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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING. Expeditionary learning in Dubuque began in 1992. The New American Schools Development Corporation, a private initiative financed with corporate donations, reviewed 686 proposals and chose to fund expeditionary learning in Dubuque and New York City with a grant up to $200,000. (1) Diana LAM, at the time a educational consultant in Boston, assisted in designing the program. She brought expeditionary learning to Dubuque in 1992 after being named the superintendent of the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. (2)

Four schools, Table Mound, Bryant, Lincoln and Central Alternative chose to become the pilot schools for the program in Dubuque. Other schools were directed to adopt other over-riding theories on which to base their instruction. (3)

Expeditionary learning principles included higher level thinking; authentic assessment in which evaluation was made of student work and not standardized tests; and the learning-by-doing philosophy of Outward Bound. (4)

In 1997 expeditionary learning was in its last year of funding. Diana Lam had left the district and several local administrators chose to leave their positions to take jobs working with the concept in other cities. Elements of the program continued to be practiced in Dubuque.



1. Krapfl, Mike. "Lam to Explain Expeditionary Learning," Telegraph Herald, December 26, 1992, p. 3A

2. Krapfl, Mike. "Expeditionary Learning Explores Survival Without Primary Funding," Telegraph Herald, February 27, 1997, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970227&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.