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ISD 709 Fall Planning

We appreciate the help and support of our staff, students and families as we address this continually evolving situation.  We’ll continue to communicate as often as possible through a variety of venues, including this web page.  

2020 Return to Learn: Student Registration Form

Please Complete the 2020 Return to Learn Student Registration Form For Each Student As Soon As Possible!

All Duluth Public Schools families are asked to complete this back to school form for each student to inform local planning. It will help staff prepare for everyone's safety, health and educational support. This data will help staff buildings, distribute technology, plan transportation, classroom schedules and much more.  

This form is for students grades K - 12+:

Click Here To Begin

This form is for preschool children Birth to Age 5:

Click Here to Begin

Thank you for submitting the form(s) as soon as possible, we appreciate your patience and support as we plan for the new school year.

Duluth Public Schools Planning Will Focus on Elementary, Middle and High School Hybrid to Start School Year

   During a special meeting held August 6, the Duluth School Board and community received an update on planning for the beginning of the school year. Information included:

  • New local COVID data, which shows a numbers increase
  • Presentation from St. Louis County Public Health
  • Feedback received from teachers, staff and families
  • Meetings held with principals and teachers
  • Meetings held with district department and program heads

   Participants included Amy Westerbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Division Director; Ethan Fisher, President of the Duluth Federation of Teachers; Duluth Principals Danette Seboe, Brian Kazmierczak, Nathan Glockle, Jim Erickson, department and program heads and others.

  The Board approved planning for a hybrid model for elementary, middle and high schools for the beginning of the school year. The hybrid model combines part-time in person and enhanced distance learning, meaning fewer students on buses and in schools.  Families can choose all enhanced distance learning for their students instead of hybrid if they wish. 

  To ensure students are ready to take part in the hybrid model, planning includes having students spend the first nine days of school in enhanced distance learning as they take part in welcome activities with their teachers and fellow students, train on Canvas and SeeSaw digital classroom platforms, COVID safety protocols, learn internet safety strategies, expectations and other preparatory activities.

   The district will continue to monitor local COVID level updates and be prepared to switch models during the year should numbers significantly increase or decrease.  

   “We encourage everyone in our Duluth community to work together to decrease COVID numbers so children have an opportunity to go to school in person, full time, as soon as possible. That’s best for students educationally,” said Superintendent Magas.

   Duluth schools are preparing to be flexible for whatever situation may arise.  It’s a big job for everyone, families included, and we appreciate all the work being done by our teachers, principals, department heads and staff.

   We also understand the need for families and staff to know what to expect and to have as much information as possible, as soon as possible. 

   “Our principals and departments are working in consultation with teacher leaders regarding the school day when students are in the school building and when they’re learning at home,” said Superintendent Magas.  “We’ll continue to update staff and families regularly with that information, we appreciate their patience and support.”

   Duluth families are being asked to complete a back to school form to help inform planning. They’ll be asked about intent to participate in hybrid or enhanced distance learning, use of district transportation and signing up to receive technology support, among others. 

   It’s important that every family complete the form for each student.  This is data that will help staff buildings, distribute technology, plan transportation and much more.

   The form will be available at ISD709.org/ReturnToLearn beginning no later than August 10.  Hard copies will be available at summer meal sites.  School and district staff will be reaching out to families who may not have access to the survey online.

 

Three Learning Models Overview:

In-Person Learning
   All students can choose to attend school in-person. Families who do not wish to send their child to in-person learning can choose distance learning. Schools and school buses create as much space between people as practical and take steps to ensure health and safety. They follow good hygiene practices like frequent hand washing, symptom checks and frequent cleaning and sanitizing of spaces. 
   Students remain in their classrooms, rather than changing groups and classes, with art & music brought in.  Activities and extracurricular programming should continue to follow state guidelines.
Distance Learning 2.0 
   Distance learning means students use a digital platform to learn from home.  In Duluth, planning involves moving beyond the emergency distance learning provided in the spring. 
   Students and teachers will use a platform called Seesaw at the elementary level and a platform called Canvas at the middle and high school level. Families will be provided with an orientation to the platforms and other information to help support student learning at home. Professional development for teachers is being provided prior to and as the school year begins.
   The goal is to create a system that provides high quality, engaging learning, tailored to individual student needs.  Interacting with teachers and classmates is important, especially at the elementary level.
   Investments are being made to have more devices available for students who need them.  The district is also working to provide internet accessibility through hotspots to families that currently do not have reliable internet service.  There will be an improved learning platform for students and more teacher-led virtual instruction.
Hybrid Learning
   In this model, schools must limit the overall number of people in school facilities and on transportation vehicles to a maximum of 50% capacity. To provide more room in school buildings for social distancing, students are divided into groups and attend school in-person part time. This approach allows schools to implement social distancing practices and support cleaning and sanitizing.
   Students are divided into groups and attend school in-person part time. Under current planning, elementary students could attend in-person learning 2 days per week and take part in distance learning 3 days per week.  Middle and high school students could attend in-person learning 1 day per week and take part in distance learning 4 days per week. Families who do not wish to send their child to in-person learning can choose distance learning.
 

Important Links

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Email: covidquestions@ISD709.org

Resources: MN Department of Health

COVID-19 Hotline: Questions about COVID-19? Call the MDH COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention