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District Adds 25 Minutes to School Day Beginning March 4

The message below was sent to district families on Wednesday, Feb. 13:

Dear Families,

To the best of my knowledge, today’s school cancellation set the record for the most snow days in one school year. More significantly, these days have come in an unrelenting, continuous stretch of weather that seems to never end.

Please know that we understand the significant impact these schedule changes place on families and we greatly appreciate the accommodations you have made to adjust your family’s schedule.

We certainly share your frustration, but assure you that our ability to safely get students to and from school is our foremost concern. Student safety is the guiding factor in any decision to delay, cancel or release early.

As we look forward, we have two priorities:

  • First, and most important, to ensure that any added student instructional time maximizes student learning to the fullest extent possible.
  • Second, to ensure that we meet the required 1,080 hours of instruction required by Iowa Code.

TO ACHIEVE THIS, WE WILL ADD 25 MINUTES TO THE END OF EACH SCHOOL DAY BEGINNING ON MONDAY, MARCH 4. This additional time will be fully dedicated to academic instruction and content. A list of adjusted end times for each school is below this letter for your convenience. With the change, the last day of school will remain at Friday, June 7.

Please know that we have spent many hours exploring possible options and the impact those options place on families and our community as a whole.

The additional minutes will move us back to positive hours and provide some extra time to accommodate additional weather-related changes. While it has been suggested that we begin by eliminating Friday-morning late arrivals, doing so without adding time to the school day will still not provide enough hours to meet the state requirement. Should weather over the next six weeks deplete the bank of hours generated by adding time to the school day, we will revisit making adjustments to the Friday schedule.

There have been some questions about spring break and the potential of using these days to make up snow days. With spring break on the schedule for the past two years, many families and employers throughout the community have already made travel plans or other schedule adjustments during that week. It would also be impossible to have the 1,800 staff members in place needed to operate our schools.

We have also received a number of questions about conducting e-learning days of instruction. Iowa Code does not allow for virtual-learning days to be counted as required instructional time.

Thank you again for your flexibility and patience during this extreme winter. All of us are eager to have our students return to school.

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

Audubon 3:35 p.m.
Bryant 3:25 p.m.
Carver 3:55 p.m.
Eisenhower 3:40 p.m.
Fulton 3:45 p.m.
Hoover 3:50 p.m.
Irving 3:40 p.m.
Kennedy 3:45 p.m.
Lincoln 3:10 p.m.
Marshall 3:45 p.m.
Prescott 3:55 p.m.
Sageville 3:55 p.m.
Table Mound 3:55 p.m.
Jefferson 2:55 p.m.
Roosevelt 2:55 p.m.
Washington 2:55 p.m.
Hempstead 2:45 p.m.
Senior 2:45 p.m.
Alta Vista  3:05 p.m.


February 1 Added as School Day

UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 1, will now be a SCHOOL DAY FOR STUDENTS and the professional learning day for staff is cancelled. Read the full message below.

Dear DCSD Families,

First and foremost, thank you for your flexibility over the past week with weather-related schedule changes. Mother Nature has certainly not been on our side. Weather decisions are among the hardest to make and I assure you that we make them with the safety of our students as our primary concern.

In an average year, we have approximately four cancellations (which is the point we are at as of today). This understandably seems like more than normal this year given the fact that they have all occurred extremely close together.

Looking ahead to another week of bumpy weather, I want to let you know that we are committed to having the last day of school no later than Friday, June 7.

As one step in helping us achieve this, and to get students back to learning as much as possible, we are cancelling the professional learning day on Friday, February 1. STUDENTS WILL NOW ATTEND SCHOOL ON FRIDAY, FEB. 1, OPERATING ON NORMAL FRIDAY MORNING START TIMES.

We will continue to monitor the hours remaining in the year to ensure that we have the 1,080 required. If additional hours are needed, we will explore gaining them back through elimination of some Friday morning late arrivals and will share that information accordingly.

Again, please know of our appreciation for the adjustments you have made to your schedules in order to accommodate the unusually severe stretch of winter weather.


Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

Winter Storm Postpones District Events, Jan. 18

Due to the approaching winter storm, the following events and activities in the Dubuque Community School District have been postponed for today, Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19.

