ISD 709 News 6/4/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

As we all know, next week will be our final week of school for the 2020-21 school year. Coming to the close of a year with so many significant challenges and so many efforts and accomplishments to celebrate brings a mix of emotion.

I feel a huge sense of collective pride for the work that was done this year by students, staff and families. Over the coming days, there will be school celebrations, concerts, graduations, and end-of-year events that will mark the closing of the school year. I hope that each of you find some joy and a sense of accomplishment as the sun shines upon us. Please know that we appreciate all that was done this year to make learning as positive, safe and productive as possible.

Seniors will walk the stages, fifth graders will become incoming middle schoolers and eighth graders will become high school freshmen. Lockers will be cleaned out, devices returned, and plans between friends will be made to see each other over the summer. “See you soon” rather than goodbye will be shared between students and the staff who have supported them throughout this crazy year. Staff members, who have become like family with one another will make plans with each other for summer and for the coming year.

Although the last week of school will be the ending of one year, it is truly the beginning of the next. Summer school and activities, operational planning and administrative retreats, as well as professional learning to support our staff are also about to launch.

As we go into this last, busy week, I hope that each of you is able to be present in the moment with each other, in appreciation for what we have overcome, for what we have learned, and for what lies before us in our journey ahead.

With deep respect and appreciation,

John Magas

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


ISD 709 Operational Planning Survey for Families

Your input is important as district and school leaders prepare for the 2021-22 school year.

The return to full in-person learning will require district-wide focus in all schools on:

  • Student learning
  • Student mental health
  • Equity Framework knowledge and application
  • Blended Learning implementation (incorporating digital learning with in-person learning)

A variety of stakeholder input, including the results of this survey, will be used to inform decision making on prioritizing our strategies and resources.
If you haven't already done so, please submit your survey by Thursday June 10, thank you!


National Gun Violence Awareness Day

June 4, 2021 is a day to honor and remember victims and survivors of gun violence and show support for gun safety and responsible gun ownership. According to wearorange.org, every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 230 are shot and wounded and firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States.

In May, the Duluth School Board passed by resolution support for this day, encouraging all schools to support community efforts to prevent tragic effects of gun violence and to honor and value human lives.

Duluth School Board Resolution

Summer Meals for Children

Free Grab & Go Breakfast & Lunch Available to Students Through the Summer! Bagged meals available weekdays to students 18 years of age and younger. No paperwork necessary. Any student can pick up a meal at any location. Parents/Guardians can pick up the bagged meal without students present.

  • Meal service will pause June 11 and resume June 21.
  • Free grab & go summer meals begin June 21 and run through August 20, 2021
  • No meal service July 5
  • Distribution at the following school sites:

School Locations 11:00AM – 12:30PM

Homecroft Elementary, 4784 Howard Gnesen Road

Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 N. Central Avenue

Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood Street

Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East

Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Avenue

Stowe Elementary, 715-101st Avenue W.

Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Avenue W.

Distribution sites are selected based on USDA Summer Meal program requirements.

Updates posted at ISD709.org/Food4Kids

Questions? 218-336-8707. This institution is an equal opportunity provider

Update: HOCHS Project

Information regarding the HOCHS project is being posted at www.ISD709.org/Property.

The page includes:

  • A detailed background of steps taken to present
  • Presentations regarding the project
  • Monthly updates
  • The page will be used to share details as steps are taken to move out of Historic Old Central and as relocation plans are developed and finalized.

Planning teams are meeting to address relocation steps that include:

  • Construction of a new District Services Center on the Central Hill Site
  • Renovations of the existing Facilities Building
  • Construction of a new Facility for District Transportation
  • Associated off-site improvements and roadways
  • Site development and demolition of existing facilities
  • Ongoing search and selection of temporary lease space(s) for the relocation of the District Services Center
  • Selection of lease space, ALC & AEO groups
Duluth News Tribune Article

School Board Candidate Filing Period June 1 - 15

Duluth School Board Candidate Filing Information is available at ISD709.org/SchoolBoard

Serving as a school board member is an important responsibility, helping to establish educational standards that will affect the future of Duluth’s students, community and society.

--Four seats on the Duluth School Board are up for election. Those intending to run must file an affidavit for candidacy.

--Candidate filings open Tuesday, June 1, 2021 (8:00 a.m.) and close Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (4:00 p.m.). The last day to withdraw is Thursday, June 17th (5:00pm).

Food Benefits for Young Children

From the MN Department of Human Services:

Families with young children will get a little more help purchasing groceries soon. For the first time, many of Minnesota’s youngest children will now be eligible for pandemic food benefits through a new P-EBT 5 and Younger program.

Read the News Release

Free ParaPro Certification Prep

Interested in a Career as an Educational Paraprofessional?

FREE preparation is available at the Adult Learning Center

to prepare you to take the ETS ParaPro Certification Assessment

for a Career as an Educational ParaProfessional

Class runs Monday – Thursday July 6 – July 22

12:00 – 3:15 p.m.

For Registration Information:

Call: The Adult Learning Center at (218) 336-8790

In The News

Star Tribune: Crystal Diehl, COVID Lead School Nurse, talked with the Star Tribune about Duluth Public School's pandemic response.

Duluth News Tribune: Anthony Bonds, Assistant Superintendent, talked with the DNT about identifying space for the Area Learning Center and Academic Excellence Online High School as the HOCHs Project continues.


Lincoln Park MS Weather Balloon Project

A beautiful launch day for Lincoln Park Middle School's STEM Club! Through the Weather Balloon Project students took part in this invaluable hands-on learning opportunity. Congratulations to Mr. Henkels and his STEM Club students on a successful launch.

Thank you to St. Louis County, Minnesota and Essentia Health for making this educational programming possible.



Lowell Students Plant Trees

Mr. Erie and his fourth and fifth grade students took part in planting trees at Lowell Elementary. They planted Choke Cherry trees in the front of the school and will be planting white and red pines throughout the school forest.






Doggone Fun

Happiness is...Mrs. Amundson's dogs making a surprise visit to her class. Smiles as bright as the sunshine! The best student quote: "It's like meeting two celebrities!" Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Amundson, for setting up a classroom "doggie" visit to wrap up the day - it was PAWsome!




ECFE Outdoor Visit

Families participating in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) visited the fabulous Gnesen Outdoor Playscape. A collaborative effort including groups and agencies created this fun outdoor environment.



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