Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 8
January 25, 2013
District 58 student scientists share findings at 32nd annual science fair


You and your partner have worked hard on your science fair project. You've formulated your hypothesis, collected and analyzed data, reached a conclusion, and shared your procedure and findings on a creatively designed display board. However, your partner is unable to attend the science fair to co-present to the judges. What do you do?  


If you're in District 58, it's no problem at all. You get some help signing onto O'Neill Middle School's pilot Bring Your Own Device network, and use the Facetime video-chat program to "bring" your partner to the science fair. Two District 58 students used this setup to co-present to the judges and field questions together at the district's science fair Jan. 19.


"This is a perfect example of how technology is redefining learning," said Technology Director Scott Meech. "We need to empower our students to work collaboratively, and this was a wonderful opportunity."


The "virtual" co-presentation was one of many positive experiences enjoyed by the more than 350 first- through eighth-grade District 58 scientists who participated in the 32nd annual science fair. The hallways and gymnasiums were packed with students eagerly answering questions and discussing their experiments with the judges, which included high school students, parents, staff members, professional scientists and representatives from Downers Grove Friends of the Gifted (FRoG), which co-sponsors the fair. More than 75 District 58 staff members assisted with this year's science fair, including serving as judges. 

Click here to check out the full story and photos from the science fair! 

Superintendent presents results of demographic study to School Board


District 58 recently contracted the professional services of Cropper GIS Consulting to conduct a demographic study of the district. The study aimed to examine enrollment trends throughout the district, as well as current and future building capacity needs. The district intended to use study results to inform the current facility planning efforts of the board and administration. Results indicate that the district can expect enrollment to remain relatively stable over the next four to five years. Individual school enrollment trends also were examined.  


Superintendent Kari Cremascoli presented the results of the study to the Board of Education January 14 and led a discussion regarding next steps.


Click here for the full story. 


Click here to view the presentation shared Jan. 14.  

D58 Education Foundation to host Harlem Wizards for fundraiser Feb. 17


The Harlem Wizards are coming to Downers Grove on Sunday, February 17 for an evening of basketball and comedy in support of the Education Foundation of Downers Grove Grade School District 58. A team of District 58 administrators, students and staff, as well as representatives from the Downers Grove community, will take on the famous Harlem Wizards--who, according to their website, have not lost a game in more than 50 years! 


Click here for more information.   


Click here to visit the Education Foundation website and purchase tickets! Tickets also are available for purchase at Community Bank of Downers Grove, 1111 Warren Ave. 

State raising ISAT cutscores in preparation for Common Core standards assessments

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will increase the meets/exceeds cutscores for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for math and English Language Arts for 2013, raising the academic bar for students across Illinois in preparation for a new state-mandated assessment aligned with the Common Core standards. Beginning in 2014-15, students will participate in a new Common Core-aligned assessment created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  


The computer-based PARCC assessment will replace the ISAT in Math and English Language Arts. To pave the way for the transition to the PARCC assessment -- and in the interim to better inform parents, teachers, administrators and students of students' progress toward college and career readiness goals outlined in the Common Core Standards -- the ISBE is recalculating the math and English Language Arts ISAT performance expectations that align to higher expectations for elementary and middle school students.    


Students will need to demonstrate greater proficiency than ever before in order to reach the threshold of "meets" or "exceeds" on a standard. As a result, school districts throughout the state will likely see a downward shift of where their students rank, beginning with the ISAT data collected in spring 2013. This shift may be significant. For example, a school in which 90 percent of students met or exceeded standards this year may see results indicating that just 67 percent of their students met or exceeded state standards using the new performance levels.   


"This does not mean our students are less capable or prepared than they were in previous years. In fact, they are increasingly better prepared for the rigor of the Common Core as we have already taken steps to review and revise each of our curricular components and to increase our academic expectations of all students throughout our district," said District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli. "However, the revised norms will cause the reporting of that progress to be deflated in comparison to previous years." 


Tech Day

Register through Jan. 28 for district-hosted Students Involved in Technology conference


District 58 students are encouraged to register to participate in the 2013 Students Involved in Technology (SIT) conference, which this year will be hosted by District 58. The theme for this year's conference is "To the Cloud and Beyond!"


The SIT conference will take place Saturday, Feb. 23, at Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh Ave., Downers Grove. The conference is open to all interested students in grades 3-12, and is highly unique in that all presentations and sessions are organized and led by students. Presenters and attendees have the opportunity to learn and share their tech know-how in all kinds of areas, from gaming to software to mobile apps and beyond. Not only can students sign up to attend, they can also sign up to present as an individual or as a team of up to four students! All presenters must have an adult sponsor.


To register to present at the conference or to attend, or just to get more information, visit The registration deadline is January 28; registration for each site ends when that conference site is full. Teachers, administrators, other school staff and parents/guardians can also register to be a conference volunteer.


