From the Office of the Superintendent 2/27/20

Weekly Briefing for ISD 709 Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

This week we celebrate Minnesota School Bus Driver Appreciation Day with a well-deserved shout out to our Duluth school bus drivers. They give it their all each day, ensuring a safe ride to and from school and also providing a supportive presence to our students. Thanks for all you do.

It's also Public Schools Week, recognizing the importance of public education in a democratic society and highlighting the great things going on in our public schools.

The US Census count is happening this spring. It's important that every family and child be counted. Responding to the census helps our Duluth community and our Duluth schools get our fair share of funding, so please help spread the word and encourage participation.

We're hearing a lot nationally about Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19. The Minnesota Department of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control have web pages with good information and they're updating them regularly. Right now there's no impact on schools but we'll keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds. See below for links.

Kind regards,


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

Thank You, Duluth School Bus Drivers!
This week we celebrated February 26 as Minnesota School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, honoring those who take on the important job of getting students to and from school safely each day (in Duluth, that's thousands of kids!).
From Governor Tim Walz's proclamation: "In darkness and daylight, on dirt roads and multi-lane highways, from the rainy late spring to the frigid winter, Minnesota school bus drivers safely transport more than 760,000 students to and from school each day...bus drivers bookend a student's school day, serving as a mentor and having a positive influence on a student's educational experience."

#Inspire709 #ThankABusDriver

National Public Schools Week Feb 24-28, 2020

Public Schools Week is a national celebration to highlight the great things happening in our nation’s public schools. Nine out of 10 students in America attend public schools. That’s why it’s more important than ever before that every student have access to an amazing, wonderful public education. This initiative shows the strength and potential of public schools in a democratic society.

From the MN Department of Health:

Information for Schools, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The situation surrounding the outbreak is rapidly evolving and the information or recommendations are changing as new information becomes available.

  • At this time, the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 is low, including for people in Minnesota schools.
  • As always, we recommend that people stay home when sick, cover their cough, and practice good hand hygiene. These recommendations are especially important during cold and flu season.
The MN Dept of Health and the CDC are closely monitoring COVID-19 and providing updated information as it becomes available. Check their websites periodically for updates.

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Info

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Info

Duluth School Board Decides No Boundary Changes for September 2020 School Year

During the regular meeting held February 24, the Duluth School Board discussed the Boundary Project. They approved a motion that, for the September 2020 school year, all boundaries will remain the same. This includes elementary, middle and high school. The Board said it would not make any boundary changes in the next school year and there would be no changes planned for Immersion and English programs at Lowell in the next school year. Work on the Boundary Study will continue through the end of this school year and into the 2020-2021 school year with further research, discussion and community input.

February 24, 2020 School Board Meeting

ISD 709 Boundary Project

Update: Duluth Superintendent Search Meetings

The Duluth School Board values your ideas regarding public education in Duluth and what kind of leadership will best take us into the future. A timeline with public input opportunities is being provided and shared with the community as the Board works to identify the next Superintendent for ISD 709.

Current Search Timeline (Subject to updates)
· March 3 – 7, 2020: Consultants screen and interview and develop an initial slate of candidates.
· March 10, 2020 12Noon - 3:00PM, School Board public meeting to review and select candidates for initial interviews. Location: 2nd Floor Board Room, Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth.
· March 19, 2020 4:00PM - 9:00PM & March 20, 2020 8:00AM - 1:30PM, School Board interviews 6-8 candidates in public meetings, narrows the field to two or three candidates. Location: 2nd Floor Board Room, Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East, Duluth.
· March 23, 24, 25, 2020: All day interview process for finalists, schedule TBD. Includes open forums available to staff, students, community members and a final School Board interview in a public meeting. School Board makes final selection.
· March 30 - April 3, 2020: Act on the new superintendent’s contract in public meeting. Announcement of new ISD 709 Superintendent.
· July 1, 2020: New superintendent takes office

Duluth Superintendent Search Web Page

    They grow up so fast. Now’s your chance to shape their future!

    Respond to the 2020 Census This Spring

      A kindergartener counted in the 2020 Census this spring will be starting high school when the next census comes around in 2030: That’s 10 years of school supplies, teachers, school
        lunches, and so much more. This is your opportunity to help ensure they have a bright future.

        Responding to the census helps your 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. That
              includes children and newborn babies, citizens and noncitizens, relatives and nonrelatives, and even those staying with you temporarily.
                It’s easier than ever to respond to the census. You can respond in 13 different languages, and you can complete it online, by phone, or by mail.
                  Your responses to the census are safe and secure. The law requires the U.S. Census Bureau to keep your information confidential, and your responses cannot be used against you in any way.
                    You have the power to shape your future, and the future of all children, by counting everyone in your home in the 2020 Census.
                      Learn about Statistics in Schools Program

                      Learn more about the Census at 2020CENSUS.GOV.

