DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Superintendents of the Dubuque Community School District
1895 1910 Franklin T. OLDT
1910 1921 James H. HARRIS
1921 1926 Otis P. Flower
1926 1927 Charles Prall
1927 1930 Fred G. Stevenson
1930 1940 Earl D. Cline
1940 1947 Jordan L. Larson
(1942-1943) (1944-1945) A.W. Merrill, Acting Supt.
1947 1966 Dr. Max CLARK
1966 1977 Dr. Garlyn WESSEL
1977 1992 Dr. Howard PIGG
1992 1994 Diana LAM
1994 1996 Dr. Marvin O’HARE
1996 1999 Dr. Joel MORRIS
1999 2002 Dr. Jane PETREK
2002 2009 John L. BURGART (Interim 6/02-1/03)
2009 5/3/12 Dr. Larie GODINEZ
5/3/12 9/19/12 Stan RHEINGANS (Interim Superintendent)
9/19 Stan Rheingans
DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. The first school in Dubuque was a log cabin erected by James LANGWORTHY and a few miners in the fall of 1833. George Cubbage, the first teacher, was hired for the winter of 1833-1834 to teach thirty-five students. Barrett Whittemore taught the second term with twenty-five students.
Private schools were common. Mrs. Caroline Dexter began teaching in Dubuque in 1836. She was the first female teacher in Dubuque and perhaps the entire state. She taught reading, writing and spelling charging $3.50 per student and useful and ornamental needlework for $4.50. Fuel for the school was provided by the parents. From 1836-1839 Mrs. Louisa King offered a school for young ladies at her home. Alonzo P. Phelps operated a classical school from 1838-1839. At the same time, a boarding school for young ladies was provided by Mrs. Mary Ann O'Reilly. Thomas Hart Benton, Jr., later the Iowa Superintendent of Public Instruction, opened an English and classical school in Dubuque in 1839. (1)
On January 1, 1839 the Territorial Legislature of Iowa passed a law that
there shall be established a common school, or schools in each of the counties of this Territory, which shall be open and free for every class of white citizens between the ages of five and twenty-one years. (2)
The second section of the act provided that the County Board would create districts governed by a board of trustees. Each district was required to maintain school for at least three months. Later laws provided for county school taxes which would be used to pay teachers and that whatever additional money was needed should be assessed parents of children according to the amount of time they were in school. (3)
Despite early interest in schools by the State, nothing was done to establish public education in Dubuque until the spring of 1844. In April 1844, a tax levy was approved and Board of Education officers were elected. These included Warner LEWIS, president; J. J. E. Norman, secretary; Timothy MASON, treasurer; and William CARTER, director. This board arranged with private schools to accept any children living within the district. Tuition would be paid on a per capita basis. Money remaining in the treasury after the payment of tuition was used to purchase school sites in the First and Third Wards. Records indicate no further activity of the Board until 1849 when a tax was levied which yielded $1,396. (4)
During 1850 contracts were issued for the construction of two one-story brick schools, one in the First Ward and the other for the Third Ward. Each would have served eighty pupils. Soon after the buildings were completed, the District ran into financial difficulties and the buildings were sold under the Mechanics Lien laws. (5) During 1851, Directors of the Third Ward District redeemed their school building. A school census in 1855 indicated that 3,466 children resided within the city.
Dubuque's slow movement toward establishing a school system led the State legislature in 1855 to pass a law making the City of Dubuque a permanent school district. The law further authorized the City Council to appoint a Board of Education to serve until the next city election. (6)
No action was taken on this matter by the City Council until January 21, 1856. (7) The City Council then created a Board of Education consisting of the MAYOR and one member from each ward in the city. The Mayor, City Recorder, and City Treasurer were all given ex-officio status on the new Board. Members of this Board included John G. SHIELDS, the mayor; Dennis MAHONY, First Ward; James A. Reid, Second Ward; James Burt, Third Ward; James R. Goodrich, Fourth Ward, and C. B. Waples, Fifth Ward. At the board's first meeting on February 7, 1856, Mahony was elected President pro tempore.
Friction between the school board and the city council led the board to resign. On March 10, 1856, the City Council adopted an ordinance that repealed the appointment of the first board. A new board was named including H. A. Wiltse, Frederick. Ezekiel BISSELL, J. J. E. Norman, J. A. Reed, and S. M. Case. The board first met on March 11 and elected H. W. Wiltse as its president.