Click here to view the SIT Conference flyer for Herrick Middle School. 

Incoming D58 kindergarten parents invited to workshop, kindergarten roundups 


District 58's Grove Children's Preschool will host a parent education  workshop, "Getting Ready for Kindergarten," for parents of all incoming District 58 kindergarten students on Monday, Feb. 4. The program is open to the parents or guardians of any child who will be entering kindergarten in a District 58 school in fall 2013.  


The presentation will focus on strategies to help prepare a preschool child for kindergarten, including monthly literacy activities that can be done at home. Parents will also have the opportunity to ask general questions about kindergarten. The program will take place from 6-7 p.m. Feb. 4 at Indian Trail School, 6235 Stonewall Ave., Downers Grove. For more information about the presentation or to RSVP for the workshop, please contact Sandy Biddenstadt at (630) 719-5845, or  


District 58 also has set the dates for its 2013 kindergarten roundups, an  opportunity for parents of incoming kindergarten students to visit their school, meet the principal and staff, and get their questions answered. Parents whose children will be five years old on or before September 1, 2013, are encouraged to call their neighborhood elementary school prior to the kindergarten roundup for information about registration.


Click here for the kindergarten roundup dates and times for 2013. 

School snapshots and stories

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

District 58 schools raise funds for hurricane relief
After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, students and staff in District 58 were inspired to help. During the past few months, schools raised money through a variety of activities to donate to the American Red Cross for the relief efforts.  

Lester students help MDA over winter break

A group of Lester School students gave a wonderful gift to the Muscular Dystrophy Association during winter break: the gift of their time. From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 27, 12 sixth-graders and one former Lester student participated in an MDA "packing party." 


Click here for more information and photos from the activity!   


El Sierra partners with Metro Mentor program


El Sierra School has partnered this school year with the Metro Mentor program offered by Metropolitan Family Services. Click here to visit the News from Our Schools page for more information!
Belle Aire holds third annual Trash for Cash raffle

By Sarah Heinz, Herrick Middle School student, guest writer

Belle Aire School students recently participated in a "Trash for Cash" program.  Belle Aire works with a company called Terracycle to collect these hard-to-recycle items such as used juice pouch containers, used beauty product packaging, and diaper packaging.  The school receives about two cents per item shipped to Terracycle.  The company then uses these things to make new products.  The items are kept out of landfills and the Belle Aire PTA earns a little bit of cash to support its programs.


Click here for the full story! 


Hillcrest fifth-graders participate in Egg Olympics  


As a culminating experiment for their unit on variables in science, fifth-grade students at Hillcrest hosted an Egg Olympics Jan. 15! Student-built systems that kept their egg from breaking when dropped from a height of 10 feet in a preliminary trial (and a second-chance follow-up) participated in the Egg Olympics. In the gymnasium, egg-drop systems were launched starting at 11 feet and progressing up to 25 feet. In the end, several dozen students' eggs survived the perilous free-fall!

Herrick seventh-grade girl's volleyball team ends season as conference co-champions


The Herrick Middle School seventh grade girl's volleyball team was Dupage Metro Valley Conference co-champions with Glen Crest Middle School this year. Both teams finished with the identical record of 13 wins and 1 loss. The Herrick girls were undefeated the second half of the season, which was most impressive as they had to deal with several key injuries. Team members are Cassidy Baran, Madison Christ, Nicole Cuchran, Kate Dunlap, Kinzie Geist, Margaret Miller, Kessie Olekanma, Jasmin Olson, Elise Radigan, Erin Radigan, Nicole Wisz and Brooke Wojciechowski.  

Reminder: Digital Learning workshops  


In partnership with the Downers Grove Public Library, the district is hosting a series of parent education sessions focusing on how digital devices can be used to support learning. Several dozen parents attended the first workshop on Jan. 23, where they had the chance to learn about the unique opportunities that digital tools provide, including executive functioning skills such as calendaring, task management, reminders, communication, and organization. Parents also could learn more about accessing the library's digital materials, as well as Internet safety and digital citizenship. Two more Digital Learning workshops are scheduled, both at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St.:

  • Tuesday, February 19 at 1 p.m.  
  • Monday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m.  

You can also visit our Parent Tech Support page to check out resources from the workshop! 

D58 Reflections projects advance to state

Congratulations to the District 58 students whose work will represent the Downers Grove Area Council of PTAs at the state level of Reflections, a PTA arts recognition and achievement program for students.

Click here for the full list of students whose projects advanced to state!
D58 partnering with police and fire to host safety and security forum

District 58, in partnership with the Downers Grove fire and police departments, will host a presentation Wednesday, Feb. 6, to share an overview of safety and security measures in place in the schools, as well as future considerations. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave.


Click here for more information.

