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Duluth leaders provide update about distance learning

Updated: April 01, 2020 06:45 PM

It feels like a lifetime ago, when kids were roaming the halls of their schools. But for most, it was two weeks ago, on March 17th.

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So much has changed since then. But one thing hasn't. The love for the kids. "The first thing I'd say is that we miss them terribly," said Beth Shermoen, principal at Piedmont Elementary. 

This is orientation week. Think about it like the first week of school. But this time, it's about connecting with the thousands of families who make up the district. Each teacher is reaching out to their students.

"Fortunately, out of the 1100 students at Ordean East, we are down to six today that we are still working on making that connection with," shared Gina Kleive, principal at Ordean East Middle School.

She and other principals have high praise for the para-professionals and other staff who continue to report to work to help with things like food delivery and cleaning.

At the high schools, many questions and concerns about prom and graduation. "We want them to know we are just as worried about those things as they are," Danette Seboe told us. She's the principal at East. "We want to reassure them that we are working on ways to do all of these things with them. We've been in contact with the DECC about back-up dates into July for grduation, we intend to have a graduation at some point."

As for the learning, keep it simple. Kids kindergarten through 5th grade should be doing about 6 hours of week. The older kids, 6th-12th grade, about 10-12 hours a week. The advice is to do it when you can or when they can. It's flexible.

The high schools are working with their upperclassmen who are taking AP classes and College in the Schools, to make sure things get taken care of.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth weighed in. "Continue the learning and be supportive, and be a family during this too," he said. They know that the most important thing right now is taking care of yourselves.

Together, you can giggle about Google classroom. "I saw a post today, if you were able to sit in a bathtub, filled with candy, what would the candy be? And the conversation evolved. A simple, silly question turned into a lot of fun," Shermoen shared.

"At the end of the day, what we want to say that we have done well, is stay connected," Seboe added.

For more details about distance learning in Duluth: https://www.isd709.org/updates/learning-center

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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