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Latest news from Downers Grove District 58

August 27, 2009
Welcome back letter from Superintendent Paul Zaander

We thank you for your continued support of District 58 and its neighborhood schools, and welcome you to the 2009-10 school year!

This was another busy summer in our district. While students and staff were taking time for some much-needed rest and relaxation, crews were replacing the roofs at Indian Trail School and O'Neill Middle School. Over the next few years, the roofs at Belle Aire, El Sierra, Henry Puffer and Kingsley schools are slated for replacement.

We plan to pay for these capital needs, along with approximately $1.6 million in other Life Safety projects, with a $10 million Life Safety bond issue. After nearly two years of reviewing the district's needs, our resident- driven Financial Advisory Committee recommended the bond issue as the best way to maintain our community's investment in our buildings and ensure the continued safety of our students.

Our balanced 2009-10 spending plan is set to be approved on Sept. 14, and we continue to make changes as we carefully monitor reductions in education funding at the state level.

Our budget is developed in support of the district's priorities. Although we continue to do "more with less," we never lose sight of our mission, which is, in partnership with parents and community, to challenge each child by providing quality educational programs and support services in safe, nurturing environments in order to prepare all students to be lifelong learners and contributing members of society.

In District 58, we focus not only on giving students the knowledge they need to be successful, but also the social and emotional support they need to know that they can and will be successful; this will continue to be a priority in 2009-10.

Please visit our Web site,,for the latest news about District 58, as well as a variety of information about our board, policies,  meetings, administrative contacts, departments, and links to Web sites for our individual schools. On our Community Relations page, you'll find still more stories and photo galleries about our classrooms, staff and students.

We always want to hear from you. If you ever have a question or a comment about District 58 or any of its programs, policies or procedures, please don't hesitate to e-mail our Communications Coordinator, Jennifer Waldorf, at, or call (630) 719-5805.

Here's to another great year in District 58!

Paul C. Zaander
Superintendent of Schools
District 58 prepares for possible resurgence of H1N1

As District 58 welcomes back students and staff, we all are aware of reports of a possible resurgence of H1N1 influenza in the fall. District 58 officials are working closely with the DuPage County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health  and following their guidance as we monitor flu conditions and make decisions about steps to take to reduce the potential for the spread of flu in our schools.

The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention no longer recommends closing schools, unless absenteeism levels interfere with the school's ability to function, or the school has large numbers of individuals at high risk of complications. The CDC recommends that we focus on keeping all students, faculty and staff with symptoms of influenza out of the schools during their period of illness and recuperation, when they are potentially infectious to others.

We have asked staff to keep a close eye on students, and if it appears that someone is sick, he or she will be isolated promptly and sent home. We are asking parents to keep children home from school if they exhibit signs of the flu, which include a fever of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, and feeling very tired. Staff exhibiting the same symptoms must also stay home, and will be sent home if they become sick during the school day.

Children must be kept at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs. Good personal hygiene is extremely important in preventing the spread of the flu, and our staff will continue to emphasize the importance of frequent hand-washing and/or sanitizing, and of sneezing into the crook of the elbow if a tissue is not available.

The DuPage County Health Department has told us that we can continue to use our regular cleansers in our buildings, and our custodial staff will pay close attention to cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas such as drinking fountains, computer keyboards and doorknobs.

For more information, please visit or
District 58 'going green' with flyers

Over the next year, District 58 will be doing its part to "go green" by changing the way our community partners in education distribute information to our students and families. 

Currently, community organizations whose flyer meets our criteria (outlined here) provide paper copies for distribution via backpack. In 2008-09, District 58 distributed more than 425,000 pieces of paper on behalf of community groups.

With the planned transition to an e-flyer system, we are introducing an eco-friendly distribution system that saves resources and the time required to sort and handle materials.

During the 2009-10 school year, flyers still will be sent home via backpack, but they also will be posted for viewing on the Flyer Distribution portion of the district's Community Relations page.

Plans are that beginning with the 2010-11 school year, flyers will ONLY be available for viewing online. We still will approve flyers twice per month for posting, and flyers must still meet our criteria to be distributed via the e-flyer system.

Please give us feedback on the effectiveness of this distribution method during the 2009-10 school year by e-mailing your comments and questions to Communications Coordinator Jennifer Waldorf at, or by calling (630) 719-5805.
El Sierra set to celebrate 40th

Come out and party like it's 1969!

The entire community is encouraged to attend a kick-off event for El Sierra School's 40th anniversary, a party on the school grounds Saturday, Sept. 12 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. El Sierra is located at 6835 Fairmount Ave., Downers Grove. If you have ever attended El Sierra, you are encouraged to e-mail to be placed on the 40th anniversary mailing list. 

For more information about El Sierra and its 40th anniversary, visit El Sierra's Web site,!

Plans also are underway to commemorate Belle Aire School's anniversary during the 2009-10 school year. Stay tuned for further information about the celebrations at both schools!
The circus is coming!

Save the date-the District 58 Education Foundation is bringing the Kelly Miller circus back for an all-new 2009 show on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Fairmount/O'Neill Middle School grounds at 59th Street and Blodgett Avenue.

Tickets for the 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. performances are available on the Education Foundation's Web site,; at Community Bank of Downers Grove, 1111 Warren Ave. and 718 Ogden Ave.; and at the District 58 Administrative Service Center, 1860 63rd St. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for youth.

Last year's nearly sold-out shows raised more than $15,000 in support of the Foundation's programs in District 58, which include middle school orientation, staff and student recognition, grants and scholarships.

Come check out the captivating magic under the big top and support the students and staff of Downers Grove District 58 at the same time! 
Special education private/parochial parent meeting

Downers Grove Grade School District 58 will host a meeting Monday, Aug. 31, to discuss the district's plans for the 2009-10 school year to provide special education services to students with disabilities who attend private/parochial schools or are home-schooled within District 58.

This meeting will take place at 9 a.m. at the District 58 Administrative Service Center, 1860 63rd St., Downers Grove.

If you are a parent of a private/parochial school student or a home-schooled student who has been or may be identified with a disability and you reside within the boundaries of Downers Grove Grade School District 58, you are encouraged to attend.

If you plan to attend this meeting or have any questions pertaining to the meeting, please call (630) 719-5824. For more information on District 58's Special Services program, please visit the Special Services Department's Web site at
Communicate 58 is a periodic, subscriber-based e-newsletter published by the Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Office of Community Relations. It is designed to offer our district community a convenient way to stay informed about what's happening in the district.

Please send questions, comments and feedback to Jennifer Waldorf, Coordinator of Communications, at

Do you know someone who would like to receive Communicate 58? Please encourage them to visit to sign up.

In this issue
Welcome back!
Preparing for H1N1
District looks at "going green" with community flyers
El Sierra 40th Fun Fair
Kelly Miller Circus is coming
Special education private/parochial meeting
Dates to remember
Click here for a slide show of the first day of school!
First day of school
Dates to remember
September 7--Labor Day, no school

September 8--Financial Advisory Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

September 14--School Board meeting, Longfellow, 7 p.m.

September 21--Half-day, school improvement

September 22--Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

September 23--Legislative Committee meeting, 3:45 p.m., ASC

Click here for the full 2009-10 District 58 calendar, including institute days and holidays.

Click here for the 2009-10 Board of Education calendar.

In the news

District welcomes new staff

Herrick teacher studies Bahamas ecology
Sneak Preview offers a taste of middle school
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