1702 N. Main St.
Davenport, IA

Profile of Our District


It’s easy to picture a school classroom as filled with students and led by a dedicated teacher, but we’re much more than that. We are a learning community comprised of involved parents, agency and business partners, volunteers, and caring citizens who, together with our students and staff, make Davenport Community Schools a district of distinction.


Communities Served: We serve the communities of Blue Grass, Buffalo, Davenport, and Walcott. This total land area covers 109 square miles.


  • 4 High Schools
  • 4 Intermediate Schools
  • 1 K-8 School
  • 17 Elementary Schools
  • The Creative Arts Academy of the Quad Cities
  • Keystone Academy
  • A network of Early Childhood Learning Centers
  • 1 Athletic Stadium
  • 1 Operations Center
  • 1 Achievement Services Center

High Quality Teachers

  • Over 1400 teachers (55.76% have a Master’s Degree or higher)
  • 25 National Board Certified Teachers on staff, the most out of any Quad Cities school district
  • A highly structured mentoring program pairs new teachers with an experienced teacher as mentor for two years. At the end of this intensive coaching and portfolio review process, new teachers receive their standard teaching license.
  • All teachers receive ongoing coaching and professional development by a staff of Curriculum & Instruction Specialists and other experts from around the nation
  • Weekly “collaborative time” allows teachers to engage in professional issues and plan for student needs

Budget: A highly trained staff of financial experts maintains a budget of over $200 million to ensure the effective use of funds. Accolades include the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Association of School Business Officials International.

Economic Impact: Over 3000 employees – one of the top ten employers in the Quad Cities.

Student Enrollment: 15,234 students, 2017-18 Certified Enrollment

Student Diversity (Rounded to nearest hundredth)

  • 55.69% White
  • 18.7% Black of African-American
  • 13.92% Hispanic
  • 9.7% Multi-racial
  • 1.63% Asian
  • 0.25% Native American
  • 0.1% Pacific Islander

Guidelines for Elementary Class Sizes

  • Kindergarten through first grade – 20 students
  • Second grade – 21 students
  • Third grade – 22 students
  • Fourth through fifth grade – 26 students

Computers and Technology

  • We are a 1:1 school district with over 25,000 devices serving our students and staff
  • All elementary classrooms have interactive whiteboards, with many intermediate and high schools utilizing the technology
  • Google Apps for Education workspaces facilitate “anytime, anywhere” learning for students

Operations and Facility Maintenance

  • Recognized as environmental leader receiving Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award, Iowa Recycling Award, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year
  • Facilities upgrades of nearly $130 million over the past 12 years, earning the Association of School Business Officials International Facilities Masters Award

Food Service: Highly trained nutrition experts serve every building in the school district. Each day nearly 20,000 meals are served to students in over 30 locations. Summer meal sites across the community serve an additional 35,000 meals annually.

Student Awards (Just a few from the end of year wrap-up; for the latest stories, visit our homepage or our social media channels.)

  • Central’s Lea Grady was crowned State Champion in Discus Throw. Lea’s throw ranks as the 14th-best in Iowa history and among the top-20 in the nation in 2018.
  • Central High’s production, Next to Normal, and North High’s spring musical, Les Miserables, were both honored by the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards. Central received awards for Outstanding Overall Performance, Special Recognition for Ensemble and Community Engagement, Special Recognition in a Principal Role, Special Recognition for Stage Management, Outstanding Lighting Design, and Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role. North earned Outstanding Musical Production, Special Recognition for Ensemble, Special Recognition for Performers in a Lead Role, and Outstanding Performers in a Lead Role.
  • West High bands traveled to Florida to compete in the 2018 OrlandoFest Competition, with both the Concert Band and Jazz Band placing 1st in their divisions and Concert Band winning overall Grand Champion.
  • North and Central High Schools were two of only four schools invited to perform at the 2017 State Thespian Festival. North’s JJ Pierce was selected to represent the state of Iowa on the Student Thespian Board (one of only 7 students in the state).
  • Central High junior Nia Walker was selected as one of 15 state finalists for the 2018 Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award, a program that awards outstanding Iowa teens.
  • West High’s Madison Cousins qualified for the National Speech Association’s 2018 National Tournament for her 2nd year in a row in Informative Speaking. In addition, Spencer Fillman and Andrew Lord were selected to represent East Iowa on the World Schools Debate Team.
  • West High students competed in a Cyber Security competition on Cryptography, Web Attacks, Forensics, Programming, and Linux. The team of Rebecca Casad, Serafiina Kapanen, Caitlin Bauer, and Grace Shipley placed 2nd out of 100 teams in the state of Iowa, including 38th nationally. The team of Aubrie Schlotfeldt, Cheyenne Jones, and Jaydan Gottsche placed 5th in the state of Iowa.
  • Central  High/Creative Arts Academy student Karlie Westmoreland received a gold medal at the national level of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Karlie attended the National Ceremony and accepted her award in person at Carnegie Hall.
  • The “Combustible Lemons,” West High’s robotics team that competes in FIRST Tech Challenge events, was this year’s FTC WORLD CHAMPION student robotics team. The Lemons accomplished this amazing feat at the FTC World Championships in Saint Louis, winning this year’s competition in which students and their robot competed in a game called “Velocity Vortex.” 
  • At a drill competition in Des Moines, our Marine Corps JROTC program competed in seven different competitions throughout the day, winning 1st place overall and bringing home a total of nine individual trophies. The Army JROTC Program won the Best Youth Group Trophy at the 32nd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, their 8th year in a row winning the trophy.