The City Council appropriated $30,000 for the construction of schools. Contracts for the construction of the schools in the 1st and 3rd wards were entered into with John Francis RAGUE. The school board surveyed the city to find there were 2,808 children of school age but because only private schools were operating just 300 children were actually getting an education. (8)
School property in 1857 consisted of:
2/5 of Lot 447 at the corner of Clay and 12th Street
part of Lot 602 having a one-story brick schoolhouse
part of Lot 600
a lot of one acre in the 5th Ward with frame schoolhouse
two school buildings (1st and 3rd Ward buildings)--1st and second stories for primary and secondary with the third story for the grammar department. Each could accommodate 800 students. (9)
Difficulties arose again in 1857 between the school board and city council. The board charged that the council could not appropriate funds from the state for anything except schools. The controversy affected the operation of the schools and the payment of teachers. The office of superintendent of district schools was abolished and teachers were paid in Dubuque Harbor Improvement Company or city script which rapidly depreciated in value. On March 13th this board of education named by the city council was legislated out of existence by the Iowa legislature. (10)
A new board was elected by the citizens. This charter board included H. A. Wiltze, president; W. J. Barney, vice president; T. C. Snyder, secretary; J. W. Taylor, treasurer; and as directors Timothy Mason, J. H. Thedinga, and and William H. Rumpf. In May, the board purchased the DUBUQUE FEMALE SEMINARY for $12,000 and a high school was opened in it with 110 students. (11) To enroll, students needed to pass an examination in arithmetic, geography, grammar, and history. George Wallace JONES donated books for the school's library. (Board minutes)
In 1858 the economic panic that had affected the nation for two years finally was felt by the schools in Dubuque. The high school was closed. The grammar schools were only kept open by cutting the teachers' salaries by 50%. Despite the salary reduction, teachers remained in their classrooms. (12)
Financial difficulties forced the closing of all schools for the first term in 1861. They were reopened in January, 1862. (13)
Teachers were prohibited from enrolling African American children, as such an action would be illegal. A limit of sixty students per teacher was set in the Third Ward School. A limit of fifty students per teacher was established in the Fifth Ward School. The academic year was divided into three terms, and a resolution forbidding the use of tobacco in the schools was adopted. Continued friction between the Board and City Council was shown when the Board censured the Council for appointing a committee to inspect the Third Ward School. (Board minutes)PRESCOTT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. The high school was opened in 1865 on the top floor with primary students on the lower floors. A large room was subdivided into classrooms and this remained the local high school until 1895. (14) The school board also purchased two acres of land in West Dubuque and erected a school called the "West Dubuque School." At the head of South Dodge Street on land already owned by the District, the "South Dodge Street School" was constructed. (15)
The school census of 1866 showed a great increase in student population over 1865. Responding to the information, plans were drawn for the construction of a school on the northwest corner of Nevada and Fifth STREETS. This became the Fourth Ward School (16) In July of that year, the president of the board announced plans to re-organize the high school that had been discontinued in 1860. (17) A course of study was also proposed. When the Fourth Ward School was opened in 1867, it was immediately filled to capacity.
In 1867 the system of student promotions was radically changed. Until that time, students were promoted based upon annual examinations conducted by teams of citizens chosen for the procedure. In 1866 an article described the following:
We are aware of the fact that it is poor policy for a reporter to attempt to draw comparisons between anything that he may be describing, but we will venture to assert that Mrs. Knowlton's class in point of orderly deportment, punctual attendance and proficiency in study cannot be surpassed by any class in the State, of their age. The reading was marked with expression, life and animation, while their exercises in grammar were truly surprising....The decorations of the room, the smiling countenances of the children, the satisfaction of the committee, and above all the ready answer given to all the questions was very easy to witness. (18)
After consideration, the board proposed that student promotions should be the "reward of general progress" and not for "particular display." The promotions, therefore, were to be made by the principals of the school on the results of the examinations "and the general advancement of the pupils in their studies during the term." Examining committees of citizens were appointed to attend the examinations and then to report their findings to the school board. (19)
Records indicate that the average attendance in the high school was 71 students. An exhibition was held in 1874 by students to raise money to purchase a collection of Iowa minerals and a piano. In 1874-1875 a student request to use one of the rooms for a gym was granted. The students, however, had to equip the room and obtain an architect's notice that the activities would not damage the building. (Board minutes)
During the 1864-1865 school year a petition was received by the Board asking that a school for African-American children be opened. Since a private school for these students was open at the time, the Board chose to pay the operator of the school ten dollars per month from May 1, 1864, for each student enrolled. (Board minutes)
Educational quality was on the minds of Board members when, in 1865-1866, they chose to examine all candidates for teaching positions and those already employed as teachers. Persons receiving the highest average on the examinations would be rewarded with employment. The petition for a school for African-American students was again presented. This time the Board rented a church basement and began the school on March 5, 1866. Of the 4,867 school age students in the District, the secretary's report indicated that 2,364 children were enrolled. The average daily attendance was 1,853. (Board minutes)
Reported price gouging by local bookstores angered the Board in 1867. The Board responded by passing a resolution requesting local bookstores to reduce their prices to those charged by stores in Chicago or face the possibility of the Board operating its own bookstore. Teachers were made financially responsible for any books lost or destroyed. (Board minutes)
Crowding in the First and Fifth Ward Schools during the 1868-1869 school year led to classes being divided into morning and afternoon shifts. A request by the German Catholic Congregation School to be considered a public school so that it could share in the school revenues was denied. (20)
On February 9, 1870 the Iowa Legislature passed a law legislating all the directors of independent school districts out of office, and enacted that all Board of Education in such districts be composed of only six members. The law also stated that at the first meeting of the Board each year, the directors would elect a president, secretary and treasurer and that the latter two be chosen outside the Board. (21) In April of that year, the "Dodge Street School" accommodating fifty students was completed. On July 25, 1870 the board passed a resolution discontinuing the separate "colored school" and enrolling the students in the schools near where they lived. (22) In August, however, this action was reconsidered and the closing did not occur.