Special Services Parent Group meeting to focus on behavioral strategies for home 


The next meeting of the District 58 Special Services Parent Group will feature a presentation by District 58 staff members Patti Cepeda and Katelyn Conrad regarding behavior strategies to utilize with children at home.


The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, at Indian Trail School, 6235 Stonewall Ave., Downers Grove. Pizza and pop will be served at 5:15 p.m. Please RSVP to Cindy Gilbert at (630) 719-5824 or


District 58's Special Services Parent Group, facilitated by the District 58 Office of Special Services, offers an opportunity to meet in an informal setting and hear from speakers, share special education information and learn about new resources.

Two preschool screening dates remain

District 58 has two preschool screening dates remaining in the 2012-13 school year: Monday, February 4 at Indian Trail, and Monday, March 18 at Henry Puffer School.

Parents or guardians of children who are residents of the district but not yet in kindergarten are eligible to register their children for a free District 58 preschool screening. These screenings are designed to identify three- to five-year-old children who might have developmental delays and who would benefit from special education prior to beginning kindergarten, as well as identify children who might be at risk due to environmental, cultural or socio-economic factors. The screening will examine development in the following areas: speech/language, vision, hearing, cognitive/pre-academic, self-help/independent living, fine motor, gross motor and social/emotional/behavior skills.

Click here for more information. To register your child for a screening, call (630) 719-5800.
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 Public Library Junior Room 2013 bookmark contest flyer and  entry form -- submission deadline February 18




 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
District 58 student scientists share findings at science fair
Superintendent presents results of demographic study to School Board
D58 Education Foundation hosting Harlem Wizards for fundraiser
State raising ISAT cutscores in preparation for Common Core
Register through Jan. 28 for district-hosted Students Involved in Technology conference
Incoming kindergarten parents invited to workshop
School snapshots and stories
Reminder: D58, public library hosting Digital Learning workshops for parents
D58 Reflections projects advance to state
D58 partnering with police, fire for safety and security forum
Special Services Parent Group meeting to focus on behavioral strategies for home
Two preschool screening dates remain for 2012-13
Board Briefs
Next three weeks at a glance
Lester Jump Rope for Heart reminder
Save the date for Family Fitness Fair
Tips for the flu season
Quick links

Board Briefs
At its Jan. 14 meeting, the Board of Education:

--Was led in the flag salute by student council officers from Kingsley School

--Thanked the Village of Downers Grove for the meeting venue, the first venture into possible space-sharing with our community partners

--Heard from the 2012-13 Education Foundation grant recipients about their projects/purchases

--Heard that staff is reviewing the 2013-14 calendar and hopes to have a draft for the board's review next month

--Heard that the state had paid District 58 what it was owed for 2011-12, but that the state still owes the district $1 million for 2012-13. That potential shortfall was planned for during the budgeting process.

--Continued its discussion about the possibility of creating a sinking fund for the district, in which money would be set aside to pay for future capital needs

--Heard from the district's law firm and bond counsel regarding the pros and cons of various bonding options to address the district's top-priority capital needs.

--Heard a school security update

--Authorized Wight and Co. to provide architectural services for various 2013 life safety and maintenance projects 


Next three weeks at a glance
January 29

Herrick performing at DGN Choral Festival, 7 p.m.

Jan. 30-31

Parent-teacher conferences--evening only

February 4 

Preschool screenings, AM only

Financial Advisory Committee, 7 a.m., ASC

February 6 

School safety/security workshop, 7 p.m., Downers Grove Village Hall

February 9 

North side band and orchestra solo day, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

February 11 

Regular Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow

February 13 

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

South side band and orchestra solo night, 5-9 p.m. 

February 17

District 58 Education Foundation presents an evening with the Harlem Wizards, 6 p.m., Downers Grove South High School 
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!
Don't forget: Lester seeking alumni, selling raffle tickets
for celebration

To mark 25 years of participating in Jump Rope for Heart -- and raising more than $141,000 to date for the American Heart Association -- Lester is planning to host a celebration on Saturday, Feb. 2.


As part of that celebration, which will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., the school is selling raffle tickets for a handmade quilt. Tickets are $1 apiece/six for $5. To purchase tickets, e-mail; the drawing will take place at the 25-year anniversary celebration.


Save the date--Family Fitness Fair Feb. 28
Save the date--District 58 will host its annual Family Fitness Fair from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 at O'Neill Middle School, 635 59th St., Downers Grove.

The event will feature fitness, exercise and nutrition-related exhibits and demonstrations from a variety of local businesses and organizations, as well as fun classes. New this year will be a special fitness class geared towards special needs participants, which will take place from 6:20 to 7 p.m.

Tips for the flu season
With the onset of the flu season, District 58 wanted to share with parents and the community guidelines from the National Association of School Nurses, as well as a letter from the DuPage County Health Department.

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