Skip to main content

What's New at Dubuque Community Schools

Music notes

District Recognized Among 2023 ‘Best Communities for Music Education’

The Dubuque Community School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

2023 Best Communities for Music Education (logo)This is the seventh consecutive year the district has received the honor.

Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Music teachers in the district are congratulated by representatives of West Music on the Best Communities for Music Education Award from the NAMM Foundation

Music teachers in the district are congratulated on the Best Communities for Music Education Award from the NAMM Foundation

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well.

In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.


Summer 2023 No-Cost Meal Options

The Dubuque Community School District will participate in the USDA Summer Food Service Program to provide no-cost meals to students weekdays from July 5-28, coinciding with the district’s Summer Academy Program.

The district will provide no-cost breakfast and lunch to any child 18 years old or under, with no enrollment necessary. No infant formula or infant food will be served. Meals served on site.

Summer Academy meal locations and times are as follows:

Audubon Elementary School
Prescott Elementary School
Table Mound Elementary School
Breakfast: 7:30-8 a.m.
Lunch: 11-11:30 a.m.

Meals will also be offered throughout the summer by community agencies at a variety of locations.


USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

Acceptance and participation requirements for the Program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination
Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:

and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866)632 – 9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

2. Fax: (202)690-7442; OR
3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Iowa Non-Discrimination Statement:

“It is the policy of this CNP provider not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or religion in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code section 216.6, 216.7, and 216.9. If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by this CNP Provider, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office building, 400 E. 14th St. Des Moines, IA 50319-1004; phone number 515-281-4121, 800-457-4416; website:”

Washington Middle School Students Compete in International Geography Bee

Washington Middle School students competed in the International Geography Bee’s Online Regional Online Competition on Sunday, May 7th with students from across the country. Participants competed by their grade level in a series of buzzer-style question rounds to earn points to qualify for the finals.

Three students qualified as finalists in the Regional Bee and four students qualified for the National Bee as a result of their final score being in the top percentage of their regional bee’s participants. Three of the four students accepted their invitation to the 2023 Middle School National Championships and will be competing in Arlington, Virginia from June 1-3.

Congratulations to the following students on these achievements:

Regional Bee Participants

6th Grade

  • Anita Powers
  • Preesha Rock

7th Grade

  • Khloey Birch
  • Ian Breitsprecker
  • Jackson Burke
  • Zach Chesterman
  • Foster Del Toro
  • Lauren Krasnodemski
  • Landon Marting
  • Blake Meyer
  • Dominic Mills
  • Ethan Montes
  • Mallory Schaefer
  • Bentley Scholtes
  • Audrey Schuster
  • Lucas Smith

8th Grade

  • Grant Arling
  • Harper Canon
  • Nolan Farber
  • Jayme Miller
  • Izzy Pregler
  • Sitanshu Rock
  • Ian Sindt
  • Aaron Scheirer

Regional Bee Finalists

6th Grade

  • Preesha Rock | 4th place (tied) out of 40 participants

7th Grade

  • Zach Chesterman | 3rd place out of 53 participants

8th Grade

  • Nolan Farber | 3rd place out of 20 participants

National Bee Qualifiers

6th Grade

  • Preesha Rock | Declined invitation to the National Bee

7th Grade

  • Zach Chesterman | Accepted invitation to the National Bee

8th Grade

  • Nolan Farber | Accepted invitation to the National Bee
  • Ian Sindt | Accepted invitation to the National Bee 


Watch the 2023 Graduation Ceremonies Live: Saturday, May 27. Dubuque Senior, 10 a.m.; Hempstead, 3 p.m.

Graduation 2023 Live Stream

We are pleased to live stream the 2023 graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 27.

Live stream links will be posted on this page prior to the event.



Header art gallery 2023 05

Spring 2022-2023 Student Art Gallery Now Live!

We are pleased to present the Spring 2022-2023 K-12 Virtual Student Art Gallery, highlighting the amazing artwork of our students.

The exhibit features the ability to virtually walk through a curated gallery of work — and we hope you’ll enjoy immersing yourself in the exhibit as the vision of these talented student artists comes to life.