Employee Awards (Just a few from the end of year wrap-up; for the latest stories, visit our homepage or our social media channels.)

  • West High’s Mr. Jay Swords was the recipient of the 2017 Iowa Talented and Gifted Association’s (ITAG) Distinguished Service Award.
  • Central High teachers Gail Heninger, Joni Nelson, and Shifra Gassner received 2017 Education Eddy Awards from River Action. Ms. Heninger received her Eddy for her work with the Environmental Club, and Ms. Nelson and Ms. Gassner were recognized for their involvement in the Upper Mississippi River Conference and Student summit.
  • West High’s Greg Smith, an Industrial Technology and Project Lead the Way teacher, was the recipient of the Southeast Iowa STEM Teacher of the Year Award from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
  • North High business teacher Steve Verdon was named Iowa ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education) Teacher of the Year.
  • Central High Family and Consumer Science teacher Jenee Cross was awarded an Afterschool Champions Award from the Iowa Afterschool Alliance. Mrs. Cross worked with River Bend Food Bank Programs Director Dianne Erickson to create the Community Cafe program to teach students how to be proactive members of their environment and tackle community hunger issues.
  • West High School, via West art teacher Chad Wolf, was the recipient of a nearly $5000 grant from Century Link for the furnishing of a digital studio for students.
  • Superintendent Dr. Art Tate was awarded the Lloyd Schoeneman Community Impact Award from Quad City Arts for his exceptional support of arts education in the Davenport Community Schools, including the Creative Arts Academy, artsBASICS, and the new Central High School Performing Arts Center.
  • Central High’s band director Alex Wilga was awarded the Dr. Lewis A Schmidt Citation of Excellence Alumni Award from VanderCook College of Music. Mr. Wilga is one of the first recipients of this award and credits his success to his students, both past and present, saying, “Without them I would not be the teacher I am.”
  • Garfield Elementary counselor Candy Reed received an award from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) to celebrate Garfield as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP). RAMP designations are given at the culmination of a school’s implementation of a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program.

Program & School Awards

  • Davenport Community Schools is one of only two districts in the state of Iowa to receive a 2017 Best Community for Music Education Award from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation. This designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
  • Davenport Community Schools was honored as one of the 12 recognized districts in Iowa on The College Board’s 5th Annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll. This year’s Honor Roll contains 547 districts across the U.S. and Canada, each honored for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
  • Mid City High received a Silver Citation award in the American School and University 2015 Educational Interiors Showcase. Jurors from across the country judged designs based on criteria such as 21st century learning environments, innovation, safety and security, and community connectivity.
  • At Garfield Elementary, Mrs. Snyder’s kindergartners participated in the Lexia Usage Challenge and placed in the top ten of the large school category throughout all of the Midwest.
  • Buffalo Elementary received a Scott County Regional Authority grant for $76,000 to create a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Lab for the integration of STEAM education into students’ daily learning experiences.
  • Truman Elementary received a $4000 grant from James Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club to help their school library. Truman was one of only two schools in Iowa to receive the grant, which helps get books into the hands of students.
  • The Iowa Department of Education presented Central High with an Iowa College and Career Readiness Award. Central was the only school in the state of Iowa selected to receive the “College and Career Transition Award.”
  • Iowa FINE – First in the Nation in Education – Awards
  • U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award
  • Iowa Diversity Award
  • American Association of School Administrators Leadership for Learning Award
  • American School Board Journal Magna Award
  • American Red Cross National School and Community Award for Youth in Health and Safety
  • Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association and Association of School Business Officials
  • National Association of Partners in Education Outstanding Partner Awards
  • National School Public Relations Association Communications Awards
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Lights School System Partner of the Year

Curriculum Highlights

Elementary (K-Grade 5)

  • Preschool opportunities
  • Concept Based Brain Compatible (CBBC)/”Brain Friendly” Classrooms
  • Skills for Life initiative
  • Emphasis on reading proficiency in primary grades
  • Balanced Literacy approach
  • Special visiting artists programs
  • Vocal music performance opportunities
  • Instrumental music program beginning in 4th grade
  • Departmental instruction in 4th and 5th grade in art, mathematics, music, physical education, science, and social studies
  • Special education programming
  • Talented and gifted programming
  • State-of-the-art library media centers – the first library media centers in elementary schools in Iowa and west of the Mississippi River

