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Articles from February 2023

Study Recommends Consolidation of District Middle Schools to Washington Site

A study conducted to determine next steps in the Dubuque Community School District moving from three middle schools to two has concluded with a recommendation from the planning team that facilities are expanded or reconstructed facilities on the Washington Middle School Site.

The recommendation was presented at the facilities/support services committee meeting on February 6 and will also be presented to the full board at its February 13 meeting. In April, the School Board voted to approve a goal of moving to a two middle school model by fall 2026, with a focus on creating feeder schools to the district’s two high schools.

Consolidation into two middle schools would ensure that all district middle school students have access to similar, high-quality learning spaces, while also resulting in a reduction of approximately $3.4 million annually from the district’s operating budget.

“As we moved through the process, maintaining a school facility at the Washington Middle School site continued to emerge as the strongest, most efficient option,” said Laura Peterson, an architect with INVISION. “The site is a cornerstone of the community given its central location and high visibility. The site also provides numerous options for expansion to develop a larger school that focuses on providing high-quality modern learning spaces for students.”

The study, led by Iowa-based INVISION Architecture, included baseline data collection and analysis of the district’s current middle schools, benchmarking against best practices, analysis of potential consolidation locations, and conceptual work to illustrate how a school could be situation on the site. Feedback was sought throughout the study process from various district stakeholder groups and a community task force including administrators, parents, teachers and community members moved in-depth through the process as it unfolded.

At the committee meeting, Tim Oswald from Piper Sandler also presented information to the Board related to funding available to the district through the Securing an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund as well as other potential funding sources, including possible efforts to obtain a general obligation bond through a ballot issue. Expansion or reconstruction of the school is estimated to cost between $65 million and $120 million depending on the scenario selected. Depending on the agreed upon scope, a general obligation bond could also allow the district to more quickly address additional infrastructure needs, such as climate control across all district facilities.

“This recommendation is the first step in charting the future of the district, both in providing high-quality learning spaces to all off our students while also increasing efficiency across the district,” said Amy Hawkins, superintendent of schools. “We look forward to future discussion with the Board to determine our path forward.”

Jorgenson Named Next Hempstead High School Principal

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Julia Jorgenson as the new principal of Hempstead High School, pending approval by the Board of Education at its March meeting.

Jorgenson, who currently serves as assistant principal/registrar at Hempstead will succeed Lee Kolker, who will retire at the conclusion of the school year. When she assumes the position on July 1, Jorgenson will be the first woman to serve in this role in the history of Hempstead High School.

Julia Jorgenson

Julia Jorgenson

As principal of Hempstead, Jorgenson will be responsible for the strategic and day-to-day operations of the school, which serves approximately 1,600 students and has 200 professional and support staff.

“Julia is a well-respected leader who has built a strong network of relationships with staff and students at Hempstead,” said Superintendent Amy Hawkins. “This, combined with her strong instructional, communication and collaboration skills, make her an ideal fit to lead Hempstead into the future.”

Jorgenson currently serves as assistant principal/registrar at Hempstead, overseeing delivery of the school’s academic programming in addition to a wide range of administrative responsibilities including staff evaluation.

Prior to being named assistant principal, Jorgenson served as a mathematics teacher at Dubuque Senior High School since 2007, where she also served in a leadership role as instructional coach since 2014. She was mathematics department chair at Dubuque Senior from 2009-2014 and a mathematics teacher at Central Alternative High School from 2002-2007.

Jorgenson holds a bachelor of science degree with education certification from the University of Iowa as well as a master of arts in educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa. She is a member of School Administrators of Iowa.

Dubuque Community School District’s Energy Conservation Success Earns EPA ENERGY STAR Certification

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announced that 12 district buildings have earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Certification. This recognition is presented to the most energy efficient buildings in the country.

Board President Kate Parks and Superintendent Amy Hawkins are presented with the district's Energy Star recognition from Abbi Hammann and Jesse Coulter from Cenergistic

Board President Kate Parks and Superintendent Amy Hawkins are presented with the district’s Energy Star recognition from Abbi Hammann and Jesse Coulter from Cenergistic.

“ENERGY STAR recognition underscores our district’s commitment to energy efficiency,” said Dubuque Community School District Superintendent Amy Hawkins. “Our energy conservation efforts are saving taxpayer dollars while also helping protect the local environment and maintaining healthy, comfortable learning spaces for students and staff.”

To earn ENERGY STAR Certification, buildings must rate in the top 25 percent nationwide for energy efficiency and meet ventilation standards. Dubuque Community Schools has the 4th most ENERGY STAR certified K12 buildings of any school district in Iowa.

Dubuque Community School District buildings earning ENERGY STAR Certification include:

  • Audubon Elementary School
  • Carver Elementary School
  • Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Hempstead High School
  • Irving Elementary School
  • Kennedy Elementary School
  • Marshall Elementary School
  • Prescott Elementary School
  • Roosevelt Middle School
  • Sageville Elementary School
  • Senior High School
  • Table Mound Elementary School.

The cost of utilities is one of the largest operations budget line-item for Dubuque Community School District, and the prices for electricity, natural gas, water, and sewage have been steadily increasing. To combat these rising energy and utility costs, Dubuque Community School District entered into a partnership with Cenergistic to implement a comprehensive organizational behavior-driven energy conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses. Cenergistic’s Energy Specialist Abbi Hammann ensures the conservation program reduces energy consumption, helping the district save valuable resources that can be used elsewhere.

Since partnering in 2019 with Cenergistic on a comprehensive energy conservation program, the district has avoided utility costs of nearly $1.6 million. From an environmental standpoint, this impact is the equivalent of reducing CO2 by 3,761 metric tons or planting nearly 97,000 trees in our community.