From the Office of the Superintendent 5/29/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

The tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis this week involving the death of George Floyd is heart wrenching. It highlights once more the injustice, inequity and racism in our society and further emphasizes the need for systemic change throughout our country. This includes our Duluth Public Schools, and the ongoing work necessary to eliminate institutional barriers to educational opportunity. Our hearts are with the family of Mr. Floyd for their loss and with all who are hurting, frustrated, angry, fearful. We're sharing resources from the MN Department of Education for talking with children about traumatic events. Please look for students and others who may be struggling and in need of support during this challenging time.

This week we're preparing for the end of the school year, thanks to all who are helping collect materials, handle Kindergarten registrations, plan for summer meals and summer school and the many details associated with those projects. See below for more Summer program information.

For the past several months, district and school staff and administrators have been working to prepare a budget for the 20-21 school year. This week we had another public Board meeting to review where we are in that process. There have been many conversations about balancing projected revenues to expense. You can view budget discussions online on the Duluth School Board's YouTube page and review handouts on Board Book. There is another public budget update scheduled for June 10, 4:30PM. These are always thoughtful discussions and the choices and decisions that have to be made are rarely simple or easy. Everyone involved understands that reductions impact staff, programs, and students-- and that's not to be taken lightly.

In a few weeks I'll finish my tenure as Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools and John Magas will begin his career with the district. John is sitting in on meetings and having conversations to help get up to speed with where we are and where we need to go, please help him feel welcome.

In these last few months especially, I'm grateful for the people I've met and worked with over the years - as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. Those relationships have been the best part of being with the school district and will be among my best memories.

Kind regards,


If you have questions or thoughts about what's going on in our school district, email: Superintendents@ISD709.org. Twitter: @billgronseth

Providing An Equitable Education for All

Article from the National Equity Project.

What would acting differently (both during and after) this crisis look like for education? A few ideas on what we could do differently. With each idea ask yourself “what if…” as you read it, and notice what thoughts come to mind. If you find yourself saying “oh, we can’t do that,” read it again and ask “but what if we did…”

What if We...Don't Return to School as Usual

ISD 709 Summer Programs

As we transition to summer programs and building use, ISD 709 is committed to making decisions based on good policy and data in partnership with state agencies. Information from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) indicates an increase in cases of COVID-19 with a peak projected in late summer. The safety of our students, staff, and community are of the utmost importance.

Educational Programs/Athletics/Enrichment

Begin with the following programs and revisit for possible changes after July 5.

Each program will send out information with specific details and steps taken that ensure the safety of staff and students.

After considering the challenges regarding COVID-19 response and the multitude of variables related to safety and financial efficiency, EXCEL will not be offered this summer.

Emergency Childcare

Free emergency childcare service ends after June 5.

Free Breakfast/Lunch Available Through Summer

Available weekdays to Duluth students 18 years of age and younger. No paperwork necessary.

  • Through June 5, 2020 (last day of school) - Free bagged meals available per current school sites and bus hub schedules.

  • June 8 - June 30, 2020 - A new bagged meal pickup schedule begins, includes several school locations and several bus hubs. Detailed locations and times will be shared prior to the last day of school.

  • July 1 - August 21, 2020 - The distribution schedule will change again to meet USDA Summer Meals program requirements.
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Congratulations Kim Olson, Recipient of the

2020 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award and $5,000!

We're proud of our Duluth Public School teachers, of Kim and all 2020 Gold Star Teacher Nominees. Thanks for all you do for students, families and our Duluth community.
Kim Olson teaches Health Occupations courses as part of the Duluth Public Schools Career & Technical Education program.
Duluth East Principal Danette Seboe nominated Olson for the Award and said during the ceremony, “In recent months the COVID-19 crisis has reminded us of the essential need for a highly qualified medical establishment. Extensive coverage by the media has highlighted the extraordinary contributions of those health care providers who have been and continue to be silent heroes in our community. As a result, the public has become keenly aware of their importance to society. Kim Olson has played a key role in ensuring our future health care providers preparedness, even in these circumstances. She has permanently left a positive imprint on the students she has taught.”
Manley and Lillian Goldfine established this Award through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation in 2006 to recognize public school teachers who inspire their students and provide a strong foundation for educational, personal and professional success.

View the Ceremony
Watch the Nominees Video
View the Program

Duluth News Tribune

KDAL Radio
#Inspire709 #DuluthTeachersRock

2020 Greg Irons Award

Congratulations to special education teacher Diana Wokson for receiving the 2020 Greg Irons Award. Diana is amazing with kids and leads with passion, energy, humor, organization and a can do attitude. Her dedication and commitment are second to none!

The Greg Irons Award Fund honors the tenets and beliefs of Greg Irons by recognizing and rewarding the efforts Duluth Public Schools teachers who help students succeed.

Details from the DSACF

#Inspire 709


From Laura MacArthur Elementary Staff:

In Honor of Deb Debolt

Mrs. Debolt taught at Laura MacArthur Elementary for ten years, touching thousands of lives and leaving a powerful legacy that will not be forgotten.

