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General

A Message from the District and the Dubuque Police Department

There continues to be no words of comfort that can be found in the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragic, senseless school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The Dubuque Community School District and the Dubuque Police Department share deeply in grief with the families and staff of Robb Elementary School, as well as the entire Uvalde community, during these unfathomable days.

As we learn more about the events that occurred, it is natural to wonder how Dubuque is prepared to respond to a tragic incident like this one.

Most important among our efforts is the incredibly strong relationship between the district, law enforcement, and emergency management partners preparing jointly to ensure the fastest, most effective response should an emergency occur. The district, in consultation with these partners, incorporates a multi-layered approach to safety which includes preventative physical safety measures that accompany response protocols.

Throughout the year, the Dubuque Police Department (including school resource officers, patrol officers and tactical response officers) regularly conducts rapid deployment training in school buildings after hours. This not only helps improve police response efforts, but also helps ensure familiarity with district schools.

Jointly, we will continue to review and enhance our safety protocols based on best-practice approaches and the lessons learned following any tragic event like this.

Moving toward the close of the school year, we remain vigilant in our daily work to provide the safest environment possible for our students, and we will continue to do so in the future.

Sincerely,

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent, Dubuque Community Schools

Jeremy Jensen
Chief, Dubuque Police Department

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Graduation 2022 Reminders

We are excited to celebrate with the Class of 2022 at graduation Saturday, May 28!

Here are a few important reminders in advance of the day:

  • Hempstead High School’s ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. (with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.)
  • Dubuque Senior High School’s ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. (with doors opening at 2:30 p.m.)

GRADUATES should enter Dalzell Field through the South Entrance near the locker rooms. They will be ushered to their seat on the field, which will be marked with their name.

GUESTS may enter Dalzell Field through the East, West and Visitor Gates.

PARKING

  • Parking will be available in Dubuque Senior High School parking lots.
  • Additional parking will be available in Clarke University parking lots – thanks to Clarke for allowing us to use these lots.
  • Please DO NOT park in St. Anthony’s parking lots as it interferes with funeral and church services.

SEATING

  • Seating will be available in the home and visitor sections
  • Accessible seating is available near the rails on the mezzanine.

PHOTOGRAPHY

  • A photography area to capture a photo of your graduate crossing the stage will be available on the field level. We ask that you exit the area once you take a photo of your graduate in order to ensure that everyone is able to get a photo.
  • Lifetouch Photography will be taking photos of each graduate, which will be available for purchase. You will receive ordering information and proofs via email within a few weeks after the ceremony.

LIVE STREAMING

The graduation ceremony will be live streamed to allow for those unable to attend to watch the ceremony.

View the Graduation Live Streams

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.

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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.

ISPRA Awards 2022

Dubuque Community School District Receives State Communication Awards

The Dubuque Community School District was recently recognized for its communication efforts in the 2022 Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) Communication Contest, honoring outstanding school communication throughout the state.

Iowa School Public Relations Association Logo

The district received 13 awards in the contest, with each entry evaluated and scored independently by school communication professionals in other state chapters of the National School Public Relations Association. Based on a scoring rubric, winning entries can receive (from lowest to highest honors) an Award of Merit, an Award of Excellence, or a Blue and Gold Award, given to entries recognized as best in the state for receiving the top overall score of 5 out of 5.

The district was honored with the following:

BLUE AND GOLD AWARDS

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

“As a district, we believe that having outstanding schools relies on having an engaged, informed community,” said Mike Cyze, chief communication officer. “We work hard to proactively and transparently communicate to those we serve and we are pleased to be recognized for our work in doing so.”

New High School Athletics Live Streaming Option!

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce a new live-streaming service that will give families, friends and supporters the chance to view high school athletic contests online from anywhere.

The service will add four district facilities to the National Federation of State High School Association streaming network with the addition of Pixellot live stream cameras in the following facilities: Dalzell Field and Nora Gymnasium at Dubuque Senior High School and the District Aquatic Center and Moody Gymnasium at Hempstead High School.

Through this enhancement, viewers will be able to follow sophomore- and varsity-level competitions in these locations beginning this winter sports season.

Subscriptions to the NFHS Network are available for $10.99/month or $69.99 each year, and are made directly through the NFHS website.

SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Subscriptions include both live competitions and on-demand viewing of past events for contests played at the district’s four sites, as well as at any other high school across the state and country that is part of the NFHS Network.

We are excited to provide this opportunity to access live-streamed events in addition to watching our athletic competitions in person. Thank you for your continued support of the Dubuque Senior Rams and the Hempstead Mustangs!

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Thank You!

The following message was shared with families and staff on June 4, 2021 — the last day of the 2020-2021 school year…

Dear Dubuque Schools Family,

In August, we began this school year amidst great uncertainty.

Today, we join together as students, families, staff and many community partners to celebrate the end of this school year.

We made it — and we made it together.

Thank you for consistently exhibiting amazing flexibility, patience, strength and positivity through what have been some of the most challenging times in recent history.

As we conclude the school year, prepare for summer learning opportunities, and look ahead to next year, I hope you take a moment to recognize the many bright spots in this challenging year.

  • Students received high-quality learning with consistency and continuity.
  • Students participated in extracurricular activities and strengthened connections with their schools and community.
  • Together, we mitigated COVID-19 and maintained low case counts in schools.
  • Students received access to food and nutrition services to keep them healthy.

This year hasn’t been perfect. The path forward wasn’t always clear or easy, and yet collectively, we persevered.

Most importantly, we always put what’s best for students and staff at the forefront of our decision making.

Our students and community have been impacted by this pandemic and we will continue to focus our efforts on supporting students’ unfinished learning and social emotional needs as we move forward.

As COVID-19 numbers in our community continue to decrease, we look forward to a much more normal school year next year.

For today, though, let’s take a step back and recognize how much we’ve accomplished this year.

We wish you all the best this summer and we thank you for entrusting your students to us. We look forward to welcoming them back in August.

Sincerely,
Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

Thank You!

Dubuque Community School District Receives State Communication Awards

The Dubuque Community School District was recently recognized for its communication efforts at the 2021 Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) Communication Contest, honoring outstanding school communication throughout the state.

Iowa School Public Relations Association Logo

The district received 14 awards in the contest, with each entry evaluated and scored independently by school communication professionals in the Wisconsin and California. Based on a scoring rubric, winning entries can receive (from lowest to highest honors) an Award of Merit, an Award of Excellence, or a Blue and Gold Award, given to entries recognized as best in the state for receiving the top overall score of 5 out of 5.

The district was honored with the following:

BLUE AND GOLD AWARDS

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

AWARD OF MERIT

“As a district, we believe that having outstanding schools relies on having an engaged, informed community,” said Mike Cyze, chief communication officer. “We work hard to proactively and transparently communicate to those we serve and we are pleased to be recognized for our work in doing so.”