Western Dubuque Community School District
Address: 310 4th St. SW, PO Box 68 | Farley, IA 52046
Phone: (563) 663-9626
Fax: (563) 744-3093
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April 17, 2020
Families of the Western Dubuque School District:

On Friday, April 17th, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that all Iowa public schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  

First of all, please take time to explain to your children how devastated we are as a school system to not be given the chance to appropriately end our year with them. We are grieving this news and sending our love, support, and condolences to you as you explain this in your homes. It’s okay to be sad and feel the disappointment of this, and we are here if you need us. This also gives us the opportunity to remind our students that we are being asked to make the personal sacrifices of not being together as a school system, not being with our friends, and not going back to our regular schedules in order to save lives and hopefully end the severity of the situation soon. The emotional well-being of all our families continues to come first for us; we are in this together.

While this is not the outcome that we were hoping for academically, we have been working on a plan for how we would move forward with this scenario. We will continue to offer voluntary educational enrichment opportunities throughout the extended closure. Across the state of Iowa, 87% of 327 school districts are using the voluntary option while only 2% are providing required educational services. We will continue to work through the challenges we face with equity to provide as many learning opportunities as possible for our students.

Most of your students should have received an email or phone call in the past few days from a teacher to offer support. We have also created and sent out well over 1300 packets of review work to our students and increased the number of resources available on The Hub. All grade level teachers will be meeting again next week to continue to develop additional resources and learning opportunities for this extended closure for all grades and subjects. We are also taking on a specific focus of working with our math teachers, specifically the individuals who teach 4th through 8th grade math, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, to develop additional, voluntary learning opportunities for the students enrolled in those courses. These math lessons will allow students to review prior content and move on to new concepts as well. Please know that we are working diligently to balance the work we provide for students who are willing and able to continue academic learning with the students who are not in that position. This is a difficult thing to balance, so we appreciate your patience and support as we continue to move forward together.

Seniors: If you have a student who is a senior, here is our plan. Seniors who were on track to graduate when school closed, will receive their diploma and graduate. The state has given local school districts the flexibility to waive certain graduation requirements and to determine who should receive credit for courses that weren’t fully completed. So, seniors who were on pace to graduate in May, will graduate. Seniors who were behind on credits will need to continue to take coursework to make up the missing credits to fulfill the graduation requirements. If you have any questions about credits, college, etc. for your senior high school student, you should contact the high school principal for information. 

Prom and Graduation: We will look at potential alternative dates for these events. We will get that information out to you at a later date. 

Freshmen through Juniors:  All of these students will earn credit for all courses that they were enrolled in for the third trimester. For these courses the student will receive a “Cr” on their transcript for each class. By using “Cr” the student will receive credit for the course, but this will not impact the student’s grade point average in any way. Any student who was enrolled in Physical Science: Chemistry, Physical Science: Physics, Personal Finance or Health will receive the “Cr” for elective credit, but will have to repeat the course the following year for a grade due to the graduation requirement for each course. For all other courses, the student will move on to their next course they are scheduled to take for the 2020-2021 school year (Example: Student was in English 2, they will move on to English 3 in 2020-2021).  If you have specific questions about your child’s courses and schedule, contact the high school administration. 

All students in grade PK-8th: The students in these grade levels will move to the next grade level for the 2020-2021 school year. So, if your child was in 3rd grade this year, they will move to 4th grade for the 2020-2021 school year. 

We learned today that all districts will be required to submit a “Return to Learn Plan” to the state by July 1, 2020. We were also informed that we would be able to start school early to develop a plan to make up some of the lost time from this extended school closure. We had already been working on a “what if” plan if school was closed for the remainder of the year and now, we will begin working on formalizing our return to learn plan as directed by the state. Additionally, we will be working with our staff to ensure that essential content missed this year is covered for the 2020-2021 school year.  It is our goal to make up the missed concepts by the conclusion of next school year.

Lastly, each building will be working to develop additional plans for those students who are transitioning to a new building and/or new teachers next school year (moving from elementary to middle or middle to high school).  While those plans have not been finalized at this time, we will communicate that information to families as soon as they are complete.

We know there are additional questions regarding picking up personal belongings and other needs; please await additional guidance on these questions. We currently need to follow state guidance given by the Governor yesterday on staying in place through the next few weeks. Once it is deemed appropriate for families to pick up items, we will communicate those plans to you.

I hope that you continue to stay safe and healthy and that you are able to focus on your family during this time. Trust that when your children are back at school, we will continue to provide them with an exceptional education. We are all in this together.

Take care of yourself and your family.

Rick Colpitts, Superintendent
Western Dubuque Community School District

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