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What's New at Dubuque Community Schools

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2023 Advocacy Alert: School Vouchers are Wrong for Iowa

The Iowa Legislature is again discussing proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Iowa, often being referred to as Education Savings Accounts.

Now is the time for action.

Iowa already has significant school choice in its public schools and the Dubuque Community School District opposes the creation or expansion of programs/plans that redirect or designate additional taxpayer funds for private school, homeschooling or other private services.

We hope you will consider advocating in opposition to school vouchers as well.

Investments in education savings accounts, voucher programs, school tuition organizations or homeschool:

  • Remove resources from public schools,
  • Lack accountability for expenditures, requirements to educate all children or provide special education services, and
  • Are hidden from the public oversight that should come with tax dollars.


  • Iowa already has a wide range of school choice options for parents and students, including: in district transfer, district-to-district public school open enrollment, charter schools, strong non-public schools, home school options, publicly funded School Tuition Organization tax credits.
  • Parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.
  • Use public 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.
  • This bill creates incentives for outside entities and private organizations to establish a private school in our district, without consent of our locally elected School Board. Private schools are then given freedom from regulations that our school district must follow. Why not instead give our public schools flexibility and funding to be innovative?
  • 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.


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.

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2023-2024 Free Four-Year-Old Preschool Registration Begins Monday, Jan. 9

Registration for free four-year-old preschool in the Dubuque Community School District will begin on Monday, Jan. 9. This includes all 12 Dubuque public elementary schools offering preschool through the Statewide Voluntary Free Preschool Program.

Parents and guardians may register students in person at the selected site, beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, January 9.

Proof-of-age, preferably a birth certificate, is required to register a student. Other accepted proof-of-age documents include a passport or signed immunization record.

Preschool registration paperwork is available to complete in advance beginning on the district’s preschool webpage or in-person at all elementary schools. You can also find registration details and forms, as well as additional preschool information, online at

Free four-year-old preschool is open to students who are four by September 15. For additional registration questions, individuals should contact the school they are interested in registering at.

Space may be limited in some facilities and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment for preschool is not based on geography and all sites are open to residents within the Dubuque Community School District.

In addition to spots in Dubuque’s public schools, a variety of community preschool partners also offer free four-year-old preschool.

The Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children is funded by the State of Iowa and facilitated locally by the Dubuque Community School District.

Dubuque Senior Students and Staff Iowa Thespian Festival Awards

Dubuque Senior High School returned from the 2022 Iowa Thespian Festival with a number of student award and the induction of a staff member into the Iowa Thespian Hall of Fame.

Aaron Dean, an English teacher and theatre director at Dubuque Senior High School, was inducted to the Iowa Thespian Hall of Fame as recognition for demonstrated dedication to the Thespians of Iowa, promotion of theatre arts and arts education, and years of service to students at their respective schools.

Dubuque Senior graduate Brady Booth spoke of the induction ceremony of Dean’s dedication to students and the state organization. Dean joins two former Dubuque Senior Hall of Fame members, Sybil Lamb (inducted in 1996) and Fran Hedeman (inducted in 1997).

For students, the International Thespian Excellence Awards (or Thespys® for short) recognize the highest level of achievement in school theatre performance, technical theatre, writing, and filmmaking.

This educational program celebrates the work of theatre students, giving them the opportunity to receive constructive feedback on prepared theatrical material, technical design, plays, and short films, and recognizing their achievements on local, regional, and international stages.

The following Dubuque Senior students earned honors at the 2022 Iowa Thespian Festival, based on adjudication from theatre professionals from around the country. They also qualified to move on to the national competition.

