ISD 709 News 10/29/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families:

We have some very exciting news to share that will positively impact students, staff and families of Duluth Public Schools

We will be one of the first communities to offer voluntary vaccination clinics for our 5 to 11 year olds in the coming weeks, pending expected federal approval next week.

Due to the great collective efforts the Duluth Public Schools and community have shown, we have been selected as one of only 3 sites in Minnesota for the first rollout of 5-11 year old voluntary, school-based vaccine distribution, beginning on November 4th!

Throughout the following week, beginning on November 8th, each of our elementary schools and middle schools will host after school vaccine clinics. Additional vaccine clinics will be made available throughout the community. School-based vaccinations for second vaccinations would take place during the week of November 30th.

Please look for vaccine clinic sign up links from your school soon. A parent or guardian must provide written permission and must be present during the vaccinations. Participation in the vaccination clinics will be purely voluntary.

This will be a significant game changer for so many. For many months, we have dealt with so many factors that are side effects of pandemic learning. Vaccine availability for all of our students 5 and older, as well as staff and other family members, will truly impact the root cause, COVID-19, of so many other issues.

The well-being of many of our youngest learners will be less at risk. In addition to generally increasing safety, this will also positively impact learning. Student and staff quarantining will be significantly reduced. We will continue to examine each of our safety precautions to consider what may be modified given this change. This is great news in taking a step towards greater normalcy, safety and improved learning at the same time.

Thank you, students, families and staff for striving together in a way that has resulted in this student-centered honor!

With appreciation,

John Magas

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


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Update: Vaccines for Students 5 Years & Older

Pending federal approval, and in partnership with the MN Department of Health, Duluth Public Schools are planning to host voluntary vaccination clinics for students ages 5 to 11.

  • Families will receive sign up information from their elementary or middle school. In addition to appointments, walk-ups will be welcome.

  • 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 - 6:30PM: Ordean East Middle School
  • Fri 11/12, 3PM - 7PM: Congdon Park Elementary
  • Fri 11/12, 3:30PM - 6:30PM: Lincoln Park Middle School
  • Second vaccine opportunities:
  • Mon 11/29, 3PM - 7PM: Laura MacArthur Elementary, Stowe Elementary, Homecroft Elementary
  • Tues 11/30, 3PM - 7PM: Piedmont Elementary, Lowell Elementary
  • Wed 12/1, 3PM - 7PM: Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Lester Park Elementary
  • Thurs 12/2, 3PM - 7PM: Lakewood Elementary
  • Thurs 12/2, 3:30PM - 6:30PM: Ordean East Middle School
  • Fri 12/3, 3PM - 7PM: Congdon Park Elementary
  • Fri 12/3, 3:30PM - 6:30PM: Lincoln Park Middle School

More ways families will be able to find a shot for their child age 5 to 11 following CDC approval:

  • Contact their pediatrician or family medicine clinic about appointments;

  • Visit mn.gov/vaccine to use the Find My Vaccine map to locate and contact providers near them;

  • Utilize the CDC’s Vaccine Finder at vaccines.gov to find pharmacies offering pediatric vaccinations

How currently eligible Minnesotans 12 years and older can get their free shot:

  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline

  • 1-833-431-2053

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

  • Check for vaccine appointments using the Vaccine Finder. You can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).

  • Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.

Update: Holiday Concerts

We're fast approaching the time of year when elementary, middle and high schools usually present holiday concerts. School and district administration had to make a call on whether to hold these events, given COVID vaccines for students ages 5 - 11 are not yet available.

Concerts require weeks of prep work, so the decision had to be made in advance and it wasn't easy - these are heartfelt gatherings, bringing together families and friends in support of students and schools.

The following decisions were made after much thought and consideration, and with the safety of students in mind:

  • Elementary Concerts: Postponed until spring of 2022.
  • Middle School Concerts: Postponed until 2022.
  • High School Concerts: Moving forward as scheduled, as COVID vaccines are widely available for people ages 12 through 17 and older.
It's exciting to hear that COVID vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 will likely be available in the near future, as soon as early November. Duluth Public Schools will help share vaccination possibilities with families as soon as they're available.


For more ISD 709 COVID response information: The Safe Learning Plan reflects current local planning and is subject to change based on local, state and national guidance.

