January 5, 2024
Starting of the new year with good news
Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that we are nearly a quarter of the way into this century. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I’m kind of surprised and disappointed that we don’t all have our jet packs yet.
I hope that each of you had a great break over the holidays to spend time with family and friends and do things that you love. I spent most of the time back in Michigan helping with some family things. It was nice to be able to catch up with old friends and loved ones.
As we enter into the new year, there are so many things to celebrate. I think about where we have come, especially related to our strategic plan. One of the strategic focus areas that is most important to us is Advancing Equity, and I want to share some good news with you about some developments in that area.
Getting to school is one of the most basic things that we need to provide as a District to ensure each student has access to education. Earlier this year, we shared that we had reduced the busing radius for secondary students from 2 miles for high school students to 1 mile. Knowing that some students were walking nearly 4 miles a day just to go to school didn’t seem fair, so we researched what we needed to do to increase busing and provide that foundational support.
I’m also very excited to share with you that we have entered into a pilot partnership with the Duluth Transit Authority to allow all secondary students and staff members to ride the bus for free by just showing their student or staff identification beginning Jan. 16. Students without transportation of their own can now participate in zero hour classes, after school activities, or ride to work using this benefit! This levels the playing field and access in so many ways.
There's more information under the Good News section of this newsletter.
We’ve all heard the “when I was a kid I walked to school uphill both ways” joke, but for me growing up transportation to school was a big part of my life. Growing up in the middle of nowhere in the Upper Peninsula, I had to ride the bus two hours to school in the morning and over an hour and a half on the way home. Because I didn’t have access and my mom couldn’t afford to drive me, I quit after school activities like football in seventh grade and was never able to re-join. I know firsthand how much a ride like this would’ve meant to me.
I am very thankful to our team, as well as the DTA for starting this pilot program that will run through the end of the school year and I’m very hopeful that we will continue through the summer and in years to come. I also want to thank Saraiya Piantek, Full Service Community School Coordinator at Denfeld High School, for being a force for change in making this dream a reality.
May the weeks and months ahead continue to bring such positive changes!
With deep appreciation,
Kindergarten Registration Begins March 1
We are pleased to inform you kindergarten enrollment for the 2024-25 academic year at Duluth Public Schools will officially begin on March 1, 2024.
We understand that the decision to enroll your child in kindergarten is a significant milestone, and we are committed to providing a nurturing and enriching educational environment for your little one. Our dedicated team of educators is passionate about fostering a love for learning, building essential skills, and creating a positive foundation for future academic success.
Key Enrollment Information:
Enrollment Period Starts: March 1, 2024
Eligibility: Children who will be turning five years old on or before Sept. 1, 2024.
Application Process: Applications will be available online on our school website www.isd709.org/academics/kindergarten. You can also download a paper copy or pick one up from your neighborhood school.
Required Documents: Please ensure you have the following documents ready for the enrollment process:
Proof of residency
We encourage you to visit our school website for detailed enrollment instructions, important dates, and additional information about our kindergarten program. If you have any questions or need assistance during the enrollment process, your neighborhood school is here to help. You can find contact information for your neighborhood school at www.isd709.org/academics/kindergarten. Don’t know what school your child would attend? Check out our school boundaries map.
We look forward to welcoming your child to our school community and providing them with a positive and enriching kindergarten experience. Thank you for choosing Duluth Public Schools for your child's education.
High school students can ride the DTA buses for free starting Jan. 16
It is with great pleasure that we announce that beginning Jan. 16, all high school students — Denfeld, East, ALC and AEO students — will be able to ride the DTA buses for free by presenting a CURRENT student ID. This is a pilot program that the DTA has been willing to provide to all high school students through the end of the school year.
There are no restrictions on when students can utilize this amazing program. It can be used on the weekends and nights. Our hope is that students will be able to use this program to attend after-school programs and events or take it to get to work if they have a job.
Please be aware that all the rules and policies listed in the Student Handbook are expected to be followed while riding the DTA buses. When taking the bus students should have their student ID ready before the bus approaches the stop. Once they board the bus, they will need to present their student ID to the bus driver, who will then press a button for the free ride.
If a student is found breaking the rules or misbehaving they may be disciplined in accordance with the student handbook (Page 30). DTA Bus Drivers have the responsibility to keep the environment safe and respectful, and may take actions from verbal reminders/warnings, up to removal from the bus while a trip is in progress if deemed required for the safety of others and bus operation.
We hope students take advantage of this amazing, free opportunity, and if everything goes well we will be able to expand the program next school year.
Lakewood KEY Zone kids make snow
Since we had a lack of snow this season, Lakewood KEYZone students had no issue making snow of their own. Science club made snow fluff and it was very messy fun!
Denfeld PeeWee B-One players volunteer
Our Denfeld Hunters PeeWee B-One team experienced a little bit of volunteering and helping others! They filled 1200 backpacks at Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank! There was hard work and many laughs by all! Great teamwork!! Teamwork makes the dream work!!