ISD 709 News 1/21/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families-

This week was an extremely busy time as we prepare for some pretty exciting changes as second semester starts Monday January 25.

As you know, we will begin in-person instruction for our pre-kindergarten through second grade students on that day. This will represent the first opportunity we’ve had for full in-person instruction for any grade level in nearly 10 months. Two weeks later, our third through fifth grade students will also return. The preparations were intense, and, although there are some definite feelings of nervousness, I am confident that we are ready to safely serve our students.

At our secondary sites, we will be implementing a much more robust synchronous learning schedule. Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our teachers, staff, and leadership we have the devices, learning management system, and most importantly, the expertise to do so. I am very proud of the work that has been done to take this important step as a district.

I also realize that many questions are still before us. We will continue to try to answer them as well as possible as we move into this new phase of learning.

This week, we took part in a pilot COVID vaccine program with the state of Minnesota, geared toward school staff. While we wish that we had far more than the 32 initial doses that were allocated, we are very hopeful that more are coming very soon. This would allow us to shorten the 4 1/2 month estimate that has been given until our educators can be vaccinated.

Each of these developments leave me feeling hopeful and thankful.


John Magas

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


Elementary In-Person Learning

As we return elementary schools to in-person learning, the safety of students, teachers and staff is of utmost importance..

We’re following a rolling start process (required by MDH and MDE) in which students are gradually brought back in the building.

  • Monday, January 25: Pre-Kindergarten through second grade return

  • Monday, February 8: Grades three through five return

  • Families may choose to remain in distance learning if they wish.

A web page is prepared to help families understand in general what to expect when students are in school. It may be updated with new information as necessary. Each elementary is sharing school-specific information with families, too, please check with your school if you have questions.

View the Web Page


Update: MN Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year

Update: Bagged Meal Distribution Changes Beginning January 25

Beginning Monday January 25, Free Bagged Meal distribution school sites and meal bus hubs will change. Elementary schools will no longer provide bagged meals for pickup.

Distance learning families can pick up free bagged breakfast and lunches at the following school sites between 11:30AM and 1:00PM:

  • Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Avenue West
  • Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. 3rd Street
  • Ordean East Middle School, 2900 E. 4th Street
  • Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Avenue East

The following bus hubs are also available for meal pickup:

  • 9:34AM - 2410 W 4th Street
  • 9:42AM - 88th Ave West​ at Hilton​
  • 10:16AM - 9428 Grand Ave East Entrance
  • 10:29AM - 3614 Grand Avenue ( Wheeler Field)
  • 10:31AM - W 11th Street @ N Lake Avenue
  • 11:03AM - ​799 ​Upham Road
  • 11:46AM - Lismore and McQuade Road

Check online for detailed information.

Lead School Nurse COVID Update

From Crystal Diehl, MSN, RN, PHN

Lead School Nurse

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to transitioning elementary students back to school starting next week! The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have released several updates to guidance for schools. I have noted several for you to be aware of moving forward.

Please check this link for the detailed COVID update.

It includes:

  • Updated School COVID Documents
  • Quarantine for Close Contact
  • Transportation
  • AAP Return to Play Recommendations
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • Travel Recommendation
  • Face Shields'
  • Daily Symptom Screening
  • Reporting Test Results
We appreciate your efforts and support as we work together to keep our school community as safe as possible.

Lifting Up COVID Safety

Denfeld, Duluth East, Proctor and Superior students, teachers, coaches and community members are encouraging citizens to continue to follow COVID safety guidelines to help our Northland communities.

COVID safety is more important than ever, as local schools begin bringing students back to in-person learning and athletics and activities resume.

Northland We Can 1

Northland We Can 2

Northland We Can 3

More COVID Safety Tips: staysafe.mn.gov

Many thanks to all who are helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

CSS Tutoring Now Available

Free tutoring services are now available for students participating in distance learning through partnership with the College of St. Scholastica!

Here is a video tutorial on how to sign up for a tutor.

Here is the link to book a tutor.

Questions? Please contact the College of St. Scholastica.

Online Cultural Education Forum Feb 2 & 3

Join this two-day interactive Cultural Education Forum which responds to Minnesota's growing education disparities among Black scholars (students).

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) and Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) will host this virtual Forum to increase scholar, caregiver, and educator engagement in Black/Afro centric education. Educators, scholars, parents/caregivers are welcome to join both or either days.

If you are in a position to promote among scholars, please share promo code STUDENT in order to waive their registration fee.

LEARN MORE (https://mnhum.org/event/educating-and-nurturing-the-brilliance-of-our-black-scholars-students/)

FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/events/149411086950800)


Eden Bart | Humanities Officer | she/her/hers

Minnesota Humanities Center | 987 Ivy Avenue East | Saint Paul, MN 55106

PH 651-772-4261 | 866-268-7293 ext.261 | FAX 651-774-0205

eden@mnhum.org | www.mnhum.org

Stay informed. Join our mailing list.

Sources of Strength: Week 9

Recap: This school year is not what any of us expected, and the pandemic has significantly impacted the physical and Mental Health of the people we care about.

We want to be sure you know that it’s ok not to be ok. And it won’t always feel this way. When life feels difficult or overwhelming, we always want to honor and acknowledge what is happening and then turn to our Strengths. We all have strengths and we can lean into them in times when the big emotions of anxiety, anger and sadness creep in.

Over the last 8 weeks we have shared the Sources of Strength along with conversation starters and activities you can do at home to practice strengths.

Activities to strengthen each of these strengths are linked below:

Family Support, Generosity, Positive Friends, Spirituality, Mentors, Physical,

Health/Medical Access, Healthy Activities, Mental Health Activities

For additional information, please contact Marnie Thompson, Sources of Strength Coordinator.



We're Hiring!

As we look forward to students returning in-person, we're seeking to add to our roster of talented substitute staff. Substitute Teachers make it possible for our students to continue learning in the classroom in the absence of the classroom teacher.

Follow the link to apply!

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School Nurses Train for Testing

ISD 709 School Nurses received training from the St. Louis County Health Department on how to conduct COVID saliva testing.

COVID-19 saliva testing will be offered on a bi-weekly basis for all ISD 709 staff interacting with students in-person. This includes teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, support staff, nutrition staff, bus drivers those working in-person in early childhood, child care or school-age care programs and others.

#Inspire709 #WeCanNorthland

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