Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 5
November 8, 2012
D58 students selected to participate in IMEA festival

District 58's middle school music ensembles were well-represented at the Illinois Music Educators Association's District 1 Music Festival on Nov. 3 at Riverside-Brookfield High School. The festival involves students selected by audition from schools throughout the southwest metropolitan Chicago area. The IMEA Jazz Festival will take place Nov. 10 at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox.
Click here to see the list of District 58 students selected to participate in this year's IMEA Festival!
D58 students continue record of academic success

District 58 students continue to perform at high levels in reading and mathematics, and achieve at high levels overall when compared with national and local peers. Dr. Matthew Rich, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, shared the results of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test with the School Board Oct. 29, along with plans for continued improvements to the district's program of instruction.


"Although we are a high-achieving district, we are working to grow and improve each day," Rich said. "We are so fortunate to have an excellent, collaborative staff whose focus is on meeting student needs. We also benefit from highly involved families who are eager to partner with their child's school; wonderful students who are willing to challenge themselves, take risks, and continue to learn and grow; and a community that strongly supports District 58 and its neighborhood schools."


On Oct. 29, the building principals shared with the School Board success stories from their schools, many of which focused on supporting students' social and emotional growth, as well as their academic success. They also shared targeted areas for growth and improvement at their buildings during 2012-13.


Board members said they were highly impressed that while the overall goals for students are the same district-wide, building staffs are tailoring their approach to meeting those goals according to the individual needs of their students and families.


Click here for more information. 


Click here to view the report cards for District 58 and the individual schools. 

School snapshots and stories

Check out the photo galleries and stories recently posted on our website!

Students get hands-on lessons about voting, elections

Among the election-related activities and lessons in District 58 were mock elections at schools including Henry Puffer and Belle Aire, as well as O'Neill Middle School, which also hosted a mock debate on Nov. 2. (Photo gallery/story)

District 58 students, staff celebrate Halloween in style


District 58 students and staff had a ball on Halloween, celebrating with parties, games, costume parades and other activities. Highland School participated in its annual parade over to the Peace Manor retirement community, where they serenaded residents with spooky tunes. (Photo gallery)  

Fairmount hosts Pumpkin Palooza

Students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade book club at Fairmount School participated in a special Pumpkin Palooza event last month! Students decorated pumpkins to look like a favorite book character, and retired teachers from the school came in to judge the contest in the LRC on Oct. 17. Prizes were awarded to the winners; the grand prize went to a duo who decorated their pumpkin to look like the main character from Pinkalicious, complete with tiara and pink boa. (Photo gallery)

Third grade Pierce Downer scientists dissect owl pellets

 Halloween was an especially memorable day for third-grade stude nts at Pierce Downer School, who spent the morning learning about and dissecting owl pellets. The classes started the morning watching a short video on owl pellets, followed by a discussion about pellets and a virtual dissection on the computer--then it was on to the real thing! (Photo gallery/story)   


Middle schools taking on Rachel's Challenge  
Both middle schools in District 58, Herrick and O'Neill, are starting Friends of Rachel (FOR) Clubs this year, and teamed up to host a series of kick-off events on Oct. 24. This included a joint training of 50 students from each school who will comprise the Friends of Rachel core leadership group; assemblies at both schools; and a community workshop, during which attendees had the chance to hear about the Rachel's Challenge program and how it will be implemented at Herrick and O'Neill.  
(Photo gallery/story) 

New map finds a home at Hillcrest, thanks to alumnus

This school year, Hillcrest students and teachers are enjoying a new addition to the school: a large and colorful map of the United States on the blacktop. The map is the work of Dan Mohr, a former Hillcrest student. Mohr directed the painting of the map for his Eagle Project, including the production of learning materials to supplement the map.

El Sierra participates in Caine's Arcade Cardboard Challenge during school's Fall Fest

 El Sierra School's PTA hosted its own Caine's Arcade-inspired Cardboard Challenge in tandem with the school's Family Fun Fall Fest on October 6. Inspired by the original cardboard arcade made by a nine-year-old boy, the Imagination Foundation recently launched the first-ever Global Cardboard Challenge, inviting the world to play while raising funds to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids. Participants could build arcade games, rocket ships, robots, labyrinths, houses, artwork, etc. On Oct. 6, El Sierra was one of more than 200 schools and communities in 22 countries around the world that played at Global Cardboard Challenge events! (Photo gallery/story)

Indian Trail fifth-graders welcome guests at Family Tea

Fifth-grade students at Indian Trail School had some very special guests of honor join them in class recently. As part of their study of the story "The Memory Box," each student was asked to interview a family member and write an essay based on the person's answers. Many students interviewed grandparents, and one girl even had the opportunity to interview her great-grandmother, who will be 100 this spring. (Photo gallery/story) 

Lester students experience the world of opera

Students at Lester School recently were treated to a special day of music from Opera for the Young, which brings live, professional opera to elementary school audiences.  The production was an adaptation of Massenet's Cinderella, fully staged, sung in English and adapted especially for kids.  Lester students-- and even a few teachers! -- got to appear onstage in chorus and cameo roles,performing for their peers alongside professional artists. The special performance was provided by the Lester PTA. (Photo gallery/story)  

Highland PTA hosting 'Race to Nowhere' screening

The Highland School PTA will host a screening of the documentary "Race to Nowhere" on Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. at Highland School, 3935 Highland Ave. This screening is open to the public.


