ISD 709 News 3/26/21

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families,

I am very excited that we will transition our secondary schools from hybrid to in-person learning next week, while continuing to offer well-supported distance learning for families selecting this model.

As a father of two sons learning in a time of COVID, I want to express my deep empathy for the countless struggles that families and students have gone through for the past year. With my older son graduating from high school virtually last year and my younger son being a senior this year, like many of you, I have watched them miss out on so many things.

Despite the excitement of emerging from the pandemic, we must also recognize that many of us also carry with us a sense of grief and loss. Our students have missed out on many of the traditions we took for granted, the simple pleasures of being in the company of their friends at school, as well as the ability to have their learning needs fully met through in-person instruction.

As we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, we must remember the full needs of our children. Learning losses must be addressed, and so too must the social emotional needs of our students be tended to with caring support.

I can promise you, as your superintendent and as a parent, that I will do so with a perspective of “what would I want for my own children”.

With sincerity and appreciation,

John Magas

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


Transition to 4 Day In Person

Next week middle and high schools will begin transition to a four day in-person schedule!

Students and families should receive detailed information from their schools regarding the transition and what to expect. Please contact your school if you need this information.

  • March 29 & 30: Transition Days per state guidelines (no hybrid or distance learning at secondary)
  • April 1 & 2: In-Person Student Days
  • Week of April 5: In-Person Student Days, Mon/Tues & Thurs/Fri
  • Families may choose to continue in all distance learning if they wish.

Secondary Hybrid, In-Person Web

Support COVID Safety

Thank you for all you do to follow COVID safety protocols. Providing in-person learning and school activities is only possible when local COVID rates remain low.

With that in mind, please review this letter from St. Louis County Public Health carefully. Health officials are seeing an increase in COVID cases in youth ages 5-19, some linked to participation in youth sports, others to social gatherings.

Duluth Public Schools joins St. Louis County in encouraging families to please follow MN Department of Health recommendations:

  • Have your student take part in COVID testing:

    • Students involved in sports are recommended to be tested once every week and three days before any game or competition.

    • Students not involved in sports are recommended to be tested once every two weeks.

  • Wear a mask

  • Social distance

  • Limit the size of any social gatherings

Staff and families are also encouraged to review this information from the MN Department of Health regarding COVID testing, quarantine, travel and other important guidance.

Together we’ve done so much to get through this pandemic, let’s each continue to do our part and remain vigilant as the school year continues.

Following COVID safety protocols will help students learn in-person, increase extracurricular opportunities and support a healthy school and Duluth community.

Bagged Meal Changes

As more students return to in-person learning, bagged meal distribution will change.

Please note the dates and changes below:

  • March 29, 30, & 31: Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools, Lincoln Park and Ordean East Middle Schools, 11:30AM to 1:00PM.
  • Beginning Thurs April 1 and until further notice: Mon/Tues, Thurs/Fri at Denfeld and Ordean East, 11:30AM - 1:00PM.
  • Beginning Wed April 7 and until further notice: Each Wed at Denfeld, Lincoln Park, Ordean East and Duluth East, 11:30AM to 1:00PM.

Check online for details.

Tier 1 Childcare Update

Tier 1 Care 6th and 7th Grade Families: As the district transitions to in-person learning for our middle and high schools, Tier 1 childcare will be offered on Wednesdays when in person schooling is not available.

Please see the current plan below.

March 29-30th: Transition days for teacher preparation. There is no in-person school these days. Tier 1 childcare is available at Lincoln Park Middle School only. Care is available for qualifying Ordean East and Lincoln Park students in 6-7th grade (ages 12 and under) from 8:30am - 3:15pm. Busing is available through childcare.

March 31st - Distance learning day for all students. Tier 1 childcare will be available for those that qualify from 8:30am - 3:15pm.

April 1st: First official day of full in-person schooling. Childcare will ONLY be available on Wednesdays moving forward.

April 7th - Start of Wednesday Care ONLY:

Hours of Tier 1 Care will be 9:30am - 3:15pm. Please note the change in start time. Care will be offered during regular school hours, but there will be no before and after school KEY Zone care option.

