September 8, 2023
On the Road to Success!
This was a very positive and exciting week for all of us at Duluth Public Schools! With the start of school on Tuesday and our kindergarteners on Thursday, I saw so many excited students, family members and staff, thrilled with the positive energy of a fresh and vibrant start. I was able to make it to each of our traditional school sites on Tuesday and plan to visit the remaining residential schools in the coming days to complete my circuit. In each new location, something special was underway.
I think my favorite part was listening to an elementary school teacher guide her new students on hallway travel exclaim, “Now all stay close together because I would hate to lose one of you. That would just break my heart.” That sense of joy, caring and purposefulness of the first day is seldom superseded. It also expresses the “we’re in this together” attitude that is so important throughout the school year!
Every first day exposes a few issues that need to be addressed and this year was no different. We had some transportation issues that I addressed Wednesday, but for the most part, we launched a very successful school year. ALL of our certified staff positions were filled and so many more support positions were filled than at the start of the past several years.
We are always looking for paraprofessionals, bus drivers, food service, and custodian positions, however. Check out these “A Day in the Life” videos we are using to promote hiring for these important team members!
In every situation, I can assure you that people are not only working hard, but also working with heart, to ensure each and every student has a positive experience. We are so grateful to serve our students, family and community.
Based on the many wonderful things I saw this week, I am confident that this year will be a great one for Duluth Public Schools!
With deep gratitude and appreciation,
We Need Your Input!
Digital Equity Survey
The following information is required by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to provide district-level summary data—without personal, identifying information—to MN legislators, MN agency staff and their external partners for the purpose of improving educational outcomes and digital access for public school students across the state.
Please fill in the following survey based on how you use electronic devices to complete schoolwork at your home.
We appreciate you taking the time to help us gather this valuable information!
Click here to fill out the survey.
Requirements must be met by Oct. 13, 2023
All students are required to provide proof of immunization, or appropriate documentation exempting the student from such immunization as a condition of enrollment.
Exclusion from school will occur if immunizations, medical exemption or objection requirements are not met within 30 days of the start of the school year.
If a parent/guardian is claiming an exemption for medical reasons that an immunization can not be received or because of conscientiously held beliefs, they must either submit a statement from a physician stating the immunization is not medically advised or submit a notarized statement, signed by the parent/guardian – or if the student is an emancipated person, by the emancipated person – stating that the student has not been immunized because of conscientiously held beliefs.
If the student’s school does not receive proof of immunization or exemption by Oct. 13, 2023, the child will be sent home from school and discharged from enrollment beginning Oct. 23, 2023. It will then be necessary for the parent/guardian to re-enroll the child after immunization requirements have been met before the child can return to school. If parents/guardians have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.
Please note that students entering kindergarten, 7th grade and 12th grade have age specific immunization requirements.
More information about required immunizations can be found at isd709.org/families/health-services.
Safe Firearm Storage
Young people should not have to fear for their lives or have access to guns unsupervised. If there is a weapon in the house, we urge parents to speak to their children about proper gun safety.
There are an estimated 265 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, and more than one-third of homes contain at least one gun. Gun owners can make our homes and communities safer by storing their firearms unloaded and locked, with ammunition kept in a separate place, to prevent access by children and other people who are at risk of harming themselves or others.
The Duluth Police Department has partnered with Be SMART for Kids (besmartforkids.org) to provide free gun locks to those in our community. Gun owners can pick up their free gun lock at the Public Safety Building, located at 2030 N. Arlington Dr. in Duluth. The Public Safety Building is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Too many young people have died in our community and around the country due to gun violence. Safety of our students and staff is one of our top priorities and there are many things we do to ensure safety in our buildings, but we can’t do it alone. Please support us in being part of the solution by talking with your kids and ensuring that your firearms are safely stored.
September is Deaf Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the rich cultural history of the Deaf community, and continue the work of advocating for the rights of Deaf people everywhere.
National Arts in Education Week is a national celebration recognizing the transformative power of the arts in education. Passed by Congress in 2010 through House Resolution 275, the celebration is designated to bring attention to this cause for elected officials and educational decision makers across the country and to support equitable access to the arts for all students.
Save the Date!
Capturing the Moment
Solutions To Help Every Student Succeed
Your Vote, Your Voice
Dear Duluth Public Schools families,
As I shared with you last week, Duluth Public Schools will hold a referendum this November that seeks to provide additional funding to protect and strengthen academic and mental health support, expand high school curriculum and invest in learning technology through the district.
This week I want to provide you with additional information on the two questions that are being presented to voters this November.
Question One would restructure existing debt to free up approximately $2.6 million annually to support academic and mental health services and new elective programming for high school students.
Question Two would authorize a new capital projects levy to provide approximately $5.3 million annually for a district-wide integrated technology plan and to free up further funds from our operating budget for other student services.
If voters approve the referendum, these investments will be supported by a tax increase on properties in our district.
By taking this approach, our district will also avoid a budget deficit, reduce the demands on the general fund and be able to invest in core services for student learning, and accelerate the repayment of current debt by four years.
I encourage you to visit our informational website - FutureForward709.org – to learn more.
Election Day is November 7, but early voting opens in just two weeks! Residents will be able to vote early via a mail-in absentee ballot, or in person beginning Friday, September 22. Full voting information can be found at FutureForward709.org/vote.
Connect with Community Education
The fall session of Community Education classes begins September 25th and runs through December. Community Education programming serves our community from birth to earth. We encourage you to join us in our programming as a teacher or participant. We are always looking for new instructors willing to share a special skill, talent, hobby, or expertise with our adult or youth communities.
Discovering Duluth Adult Education
A message from Angie Frank, Coordinator of DAE...
Many people think that access to free public education ends when they leave high school, but it doesn't! Duluth Adult Education is part of Minnesota's Adult Basic Education system, offering free classes to adults with academic or career goals. We have programs in the following areas:
- Core Skills
- English Language (ESL/ELL)
- College Prep
- Career Pathways
- Computer Skills
How can someone get involved in the program?
Getting started in one of our programs is easy! Adults ages 18 - 99+ can register online at dae.isd709.org. Once we receive your registration, someone from our office will call and email you to let you know how to complete your registration.
Every student is connected with a teacher who works with them on their individualized plan to accomplish the goals they have. Students are in the driver's seat of their education at DAE and our teachers customize learning experiences based on student input and needs. Students can also choose work online or in person and we have day and evening options.
We want every student to be successful at DAE and offer a variety of supports to assist our students such as:
- Transportation assistance
- Chromebook checkout
- Computer skills
- Students under the age of 24 can get paid to complete their GED
What is the most rewarding part of your position?
Duluth Adult Education is a great place to work because we support students taking their lives in the direction they choose. Whether it is getting an adult diploma, starting a new career path, improving reading skills to read chapter books to their kids, improving English skills, or preparing for college classes, it is meaningful to support our students reaching their goals. Often times students are working to change their lives for the better through education or a new career and their successes are reasons for celebration here.
How do you hope to bring DAE to new heights?
We have fantastic partners that help us create more and better opportunities for students. We work with CareerForce, SOAR, Lake Superior College, Community Action Duluth, and the YMCA. In the future, we hope to expand the partners we work with which will allow us to serve students even better. We also would love to help more people earn their diploma or GED. Last year we had 40 students graduate and we hope to double that number this year! Like one of our rockstar graduates said at the graduation ceremony:
"For those of you out there that think you can’t do something, whether it’s school, work or anything, I am proof you can! Remember anything is truly possible."