December 21, 2023
Thank you and happy holidays
We made it to winter break! We all deserve a nice break to recharge our batteries as we start the new year.
One of our strategic directions is “Supporting Every Student” so I want to thank everyone for everything they have done and continue to do to support our students. This includes staff, families and community members. Anyone who has a positive impact on students plays a larger role in the success of our students then they know.
On Tuesday we held our last school board meeting of 2023. With that meeting we say goodbye to three dedicated school board members. I want to thank Alanna Oswald, David Kirby and Paul Sandholm for their dedication to our students, staff and district. Between the three, they have 20 years of service on the Duluth School Board and will be greatly missed.
As we move into a new year, I would like to welcome three new school board members, Stephanie Williams, Sarah Mikesell and Henry Banks. They will be officially sworn in as school board members on Jan. 2 during the board’s annual organizational meeting. I look forward to working with each of them over the next four years.
Enjoy any time off you have with your families and have a happy holiday, no matter which one you celebrate!
With deep appreciation,
Winter Break Resources for Students & Families
Duluth Public Schools will be closed Friday, Dec. 22 through Monday, Jan. 1 for Winter Break.
Our community is here to offer connection, care, and support during this time.
BeSMART with gun safety
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. There are a very limited number of free gun locks available.
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.
Attendance Reminder for Families
As we head into winter break, we would just like to remind families of our attendance policy and what is and isn't an excused absence.
To be considered an excused absence, the student’s parent or legal guardian may be asked to verify, in writing, the reason for the student’s absence from school. A note from a physician or a licensed mental health professional stating that the student cannot attend school is a valid excuse.
The following reasons shall be sufficient to constitute excused absences:
- An illness. For health tracking purposes, if your student has a fever greater than 100 with a cough or sore throat or is vomiting or has diarrhea, please include this information. This district is required by law to report GI illnesses and influenza like symptoms to the Minnesota Department of Health. It is surveillance reporting for the MDH to track outbreaks. Individual student information is not provided in the report.
- Serious illness in the student’s immediate family.
- A death or funeral in the student’s immediate family or of a close friend or relative.
- Medical, dental, orthodontic or mental health treatment/appointments.
- Court appearances occasioned by family or personal action.
- Religious instruction not to exceed three hours in any week.
- Physical emergency conditions such as fire, flood, storm, etc.
- Official school field trip or other school-sponsored outing.
- Removal of a student pursuant to a suspension. Suspensions are to be handled as excused absences and students will be permitted to complete make-up work.
- Family emergencies.
- Active duty in any military branch of the United States.
- A student’s condition that requires ongoing treatment for a mental health diagnosis.
All other reasons will be considered unexcused, even if a parent/guardian calls in the absence.
Library Media Specialist Cindy Miller wins $10,000 award
Cindy Miller, Library Media Specialist at Congdon and District Computer Science Lead, on behalf of Duluth Public Schools, has been awarded $10,000 to promote equitable and inclusive pathways in Computer Science in Duluth Public Schools through the Infy Makers Awards contest by Infosys Foundation USA.
The plans are to build Makerspaces in our elementary media centers, provide tech tools for middle schools, and develop a STEMpathy Event. Cindy will participate in the Making CS Inclusive Cohort, a professional learning experience facilitated by Digital Promise from January to August 2024. The grant is flexible funding that can be used for materials, projects, research, community engagement and more.
The awards are part of Infosys Foundation USA's support for maker education, including the #WhyIMake initiative.
Duluth East to host Holiday Cabaret
Duluth East Drama department is excited to revisit some old and new musicals with some current and alumni from years past!
Please join us for The Holiday Cabaret at Fitger's Spirit of the North Theater on the 3rd floor at the Historic Fitger's complex on Dec. 27th at 7 p.m. There is no entrance fee, just a donation at the door!
District Spelling Bee Results
The district spelling bee was hosted at Lincoln Park Middle School Tuesday and here are the results!
Elementary & 6th grade bee (first photo):
Champion - Wyatt Olek (Lakewood Elementary School, grade 5)
Runner Up - Evelyn Stephan (Congdon Park School, grade 5)
3rd place - Gigi Calland (Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 6)
7th & 8th grade bee (second photo):
Champion - Gemma Kim (Ordean East Middle School, 7th grade)
Runner Up - Yupeng Chen (Ordean East Middle School, 8th grade)
3rd place - Oscar Thompson (Ordean East Middle School, 8th grade)
The students listed above will be advancing on to the regional spelling bee in February in Mountain Iron, Minnesota.
Congratulations to all the spellers!
Laura MacArthur Holiday Program & Giving Tree Project
Ordean East students create amazing projects
Some of Ordean East's 7th & 8th grade Pre-Engineering students with their completed design and fabrication projects. Students selected, designed, prototyped patterns and fabricated these amazing projects.
Hands-on learning at it's finest in Ordean's Design and Fabrication Lab!
Free College Prep Classes at Lake Superior College for Adults
Need free childcare to attend class?
Thinking about going to college? But, not sure you are ready yet? Give yourself the gift of education!
FREE College Prep Classes at LSC to make sure you are ready BEFORE you pay tuition.
Classes start January 8th. Register now to hold your spot! dae.isd709.org