The first graduation from a high school in Dubuque took place in 1870. Students of the high school, with additional citizen support, purchased an organ for the school and presented it to the Board. The Secretary's Report indicated 6,929 children lived within the District and that 2,721 attended public schools. With six male and fifty-seven female teachers, the student-teacher ratio was 43:1. (Board minutes)
Vandalism plagued the District during 1872--1873 to the degree that the Board requested the mayor deputize building janitors as special police. (Board minutes)
In 1873 citizens from the Fifth Ward petitioned the District for a school. Taxes were collected toward the construction of what became the Couler Avenue Schoolhouse. This building was formally opened on November 16, 1874. (23)
The Board denied the right of African American children to attend ward schools by claiming that the teacher at their school was capable of instructing children through the sixteenth year. The Board did approve any African American child completing the sixteenth year attending high school. (Board minutes)
In 1875 the Board was petitioned by parents wishing their children to be taught the German language in school. Principals of the schools polled their students and found that 373 students were interested. Special teachers were hired to teach German classes one hour after school every day except Friday. After a trial period of one term, it was decided that students in 10th "class" and 11th "class" were not sufficiently trained in grammar to make the class profitable. It was maintained for those in the 12th "class." (24)
High school courses beginning in the 1876-1877 school year were divided into three classes. Business courses lasted three years. Classical and Latin scientific each required four years to complete. Students graduating with an average of ninety or better from the four-year courses were presented a Teacher's Grammar Certificate. Those graduating with an average from eighty to ninety received Teacher's Secondary Certificates upon application. Only twenty-five students graduated from the three-year course. By 1877 most courses were extended to four years. Four year Latin scientific and classical courses were continued after 1877 along with two-year business courses. After 1885 the classical course was discontinued. In 1895 the Board of Education realized that most students were enrolling in the two-year business course. This program was soon discontinued, and high school became a four-year program. (Board minutes)
African American children attempted to attend ward schools during the winter of 1876-1877, but were denied admission. On February 19, 1877 the Board was taken to District Court over the issue, but instructed its counsel not to offer any defense. All pupils withdrew from the African American school on February 14, 1877, and the building was closed. (25)
In January, 1878 the Board published the twelfth annual report in pamphlet form. Entitled "Public Schools of Dubuque," this was the first report in ten years and was the work of Thomas HARDIE. (26) During that summer, the Ruttan system of heating and ventilation was introduced into the First, Third, and Fifth Ward schools. This resulted in the end of heating by steam and ventilating by windows. This was soon added to the Fourth War School. (27)
Drawing was started in the schools during the 1880-1881 academic year. Since the Board did not wish to hire specialists, teachers were requested to attend classes to learn how to teach the new subject. (Board minutes) In 1880 Dubuque's public schools were served by seventy-three teachers of whom three was "specials" giving instruction in German. Sixty of the teachers had been educated locally. At the end of the 16th year, students were given competitive examinations. A score of 70% or higher entitled the student to entrance in high school. (28)
Drug education started in the District during the 1886-1887 school year. A course, written to comply with a new state law, was introduced which showed the effects of alcohol, stimulants and narcotics on the human body. The student teacher ratio had risen to 54:1. (Board minutes)
With as many as 60 students standing without a place to sit, calls were made for a new high school. Dubuque voters passed a tax for a new building in March 1893. A site was chosen on 15th and Locust. CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL was dedicated on January 17, 1895. The new school accepted 110 students on February 4, 1895.Joseph HEROD Treasurer of the School Board, was the "watch dog" of the construction. His reward was one dozen cut glass tumblers. As school treasurer, Herod made the round of schools to pay the teachers in hard cash. He was always received with a smile. The receipt form was signed promptly and on to the next room--then the next school. (29)
Schools were renamed with no clue for whom they were named on September 23, 1889. (30) The schools with their former and new names were: First Ward School--FRANKLIN SCHOOL
Third Ward School--PRESCOTT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Fourth Ward School--LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Fifth Ward School--AUDUBON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
West Dubuque School--IRVING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Couler Avenue School--FULTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Eagle Point School--MARSHALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
West Locust Street School--JACKSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
South Dodge Street School--BRYANT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Dodge Street School--Morse School
Lots 359 and 360 at the corner of 17th and White Streets were purchased for $700.00 and for $2,576.65. The PETER COOPER SCHOOL was constructed on this site. (Board minutes)
In 1892 Irving School, rebuilt after being destroyed by fire the same year, became the first public school in the District to be heated by steam and provided with indoor toilets. Truch, Southworth and Company were granted permission to mine beneath the Lincoln School grounds for two years. (Board minutes)CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. The P. J. Lee lots at the corner of 15th and Locust were purchased for $15,000. G. Stanley Mansfield of Freeport, Illinois, was employed as the architect. The high school, dedicated on January 17, 1895, was occupied by students on February 4, 1895, and was used until the opening of DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL in 1923. The 1894-1895 school year also saw the District begin kindergarten classes. (Board minutes)
The office of superintendent had been abolished in the school system and it was not until 1893 that the suggestion of reinstating the position was made. (31) The issue was discussed by the Board while in the public the Herald opposed the idea and the Times and Telegraph supported it. The issue was finally decided by the hiring of Franklin T. Oldt. (32)
Teachers' salaries were studied by a committee of the Board during the 1897-1898 school year. After comparing salaries in Dubuque with surrounding cities, the committee's report was adopted, and some salaries were cut. (Board minutes)
In January, 1898, Dubuque had thirteen public school buildings and had in all seventeen buildings used for schools. There were 5,756 children enrolled and 128 teachers. (33) During 1898-1899 a resolution was introduced to include music in the curriculum. The resolution was defeated by the Board in a vote of four to one. The faculty of the District then consisted of sixteen men and one hundred twelve women that, with the student enrollment of 5,174, resulted in a student-teacher ratio of 40:1. (Board minutes)
Beautifying the schools seemed a goal in 1899. In that year the superintendent arranged for an exhibition of pictures in Temple Hall. Admission of ten cents was charged the public. The collection of $185 was used to purchased frames pictures which were distributed among the schools. "This was the beginning of better things in classroom decoration." (34) A few months later, kindergarten rooms were given "casts." The educational committee of the DUBUQUE WOMEN'S CLUB was assisted by other groups in presenting "A Trip Around the World." The $810 collected was used to purchased pictures and statuary for every classroom. In 1900 a "dingy" room at Prescott was converted into a "model room" with the entire cost of $400 being paid by Mrs. F. D. Stout. (35)
In January, 1904, Prof. F. T. Oldt, historian and future Dubuque superintendent, served as chairman of the committee on phonetic spelling at the State Teachers' Convention in Des Moines. He introduced resolutions, which were adopted, endorsing the simplified spelling of such words as thoro, thru, demogog, thorofare, etc. (38)
Dubuque schools received a gold medal for written work and shared another gold medal with the East Des Moines and Burlington Schools for best drawings submitted as part of the Iowa State Exhibit at the St. Louis World's Fair during the 1904—1905 school year. In his first annual report to the Board, John McCabe, the new truant officer, detailed the one hundred five cases he had investigated since taking office. In 1906 "OLD FIFTH" was torn down. (Board minutes)
In June 1909 St. Raphael's school petitioned to be accredited as a high school. The school board's committee on course of study reported that pupils from any parochial school whose course of study was presented to the city superintendent and approved by him could be admitted to the high school upon conditions similar to those governing the admission of pupils from the grammar department of the public schools.
