From the Office of the Superintendent 3/12/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

The situation regarding the coronavirus continues to evolve and is a top story in the news. People are concerned and wondering what will happen next as they hear about schools in other parts of the country closing, local universities extending their breaks and moving to online learning and entire countries under quarantine.

Right now we are in regular contact with the MN Dept of Health, CDC and the MN Department of Education and working on prevention and preparing for whatever may happen. School districts are taking their guidance from these three organizations.

  • We'll continue to communicate and respond to questions. Please continue to look for information in these Weekly Briefings and ISD 709 News, social media, on our website, email and other ISD 709 communication venues.
  • We have plans and supplies for enhanced cleaning protocols as necessary. (Much like we did for H1N1 several years ago).
  • The need to close schools would be determined by the Minnesota Department of Health. We have been in conversation with the City and Fire Chief and will work together to meet the needs of families should we reach the level of extended school closures.
  • We don't currently have the technical capacity to provide extended online learning district-wide. Should an extended closure be necessary we, along with countless other school districts, would look to the MN Department of Education and the legislature for support and guidance.
  • Mn DOH and CDC both have guidance for schools on their websites— for schools with COVID19 exposure and those without. The links have been shared regularly as they provide the most up-to-date information.
  • Mn DOH Web Info for Schools, CDC Web Info for Schools
  • Domestic travel has not been limited, however we are hearing about schools canceling out of state travel and large public events. We may need to consider doing the same as recommendations change.
  • While we've heard this many times, the best prevention remains regular and thorough hand washing, covering coughs & sneezes, and staying home when ill.

It's a challenge when things are changing and uncertain. Thanks for all you do to help our students and families as we respond to this situation.

Kind regards,


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


2020 Gold Star Teacher Award Ceremony & Ice Cream Social

All Are Welcome and Invited to Attend: ISD 709 Teachers, Staff, Family Members, Families, Community Members

Wed May 13, 2020 7:00PM

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 W. Third Street, Duluth MN

We have outstanding teachers in the Duluth Public Schools. This events honors all teachers and this year will lift up several inspiring middle and high school teachers. The final Gold Star Teacher Award recipient will receive $5,000 from the Goldfine family and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Duluth Superintendent Search (Subject to updates):

During a public meeting held March 10, the Duluth School Board approved a slate of six candidates to invite to interview for Superintendent of Schools.

The candidates were chosen from 20 applications in part through the use of a Leadership Profile developed with input from Duluth families, staff and community members.

Applications were reviewed, candidates pre-interviewed and references checked by the Duluth School Board’s search firm, BWP & Associates.

Check the Superintendent Search Web Page for a list of candidates.

Interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place March 19 4:00PM – 8:00PM & March 20 8:00AM – 1:30PM. Times are subject to change pending candidate availability, interviews are open to the public and will take place at Historic Old Central High School, 215 North First Avenue East in Duluth.

Following the first round of interviews, the Board is expected to select 2 or 3 finalist candidates for additional interview March 24 – 26, schedule to be determined.




    Please Respond to the 2020 Census This Spring

    Responding to the census helps our Duluth community get its fair share of funding. Census data guides how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year for schools, health care facilities, roads, transportation, recreation centers, social services, and more.

    • Starting in March 2020, everyone living in your home needs to be counted.
    • You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.
    • Your responses to the census are secure. The law requires the U.S. Census Bureau to keep your information confidential.
      Learn about Statistics in Schools Program

      Learn more about the Census at 2020CENSUS.GOV.

      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.

      Duluth East Robotics Team Member Is Dean's List Finalist
      Congratulations to Harper Wittmers, declared a Dean’s List Finalist for the Northern Lights Regional! Criteria for selection of the FIRST Dean’s List Award includes demonstrated leadership and commitment to the FIRST Core Values, overall individual contribution to their team, technical expertise and passion, entrepreneurship and creativity, ability to motivate and lead fellow team members.
      In association with the Double DECCer regional competition, Mayor Emily Larson declared March 6, 2020 as FIRST Robotics day.

      Lowell Lions Roar

      When the Opera performed Cinderella at Lowell Elementary, students demonstrated Lowell Pride by being Safe, Kind, Respectful and Honest. Way to go, Lions!

      Denfeld Robotics Team Qualifies for World Championship
      Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) FIRST Robotics Team 4009 received the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, congratulations! This award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team's school and community. This award also qualifies DNA for the World Championship in Detroit, Michigan April 29 - May 2. DNA had the second highest autonomous score ranking at the Lake Superior Regional, which consisted of 63 teams from all over the Midwest.
      DNA extends a sincere thank you to all of their generous sponsors and supporters for making it possible for them to compete and for everybody that came out to support and cheer.

      Duluth East Nordic Skiers Qualify for Junior Nationals
      Duluth East will have three high school skiers compete at the 2020 Junior Nationals, two for the first time in their careers. Gretchen Haggenmiller, Lily Brown and Ian Morse will compete with the Midwest team this month at Auburn Ski Club’s training center in Donner Summit, California.
      This is Gretchen Haggenmiller’s fourth consecutive trip to Junior Nationals, three with the Midwest. The skiers will compete in two distances races, a sprint and team relay. Congratulations and best wishes!
      Thank you, Amy Hume Haggenmiller, for the photo and info.

      Denfeld Clock Tower Cafe Students On The Road
      Students in Denfeld’s Clock Tower Café culinary arts program, discovering amazing post-secondary and job opportunities just a road trip away at St. Paul College. Additional tours include Essentia Health Nutrition Services and Ranchers Legacy.
      Thank you, Chef Leah McNeil, for the photos and info.
      #Inspire709 #FutureOpportunities
      ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

      Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Open to Public
      ISD 709 high school students offer a classical menu for the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Duluth East.
      **Reservations and orders are required at least 24 hours in advance!**
      They become part of the lesson plan as students learn introductory and advanced techniques in line cooking, culinary skills and the intricacies of service.

      Check online for details
      ISD 709 Career & Technical Education

      Duluth Public Schools

      Student Art Exhibition

      March 12 - 19, 2020

      Miller Hill Mall, Barnes & Noble Court

      Closing Reception: Thursday March 19, 5PM - 7PM

      Student work in a variety of mediums, showcasing the talent of Duluth's young artists from elementary, middle and high school.

      Stop by and check out the awesome artwork!

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