Dubuque Senior and Hempstead Students Qualify for State Track and Field

Students from both Dubuque Senior and Hempstead High Schools competed in the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA from May 18 – May 20th.

Congratulations to the following student qualifiers in the Class 4A categories:

Dubuque Senior High School


High Jump

  • Cambel Drapeau

1500M Run 

  • Leah Klapatauskas

3000M Run

  • Emma Chesterman
  • Leah Klapatauskas

4x800M Relay

  • Emily Gorton, Claire Hoyer, Neveah Kessler, and Leah Klapatauskas


  • Kaitlyn Miller
  • Julia Kilgore


Shot Put

  • Cohen Pfohl

100M Dash

  • Nick Lambe
  • Deyon Moore

110M Hurdles 

  • Nate Obbink

400M Hurdles 

  • Nate Obbink

Shuttle Hurdle Relay

  • Nate Obbink, Tyler McDonald, Ethan Rader, and Dylan Thul

4x100M Relay

  • Jaden Arnold, Benjamin Francis, Nick Lambe, and Deyon Moore

4x200M Relay

  • Jaden Arnold, Benjamin Francis, Nick Lambe, and Deyon Moore

800M Sprint Medley Relay

  • Jaden Arnold, Benjamin Francis, Nick Lambe, and Deyon Moore

4x400M Relay

  • Jaden Arnold
  • Charles Crow
  • Dustin Foht
  • Benjamin Francis


  • Marshawn Dukes
  • Isaac Gooch
  • Zack Heiar
  • Montrel Jones
  • Landon Kelly
  • Jackson Kieffer
  • Daylin Moore

Hempstead High School



  • Gabbi Frederick

Shot Put Wheelchair

  • Ally Darter

100M, 200M, and 400M Wheelchair

  • Ally Darter

400M Dash

  • Camdyn Kay

800M Run

  • Keelee Leitzen
  • Brooke O’Brien

1500M Run

  • Sophia Dallal
  • Keelee Letizen

3000M Run

  • Evie Henneberry

4x400M Relay

  • Isabel Brauhn, Camdyn Kay, Mylee Lange, and Maddie Leeser
    • Alternates: Piper Birkenholz, Sophia Dallal, Brooke O’Brien, and Mallory Tomkins

4x800M Relay

  • Sophia Dallal, Camdyn Kay, Keelee Leitzen, and Brooke O’Brien
    • Alternates: Isabel Brauhn, Julia Gehl, Evie Henneberry, and Mylee Lange

Distance Medley Relay

  • Keelee Leitzen, Brooke O’Brien, Ayla Osterkamp, and Mallory Tomkins
    • AlternatesAkeelah Anderson, Evie Henneberry, Camdyn Kay, and Jillian Renne 

Sprint Medley Relay

  • Akeelah Anderson, Brooke O’Brien, Ayla Osterkamp, and Mallory Tomkins
    • AlternatesIsabel Brauhn, Camdyn Kay, Maddie Leeser, and Jillian Renne


High Jump

  • Will Pitz

1600M Run

  • Caleb Kass
  • John Maloney

3200M Run

  • Caleb Kass
  • John Maloney

4x400M Relay

  • Charlie Driscoll, Will Pitz, Devin Spahn, and Joe Vize
    • AlternatesMatt Hanselman, Zack Johnson, Avery Keehner, and Jordan Plummer 

4x800M Relay 

  • Charlie Driscoll, Micah Fern, Zack Johnson, and Joe Vize
    • AlternatesBrandon Kass, Caleb Kass, Matt Hanselman, and Owen Leitzen 

Carver Elementary Robotics Team Earns Recognition in International Competition

Twenty-eight fifth graders from Carver Elementary School, calling themselves the Carver Robotics Club, participated in this year’s International Wonder League Robotics Competition in The Pioneer Cup division (nine to twelve-year-olds).

Wonder League is a growing, worldwide network of elementary coding clubs using Wonder Workshop’s all-inclusive program to inspire an early love of coding, computer science, hands-on learning, and STEM education.