The pupils of the upper eight grades were given two tests at times designated by the superintendent. If the combined average from the average of the monthly report marks and the test average in any subject was 80 or more, the pupil would be excused from the final examination in that subject. If the average was less than 80, a final examination would have to be taken with the questions furnished by the superintendent. When final examinations were necessary, the general average required for promotion would have to be 75 or more and the minimum in arithmetic and grammar had to be at least 70. At the close of every semester, a complete report giving monthly report, test and final examination marks of all the pupils of the grade were given to the superintendent on forms provided by him. (Board minutes)
The question of whether to have sex education in the schools was raised in 1910. While the wife of Iowa Governor Carroll was a strong advocate for such a program, local feelings were mixed. Superintendent Oldt stated, "It would be well to leave some obligations with the parents." He continued,"Have young teachers teach the boy or girl the mysteries of life? Why, they have not matured enough to do so--they do not have the mother instinct in the first place." (Note: As late as 1949 in Cedar Rapids, female teachers who married were dismissed.) Miss Balcolm, superintendent of nurses at the Finley Hospital Training School, agreed with Superintendent Oldt, but believed many children received no parental guidance and therefore thought a program in the school would be a good idea. (39)
In 1911 when the District ended one year and began another, teachers who were kept on staff were "re-elected." In that year a new salary schedule was adopted for the grade teachers. The schedule called for a uniform increase of fifty dollars--twenty-five dollars for each of the new two years. (40)
Merchants along Clay Street petitioned the Board to abandon Prescott School on April 25, 1912. Merchants complained that the buildings were unsafe and that the traffic posed both a noise problem for the students as well as a hazard. The Board chose the half block facing White Street between 12th and 13th Streets for the new Prescott Elementary School. (Board minutes)
FRATERNITIES/SORORITIES in the high school were banned by action of the Board in 1913-1914. Members of Zeta Beta Psi and Iota Beta Phi sororities and Alpha Omega, Phi Sigma, Phi Delta and Phi Sigma fraternities resigned during the 1914--1915 school year to comply with the Board ruling. (Board minutes)
On October 6, 1916, a petition was filed with the Board for the construction of a new Bryant Elementary School. Of the 11,427 children living within the District, 3,152 attended public school. With the staff numbering fifteen men and one hundred thirty-one women the student teacher ratio was 27:1. (Board minutes)
In 1918 the board of education was praised for encouraging children in Dubuque to learn how to swim. The interest was a result of a census taken in the latter part of May in the high school and the upper grammar grades of the public schools. The census found that 276 pupils in the high school and 311 in the seventh and eighth grades of the grammar schools were unable to swim. Of the total 587 students, 526 indicated an interest in learning. This was nearly two-thirds of the boys and girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen. In July the board announced that swimming lessons would be provided beginning on July 9th at the municipal bathing beach near EAGLE POINT. The instructor for the boys was Mr. G. H. Westby of Chicago. Miss Ella H. Schneider of Chicago was hired to teach swimming to the girls.SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (BVM), cost $45,335. Teachers with five or more years of experience received a salary increase effective in 1921 of $400. Teachers with less experience received $30. On June 3, 1920, voters approved a proposal to erect two junior high schools. (Board minutes)
Sites for the junior high schools (now WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL and JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL) were selected on April 22, 1921, and January 7, 1922, respectively. The Board adopted a resolution during the 1922-1923 school year barring the employment of married women as teachers. (Board minutes)
In 1922 a thrift course was adopted by the board of education. In practice in over two hundred schools nationwide over the preceding seven years, the program was designed to encourage students to deposit money into savings accounts. Schools and their participation rates included Jackson (41%), Bryant (51%), Fulton (52%), Peter Cooper (55%), Irving (55%), Prescott (59%), Franklin (65%), Audubon (65%), and Marshall (69%). Students in which every student participated received a special pin. (41)
In 1923 Superintendent Otis P. Flower introduced the the new system of 6-3-3 school organization. Such an organization "would place children of various mental capacity in various groups for more efficient development." (42)
In 1923 the COMMITTEE OF NINE completed its investigation of grade school textbooks for alleged un-American materials.