Intermediate (Grades 6-8)

  • Individual school-based middle school programming
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • Multiple-year sequence in French and Spanish
  • School-to-Work programming
  • Gateway to Technology program builds knowledge and skills in areas including computer science, engineering, and biomedical science
  • Individual student lessons in instrumental music
  • Special education programming
  • Talented and gifted programming
  • State-of-the-art library media centers

High Schools (Grades 9 – 12)

  • All high schools have Talented And Gifted teachers who support the unique learning needs of our gifted students. No other district in the area has this strong of a TAG program presence.
  • Currently offering 15 advanced placement and 58 dual credit college courses at our high schools
  • High quality fine arts, extracurricular, and athletic programs
  • Nationally-recognized Project Lead the Way engineering program
  • Award-winning ProStart culinary arts program
  • Junior ROTC programs, numerous school and community clubs, and service learning opportunities
  • Options within required course areas
  • Foreign language offerings in French, Spanish, German, and some Latin & Greek
  • School-to-Work programming
  • Special education programming
  • State-of-the-art library media centers

Parents as our Partners

  • Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) enlists fathers to volunteer at their child’s school by interacting with students before & after school, during lunch, and in classrooms
  • Parent engagement, PTA, and PTO opportunities at all of our schools
  • Online Parent Portal and other communication tools ensure families have regular contact with classroom teachers
  • Title I Parent Involvement activities engage parents as volunteers and education supporters
  • Home School Assistance Program offers academic and enrichment supports for families choosing to home school their child

Collaboration with Community Leaders and Agency Partners

  • Leading a network of over 20 preschool partners to provide access to high-quality early learning opportunities for all of Davenport’s 4 year-olds
  • Davenport Schools Foundation scholarships and Great Minds enrichment activities for all students
  • Afterschool and summer program expertise in partnership with ISU Extension, Davenport Parks and Recreation, YMCA and others
  • Free CitiBus service on all City of Davenport transit routes 7 days a week
  • Agency-led community-to-classroom program partnerships with ISU Extension, Jr. Achievement, Career Cruising Quad Cities, Figge Art Museum, Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates, and more
  • Learning Supports partners from the youth development and faith communities provide academic and social supports for students and families
  • Postsecondary collaborations prepare students and families for life after graduation

Safe and Supportive Schools

  • Every building has a full-time licensed school counselor and implements the American School Counselor Association model. In 2014 a DCS counselor was named Iowa Elementary School Counselor of the Year. Our district is also a signatory with the Military Child Education Coalition.
  • Olweus Bullying Prevention Program integration in all schools
  • Specialized Dropout Prevention & Learning Supports staff
  • Outreach and collaboration among emergency responders, civic leaders, and neighborhood groups to ensure safety and security in school facilities and on school grounds


History of Davenport Community Schools

The mission of Davenport Community Schools is to enhance each student’s abilities by providing a quality education enriched by our diverse community.

The Independent School District of Davenport was founded in 1858 for the purpose of educating the youth of the Davenport community. Curriculum was developed to program the community’s first high school and a Training School for Teachers, both founded in that year. By the turn of the 20th century, enrollment had risen with 50 students graduating in the year 1901. In 1915, the Training School for Teachers closed and the district focused resources on expansion of the curriculum for younger children. In 1917, three intermediate schools were built, and in 1939, six elementary schools were constructed for a total of eleven. Since its earliest inception, the growth and the progress of Davenport Community Schools has paralleled that of the community it serves. In 1959, the Independent School District of Davenport merged with Davenport Township and Rockingham Township School Districts. With the addition of Walcott in 1965 and Blue Grass, Buffalo and Linwood Schools in 1966, the district grew to form the current Davenport Community School District. At the turn of the 21st century, the district had 35 separate sites and served nearly 16,000 youth in the communities of Blue Grass, Buffalo, Davenport and Walcott, making it the third largest school district in Iowa.

Programming in our elementary, intermediate and senior high schools is unique to the youth served. Elementary schools have a strong, hands-on learning program to encourage curiosity and independent discovery. Intermediate schools approach each student understanding the affect of adolescence on student learning styles. Our senior high schools offer an array of learning choices for students who have a variety of lifetime goals.

This award-winning school district has received national accolades for its staff, including an Iowa Teacher of the Year, Iowa Principal of the Year, Iowa Central Office Administrator of the Year, Iowa Administrator of the Year and two national Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winners. The district’s programming is also groundbreaking, with fifteen schools and programs having received Iowa’s First in the Nation in Education (FINE) Award and one of the elementary schools recognized as a national Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The district has also been recognized by the American School Board Journal for its exemplary reading instructional programming.