Carver students met before school one day a week from October through March, under the guidance of coaches Staci Walsh and Donna Schmitt. As part of the competition, students were asked to complete five missions that involved challenges of escalating difficulties which included navigating Dash the robot on an outer space themed mat while keeping a journal of the engineering design process.

Carver had 13 teams represented in the first round of the competition. Seven of these teams advanced to participate in the Invitational Round. This round required students to design a safe travel pod and use their coding skills to program Dash to navigate through the solar system. Teams were also asked to create a 2-minute highlight video explaining the Final Mission solution. From the Invitational Round, four runner-up teams and a grand champion were selected from all the international participating teams.

Congratulations to the following students on these honors:

Pioneer Cup Runner-Up (Top 5 Internationally)

Carver Team TBC
  • Charlie Ramos
  • Ben Valentine
Image of Charlie Ramos and Ben Valentine

Pioneer Cup Runner-Up Team

Pioneer Cup Invitational Round Competitors

Team 2

  • Will Kelley
  • Ian Wagner

Team 3

  • Neal Patel
  • Owen Wagener

Team 4

  • Beckett Kraus
  • Winston Richardson 

Team 5

  • Landon Brimeyer
  • Max VanderPloeg 

Team 9

  • Alyssa Blum
  • Charlotte Kelley

Team 12

  • Aliyah Blum
  • Lauren Hunold
  • Aubrey Scardino
Image of Donna Schmitt and the Carver Elementary students that competed in the invitational round of the wonder league competition

Coach Donna Schmitt and the Pioneer Cup Invitational Round competitors from Carver Elementary

Pioneer Cup First Round Competitors

Team 6

  • Levi James
  • Jordan Noel

Team 7 

  • Angel Parra
  • Justus Riley

Team 8

  • Jackson Bartley
  • Bryce Hentges
  • Layne Massingham

Team 10

  • Jocelyn Ervolino
  • Jordyn Martin

Team 11

  • Tanner Brimeyer
  • Alaina Sutter

Team 13

  • Wesley Bobis
  • Owen Williams

Cassie McDonald Named Dubuque Schools Teacher of the Year

Dubuque Community School District Teacher of the Year Cassie McDonald (right) from Dubuque Senior High School is congratulated by Dubuque Senior Assistant Principal/Registrar Joan Schueller.

Dubuque Community School District Teacher of the Year Cassie McDonald (right) from Dubuque Senior High School is congratulated by Dubuque Senior Assistant Principal/Registrar Joan Schueller.

The Dubuque Community School District Teacher of the Year was named at the annual Educators’ Recognition Reception on May 11, hosted by the Dubuque Education Association.

Cassie McDonald, an English language learners (ELL) teacher at Dubuque Senior High School, was selected for the honor.

McDonald joined the district as a Spanish teacher at Dubuque Senior High School in 2005-2010. From 2019-2022 she also served in that role until 2022 when she taught in a dual ELL teaching role at Dubuque Senior and at the district’s Alta Vista Campus. This school year, she returned to teaching ELL full-time at Dubuque Senior.

Outside of the district, she is an English Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL) instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College, an English instructor in the online VIPKid English Program, and an independent contractor language training tutor for John Deere. She also served as a high school English teacher in Delavan, Wisconsin, from 2002-2005.

McDonald holds a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and English: Language and Secondary Education from Loras College and a master of education degree in English Language Learning from the University of North Dakota – Grand Forks.

“Cassie McDonald has built a community of caring and learning for her students that helps them gain confidence, find success and feel at home at Senior High School,” said one of McDonald’s nominators. “When most teachers are packing up and heading home for the day, Cassie can be found conducting an after-school study hall/support group for her students to give them extra care and connectedness to ensure they stay on track. She’s a hero for her students, and they would tell you as much.”

