Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 6
December 6, 2012


When it comes to the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, District 58 continues to be on the cutting edge.  


New for 2012-13, every classroom has been equipped with an iPad and an Apple TV, which wirelessly connects and projects from an iPad or laptop.  


On Nov. 6, District 58 hosted a full-day staff development day focused on engaging students in learning through innovations in technology and mathematics. The theme for the day was "Becoming SAMRi", which launched the focus in District 58 on the SAMR model for integrating technology into the classroom.  


Click here for more information and to view a series of high-energy videos about the SAMRi initiative. The mascot and illustrations were created by art teacher Jon Belonio!

District 58 continues careful consideration of facility needs

Over the past few years, the District 58 School Board has taken a careful look at facilities and completed a number of key projects--including about a half-dozen roof replacements and a comprehensive facilities assessment--as it seeks to protect and maintain its assets in the best interest of its students.

The district is analyzing and developing funding plan options to address the most pressing of the $39 million in building maintenance and Life Safety needs identified in the facilities assessment. The projects currently identified as being top priorities, which total approximately $4.6 million, primarily include carpeting, asphalt and fire alarm replacements district-wide. At least one project is slated to be completed at each District 58 school. During the Nov. 26 financial workshop, the district reviewed and discussed this priority list with the School Board, and welcomes feedback from staff and the community on the facilities needs.

The district also is discussing ways to address space constraints at Lester and Pierce Downer.  With a lack of common space for art, music, and small-group learning spaces, insufficient classroom space, low square footage per student, and enrollment in the near future projected to stay high, the need at Pierce Downer is greatest, said Superintendent Kari Cremascoli.

On November 12, the School Board approved the proposal for architectural services (design, specification development and bidding documents) in consideration of an addition to Pierce Downer School to Wight and Co. at the estimated cost of $67,500. Cremascoli emphasized that the board's vote to approve the proposal for architectural services did not give the go-ahead to put an addition on Pierce Downer; rather, it gave the authority to continue next steps in carefully considering options to address the overcrowding issues. Next steps include architectural services to explore the possibility of -- and draw specifications for -- adding several classrooms and possibly reconfiguring other areas within the building.

School snapshots and stories

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

Indian Trail FITKids club earns FORWARD grant 

The FITKids Club at Indian Trail will be getting some fun and challenging new equipment to use, thanks to a Get in the Action mini-grant from the DuPage Health Department's Forward Initiative.   


The club recently received $800 to purchase four pieces of TRX portable training equipment, which will be suspended from the ceiling in the gymnasium for the students to use for exercises such as chin-ups and push-ups, said the club's sponsor, fifth grade teacher Mary French.



Fairmount students wear Hats for Hurricane relief
In response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the Fairmount Student Council sponsored a "Hat Day" for hurricane relief. Students were allowed to wear hats in school all day November 9 for a $1 donation. The money collected was sent to the American Red Cross/ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. 


Click here to view some fun hat photos!

El Sierra families have a magical time at Family Reading Night


During Family Reading Night at El Sierra School Nov. 15, families enjoyed a performance of the Wizard's Apprentice, in which Young Harriet discovers that the greatest secrets of magic can be discovered in a book. They also participated in a book exchange and a raffle!


Click here to check out photos from the evening!  


Belle Aire families enjoy Breakfast with Books

In honor of American Education Week, Belle Aire students welcomed their parents to Breakfast with Books on Nov. 13! They arrived at 7:45 a.m. to enjoy breakfast treats, orange juice and coffee, then spent some cozy time in their classroom reading a good book.


Hillcrest fifth-graders take on solar cooking

Last month, all fifth-grade students at Hillcrest participated in a solar cooker cookoff. As their culminating activity to their solar energy unit, they made a functional solar cooker using a recycled pizza box or shoebox, aluminum foil, tape, plastic wrap and crayons. They placed their cookers outside to get heated up, then placed hotdog kabobs and S'Mores inside their cookers. Some of the cookers reached about 200 degrees Fahrenheit! After a few hours, the food was ready to be consumed by the eager students. 


Click here to check out photos from the activity! 


Herrick's Bloom's Angels fundraiser a huge success

Herrick Middle School's Nov. 9 Family Fun Night fundraiser for Bloom's Angels drew a crowd of more than 700 and raised more than $7,300 for the organization that benefits less fortunate families at the school.The fundraiser featured a crosstown boy's basketball game versus Jefferson Junior High at Downers Grove North, as well as a raffle and silent auction.



Pierce Downer students, staff, families participate in record-breaking event

Nearly 350 Pierce Downer students, staff and parents, along with students and parents from all over the world, participated in the Run for the Planet National Geographic World Record event last month. The goal was to help National Geographic Kids Magazine set two Guinness World Records: Most people to run 100 meters in 24 hours, and the longest chain of shoes (which will be recycled into athletic surfaces). The event was organized by the school's Healthy Kids Committee. Annette Bonfield of the Bonfield Express 5K, Community Bank of Downers Grove President Mike Busse, and District 58 Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli were the event VIPs, helping to certify the course and count the participants.


Lester School creates display to honor veterans

Lester School created a Veteran's Day display to honor the veterans who are family members/friends of Lester students. Students colored medals and indicated the name of the service man or woman and the branch of service in which they have served. Most Lester veterans have served in the Army. By contrast, the school's namesake, Frederick Lester, was a Navy medical corpsman. Lester staff also promoted the celebration of Veteran's Day through various classroom activities.


Whittier School welcomes veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, retired Whittier custodian John Vath and Whittier parent and District 58 School Board member John Miller visited the school Nov. 9 to read to classes and talk with students about their time in the service. Miller served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years, and Vath served with the Army in Vietnam. 


Kingsley raises funds for hurricane relief

The Kingsley School student council coordinated a special Hats for Hurricane Relief fundraiser earlier this month, in which students could donate money to wear a hat to school. The money raised from that activity, as well as money from the Gobble Grams the student council sold the week prior to Thanksgiving and money raised during Red Ribbon Week, will be sent to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. In addition, staff donated $5 to wear jeans the week of Thanksgiving break, which also will go to the American Red Cross.  


Click here for more hat photos!  


O'Neill Silver Cluster celebrates successful food drive with Turkey Trot


Throughout November, the seventh grade Silver Cluster students at O'Neill Middle School participated in a food drive to benefit families in District 58. Using the school report card, students calculated the number of cans they needed to collect so that every low-income household in the district would be the recipient of a food item.  Once the calculations were done, students set out to reach a goal of donating 455 cans of food to the FISH food pantry. The day before Thanksgiving break, the students counted the total number of items they collected, and the final count was 504. As a celebration for achieving their goal and to reflect on all that they were thankful for, the students and Silver Cluster staff participated in a Turkey Trot Nov. 20, and there was much enthusiasm and spirit as students and staff walked, jogged, and ran around Barth Pond.


Click here to check out some Turkey Trot photos!  


What's new on 58 Doing Good?   

58 Doing Good was created in 2011 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.

Visit the 58 Doing Good page,, to read about these and other projects:
  • Highland Giving Tree supporting those in need 
  • El Sierra collects more than 450 items in food drive
  • O'Neill collects candy for the troops 
  • Puffer teacher puckers up for pig for good cause
  • Indian Trail collects coins for book donation
  • Lester student council supports Project Frontlines
  • Hillcrest Green Team unwraps crayons for Meltdown project
  • Herrick supports Hope for Hunter
  • Pierce Downer candy drive supports troops
  • El Sierra packs meals for Feed My Starving Children 
  • Belle Aire student council holds Penny Harvest   

Heard of a project or fundraiser we should feature? Share the information with Communications Coordinator Jennifer Waldorf by e-mailing or calling (630) 719-5805!   


D58 inclement weather notification procedures 


With the onset of the winter weather season, we wanted to remind parents and community members about the many ways we provide notification should it become necessary to close school for the safety of our students.


District 58 utilizes an automated calling system to alert parents of school closings. Parents are encouraged to make sure that their child's school(s) has their most up-to-date contact information. 


In addition to the automated calling system, District 58 also posts information on its website,, and places a message on the district's answering machine, which can be accessed by calling (630) 719-5800. In addition, the district notifies the following radio/TV stations from which the official announcement is made: WBBM (780), WGN (720), CBS Ch 2, NBC Ch 5, ABC Ch 7, WGH Ch 9, FOX 32, and CLTV.


Parents may also check the status of the district or their school by going to and searching for the school facility or school closings. Parents are asked not to call their child's individual school to check on whether classes will take place.

E-flyer logo
Community e-flyers available for viewing

The following new community e-flyers have been posted for viewing on the District 58 e-flyer page (click here to visit the page):


Downers Grove Park District December Park AveNews 

Downers Grove South holiday baseball camp (event Jan. 2-3) 

Downers Grove Newcomers Club charity trivia night (event Dec. 11) 

Downtown Downers Grove Gingerbread Festival (event Nov. 23-Dec. 31)  

DuPage Children's Museum December activities  

Faith Church Breakfast with Santa (event Dec. 15)  

Indian Boundary YMCA special events for December/January, winter break activities  

Lester School Holly Days Holiday Boutique (event Dec. 7-8) 

Longshots baseball tryouts (event Dec. 8)  

New Wave Lax free lacrosse clinic at Downers Grove Park District Rec Center (event Jan. 3)  

Roadrunners Soccer Club winter soccer camp (event Jan. 2-4) 

Spice Merchants shop and share (through Dec. 7)  

St. Joseph Knights of Columbus free throw championship flyer and entry form (event Jan. 21)



 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. If you have any questions/comments regarding Communicate 58, or have an article/photo idea for the publication, please contact Communications Coordinator Jennifer Waldorf at or (630) 719-5805. 
In this issue
SAMRi initiative comes to District 58
School Board takes preliminary step on facilities plans
School snapshots and stories
What's new on 58 Doing Good?
District 58 inclement weather notification procedures
Community e-flyers
Save the date for the Harlem Wizards!
Quick links

Save the date for the Harlem Wizards!

Save the date--the District 58 Education Foundation will host an evening with the Harlem Wizards, an exhibition basketball team, at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Downers Grove South High School. Proceeds will benefit the Education Foundation. Stay tuned for details after the winter break! 
Next two weeks at a glance
December 6 North side fifth and sixth grade orchestra concert, 7 p.m., Herrick

South side fifth and sixth grade band concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill

December 10

Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow

December 13

North side fifth and sixth grade band concert, 7 p.m., Herrick

December 20 
O'Neill choir and orchestra concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill 

December 24-January 4
Winter break

January 7
Classes resume

Click here to view the 2012-13 calendar. You can use the buttons to customize your view, and the drop-down menus to skip ahead to different weeks/months!

District 58 in the news


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

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