One Local Group Opposes Duluth School District’s Current Plans
With the first week of school coming to a close in Duluth, one local group of parents and students is advocating for a different model of learning, and is pushing back against the district's current standards.
DULUTH, Minn. – With the first week of school coming to a close in Duluth, one local group of parents and students is advocating for a different model of learning, and is pushing back against the district’s current standards.
With over 800 members, Kids FIRST! 709 is made up of both parents and students who are asking the district to reevaluate their plans.
“It’s a way that many people learn,” said David Chura, an organizer of Kids FIRST! 709 and a local parent. “You know, we know that people learn in many different ways so some are learners by reading, some by hearing, some by doing.”
The group, which has members representing schools from both east and west Duluth, is asking for the implementation of hybrid learning for all district students that follow state guidelines.
This week, all students started working virtually, but students in elementary schools will begin hybrid learning September 21st while middle and high school students will continue to distance learn the entire first quarter.
The group is also seeking a more “defined plan for learning,” which includes a description of how learning will be assessed and how grades will be given.
“Parents in this district are looking around us and seeing other districts moving more quickly and to be honest, parents are envious of the options that neighboring districts are providing and our kids are frustrated,” said Chura.
In response, the superintendent from the district says that the current plans are influenced by several factors, including the rates of COVID illness for local and county numbers, along with criteria for the district including how to best serve students.
He also stated that it would be difficult to have different modes of learning switching from week to week. The district wants to create consistency for both students and parents.
“We all want to be face to face,” said John Magas, the superintendent of Duluth Schools. “We wish we were at a place where we could have everybody face to face all day every day. That is something that we all hope for and make sure that we return to that as soon as it’s possible as soon as it’s safe.”
Magas adds they are willing to have discussion with the group.
“I think it’s important for us to be open, to be transparent, and have thoughtful conversation. We have multiple perspectives and multiple viewpoints that we have to consider,” said Magas.
And it should be noted, elementary families can opt for full-time distance learning for their students instead of hybrid.