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What's New at Dubuque Community Schools

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Return-to-Learn Update: August 19, 2021

Dear Families and Staff,

As we welcome students back to our schools in upcoming days, we will begin the third consecutive school year that has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, as was reported in the Telegraph Herald, we continue to see COVID-19 cases in Dubuque county increase at a rate that is concerning to our area’s public health officials and infectious disease experts.

The number of positive cases in Dubuque County has increased over the past several weeks, primarily made up of the more highly contagious Delta variant. Local experts warn that the data indicates that our community may be on track to see the same significant impact that has been seen in the other parts of the United States.

At the same time, there is some data that suggests that the impact of the Delta variant may not be long lasting and can see a reasonably quick decline after hitting its peak – so acting now to prevent its spike may be our key to having as little disruption to school operations as possible.

To help communicate the impact of COVID-19 in our schools, we will again have a COVID-19 dashboard to help families make informed decisions. We are currently working on the timing of the dashboard as we learn how and when data will be reported to us from the county/state, but expect it to be live sometime next week.

As we see our area data rise, we look back to the success of our COVID-19 mitigations efforts last year, which included the wearing of masks in school.

While by Iowa law masks cannot be required at school, I encourage families and staff to consider wearing a mask indoors to begin the school year in order to prevent the spread that we anticipate may be on the horizon based on the data.

While mask recommendations have changed over time, and will continue to change, based on current Dubuque data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Dubuque County Board of Health all currently recommend masking indoors in a school environment.

Our goal in this request is simple – to work together to keep students and staff in school.

Regardless of your choice or your family’s choice to wear a mask or not, we respect that choice and will support each of our students, families and staff in the choices they make.

As always, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and will adjust accordingly. Know that the health and safety of our students and staff is our priority and we are thankful for your support as we begin the school year.

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

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Return-to-Learn: August 12, 2021

In just over a week, we will welcome students back for the 2021-2022 school year. We know that this is a time of both great excitement and anxiety as our community is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. Our goal remains to create a safe learning environment for students and staff, while also ensuring a high-quality, vibrant educational experience.

As we begin the year, there is a great deal of information available from a variety of sources regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our community.

Without consistent guidance from the federal, state and local level, it is impossible for the district to align with all guidance provided from each of these agencies.

Recognizing that guidance is inconsistent, we strongly recommend all families review the latest from each agency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Public Health) in order to make the most informed decision you can regarding personal mitigation efforts as we start the year.

Below is an update on the latest information available regarding COVID-19 in the Dubuque community and an overview of mitigation efforts that will be in place as we begin the school year.

We have worked to compile answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding mitigation efforts as we begin the year. While this message is lengthy, we ask that you please take the time to read it completely.
Read More about “Return-to-Learn: August 12, 2021”

Mobile Registration and Employment Fair, July 26-Aug. 3

Need help registering your student?
Looking for a job in an amazing school district?

We are hitting the road and bringing the district to you!

News mobile registration bus

Visit our registration and human resources teams at one of our stops throughout the community from Monday, July 26, through Tuesday, August 3.

At each stop:

  • Our registration team will be on hand to assist families in completing online registration for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.
  • Our human resources team will take applications and conduct on-the-spot interviews for a variety of district jobs, including paraprofessional, transportation and food/nutrition positions.
  • Computers with internet access will be provided – and we even have a few treats in store!
  • NOTE: A Marshallese interpreter will be available at each stop.

Join us at one of the following times:News join our team sign

Monday, July 26, from 1-3 p.m.
Bee Branch (in the parking lot near the 22nd street bridge)

Tuesday, July 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Dubuque County Fair (Admission to the Dubuque County Fair is FREE this day!)

Wednesday, July 28, from 9-11 a.m.
Comiskey Park

Thursday, July 29, from 9-11 a.m.
Asbury Park

Friday, July 30, from 1-3 p.m.
Flora Park

Monday, August 2, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Heritage Pond

Tuesday, August 3, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Murphy Park

We look forward to seeing you!

Littleton Named Dubuque Community Schools Director of Equity

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Dierre Littleton as the district’s new director of equity, pending approval by the Board of Education at its June 14 meeting. Littleton will join the district on August 2 following his role as associate director for the office of diversity at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark.

Dierre Littleton

Dierre Littleton

As the district’s director of equity, Littleton will serve as a key district leader who embraces and champions the district’s fundamental value of ensuring equity for all. He will be responsible for organizing, coordinating, communicating and managing various facets of educational equity in the district to enhance student learning while collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to maximize the educational opportunities available to each student.

“Dierre brings an outstanding track record of developing and implementing programming to support equity and inclusion, while doing so in a collaborative and energetic way,” said Superintendent Stan Rheingans. “He is committed to student success and we are excited for him to join our leadership team as we continue to move the district’s equity initiatives forward.”

In his role at Central Arkansas, Littleton worked to advise organizations, develop leadership training programs, and design and implement a variety of diversity, belonging, inclusion and equity programs. He has also supervised professional and paraprofessional staff, assisting in the development of strategic planning, assessment and budgeting of diversity programming, and worked to engage community partners, staff and students in equity programming.

