PM: Lincoln Park Middle School

MORE WAYS families with children age 5 to 11 or Minnesotans 12 years and older can get their free shot:

  • Contact their pediatrician, health care provider, local pharmacy or family medicine clinic about appointments.

  • Visit mn.gov/vaxforkids for COVID vaccines for children and teens.

  • Use Minnesota’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.

  • Check for vaccine appointments using theCDC’s Vaccine Finder. You can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer) and find pharmacies offering pediatric vaccinations.

  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline: 1-833-431-2053

St. Louis County Vaccine Opportunities: stlouiscountymn.gov/vaccineregistration

Native American Heritage Month

From the MN Department of Education:

November is Native American Heritage Month, both nationally and here in Minnesota, as proclaimed by Governor Walz. Join us in celebrating Minnesota's eleven tribal nations and learning about the history and culture of the Dakota, the Anishinaabe and all Indigenous people. Indigenous Education for All aims to ensure every Minnesota student learns about American Indian history, culture and language throughout their prekindergarten through grade 12 experience.

Learn more about Minnesota's Indigenous Education for All.

Thank You, Duluth School Psychologists

November 8-12, 2021 schools throughout the US celebrate National School Psychology Week (NSPW) to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. This year's theme is "Let's Get in Gear." The theme's acronym provides a challenge to grow both personally and professionally. It encourages us to engage in best practices and advocate for children's access to mental health and learning supports. To rise implies resilience and renewal despite the challenges of the past.


Update: Blended Learning Initiative

Duluth Public Schools students are leveraging technology to facilitate their education in a blended learning environment. Blended learning enhances in-person learning by providing each student educational access to digital and online resources. In our school district, that access is provided through use of a district Chromebook, approved software and online services.

Building Based 1:1 Students are assigned a device as "theirs" that they have individual access to, and that will "follow" them throughout the school day. However, building based devices remain at the school for student access and are not intended to be taken home. The intent of this model is to support students in developing the skills, and responsibilities that will allow them to make the best use of student-issued 1:1 later in their academic career.

Student Issued 1:1 Students are assigned a device as "theirs" that they will have individual access to both during and outside of the school day. The intent of this model is to allow fluid, flexible, and equitable access to materials, information, and digital tools that will allow them to develop the skills and responsibilities they will need to be productive 21st century citizens.

Digital Instructional Setting refers to the technology available in a classroom:

Grades K-2: Building Based Cart Model

Grades 3-5: Building-Based 1:1

Grades 6-8: Student Issued 1:1

Grades 9-12: Student Issued 1:1

Learn More About Blended Learning

View the Family Enablement Year One Plan


Cold, Snowy Weather Strategies

As winter weather becomes a possibility, please take a moment to review school district procedures during periods of snow and cold. This information is shared with all staff and families at the beginning of the school year and is available on our website.

We're Recruiting - Join Our Team!

Members of the ISD 709 Human Resources Department recently attended community events, staffing an informational table and encouraging people to apply for jobs with our school district.

Kate Elling, Non-Certified HR Manage and Shana Vesel, Benefits Coordinator talked with people at a Lake Superior Zoo event and the GO Show at the DECC. Thanks for spreading the word!

Duluth Public Schools provide rewarding regular and substitute jobs in a variety of roles. Plus a robust benefit package to full-time employees and part-time employees who meet eligibility requirements.

Please share this information with people you know - encourage them to join our team!

Current Job Openings

Questions? Email: noncerthr@isd709.org or call (218) 336-8722

Duluth Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer

In The News

Duluth YMCA & ISD 709 KEY Zone Celebrate Afterschool Programs

Age 5 to 11 Voluntary COVID Vaccine Clinics at Duluth Public Schools

Denfeld, Duluth East Scholarship Nights & College Fairs

A busy time for Hunters and Hounds, learning more and preparing next steps for the future. Many thanks to the many organizations talking with Denfeld and Duluth East students about their opportunities.

#Inspire709 #GoHunters #GoHounds

Dultuh East Student Athlete Recognized by MSHSL

Congratulation Mason Branstrator, Duluth East High School, Named MSHSL Most Valuable Teammate, Week 5!

From the MSHSL Facebook Page:

"Mason is a two-year soccer team captain who continues to lead on and off the field. He can be seen volunteering at school events and has made Duluth East a better place with his infectious energy and school spirit. Mason has taken challenges head-on with courage and has inspired us all to be better."

#Inspire709 #GoHounds


Duluth East Debaters Attend Invitational

First time Duluth East PF debaters Cornelia, Alyssa, Scott, and Macey competing at the East Ridge Raptor Invitational Palooza. A timely topic: cryptocurrency.



Denfeld HS Theater Presents:

Dancing at Lughnasa

November 11 - 13, 2021 7:00PM

Denfeld High School Auditorium

401 N. 44th Avenue West, Duluth

Tickets: Pay what you can, suggested donation $10

Set in the fictional Irish village of Ballybeg, Ireland, Dancing at Lughnasa is a memory play, told from the perspective of an adult, Michael. He recalls one summer he spent at his aunts' home when he was seven years old. Brian Friel's multi award-winning play is a masterpiece, portraying the strength and bravery of five sisters who dance wildly in a final celebration of their lives, before they change forever.


Congdon Park Students Donate Over 2000 Pairs of Socks

Over the month of October, Congdon Park's school community conducted their annual "Socktober" Sock Drive, a service learning project to help those in need. Congdon Park 5th graders helped collect 2,128 pairs of socks! The socks were donated to CHUM, LifeHouse, and Kid's Closet.

Thank you, Jebeh Edmunds, for the photos and info.

#Inspire709 #StudentsGiveBack


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