Details at www.ISD709.org/SafeLearningPlan

State and County Data:

Minnesota Situation Update - Includes Cases in PreK through Grade 12 School Buildings by County

Minnesota Weekly COVID Report

Access St. Louis County MN COVID-19 Dashboard

State COVID School List

The Minnesota Department of Health maintains a COVID "Cases in PreK through Grade 12 Schools" list.

Use this link to access the list, which is updated each Thursday, and scroll down to "Cases in Pre-K through Grade 12 School Buildings by County." Duluth schools are listed under "Saint Louis."

  • This means the school has reported 5 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period.
  • Per the state's website, families can continue to send their children to school even if the school is listed.
  • School buildings that have not reported a new case for 28 days will be removed.
  • Check the MN Department of Health Website Q&A for more detailed information.

By wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and getting tested regularly, we can help limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools and school activities open.
The combination of continuing to follow COVID safety protocols and the availability of vaccines is helping schools, athletics and activities, hospitals, nursing homes, area businesses - everyone. It’s amazing to see what can be done when our community works together.

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.

Celebrating Duluth After School Programs

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool shines a national spotlight on afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

Duluth KEY Zone


We're Hiring - Join Our Team!

You can make a positive difference in our schools! 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.

  • Medical/Prescription Drug

  • Health Reimbursement Account

  • Dental

  • Life Insurance

  • Long Term Disability

  • Flexible Spending Accounts

  • Dependent Care Accounts

  • Retirement

  • Tax-Shelter Annuity Options

  • Time Off

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

From the Duluth News Tribune: Ordean East Student Selected to Write for Scholastic Kids Press

Hayden David, 12, a seventh grader at Ordean East Middle School, became interested in creative writing about five years ago. When she saw the application for the Kids Press program, she said it seemed “really cool.”

Read the Article

Photo: Duluth News Tribune

From KQDS-TV21: Denfeld's Eklund Named Finalist for Mr. Soccer Award

Congratulations to Joe Eklund, named a finalist for the 2021 Class AA Mr. Soccer Award!

#Inspire709 #GoHunters

Watch the video

From KBJR-TV6: Duluth East Students Celebrate Opening of ‘Freaky Friday’ Musical

Students Lussi Salmela and Kasey Meneghini talked about the performance and what it means to be back on the stage during COVID-19. The musical runs October 28-30 at 7PM and October 31 at 1PM at Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Avenue East. Tickets at the Door: Adults $15, Students $10. Cash or Check Only, Masks Required.

Watch the video

State Bound Hunter

Congratulations to Grace McCormick, second place finish at this week's Section 7AA CC meet. Grace qualifies for the State Meet in November. Go Hunters!

#Inspire709 #HunterPrideDHS


State Bound Hounds

Oliver Miatke and Rowan Bixler, Duluth East HS, qualified to run at the State Cross Country Meet, congratulations!

#Inspire709 #GoHounds


It All Adds Up for Stowe Students

Students at Stowe Elementary are making math connections to the real world!

"Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers." - Shakuntala Davi



The Duluth DEVO Mountain bike team will have 20 Duluth East High School riders competing at the MN Cycling Association's championship races in Mankato, MN. After 4 races Duluth East is in 2nd overall of the 27 Division 1 teams across the state! Learn more about the programs and teams at:

Duluth DEVO Mountain Bike Program

Piedmont PJ Day

Piedmont students in Mrs. Amundson’s 1st grade class celebrated the first PJ day of the year with reading, watercolor spiderwebs, and math spiders!



Essentia Health Volunteers Support Lincoln Park MS Students

From the Duluth Farm to School Facebook Page:

"Thanks Essentia Health volunteers! Lincoln Park Middle School FACS students had a beautiful day for harvesting potatoes in the school garden! Station rotations included harvesting, nutrition and how potatoes benefit our bodies, weighing and washing the yield. Students have researched and will cook a potato recipe of their choice."

Many thanks to Essentia Health volunteers for helping out!


DPD Treats Teachers During MEA Week

From the Duluth Police Department Facebook Page:

"The Duluth Police Department took out our Community Engagement Bus, #CODE4, and served lunch to teachers at Denfeld High School during MEA week. Thank you to our teachers for your continued hard work and dedication this school year!"

Many thanks to the Duluth Police Department for this day-brightener!


Artistic Eagles

Fun autumn artwork from the creative Eagles at Laura MacArthur Elementary!



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Congrats Wildcats!

Congratulations, Lincoln Park Middle School Wildcats, great season!



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