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Articles from May 2022

Fulton Elementary School Exterior

Fulton Elementary School to Host Open House Celebrating School’s Legacy, May 22

Fulton Elementary School and the Fulton Family Group will host an open house celebrating the legacy of the school on Sunday, May 22, from 3-4:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend. Fulton will close and be decommissioned as a school in the Dubuque Community School District at the conclusion of the school year.

At the open house, school staff and members of the Fulton Family Group will be on hand and self-guided tours will be available. Concessions available for purchase, old Fulton yearbooks, commemorative t-shirts and Fulton memorabilia will be able for purchase (cash only).

There will also be an opportunity for attendees to sign a commemorative item that will be placed in a Fulton time capsule. During the open house, the school’s former technology coach Jeff Dyer will be on hand showing Fulton Films made with Fulton students over the years.

In 1856, the Dubuque Community School District constructed Couler Avenue School on the corner of Couler Avenue and Diagonal Streets in Dubuque. In 1889, the building was renamed Fulton School at a time when the school board elected to name schools after famous Americans. The building is named after Robert Fulton, who was inventor of the steamboat as well as an artist and engineer. In 1891, an addition to the school was added at that original site.

In 1939, the school board called for a special election to build four new district schools to replace existing ones, including Fulton. A new Fulton School, built in its current location at a cost of $212,763.73, was accepted by the board and dedicated in 1941. In 1944, a nursery school and childcare center were opened at Fulton School to supplement the nursery school in operation in other district schools. Today, Fulton serves approximately 240 students in grades PreK-5.

Update on High School Reading List Review

Over the weekend, a media story ran regarding the district’s work to review and update required reading lists at the high school level. The story ran while in the middle of the process, which has and will include feedback from teachers, curriculum staff, administrators, students and the Board.

While no final decision has been reached, we would like to provide additional context given information currently circulating.

Early in the review process concerns from students were raised about three books: “Of Mice and Men,” “Absolutely True Stories of a Part-Time Indian,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In particular, the books contain use of the N-word, and as part of instruction are regularly read aloud in classrooms. Students from all racial groups have expressed disturbing and distressing experiences in classes covering these books. In fact, some students report not attending classes on days the books are read aloud in order to evade the classroom experience that accompanies the text.

Moving forward, additional feedback is being gathered about both texts being used in coursework and the instructional delivery methods by which course content is delivered. The goal is to create a learning environment that is challenging and complex, engaging and thought-provoking, classic and contemporary – all while doing everything in our power to eliminate instances in which students feel that marginalization is occurring, which has been stated in feedback received from students about lessons including these books. This work will continue with those goals in mind.

There has never been a conversation about banning books. Banning books suggests efforts to restrict access to works of literature, which will not happen. Whether or not a book remains in the curriculum, each book in question would remain in school libraries and accessible to students.

News advocacy alert featured image

Advocacy Alert: School Vouchers are Wrong for Iowa

The Iowa Legislature is currently debating proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Iowa (being referred to in the bill as Student First Scholarships).

If passed, this fund would siphon dollars from the state’s already underfunded public schools and would further create a system in which the playing field is not level for all PreK-12 educational institutions.

The Dubuque Community School District strongly opposes this legislation and we hope you will consider advocating in opposition to it as well. The School Board also voted in April to pass a resolution opposing the creation of vouchers in the state.

KEY TALKING POINTS

  • Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars.
  • Parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.
  • Use taxpayer dollars for public schools, period. The public’s investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socio-economic status and disability. These same expectations do not exist for private educational institutions in our state.
  • Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and are transparent with all expenditures and decision-making. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.
  • A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program: This voucher program may start small, but as we’ve seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR

The following legislators represent areas served by the Dubuque Community School District. For a complete directory of legislators, view the FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR tool on the Iowa Legislature website.

You can also register your opposition with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.