In 1927 the District created the position of dean of girls at the high school. The first person to hold the job was Harriet Greenhow, a former principal of LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL and then the head of the Latin department at the high school. In the fall of 1927, the District received a letter from Clara M. Wallace, state superintendent of normal training in high schools. In the company of the county superintendent, she visited the Normal Training High School at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL on November 27, 1927. Superintendent Wallace described the program as "small but outstanding." "Students were getting splendid training and should make fine rural teachers. We trust you will use your influence in trying to help get these girls placed in the rural schools of Dubuque County when they are ready to teach." (43)
During the 1928-1929 academic year, junior high classes at Central School were discontinued. This came after some surprising discovery. The move of junior high classes from Central to Jefferson and Washington had been begun in July with the removal of the ninth grade at Central to the two other junior high schools. The movement of the seventh and eighth grades was to be finished at the end of the first semester. The building was then to be used for the board's administrative offices, a part time school and for school of "special opportunities" for full time pupils. The movement of students ended in January, when Superintendent Stevenson reported his finding that the board in 1920 before submitting the proposal to the voters to build a new senior and and two junior high schools had adopted a program for the new schools---and a junior high school at Central. (44) The removal of students from Central did not resume until the issue was settled at the end of the 1928-1929 school year. Classes for the deaf, handicapped and part-time were then moved to the building. (Board minutes)
In January 1928, Superintendent Stevenson supported the practice of hiring married women as substitutes. He claimed it was his practice, following board policy, to seek unmarried women first, but that unmarried women were often not available on short notice. Finding substitutes for the high school was especially difficult since it was his policy to only call those qualified in the fields in which they taught. In this case, the only competent substitute was a married woman. It was also true that experienced married substitutes could more quickly get the students into a "working mood." The superintendent stated that he felt when the community realized these facts that the board members would be less likely to be criticized for the hiring of married women. (45)
The Peter Cooper School was closed during the 1930-1931 school year. Voters in 1932 approved a plan to sell the building and place the money in the School House Fund. During the same year the practice of renting textbooks was started at Washington Junior High School. Financial problems returned to the District, and 10 percent of all salaries were withheld for balancing the budget. At the end of the year, 60 percent of the money withheld was repaid to the employees. (Board minutes)
In an effort to balance the budget, salaries were again reduced by 10 percent during the 1933-1934 year with an additional 10 percent coming from salaries exceeding one hundred dollars per month. At the end of the year, 75 percent of the withheld money was repaid. (Board minutes)Frederick Wilhelm KALTENBACH was not renewed, and the MURALS at Dubuque Senior were completed under the direction of Cyril FERRING, a former student. (Board minutes)
In 1936-1937 the Dubuque Teachers Association asked the District to begin payment of salaries in twelve equal installments. Each paycheck was issued on the first day of the month. (Board minutes)
In 1937 officials of the American Federation of Labor were told by members of the Board of Education that the organization of teachers into a union was a matter that "rested entirely with the teachers themselves." John J. Brown, A. F. of L. organizer, announced that he would ask Miss Helen Kintzinger, president of the Dubuque Teachers' Association, to call a meeting of the executive committee of the organization to consider the issue. Board members offered the services of Superintendent Earl C. Cline "to call a meeting of the teachers of the proposal met with the approval of the association's executive committee." (46)DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL gymnasium. (Board minutes)
On September 26, 1938, Dubuque voters approved by a vote of 4,763 to 1,265 to issue bonds for the construction of schools to replace Bryant, Fulton, Lincoln, and Marshal. A resolution was adopted on November 10,1938, to accept a grant from the federal government to help in the construction of the schools in a sum not to exceed $343,636. Marshall was accepted as completed on January 23, 1940. Bryant was accepted on February 23, 1940. Lincoln was accepted on April 1, 1941, and Fulton was accepted on April 16. (Board minutes)
During 1941-1942 the Board adopted a rule that required all teachers to attend summer school and obtain a minimum of six hours of credit every six years. The federal government requested students in manual training classes during the same year to build airplane models to be used in the instruction of airplane spotters. (Board minutes)
To enable more women to enter the workforce during WORLD WAR II, the District began a day nursery at Audubon School for young children during the 1942-1943 academic year. In 1944 a second nursery was opened at Fulton School. (Board minutes)
An epidemic of POLIO delayed the opening of school for one month in 1943. The same year a School Site Fund was created and funded by all delinquent taxes collected. (Board minutes)
In 1946 the single salary schedule for teachers was adopted. The same year teachers received a two hundred dollar salary increase. On July 9, 1947, part of the Center Grove School District was annexed. This was followed on October 10 by the Oakville School District. (Board minutes)
The start of school in 1949 was again delayed by poliomyelitis. A strike by coal miners left the District with a fuel shortage. Temperatures in the schools were lowered, and all after-school and evening activities were cancelled. (Board minutes)
Construction contracts for the erection of a new Irving Elementary School were awarded in 1952. The building was dedicated on October 28, 1953, and WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH purchased the site of the old Irving School. Audubon School opened a classroom on a half-time basis in the fall of 1954 for the teaching of the mentally handicapped. (Board minutes)
The merger of the Independent School District of Dubuque and the Independent School District of Center Grove was approved effective July 1, 1956. On December 10, 1956, the Board passed a resolution changing the name of the District from the Independent School District of Dubuque to the Dubuque Community School District. Merger with the Asbury Independent School District was approved effective July 1, 1957. (Board minutes)
Mergers with other districts occurred frequently. The District merged with the Stone Hill School District during the 1958-1959 academic year. The following year a resolution was approved merging the Dubuque district with the Rural Independent School District of Julien. The actual merger occurred July 1, 1960. The District agreed to merge with the Derby Grange Rural Independent School District (effective July 1, 1961), but denied the merger application of the Wilton Rural Independent School District, preferring to merge with only one district annually. In 1961 a petition to merge with the Table Mound Township School District was received. This was completed in 1962. Wilton Rural Independent School District merged with Dubuque on July 8, 1963. During the 1963-1964 school year the Board set aside its limitation on mergers as five rural school districts (Salem Rural Independent, Washington Township, St. Joseph Rural Independent, Mosalem Township and Center Township) joined Dubuque. (Board minutes)