Laura MacArthur staff invite you to stop the school on Monday June 1 and visit our Team Deb Remembrance Tent between 9:00AM and 3:00PM.

We will collect notes, cards, and any well wishes you would like delivered to her husband, sons, and family. We also have a basket of yellow ribbons that can be tied on the fence by the school, surrounding a memorial sign.

Please share this message with anyone whom you think would like to come and celebrate Deb’s impact in our community.


ISD 709 News

We know there are a lot of great things going on in our schools - let's make sure we're letting everyone else know, too! Share your school, student, staff accomplishments, projects and events with Kathleen.Kaufman@ISD709.org, they'll be used in email newsletters, social media, websites and other communication venues.

GND Rec Honoring the Class of 2020

Members of the Gary New Duluth Developmental Alliance are honoring 2020 Denfeld Graduates from the Gary New Duluth community. They're using the electronic community communications sign at the GND REC to show photos of the graduates. Many thanks for this creative way to recognize students for their accomplishment.

#Inspire709 #Community Support

KDAL Radio Honoring the Class of 2020

KDAL Radio is honoring graduates with an All Area On-Air Graduation. It's a celebration scheduled for broadcast Sunday, June 7 beginning at 11:00 AM.

On the air, KDAL will feature Midwest Communications radio personalities recognizing all the high school seniors from 17 participating area high schools including Denfeld, Duluth East and our Duluth Area Learning Center.

#Inspire709 #CommunitySupport

Duluth Public Schools Virtual Graduation Ceremonies

Class of 2020 Denfeld High School Virtual Commencement

Tuesday June 9, 2020 6:00PM

WDSE/WRPT Explore Channel

Streaming online TBD

Class of 2020 Duluth East High School Virtual Commencement

Tuesday June 9, 2020 7:30PM

WDSE/WRPT Explore Channel

Streaming online TBD

Class of 2020 Adult Learning Center, Area Learning Center, Bridge Program, Transition 12 Program Virtual Commencement

Tuesday June 2, 2020 3:00PM

Post to ALC Website

#Inspire709 #DuluthPublicSchoolsStrong


Best Wishes Future 9th Graders

Turning in materials at Lincoln Park Middle School, 8th grade students saying goodbye to Lincoln and hello to Denfeld. Best wishes as you enter high school this fall!



Kudos, Student Managers

Denfeld's Blake Eaton was featured in a WDIO-TV report on student team managers. Blake manages Hunter Boys Soccer. "It's fun. It's good to be a part of the team and feel like you have a role, and help in their success."


UMD Medical School Vaccine Panel Includes ISD 709

Camille Murphy, school nurse for Duluth Public Schools, took part in a UMD virtual panel discussion:

Vaccine Hesitant Patients and Families* ( * and health professionals )
Practical Challenges and Ethical Considerations
University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth Campus
Immunology, Hematology & Oncology


Sherry Johnson DNP, APRN, CNP, CNS, St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Associates, Duluth MN

Camille Murphy, RN, MA, PHN & Licensed School Nurse (LSN), Duluth Public Schools

Andrew Thompson MD, Infectious Disease Specialist St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Associates

Discussion moderator: Emily Onello MD

Guest Bioethics Faculty: Cathy McCarty PhD

Honors for Ordean East Student

Annika Saur received an Honorable Mention at the National level of the PTA Reflections Art Program.

Annika's artist statement accompanying her submission:

I drew the people simple and straight forward to show that they could represent everyone. Yellow represents warmth and community. Green represents merging and growing together. Blue represents optimism and an open and clear mind. These colors blend together in harmony. I created the hearts in each person and with the same colors as the people outside the hearts to create a feeling of continuation and togetherness. When you look within a person there is the possibility to find love and connections in community.



Homecroft Students Included in Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans 2020

Ken McNulty submitted the students work:

Maddox Davidson, Layla Frigaard, Kate Johnson, Alice Larson, Sylvie Leino, Reid Monette, Hunter O’Hara, Lola Schaefer, Cameron Sundeen.

We are so proud of our 4th grade students at Homecroft!



Adventures of Gregory

Over 20 days of photos and counting, thanks for the pics and smiles!

#Inspire709 #GreyhoundStrong


Congratulations Stowe (Preschool) Class of 2020

Thank you, Sherry Williams and Susan Bachinski for the photo and info,

love to see the little ones!


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From the City of Duluth:

Duluth Youth Mask Project

The City and several partners are launching the Duluth Youth Mask Project. We know that these are hard times. We wanted to give YOU the chance to design your own mask. Submit your design and we will feature selected masks on the City of Duluth Facebook page and City website. We can’t wait to see what you create!

All you have to do is:
✅Download the mask template
✅Create your drawing + Submit the design
✅Use your imagination & Have fun!

To find more information visit: https://duluthmn.gov/covid19/duluth-youth-mask-project/
Thanks to our partners American Indian Community Housing Organization, Essentia Health, Duluth Public Schools ISD 709, St. Luke's, St. Louis County, Minnesota, Duluth YMCA

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