First Place in Duet Acting
Scout Kuehn and Lucia Kuehn
“Miss Kentucky”

First Place in Group Acting
Lucia Kuehn, Scout Kuehn, Soren Obermueller, Aidan Seville, and Emma Ward
“Over the River and Through the Woods”

First Place in Musical Theatre Dance (Solo)
Alex Dixon
“Run and Tell That”

First Place in Group Musical Theatre
Conner Frederick, Evelyn Maddux, and Anna O’Connor
“The I Love You Song”

Second Place in Monologues
Evelyn Maddux
“I Used to Write on Walls / Rabbit Hole”

Second Place in Group Musical Theatre
Riley Beck, Ami Bellings, and Soren Obermueller
“Louder Than Words”

Second Place in Group Acting
Natalee Killian, Ella Meyer, Paige Putnam, Madeline Rupp, and Bella Vanden Berge
“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress”

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District Students Selected for Prestigious Music Ensembles

Middle and high school students across the Dubuque Community School District were recently selected to perform in prestigious music festivals across the state.

Congratulations to the following students on these honors:

2022 All-State Music Festival

Saturday, November 19, in Ames, Iowa

Dubuque Senior High School
Jace Holz, orchestra (cello)
Gabrielle Norman, band (contra-alto clarinet)
Henry Raber, band (French horn)
Drew Weidemann, orchestra (bass)
Hao Xu, orchestra (violin)

Hempstead High School
Megan Bolduc, orchestra (clarinet)
Ella Stahl, band (clarinet)
Brett Tomkins, band (tuba)
Payton Reid, chorus (tenor)
Noah Blair, band (string bass)
Alec Bowman, orchestra (violin)
Cora Harvey, orchestra (violin)
Hailie Lukasik, orchestra (violin)
Gavin Weinbender, orchestra (violin)

Emily Davisdon, band (alto saxophone)
Gwen Deutsch, band (oboe)

2022 University of Northern Iowa Clarinet Festival

Sunday, November 6, in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Roosevelt Middle School
Josie Kilgore
Aaron Blanchard
Isla Steckel
Carson Ambrosy
Kinnick Burkart
Emerson Rowley
Hadley Peat
Adelyn Mottet
Morgan Waddington

Dubuque Senior High School
Elise Norman
Gabrielle Norman

Hempstead High School
Savannah Bailey
Lauren Schmitz

2022 Iowa Opus Honor Choir

Thursday, November 17, in Ames, Iowa

Roosevelt Middle School
Samuel Haug

Washington Middle School
Leeland Wilson
Reid Postma
Liam Dostal (also a solo finalist singing tenor 1 part)
Julie Derks

2022 Iowa Junior Honor Orchestra

Friday, November 18, in Ames, Iowa

Hempstead High School
On violin: Maria Hart, Jeannie Jasper, Alexis Luetzelschwab, Abd Ul-Haq, Gavin Weinbender
On viola: Stacy Montelius
On cello: Bella Hruska, Aadi Patel (alternate)
On bass: Hannah Wrobleski

Dubuque Senior High School
On violin: Iris Lammer-Heindel

2022 Northeast Iowa Bandmasters Association Honor Band

Saturday, December 3, in Oelwein, Iowa

Roosevelt Middle School
Aaron Blanchard, clarinet
Addison Hingtgen, bassoon
Matthew Haug, trumpet
Nolan Page, trumpet
Diem Treanor, French horn
Jordan Davisdon, French horn
Addilyn Dolan, clarinet

Dubuque Senior High School
Madison Fast, oboe
Lance Hasselblad, bassoon
Audrey Kilgore, French horn
Calvin Lueken, trombone

Hempstead High School
Savannah Bailey, clarinet
Jacob Blanchard, trumpet
Emily Davisdon, alto saxophone
Hannah Davisdon, flute
Gwen Deutsch, oboe
Hanna Dolan, flute
Emmelia Pitt, tenor saxophone
Lauren Schmitt, bass clarinet

Dubuque Community Schools to Host Next Middle School Consolidation Meeting, November 1

The Dubuque Community School District will host a second informational meeting on the district’s middle school consolidation study on Tuesday, November 1, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Forum, 2300 Chaney Road.