In testimonial to Wilbur DALZELL for his forty-three years of distinguished service to the District, the Board passed a resolution during the 1964-1965 academic year to name the athletic field at Senior High in his honor. (Board minutes)
Dr. Garlyn Wessels succeeded Max CLARK as superintendent of schools in 1966 at an annual salary of $16,000. Dr. Clark had been informed that his contract with the district as superintendent would not be renewed. He was offered the post of administrative consultant with responsibilities in the areas of building programs, financing and federal programs. (47) Dr. Howard PIGG was introduced as the new assistant superintendent. To comply with state law that all areas of the state be part of a K-12 school district, the County Board of Education announced that the following were attached to the Dubuque Community School District effective July 1, 1966: Bloody Run, Jefferson, St. Josephs, Knollville, Riverside, Sageville, Sherrill, Vernon and Washington Mills. In addition the merger of Prairie Springs and St. Donatus with the District was approved. (Board minutes)STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL was awarded. HUMKE SCHOOL, now displayed at the HAM HOUSE, from Center Township was donated to the DUBUQUE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY. (Board minutes)
In 1968 the Dubuque Human Relations Commission suggested that the District pursue the active recruitment and hiring of minority group teachers by soliciting job applications and giving "favorable" consideration to minorities. Superintendent Wessel reported that teacher recruiters had recently completed interviews on fifty college campuses in seven states and had not had one minority group person ask to be interviewed. The board stated that the superintendent and director of personnel would meet with the commission to finalize plans for recruitment. (48) HOOVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL was dedicated on Sunday, November 17, 1968. EISENHOWER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL was dedicated on November 24, 1968. During the 1968-1969 school year a "Stay in School" eight-week summer program designed to prevent students from becoming dropouts was approved by the Board. It was announced that Hempstead High School would not be ready for students by September 2, 1969, necessitating double sessions of classes at Dubuque Senior High School. Three sections of Hempstead were ready for use following Christmas vacation in 1969. The Board declared that January 26, 1970, the start of the second semester, would be the date of the move. (Board minutes)KENNEDY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. A state of emergency was declared by the County Superintendent making repairs possible without advertising for bids. The Board authorized a two-year lease with the SISTERS OF THE VISITATION OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY (SVM) for the use of the ACADEMY OF THE VISITATION (THE). The building, used by shared-time students from Holy Ghost School, Saint Anthony School, and Nativity School was considered an annex of Washington Junior High School. The District purchased twenty-three acres of ground at Kaufmann Avenue and Chaney from the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE for $75,000. Part of this site, once considered for a new junior high school, was later used for the administrative offices of the District. (Board minutes)
In 1970 the District became the third school district in its size category throughout a 10-state mid-western area to adopt a system of performance pay for school administrative personnel. The pay system would apply to an estimated thirty-seven administrators assigned to individual school buildings. The new pay system included five pay criteria--education, experience, responsibility of position, length of contract and performance appraisal. The average 1970-71 salary for the thirty-seven building administrators to be rated under the evaluation system was $15,245. The same year the board approved a teacher salary package of a $6,875 base salary, a $3,000 district-maintained term life insurance policy and a partial payment of the individual teacher's family health insurance. (Board minutes)
In March 1970 Dr. Wessel gave a speech entitled "We'll Manage Somehow" to the Dubuque Management Club. The unusual title alluded to the 105% growth rate the District had experienced in the last decade. He explained that the growth rate was far larger than any other district in Iowa with the exception of Western Dubuque. Since 1964, the number of building had grown from 13 to 20, the number of students served lunches from 1,200 to 7,000, the number of buses from 12 transporting 600 students to 72 carrying 7,000. The pupil growth rate was largely due to students transferring from parochial schools in the city to the public schools. From 1967 to 1970, a total of 2,372 students had made this relocation. The original district included only the City of Dubuque in 11 square miles. Due to district reorganization in the early part of the 1960s, this area had grown to 245 square miles. (49)
Beginning in 1971 the Dubuque REALTORS Building and Vocational Training Association worked with the District staff, high school instructors and students on the Student Built House Project. The program ran until 1984 and then was put on hold for six years and restarted in 1993 and ran until 2009. During those twenty-nine years, hundreds of students from Senior and Hempstead along with WAHLERT HIGH SCHOOL participated in the program which annually constructed an entire home including all aspects of construction, interior design and decorating. Proceeds from the sale of the homes were given to students who applied for scholarships. Over $135,000 in scholarships were awarded. Those who did not apply received skills useful throughout their lives. (50)
The 1980s the District saw the implementation of collective bargaining. The DUBUQUE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, an affiliate of the Iowa State Education Association and the National Education Association was the bargaining agent for the teachers. Grievances followed a procedure of settlement that could include binding arbitration. Settling the issue of pay often resulted in the District and Association taking their case to first a fact finder and then if no agreement was reached to an arbitrator. (51)
Beyond negotiations, the District in 1988 named the gymnasium at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL the Nora Gym in honor of James NORA. The District was also seen as a leader in the removal of asbestos. The "In Touch" newsletter was begun and an AIDS curriculum was approved in 1988. After much discussion, fans were approved for schools. In 1989 a multi-cultural curriculum plan was adopted. A consultant for the program began work the following year.
During 1990 the combination of Eisenhower Elementary School with Keller School was accomplished with the name of the school remaining Eisenhower. The District commitment to special education included working with students from HILLS AND DALES CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER, AREA RESIDENTIAL CARE, INC., and counties in the State of Iowa.
