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What's New at Dubuque Community Schools

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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.

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.

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Mask Update: May 20, 2021

The district learned early today that shortly after midnight, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation into law that prohibits school districts from requiring masks to be worn at school.

The new law took effect immediately upon signing. Therefore, the district cannot require masks and they will be optional at school beginning TODAY, Thursday, May 20, rather than beginning on Friday as we planned.

We apologize for this early message, but felt that it was important to let families and staff know of this change prior to the start of the school day.

STUDENTS RIDING THE BUS MUST CONTINUE TO WEAR MASKS ON BOARD in accordance with an official CDC Order requiring masks on public transportation.

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Mask Update: May 19, 2021

Dear Families,

I am writing today to share that beginning Friday, May 21, masks will be optional in the Dubuque Community School District.

Today, we learned that the Iowa Legislature is moving forward with legislation that would prohibit school districts from requiring facial coverings to be worn, unless otherwise required by law to do so. Based on input from our state association, this legislation is expected to pass both state houses today and then move to the Governor for signature. It will become law immediately upon the Governor’s signature, which we expect in the next few days.

The legislation comes in conjunction with updated guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health that was released last week recommending that mask wearing be optional, as well as the county and city both moving forward with rescinding their mask ordinances.

FOR STUDENTS RIDING SCHOOL BUSES, masks will still be required while on board in accordance with an official CDC Order requiring masks on all public transportation, including school buses.

The IDPH guidance also includes updated quarantine guidelines as follows:

“…while COVID-19 positive and symptomatic children should be excluded, exposed children should no longer be required to stay home, regardless of mask usage. Moreover, when there is a positive case, parents should be given information around exposure to COVID-19 in order to make their own informed decisions regarding risk.”

Given this, the district will continue to contact trace when a student is in close contact (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Parents/guardians will be notified of that exposure and it will be at the parent/guardian’s discretion as to whether or not to quarantine their student.

As we enter the final weeks of an unprecedented school year, we are thankful for the tremendous support and flexibility shown by our students, staff and families this year. Our success has been possible because of everyone’s willingness to work together.

I wish you well in these final few weeks of the school year!

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

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:




“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.”

District Recognized Among 2021 ‘Best Communities for Music Education’

2021 Best Communities for Music Education, brought to you by the NAMM Foundation. Proud BCME DistrictThe Dubuque Community School District has again been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

This is the fourth consecutive year the district has received the honor.

Now in its 22nd 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.

“The district has long recognized the value of music education in our schools, and music remains an integral part of our curricular and extracurricular offerings,” said Stan Rheingans, superintendent of schools. “Our district commitment is underscored by tremendous partnerships throughout our community that support our work to expose students to music education. This honor is truly a community honor.”

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

Fassbinder Named Next District Manager of Buildings and Grounds

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Fassbinder as the district’s next manager of buildings and grounds, pending approval by the Board of Education at its April 12 meeting. Fassbinder, who currently serves as an architect and project manager with IIW, P.C., will succeed Bill Burkhart, who will retire at the end of June.

Mark Fassbinder

Mark Fassbinder

As manager of buildings and grounds, Fassbinder will supervise all aspects of the district’s physical plant operations, including project management, staffing and budgeting. He will be a key leader in the short- and long-term planning, budgeting and execution of the maintenance, repairs, renovations and additions to district facilities, while also working with the district’s outside vendors and contractors.

“Mark brings an in-depth working knowledge of not only the district’s facilities, but also of the public improvement process and the operations of the buildings and grounds department,” said Chief Financial Officer Kevin Kelleher. “His experience as an architect and project manager, both on district projects and with a variety of other organizations, make him an ideal fit for this role.”

Fassbinder has been an architect and project manager with IIW since 2009. In this role, he coordinates design and construction project from planning to completion, working with both internal and external design team members, consultants and contractors. Prior to his work with IIW, Fassbinder served as an architectural intern and project manager with Durrant Group, and as an architectural draftsman with Shive Hattery.

Throughout his career, he has worked closely with a wide variety of district projects including work at 15 of the district’s 19 school buildings, as well as other non-school district facilities. He served as the project manager for the construction of Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, for additions/renovations at Table Mound Elementary School, Kennedy Elementary School, and Irving Elementary School, and most recently at the Alta Vista Campus.

Fassbinder holds an associate of applied science degree in architectural technology from Kirkwood Community College and a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Professionally, he is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.

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Dubuque-Area K-12 Virtual Art Exhibition

We are pleased to present the 2021 Dubuque-Area K-12 Virtual Art Exhibition, a way to highlight student work in a year that makes in unable to do so in person.

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.






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