                      Take Note: March 10 Emergency Communications Test

                      Communication is important, especially during a school emergency.

                      On Tuesday March 10, Duluth Public Schools and the Duluth Police Department will conduct a test of emergency technologies such as alert systems, two-way radios and school building communications.

                      The test will include Infinite Campus Parent Portal notifications.

                      • On March 10, you may receive a test phone call, text or email from your school or from the district.
                      • The message will clearly state “This is a test of Duluth Public Schools notification systems."
                      • No response is necessary on your part.
                      Families who aren't already signed up for Infinite Campus Parent Portal may wish to do so before the test by contacting their school.

                      We appreciate your patience as we test our emergency notification systems on March 10.

                      Interested in a Career as a Paraprofessional?

                      In Minnesota, paraprofessionals may work in a variety of positions in a school district, including, but not limited to, instructional assistants, pupil support assistants, special education paraprofessionals, lunch room and playground assistants, hall monitors, media center assistants and family liaisons.

                      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.

                      Preparation Classes: Monday – Thursday April 13 – 30, 2020

                      1:00PM – 3:30PM

                      For Registration Information:

                      Call the Adult Learning Center at (218) 336-8790

                      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.
                      2020 Minnesota Teacher of The Year Semifinalists

                      Two Duluth Public School teachers are among 36 semifinalists for this year's Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award, congratulations!

                      • Nicole Jensen, Lincoln Park Middle School
                      • Brian Jungman, Denfeld High School
                      Semifinalists were chosen from an initial field of 135 candidates from across the state. A panel of community leaders will review the semifinalists’ portfolios and video submissions in late March and will select about 10 finalists from among the group. The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced in May.

                      The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 56th year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota's thousands of excellent educators.

                      #Inspire709 #ExcellenceInEducation #DuluthTeachersRock

                      Author, ALC Student Nominated for NE MN Book Award
                      Sharon Shuck is a Native American elder, an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band and a student in Duluth Adult Learning Center. Last spring she was featured in the Duluth News Tribune and the Woman Today Magazine. The articles described her life, her development as a writer and publication of her book, Grandfather's Blood Memories and Unbroken Spirit.

                      These stories, based on real life, offer vivid pictures of the trauma and challenges faced by Native Americans living through the late 1800s and early 1900s in the American Midwest.

                      Ms. Shuck has been nominated for the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards in the nonfiction category. She has been invited to attend the NEMBA ceremony at UMD's Kathryn A. Martin Library on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Ms. Shuck has also had a public reading of her book with other local writers, Tom Peacock and Linda LeGarde.

                      On Thursday February 27 at 8:30PM, Ms. Shuck will be featured on Native Report on WDSE-TV8, Duluth's PBS station.

                      Ms. Shuck, congratulations on the success of your book! And thank you for inspiring us all to be lifelong learners.


                      Duluth Adult Education

                      Duluth East Student Earns Spot at International Science Fair

                      Congratulations, Emelyn Beaster, Duluth East High School! Emelyn demonstrated how Indian mustard can absorb iron from the soil in which it is grown.

                      Duluth News Tribune

                      Denfeld, Duluth East Students Explore Career Opportunities
                      Construct Tomorrow provides demonstration stations where students get a feel for the work building & trades people do and the skills they must develop. Good paying jobs available, apprenticeships enable students to learn a trade and earn wages at the same time.
                      Many thanks to all who provide this opportunity to our students!
                      #Inspire709 #LearnALiving

                      Denfeld Robotics Team Speaks to New Regional Practice Field

                      Good job, Denfeld DNA Robotics Team Business Captain Emma Natale, speaking to WDIO about the new practice field! Thank you, Arrowhead Robotics Coalition and F.I. Salter, for this amazing resource.

                      #Inspire709 #CommunitySupport


                      Denfeld Nation Automation Website

                      Duluth Sends Bevy of Swimmers to State

                      Congratulations, Duluth Boys Swim! Winning section title, setting new records!

                      Duluth News Tribune

                      Summer K.E.Y. Zone Program Registration Opens March 2

                      Sites: Lester Park, Ordean East, Lowell, Laura MacArthur
                      Dates: June 15 - August 28 (no program on July 3)
                      Hours: 6:30 am - 6:00 pm
                      Cost: $39/day/child (20-day minimum)
                      Registration Fee: $35 (does not apply to current families)

                      Register at duluthcommunityed.org, mark.connor@isd709.org, or 218-336-8900 x2.

                      Come join in the summer fun!

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