In October, 1990 the District adopted an affirmative action plan while calling a proposed goal of hiring women and minorities to fill four administrative and management positions by 1992 unrealistic. The time table was delayed to 1993. The affirmative action plan called for active efforts to hire qualified women, racial minorities and disabled people to all school positions. Except for two Asian and two Hispanic teachers, the district had no minority employees in 1989-1990. Katie Mulholland, the district's staff development coordinator, stated that the goals of the plan represented a standard the district should try to attain and was not a hiring quota.
In 1991 Jerome Greer was hired as the first black school administrator in the history of the District. The night he was introduced to the Board of Education there was a cross-burning near the school district office. (52) Greer served as the principal of IRVING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL where another cross-burning took place within view of the school. Greer left the city 1994 to become the director of human resources in Peoria, Illinois.
In the 1990s the District developed its own multicultural and non-sexist plan administered by Thomas DETERMAN. Inservice programs were held for staff members and curriculum adoptions were made after materials were examined for bias. After Determan's retirement, inservices were continued and staff development was brought to the buildings annually by Dr. Kris Hall.
In July 1992, Diana LAM was hired as the superintendent upon the retirement of Dr. Howard Pigg. Lam established a number of initiatives including expeditionary learning. In 1993 amid controversy about her curriculum changes, the Board of Education voted 4-3 to renew her contract for another two years. Shortly afterwards, Lam accepted an offer to be the superintendent of schools in San Antonio, Texas. (53)
Dr. Marvin O'HARE succeeded Lam as superintendent. O’Hare moved to Dubuque in 1970 to serve the Dubuque Community School District as the first Director of Elementary Education, then assistant superintendent. He was a strong advocate of early childhood education. He was succeeded as superintendent by Dr. Joel MORRIS. Dr. Morris was succeeded by Dr. Jane PETREK and then John BURGART. Burgart was succeeded by Dr. Larie GODINEZ.
Under Dr. Godinez, the District actively moved toward the purchase of property once owned by the DUBUQUE PACKING COMPANY for the construction of a new middle school. Controversy arose over the cost and location of the land. Controversy also arose over the superintendent's idea of closing several neighborhood elementary schools and relocating the students to WASHINGTON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL after the construction of a new middle school on the Pack property. The Board of Education eventually withdraw its interest in the property, and the potential closing of elementary schools was no longer considered.
The closing of Central Alternative School left questions as to what would be planned for these students. In 2010 the Alternative Learning Center was located at the Forum, the district's administrative office on Chaney Road. That year, 36 graduates received diplomas from Senior and Hempstead. Compared to 2009, twenty-one fewer students dropped out of high school. (54)
In 2011 the Alternative Learning Center moved to Jones. The "project based learning" strategy was continued with a school wide project, the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. CONNECT moved to the Forum. This program, targeted at-risk students in grades 8, 9, and 10, provided two semesters of intensive support with gradual return to their home high school. (55) Supportive study groups called Professional Learning Communities were formed by teachers throughout the District. Within these groups, teacher shared successful practices and provided colleagues with ideas for improvement. (56) Teachers throughout the District through Assessment for Learning worked to align curriculum, assessment and instruction.
In 2011, the District moved towards more technology in the classrooms. Projectors, for example, which could be linked to the Internet were installed in elementary social studies classrooms. Teachers were provided with laptops.
In February 2012 the question of entering into a long-term contract with one technology company to provide services to the District was explored. In April the decision to proceed with just one company was reconsidered. The same month it was discovered that a $133,000 "help desk" had never been operational. This was followed the same month with the discovery that several district computer servers had not had anti-virus programs installed. Dr. Godinez stated that she had not been informed of either situation. On Monday, April 30th the board voted unanimously to consider firing the superintendent. On May 1st, Superintendent Godinez gave notice that she was taking an extended leave of absence.
On Wednesday, May 2, 2012 the board unanimously approved the appointment of Stan RHEINGANS as acting superintendent. Rheingans had been the district's Executive Director of Human Resources since July 2004. On May 30, 2012 the Board and Dr. Godinez reached a termination agreement. (57) The Board announced then announced that it would conduct its own search for a new superintendent. In June of 2012 Rheingans was named Interim Superintendent and his salary was raised to around $160,000. Rheingans was named the superintendent on September 19th after a search was conducted by the board without professional assistance as in the past. (58)
Multi-million dollar construction projects for the District began in 2012 with work done at Dalzell Field at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Financing through the local option sales tax allowed the District to make upgrades to the field so that it would conform to the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) access rules and guidelines for public facilities. The District used the project to also make the facility more appealing for athletic and community events.
In April, 2013, the District announced a new four-year technology plan funded by the one-cent sales tax. With the intent of providing tablets to teachers trained on incorporating technology into the classroom, the plan would invest $3.5 million per year for four years. There would also be a $2.5 million commitment to refresh/replace technology as needed. By 2016-2017 both high schools would become one-to-one schools with every student having a tablet. (59)
In August, the District also unveiled its new logo (shown at the top of the entry on the left hand side). The figures represent every student, white space represents movement toward the future and diamonds represent communication.
Redesign of the approximately 13-year-old logo was part of a district strategic plan goal to more proactively tell the district’s story. A district official said the new logo is core to establishing a consistent, unified and meaningful representation of what the district is and aspires to be.
Cost of the new logo designed by Mike Schmalz of Refinery Design Company in Dubuque was $13,500, paid out of the general fund, and included the logo in various orientations and formats, as well as a complete redesign of district business cards, letterhead and envelopes.