● Busing is available. If your student is currently set up for childcare busing, they will be set up for Wednesday busing and you will be notified of change in times. If your student needs busing set up to or from Lincoln Park Middle School on Wednesdays, please call the Community Ed. office at 218-336-8760.

● Breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided at Tier 1 Care.

As always, there are often changes to these plans. ISD709 is working with the MN Department of Education and we will update you if we hear of any changes to childcare plans. Please contact the Community Ed. office at 218-336-8760 with any questions.

Kate Corbett

K.E.Y. Zone/Tier 1 Care Site Coordinator

218-336-8880 option 1, school ext 2436 (Lincoln)

218-336-8900 ext.3104 (Laura MacArthur) kathrin.corbett@isd709.org

Sources of Wellness: Time Management

With the return of secondary students to school four days per week, good time management will contribute to student success in and out of the classroom. It is also a good idea to start teaching kids young the importance of effective time management skills. We will continue to share conversation starters, activities and relevant links bi-weekly. If you have ideas about topics to include please email Jacob Laurent at jacob.laurent@isd709.org

Conversation Starters:

  • How can I plan my schedule so that I have ample time to do my school work and fit in all of my activities such as co-curriculars and a job?

  • What are some factors that lead to procrastination or putting off of responsibilities? What are some actionable steps to prevent procrastination?

  • When are you most productive during the day, morning, afternoon or evening?


  • Create a Family Calendar Together

  • Keep a 24 hour time log writing down everything you do in that time period. What this teaches us is that our perception of time can be very different from the actual passage of time. Certain tasks may take us far longer than we think they do, which can derail our whole schedule.

  • Create a to-do list for each day. Prioritize the list and cross off each item as you complete it. Do this for one week and ask yourself if your time management improved. If it did, you have a new skill!


8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time

Develop Your Student's Time Management Skills

The Age-by-Age Guide to Teaching Kids Time Management

We're Hiring!

Clerical, paraprofessional, transportation, substitutes - check online for details and other job opportunities!


In The News

WDIO-TV10: Members of the Denfeld Boys Hockey Team turned out in support of their manager, Carson Schulte, at Essentia Health. ."I'm trying not to tear up, it is incredible to know how much love and support he has from his school and the community and everybody. This is a very gratifying day to be sure," John Schulte said.

Photo: WDIO TV

#Inspire709 #HunterPride


Minnesota Reformer: Katie Giizhiganangikwe Danielson, Families in Transition Coordinator, talks about student and family homelessness during the pandemic.

Photo: Minnesota Reformer


Duluth Boys Swim Team, State Success

The Duluth Boys Swim team capped off its second consecutive section 7AA championship season with a 15th-place finish at the state swim meet, out of 40+ teams.

  • Grant Wodny finished 4th and 3rd respectively in the 200 free and 500 free, each of which set new school records.
  • Denfeld Senior Joe Rudd finished in 11th and 7th place respectively, in the 100 fly and 100 breast stroke, the latter earning All-American consideration. Joe set new school records this year in both events.
  • The 200 free relay team of Ezra Schomberg (SR), KJ Pry (JR), Dylan Manchester (SO) and Wodny finished in 14th place.
  • The 400 Free Relay team of Wodny, Schomberg, Manchester and Rudd finished in 18th place.
Congratulations, Duluth Boys Swim!

Thank you, Cliff Knettel, for the photo and information.




State Bound Duluth East Boys Basketball

Congratulations to Section 7AAA Boys Basketball Champions Duluth East! It's the Hounds first section title since 2012 and the first for head coach Rhett McDonald. Final score, Duluth East 74, Coon Rapids 60, Duluth East advances to the Class 4A state tournament.



Award-Winning Lester Park Robotics

The Lester Park Spaceotics? FIRST Lego league team had a great time participating in the MN State FLL competition. The Spaceotics? team consists of 5th & 4th graders from Lester Park: Norah Hall, Cora Bruno, Anum Mujteba, Anja Harju, and Connor Mulcahy. Their LEGO robot was the top performing robot of the competition, scoring 490 points! The team came away with two awards, 1st Place for Robot Performance and 2nd Place for Creative Presentation.



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