  • The District Speech Competition scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, has been postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Cascade High School.
  • Special Olympics competition scheduled for Saturday in Eldridge has been postponed.
  • Hempstead High School and Dubuque Senior High School wrestling scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.
  • All ninth-grade basketball schedule for Saturday, Jan. 19, has been postponed.
  • The varsity girls and boys basketball games between Hempstead High School and Dubuque Senior High School have been postponed. The girls game will be made up on Monday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. at Hempstead. The boys game will be made up on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. at Hempstead.
  • Bowling for both Hempstead High School and Dubuque Senior High School is postponed. The make-up date is to be determined.
  • MVC men’s swimming scheduled for tomorrow at Linn-Mar has been postponed and rescheduled to Monday, Jan. 21, at 4 p.m. at the Linn-Mar Pool.
  • All middle school events are postponed, including practices.

UPDATE: Two-Hour Delay TODAY, Jan. 14


The Dubuque Community School District is thankful for the continuous support of the Dubuque Police Department, which has been actively involved in investigating the social media threat to Jefferson Middle School that surfaced late last night. During the investigation, we also learned that at least one message referenced the Alta Vista Campus.

Based on the police investigation that has continued during the overnight hours, the threats are believed to be copycat messages of a threat to another area school last night. All leads point to the messages being non-credible, with no danger to students or staff.

Following today’s two-hour delay, the remainder of the school day will be held as scheduled. Out of an abundance of caution, there will be additional police presence at Jefferson Middle School and the Alta Vista Campus throughout the day.

Thank you for your flexibility today and for your continued dedication to the safety of our students.


The Dubuque Community School District will operate on a two-hour delay TODAY, Monday, Jan. 14, at ALL DISTRICT SCHOOLS to allow for additional time to investigate a social media threat to Jefferson Middle School. 

All district-run morning preschool is canceled.

Late last night, multiple students reported threats made on social media specific to Jefferson Middle School today. The Dubuque Police Department immediately began investigating and has been doing so through the night.

As a district, we take any potential threat to our schools seriously. In this case, we believe it is the most appropriate action to delay this morning to allow the police additional time to investigate.

We will continue to investigate this situation with the Dubuque Police Department until it is resolved. If and when the source of the threat is determined, the district will pursue further action on the individual responsible to the fullest extent possible.

The Physics of Friction

This hands-on learning project was a little more geared toward students’ feet! Check out how a Hempstead High School physics class recently learned more about friction through designing their own shoe tread.

The Physics of Friction

Proposed 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 School Calendars Released

The Dubuque Community School District has released draft calendars for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year. Online feedback about the calendar will be accepted using the form below through Sunday, Jan. 6, 2018. The district Board of Education will host a public hearing about the calendar on Monday, January 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the Forum, 2300 Chaney Road.

2019-2020 Proposed Calendar

2020-2021 Proposed Calendar

The feedback period for these draft calendars as now ended.

Eisenhower Elementary School to Host 50th Anniversary Celebration, Nov. 16

Eisenhower Elementary School Celebrates 50 Years

Eisenhower Elementary School will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s opening at a special assembly on Friday, Nov. 16. A celebratory program will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium, with tours and socializing following. Former Eisenhower students and staff, as well as any member of the community, are invited to attend.

The program will feature guest speakers, viewing of a time capsule put together many years ago, and a performance by the Eisenhower choir. Following the program, tours of the building will be offered until 3 p.m.

Read More about “Eisenhower Elementary School to Host 50th Anniversary Celebration, Nov. 16”

Roosevelt Teacher Named 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year

Christopher Burke

Chris Burke

Christopher Burke, an 11-year teaching veteran who uses real-world examples to make his mathematics lessons come alive, is the Iowa Department of Education’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today at Dubuque’s Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School.

“Chris Burke exemplifies the great teaching that is taking place in Iowa schools,” said Gov. Reynolds. “His passion for inspiring students to learn math in a real-world context and his enthusiasm for serving as a coach outside the school day underscore the extraordinary commitment of educators in communities across our state.”

Burke, 35, who is also a teacher leader at the middle school, is one of many educators in his family, including his wife, mother and sister. His wife, Betsy, also teaches at Roosevelt.

In the program’s 60-year history, this is the first time a Dubuque teacher has received the Teacher of the Year award.
Read More about “Roosevelt Teacher Named 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year”