Other finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award were:

  • Ann Arnold, Alta Vista Campus
  • Emilie Foust, Table Mound Elementary School
  • Amy Freiburger, Sageville Elementary School
  • Andrea Runde, Hempstead High School
  • Lorlie Ryan, Lincoln Elementary School
  • Kristal Schaul, Kennedy Elementary School
  • Alli Steepleton, Jefferson Middle School
  • Dan Tringale, Jefferson Middle School
  • Karla Weber, Hempstead High School

Also at the event:

Project Rooted received the Friend of Education Award, presented for the organization’s efforts to provide students with access to and education about nutritious foods and fresh, local produce. This happens though the group’s Rooted Boxes, created once a month for first-graders in the district’s elementary schools. The boxes are themed and include a journal; fresh, local ingredients; and a utensil (such as a mini cutting board or portable fork and spoon). The boxes also include Rooted Buck, which are vouchers that can be redeemed at Dubuque’s Farmer’s Market, giving children the opportunity to choose healthy foods while making a connection with local community members who grow/produce it.

Marshallese Community Celebrated at Board Meeting

Members of the Dubuque Marshallese Community gather in the Board Room during a recent School Board eeting.

At the May 8 School Board meeting, the Board was joined by members of the Marshallese community, who will celebrate Marshallese Constitution Day over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Board adopted a proclamation officially recognizing the Marshallese holiday (see full proclamation text below)

Following the reading of the proclamation, representatives from the Marshallese community performed traditional songs and bestowed Board members with traditional flower crowns and shell necklaces. They also presented the district with a decorative wall hanging hand-woven from coconut.

Image of Marshallese Constitution Day Proclamation (text content also on page)

View the proclamation (PDF)


WHEREAS, the citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands celebrate their Constitution Day on May 1 each year to commemorate the day 44 years ago when a new Constitution was adopted and status as an independent republic was achieved; and

WHEREAS, the Dubuque Community School District and our greater community benefit from a very vibrant Marshallese community that is rich with tradition; and

WHEREAS, celebration of Marshallese Constitution Day in the Marshall Islands would traditionally be focused on island culture, with games of tug-o-war, husking a coconut, and canoe racing; and in the United States is celebrated with basketball, softball and volleyball tournaments; and

WHEREAS, the observance of Marshallese Constitution Day in the United States is held on the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and the Marshallese community will recognize it with a celebration open to all members of the Dubuque community.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Kate Parks, on behalf of the Dubuque Community School District Board of Education, do hereby proclaim May 1 and Memorial Day Weekend as:

A Celebration of Marshallese Constitution Day

Signed this 8th Day of May, 2023.

Dubuque Community Schools and Medical Associates Form Sports Medicine Partnership

With student health and safety at the forefront, the Dubuque Community School District and Medical Associates have formalized a partnership to provide sports medicine services to high school student athletes.

Dr. Adam Susmarski works with a student athlete.

Dr. Adam Susmarski works with a Hempstead High School student athlete.

Through a memorandum of understanding officially signed by both organizations in January, Medical Associates will provide team medical coverage during Dubuque Community School District sporting events. The partnership began this year with high school wrestling and will include football in the fall, with an option to expand the coverage to additional sports in the future.

“The safety of our student athletes is priority and the district has long been at the leading edge of safety protocols in our athletic programs,” said Joe Maloney, director of activities and athletics for the district. “This partnership moves us forward in our work to ensure the highest quality care available to our student athletes by having a team physician available at our events.”

Dr. Adam Susmarski (center)works with a student athlete along with district athletic trainer Brian Regan, ATC.

Dr. Adam Susmarski (center) works with a student athlete along with district athletic trainer Brian Regan, ATC.

Medical Associates sports medicine provider Dr. Adam Susmarski, DO, FACSM, currently assumes the lead athlete physician role for the

district along with his partner, Dr. Steve Rock, MD. They also provide medical counsel to the district’s licensed athletic trainers as they work with student-athletes.

“Medical Associates is excited to have this opportunity to bring our expertise to work with the student-athletes and athletic trainers in the Dubuque Community School District,” said Susmarski, a sports, spine, and rehabilitation physician. “Our comprehensive team of sports medicine specialists are dedicated to providing the highest quality medical care, where we focus on the safety and wellness of our area’s athletes and the communities we serve.”