Littleton also previously worked as a residence hall coordinator at Central Arkansas, was a graduate assistant in the office of diversity and inclusion, and held a number of other roles in student affairs for the university. He is also heavily involved in community volunteer efforts and serves on a number of university committees.

Littleton holds a bachelor of science degree in communication/public relations from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.; a master of science degree in college student personnel services and administration from the University of Central Arkansas; and he is currently working toward a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University, with anticipated completion in fall 2022.

District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting Award

The Dubuque Community School District was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. The award is for the district’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending in 2020.

ASBO International Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for Fiscal Year 2020 Award Winner

This is the 12th consecutive year the district has received this honor.

“We are committed to responsibly using and reporting on the financial resources that we are entrusted with,” said Kevin Kelleher, chief financial officer for the Dubuque Community Schools. “Our annual financial report is one tool in doing so and we hope our Certificate of Excellence helps assure taxpayers of our commitment to the highest standards of financial management.”

Each year, the Dubuque Community School District manages an overall budget of approximately $160 million. The Certificate of Excellence award confirms the district business office’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency. By participating in the Certificate of Excellence Program, school districts submit their CAFR for review by a team of financial professionals who provide feedback to improve future documents. According to ASBO, recognition in the Certificate of Excellence program can facilitate bond rating and continuing bond disclosure processes.

The recognition program is presented by the Association of School Business Officials International and is sponsored by American Fidelity, provider of cost-savings solutions and supplemental insurance benefits.

The Association of School Business Officials International is a non-profit that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. It provides programs and services to promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation.

Header covid-19 return to learn

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.

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

Thank You!

District to Offer Free Meals During Summer Academy from July 6-July 30, 2021

The Dubuque Community School District will participate in the USDA Summer Food Service Program to provide no-cost meals to students during the Summer Academy Program in the July session. The district will provide no-cost breakfast and lunch to any child 18 years old or under, with no enrollment necessary (with no infant formula or food served).

Meal will also be offered by community agencies at a variety of sites throughout the community.


In the district, Summer Academy meal location and times are as follow:

Audubon Elementary
Breakfast: 8:15-8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:45 a.m.-Noon

Kennedy Elementary
Breakfast: 8:15-8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:45 a.m.-Noon

Prescott Elementary
Breakfast: 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch 11:45 a.m.-Noon

Table Mound Elementary
Breakfast 8:15-8:30 a.m.
Lunch 11:45 a.m.-Noon

In addition to meals served at Summer Academy locations, grab n’ go meals from the district will also be available to the community Monday through Friday at the following locations:

  • Hempstead High School (located in the back-parking lot near softball fields): 11 a.m.-Noon
  • Audubon Elementary (located in the bus drive up lane): 10:45-11:30 a.m.
  • Kennedy Elementary (located in the bus drive up lane): 10:45-11:30 a.m.
  • Prescott Elementary (located in the bus drive up lane): 10:45-11:30 a.m.
  • Table Mound Elementary (located in the bus drive up lane): 10:45-11:30 a.m.

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:”

Carver Students Win National and State Online Safety Poster Contest

The Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center® (MS-ISAC®) has named Whitney Hohmann, a Carver Elementary School fifth-grader, as a national winner of the organization’s annual Kids Safe Online Poster Contest. In addition to the national award, the MS-IAC and the State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) named Whitney and her classmate, Joseph Alkhoury, as winners of the contest at the state level.

Whitney Hohmann's winning poster contest entry "Don't get stung by your mistakes, bee careful"

Whitney Hohmann’s winning poster contest entry.

Hohmann’s entry was one of 13 selected as national winners from thousands of entries. MS-ISAC will be creating a Cyber Safety activity book in which Whitney’s artwork will be showcased sometime in October, in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This marks the third year in a row that Carver Elementary has had two Carver recipients representing Iowa in the national competition.

Hohmann’s poster encourages students to “Bee Careful!” while online and Alkhoury’s message is to “Take Time Before Your Post!”

All fifth-graders at Carver are given the opportunity to participate in the Kids Safe Online Poster Contest annually through a collaborative art and digital citizenship project. The contest, led at Carver by art teacher Julie Lammer and technology coach Donna Schmitt, centered around how to treat others online; how to handle cyberbullying, unwanted attention and strangers online; keeping private information private; and navigating the internet safely. Students carefully considered which of these topics need reinforcement among their peers and designed creative posters to display their advice.

Joseph Alkhoury's winning poster contest entry, "Take time before you post"

Joseph Alkhoury’s winning poster contest entry.

Through the project, Lammer asked students to identify how art can inform or change beliefs, ideas, and/or values. Through this identification process, students came up with a theme of how they could influence peers to think twice about their cyber choices. Schmitt then introduced students to the drawing tools available in PowerPoint and taught students to create backgrounds and/or fonts for their poster submissions.

Students completed their posters in art class using various media including marker, paper, colored pencil, and collage techniques. The posters were a springboard for engaging in dialogue about digital citizenship, and they allowed students to display their artistic talents while showcasing the importance of internet safety.

The MS-ISAC, which hosts the contest, is grant-funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and it is the focal point for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for the nation’s state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments.