Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 7
December 21, 2012

District 58 to host series of Digital Learning workshops for parents

Technology is transforming how students learn, explore, and make connections, and District 58 wants to help parents find ways to maximize these opportunities at home.

In partnership with the Downers Grove Public Library, the district will host a series of parent education sessions over the next several months that will focus on how digital devices can be used to support learning.  Parents will learn about the unique opportunities that digital tools provide, including executive functioning skills such as calendaring, task management, reminders, communication, and organization.  Additionally, because of the partnership with the Downers Grove Public Library, parents can learn more about accessing the library's digital materials. The workshops also will address Internet safety and digital citizenship.

District 58's Digital Learning workshops will take place on Wednesday, January 23 at 1 p.m., Tuesday, February 19 at 1 p.m. and Monday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. All workshops will be held at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St. Please bring a device if you have one, but it is not required. For more information about the workshops, contact Technology Director Scott Meech at or Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Matthew Rich at 

Education Foundation awards more than $35,000 in grants


A "one school, one book" reading program, iPads, interactive whiteboards, a middle school initiative called Rachel's Challenge, and a digital piano for the district's music program were among the nearly two dozen grant requests funded by the District 58 Education Foundation for 2012-13. Altogether the Foundation, which was founded in 2002 to enhance the education of students in District 58 and its 13 schools, gave away more than $35,000 in grants this school year.


Click here for the full list of projects/purchases funded by this year's grants! 

School snapshots and stories

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

Art classes make snowflakes to brighten Sandy Hook
Students in some of the art classes at District 58 helped to spread holiday cheer by creating snowflakes that will be mailed to the Connecticut Parent-Teacher Association. Parent volunteers in Connecticut are working to ensure that students at Sandy Hook Elementary are welcomed back to a building decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible, and are collecting snowflakes from across the nation. Students in participating classes in District 58 created snowflakes the week prior to winter break.

Click here to view a photo gallery of some of the snowflakes made by Pierce Downer sixth-grade students!

Belle Aire, Indian Trail students win rides to school on fire trucks
Third graders Megan Thompson of Belle Aire School and Dominick Passo of Indian Trail School were recently driven to school on a Downers Grove Fire Department fire truck last week, having won the trip by entering a Home Escape Fire Safety contest sponsored by the Downers Grove Fire Department.  Megan rode to school with her brother, Andy, and teacher Jill Oakley. Dominick rode to school with his brother, Matthew, and teacher Kathleen Tice.

Click here to view photos from the students' rides!

Herrick Chamber Choir performs holiday concerts
The Herrick Chamber Choir, an audition-based ensemble, performed a variety of holiday concerts in and around District 58 and Downers Grove over the past few weeks. They sang a number of holiday favorites, and led the audiences in several sing-alongs.

Click here for photos of the performance!

Whittier students build gingerbread houses
Second-grade students at Whittier School built gingerbread houses on Dec. 20, as a sweet treat for learning their addition/subtraction facts! The more math facts the students learned, the more different types of candy they earned to decorate their houses. Teacher Deb Krygeris said her students did a wonderful job learning their math facts, and they had a great celebration!

Hillcrest fourth-graders create wind vanes during study of weather
Brittany Cerny's fourth-grade students at Hillcrest recently studied weather and the many different weather instruments used by meteorologists, including the wind vane. They learned that wind vanes help meteorologists to determine what direction the wind is coming from, and students worked hard to collect materials around their house and create their very own wind vanes. They took them outside to try them out on a windy day, and sure enough, they worked great!  

Kingsley students' projects on display at Indian Boundary YMCA
  How is Christmas celebrated in Portugal? What about Ireland, or Brazil? First- and second-grade students in the Leading to Reading enrichment/extension program at Kingsley School worked in pairs to research a specific country's Christmas customs and traditions and create Christmas Around the World brochures. These were on display at the school and also at the Indian Boundary YMCA as part of the YMCA's Christmas Around the World Celebration Dec. 15.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the projects!

El Sierra families enjoy breakfast with Santa

El Sierra families enjoyed breakfast and a visit with Santa Claus during this year's popular annual Breakfast with Santa event, which is sponsored by the school's PTA.


Click here to check out photos from the event! 


O'Neill eighth-grade girls volleyball team wins conference championship   

The O'Neill eighth grade girl's volleyball team repeated as the DuPage Metro Valley Conference champions, finishing the season with an outstanding 13-1 record. The girls finished their O'Neill career with a two-year record of 26-2. Click here to visit the News from our Schools page for the story! 

The real meat of the Common Core in math
The following column by Superintendent Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D. appeared in the December 19 issue of the Downers Grove Reporter.

Over the past few years, teachers and administrators throughout Illinois have spent countless hours digging through the new Common Core State Standards in Mathematics adopted by Illinois in 2010. These new standards aim to provide fewer, clearer and higher standards to guide the work of teachers and students throughout our schools. They are internationally benchmarked, evidence-based and focused on 21st century learning. Each of these is a laudable area of focus and critically important as we prepare our students for success in college, the workforce and post-school life within a competitive global economy.  However, while the new content standards in Math offer a roadmap to accomplish a balanced combination of conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in progressively complex areas of math, I would argue that the real meat of the Common Core State Standards in Math resides in the other, less-frequently discussed portion of the standards known as the Standards for Math Practice.


Click here to read the full column!  

Roof work

District 58 to host listening session on facilities plans


District 58 will host a listening session for the community on Thursday, Jan. 17, regarding its overall facilities improvement plans. Operations and Maintenance projects proposed to be completed districtwide consist primarily of asphalt and carpeting replacements, and HVAC and fire alarm upgrades. The district also has begun preliminary planning on a possible addition to alleviate overcrowding at Pierce Downer School.

The comprehensive report from consultant Wight and Co., presented to the board this past spring, identified needs, recommended construction projects and improvement options for the district's operational buildings, and offered conceptual budget costs. The board has discussed several potential funding options to continue addressing the district's capital needs, and the plan is to begin work on some of the top-priority projects this summer.

The district will host a separate community forum this winter regarding safety and security in the schools, in partnership with the Downers Grove fire and police departments. A date will be announced shortly after winter break.

A school security update from Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli 

We wish to thank you for your continued support of our schools and our students, and for the care and concern you have shared with our schools over the past few days.

As members of a tight-knit and supportive community, it has been difficult for all of us to come to terms with the situation and the grief that the families and community in Newtown, Connecticut are experiencing. This week, w
e continued to focus on reassuring our students of their safety in school, providing a familiar and comforting school environment for them, and helping them focus on their learning.  Thankfully, with the support of our incredible teaching staff, the week went smoothly and our students seemed to feel supported and able to focus on regular classroom activities. 

Here in District 58, the safety and welfare of our students is our top priority and we wanted to provide you with an update regarding our security measures. We have chosen to lock all front doors to our school facilities during student attendance hours; all other doors to our schools have always been locked. We also have installed doorbell systems at the front entrance of each school that ring the office to alert staff of a visitor, and will be carefully considering more sophisticated buzzer systems and other security measures moving forward.  


Our district has school safety plans in place that are reviewed and revised, at least annually, by our Emergency Management Plan Committee in partnership with law enforcement authorities and first responders. These plans are regularly practiced by faculty and staff, and will continue to be a critical piece of our district's safety and security measures.  


We will be hosting a community forum shortly after winter break, in partnership with our village's police and fire departments, to review and discuss these plans with interested parents and citizens. We will announce the date as soon as it is finalized.    


As the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. As a parent, community member and superintendent of schools, I am very proud and humbled to be part of the wonderfully supportive and child-centered Village of Downers Grove. Thank you!



Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D. 
Superintendent of Schools


Click here to read Dr. Cremascoli's letter to parents sent Monday morning.

Click here to read Dr. Cremascoli's letter to parents sent Sunday evening.

Click here to read Dr. Cremascoli's letter to parents sent Friday afternoon.

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:
  • Indian Trail third and fourth graders collect toiletries for less fortunate
  • Fairmount collects items for the troops 
  • Whittier student council helps those in need
  • Herrick, O'Neill team up to collect items for Wet Nose food pantry
  • Lester staff focuses on charity during holiday party

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!    

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):
  • American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Downers Grove/Woodridge kickoff party -- event Jan. 16
  • Cooking with Kidz "What's in Your School Lunchbox?" -- event Jan. 13
  • Downers Grove North Athena Dance Clinic -- event Feb. 9
  • Downers Grove North fifth through eighth grade winter boys baseball skills camp -- event Jan. 12
  • Downers Grove Jr. Sabre Learn to Skate and Play Hockey, 3 on 3 Cross Ice Hockey
  • Downers Grove Park District January Park AveNews
  • Downers Grove Youth Baseball walk-in registration -- event Jan. 12
  • DuPage Children's Museum January activities
  • Midwestern University MWU Snow Day -- event Jan. 21
  • Roadrunners Soccer Club winter soccer camp -- January 2-4


 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
D58 to host Digital Learning workshops for parents
Education Foundation awards more than $35,000 in grants
School snapshots and stories
The real meat of the Common Core in math
D58 to host listening session on facilities plans
School security update from Dr. Cremascoli
What's new on 58 Doing Good?
Community e-flyers
Quick links

Next three weeks at a glance
Dec. 24-Jan. 4
Winter break

Dec. 26

Filing deadline for School Board candidates

Jan. 7
Classes resume

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

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!

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

Find District 58 on social media
District 58 is using social media to communicate with stakeholders!  
Click here to visit our Facebook page, and "Like" us to get the latest highlights from District 58 and its 13 schools directly in your news feed.

Click here to visit our Twitter page and follow us to get the latest news directly in your Twitter feed.