Effective July 1, 2014, Iowa schools had the option to choose between a minimum of 180 days or 1,080 hours of instruction in a school year. Only instructional hours counted in that latter option, so recess and lunch are not included. Under the new law, days that started late or ended early -- due to heat, winter weather, or teacher inservice meetings -- counted toward the hours minimum but did not count toward the day minimum; not even as a partial day. In response, the District chose the calendar based on hours and eliminated the spring break. Teacher inservice time was reduced to one hour on Friday mornings. (60)
In March 2014, the State of Iowa renewed the charter school status of Prescott Elementary. Opened in 2006, Prescott, the only elementary charter school in Iowa, was an expeditionary-learning charter school that emphasized experiential, problem-based learning with an integration of the arts. The school was required to renew its charter every four years. (61)
In the fall of 2014 the District unveiled a new teacher-leadership program. Funded by a $3.3 million state grant, about two hundred teachers were elevated to "teacher-leaders" and given the task of working collaboratively with less-experienced peers. (62) In October, the District renamed the Jones Campus to Alta Vista Campus. The new name was to honor the original structure, Alta Vista Mansion, the former home of George Wallace Jones. The site housed the Alternative Learning Center and Connect Program. (63)
1. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 553. Online: http://books.google.com/books?id=u9xDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA464&lpg=PA464&dq=Burton%27s+Furnace+%28dubuque+history%29&source=bl&ots=0CkCGLFR0v&sig=a0Ou1vN3ew6nQUYoq2aOJsXF9Mg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=j3HVT5XALaP42QXVp9iFDw&ved=0CGgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Burton%27s%20Furnace%20%28dubuque%20history%29&f=false
2. Ibid., p. 218-219.
4. Ibid., p. 557
8. Ibid., p. 558
10. Ibid., p. 559
13. Ibid., p. 560
14. Kruse, Len. "Prescott-Dubuque's First Public High School," My Old Dubuque, Center for Dubuque History, Loras College, 2000, p. 269-270
15. Ibid., p. 561
17. Ibid., p. 562
18. "Examination of Public Schools," Dubuque Herald, June 22, 1866
19. Ibid., p. 563
20. Ibid., p. 564-565
21. Ibid., p. 565
22. Ibid. p. 566
23. Ibid., p. 567
24. Ibid., p. 570
25. Ibid., p. 572
26. Ibid., p. 575
28. Ibid., p. 576
29. Petho, Andrea W.--"The Wallis Family Tree" and photographs.
30. "Board of Education--Our Public Schools Re-Named in Honor of Distinguished Americans," Telegraph Herald-Times Journal, Sept. 24, 1889, p. 3
31. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque, Iowa County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspell Historical Association, 1911, p. 920
33. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-22-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml
34. Oldt, Franklin T. p. 920
36. Oldt, Franklin T. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-22-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml
37. "Doors Open Again," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 6. 1903, p. 5
38. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque, Iowa County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspell Historical Association, 1911, p. 200
39. "Teach Sex Facts in Public Schools?" Telegraph Herald, February 3, 1910, p. 10
40. "Board Increases Teachers' Salaries," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 11, 1911, p. 12
41. "Thrift Course in Dubuque Schools," Telegraph Herald, February 12, 1922, p. 15. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lJBSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iM0MAAAAIBAJ&pg=3001,445377&dq=peter+cooper+school+dubuque&hl=en
42. "Flower Outlines New School Plan," Telegraph Herald, Sept. 26, 1922, p. 4
43. "Dubuque's Normal Training School Receives Praise," Telegraph Herald-Times Journal, Nov. 28, 1927, p. 7
44. "Central High Not To Be Abandoned," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, January 10, 1928, p. 7
45. "Married Women as Teachers O.K." Telegraph Herald, January 10, 1928, p. 11
46. "Teachers Will Pass on Union," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 10, 1937, p. 5
47. "City School Board Shifts Clark From Chief to New Position," Telegraph Herald, February 11, 1966, p. 1
48. "Board Agrees to Try to Hire Negro Teachers," Telegraph Herald, May 14, 1968, p. 1
49. "Wessel Tells Problems in School Growth," Telegraph Herald, Mar. 4, 1970, p. 6
50. "Fulfilling Dreams...One Home at a Time," Dubuque Board of Realtors, Inc., May 30, 2013, p. 4
51. Personal experience of the author who served on the original and later collective bargaining negotiations teams.
52. "After Seventeen Years, It was Time to Let Go and Forgive," Suburban Journals, May 25, 2008, Online: http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/after-years-it-was-time-to-let-go-and-forgive/article_a65ae56d-361b-5c4d-b0ec-46b3e6902f07.html
53.Wardenski, Joseph. "Chancellor Klein's Right-Hand Woman: Who is Diana Lam?" Gothamgazette.com. Online: http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/sep.02.shtml
54. Olson, David. "What a Great Day for DCSD Middle Schools and High Schools," Julien's Journal, September 2011, p. 55
57. Earl, Chris. "Dubuque Board Fires Superintendent," The Gazette, May 30, 2012. Online: http://thegazette.com/2012/05/30/dubuque-board-fires-superintendent/
58. "Rheingans Named Dubuque Community School District Superintendent," Online: http://www.dubuque.k12.ia.us/superintendentsearch/
59. Becker, Stacey. "School District Upgrading Technology," Telegraph Herald, Apr. 9, 2013, p. 3A
60. Wiedemann, Katie. "Dubuque Schools Revise Proposed 2014-2015 Calendar," KCRG, Feb. 6, 2014
61. Becker, Stacey,"Charter Renewed for Prescott School," Telegraph Herald, Mar. 7, 2014, p. 3A
62. Jacobson, Ben. "New Teachers Learn Along with Students," Telegraph Herald, August 20, 2014, p. 1A
63. Becker, Stacey. "District Exceeds 2013-1014 Authorized Budget," Telegraph Herald, October 14, 2014, p. 3A