At the meeting, the team from INVISION Architecture leading the study will provide an update on the process, share potential consolidation site locations, discuss considerations for each option, and allow those in attendance to provide feedback.

The INVISION team plans to complete its research gathering, analysis and community feedback in time to provide a recommendation by the end of the calendar year.

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. The study includes baseline data collection and analysis of the district’s current middle schools, benchmarking against best practices, and analysis of potential consolidation locations.


For those unable to attend, the presentation content will be shared on the district website at following the meeting.

Middle School Consolidation Study Information

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.

The study, led by Iowa-based INVISION Architecture, includes baseline data collection and analysis of the district’s current middle schools, benchmarking against best practices, and analysis of potential consolidation locations.


View the latest presentation below, which includes information about potential site locations.

After watching the video of the November 1 meeting below, GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK ON A SHORT SURVEY.


Dubuque Community Schools to Host Informational Meeting Regarding Middle School Study, September 22

The Dubuque Community School District will host an informational meeting on the district’s middle school consolidation study on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Forum, 2300 Chaney Road.

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. The district is currently working with INVISION Architecture, an Iowa-based firm, on conducting a study and plan development to meet that goal.

The study includes feedback from a variety of constituent groups throughout the process, including a series of community informational meetings. The first half of the meeting will feature a presentation, followed by the opportunity for attendees to ask questions at a variety of topic-based stations during the meeting’s second half. The planning team from INVISION, the firm conducting the study, as well as district staff will be on hand to present and answer questions.

This first community meeting, with another to be held in October, will discuss the middle school planning process and intent, the state of the three current district middle schools, and a review data and benchmarking information. It will also include an early update on the consolidation study progress to date and a chance for attendees to provide feedback to inform the study moving forward.

For those unable to attend, the presentation content will be shared on the district website at following the meeting.

Precautionary Boil Water Advisory for Some District Buildings (September 8, 2022)

A short time ago, the City of Dubuque issued a precautionary boil water advisory for a large portion of the city. (Read the City’s full release, including a map, about the boil water advisory.)

This boil water advisory includes the following district buildings:

Alta Vista Campus
Bryant Elementary School
Dubuque Senior High School
Forum Campus
Hempstead High School
Hoover Elementary School
Irving Elementary School
Lincoln Elementary School
Table Mound Elementary School
Transportation Office
Washington Middle School

The district will operate on its normal Friday one-hour late start schedule tomorrow, and is taking a number of steps to prepare for tomorrow’s school day:

  • Breakfast and lunch tomorrow will include menu items that do not require tap water to be used in preparation.
  • Bottled water is being procured and will be delivered to affected buildings. While we anticipate having at least one bottle of water for each student, WE ASK THAT STUDENTS AND STAFF CONSIDER BRINGING BOTTLED WATER FROM HOME FOR USE DURING THE DAY.

The City of Dubuque recommends the following for any locations impacted by the advisory:

  • Do not drink tap water without boiling it first. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
  • Until the advisory is lifted, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation.
  • Bring water to a boil, let boil for one minute, and let it cool before drinking/using.
  • Unboiled tap water may be used for bathing and other non-drinking purposes.

Residents seeking additional information may call the city at 563/690-6210.

Thank you for your flexibility as we prepare for the school day tomorrow!

Upcoming Public Hearings on the Sale of Property

Dubuque Community Schools Public Hearing [graphic]

The Dubuque Community School District Board of Directors will conduct public hearings on the sale of two properties as outlined below:

  • On MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, at 5:30 p.m. at the Forum, 2300 Chaney Road, Dubuque, Iowa, concerning the proposed sale of District property located at 3355 John F. Kennedy Road, Dubuque, Iowa (known as the Dubuque Soccer Complex).
  • On WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, at 4:30 p.m. at the Forum, 2300 Chaney Road, Dubuque, Iowa, concerning the proposed sale of District property located at 2540 Central Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa (known as the Fulton Elementary School Building).