"Race to Nowhere," a film by Vicki Abeles, challenges current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright and contributing citizens.

Tickets will be $15 cash at the door on November 8. For more information, e-mail

Click here to view the event flyer.  

Herrick to host Family Night fundraiser for Bloom's Angels

During its boy's basketball game against Jefferson Junior High at Downers Grove North High School on Friday, Nov. 9, Herrick Middle School will host a Friday Night Family Night fundraiser to benefit Bloom's Angels. The cost is $5 per person or $15 per family, which includes one raffle ticket per person. Prizes include a baseball autographed by Kerry Wood and a football signed by Brian Urlacher. Each ticket also will be put into a drawing to shoot a half-court shot, with a prize of $50 for making the shot.


Visitors will also have the chance to participate in an ongoing silent auction; prizes will include items autographed by Brian Urlacher, Jay Cutler, Kerry Wood, Kirk Hinrich and Stan Mikita. Cash or check only, please. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The seventh-grade team will play at 6:30, and the eighth grade team will play at 7:30.

All proceeds will benefit Bloom's Angels,an organization run by Herrick Middle School teachers to help less fortunate students. Since 2006, Bloom's Angels has raised and given back more than $10,000 to help students and families in need of assistance. The organization was founded in memory of Barb Blumenschein, who passed away in 2006. For more information about Bloom's Angels or to find out how to make a donation, visit Herrick's website,; you can also contact Gail Pistello at or Steve Gross at  


Click here to view the event flyer. 

Puffer Earth Club to host toy swap

Henry Puffer School's Earth Club will be hosting its second annual toy swap on Saturday, Nov. 17! Swappers can drop off toys on Friday, Nov. 16, from 1:30-3:30 and 6-7 p.m., receiving a ticket for each item. On Nov. 17, ticket holders can come in from 9-10 a.m. and exchange each ticket for a "new" toy. From 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 17, the sale will be open to the general public, and any leftover toys from the Toy Swap will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to Puffer Earth Club activities.

Click here to view the flyer for details on the Toy Swap.
Community e-flyers available for viewing
 District 58 logo
The mission of District 58, in partnership with parents and community, is to challenge and engage each child by providing quality educational programs and support services in a safe, nurturing, and child-centered environment in order to prepare all students to be lifelong learners and contributing members of a global society.  
Communicate 58 is designed to share timely, relevant information about District 58 with parents, community members, and others who are interested in how we are living out our mission. Questions and comments regarding this or any other District 58 publication can be directed to Communications Coordinator Jennifer Waldorf at or (630) 719-5805. 
In this issue
D58 students selected to participate in IMEA festival
D58 students continue record of strong academic success
School snapshots and stories
Highland PTA to host screening of Race to Nowhere Nov. 8
Herrick to host Friday Night Family Night fundraiser for Bloom's Angels Nov. 9
Puffer Earth Club to host toy swap Nov. 17
Community e-flyers
Next two weeks at a glance

Nov. 8

Highland School PTA screening of Race to Nowhere, 7 p.m., Highland School

Nov. 9

Herrick Family Fun Night for Bloom's Angels, 6 p.m., Downers Grove North

Nov. 12

School Board meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow Center

Nov. 13 

Herrick band to perform with Downers Grove North band, 7 p.m., Downers Grove North

Nov. 14 

Legislative Committee meeting, 3:45 p.m., ASC

Nov. 21-23 

No school--Thanksgiving break

Nov. 26 

Financial workshop, 7 p.m., Longfellow Center

Nov. 27 

Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

Nov. 29-30 

Herrick musical, 7:30 p.m., Herrick Middle School

Nov. 30 

South side fifth and sixth grade orchestra concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill Middle School 

D58 in the news

District 58 launches new math program (Tribune)

Middle schools take on Rachel's Challenge (Patch)

D58 students create clubs to spread kindness (Tribune)

District 58 schools adopt Apple technology (Tribune)

D58 students selected for IMEA festival (Reporter)

D58 students selected for IMEA festival (Patch)

Communications survey results (Reporter)

INSPRA communications awards (Reporter)

INSPRA communications awards (Patch)

Belle Aire to host Breakfast with Books
Hillcrest blacktop map (Reporter)

Indian Trail student connects with music at School of Rock (Reporter)

Lester seeking alumni for Jump Rope for Heart anniversary (Reporter)

Pierce Downer participates in World Record try (Reporter)

Pierce Downer students run to set record (Patch)

Pierce Downer students walk and roll to school (Reporter)

Herrick to host Bloom's Angels fundraiser (Reporter)

What's new on 58 Doing Good? 

58 Doing Good
was created to spotlight
for our community the many wonderful service projects completed by District 58's students, staff and schools. These not only make a big difference for those who receive the items and donations, they also cultivate a spirit of giving, civic responsibility, generosity and compassion in the next generation of leaders.

Recent posts on the 58 Doing Good page,, include:
  • Fairmount hosting 'Hat Day' for hurricane relief
  • O'Neill, Pierce Downer collecting candy for the troops
  • Fairmount staff wear jeans for a cure

Heard of a project or fundraiser we should feature? E-mail or call (630) 719-5805! 

Online resources
District 58 posts news reports from its monthly Board of Education meetings on its website.  


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