Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 9
February 15, 2013
District 58 team set to take on the Harlem Wizards Feb. 17 at DGS


District 58 is ready to take on the Harlem Wizards on Feb. 17 with a dynamic team of more than 30 students, staff and community members!


The team will be coached by Belle Aire Principal Mike Mitchinson, O'Neill Principal Matt Durbala and O'Neill Assistant Principal Chris Clavenna. Refereeing the team will be Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and Illinois Rep. Ron Sandack!


The roster includes middle school students, staff members from each of our schools, several building principals and assistant principals, and Superintendent Kari Cremascoli and Director of Technology Scott Meech! Representatives from the Downers Grove community who will be taking to the court on behalf of District 58 include School Board President Steve Funk, Community Bank President Mike Busse, Chamber of Commerce Board President Joe Malas of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, and DuPage County Board member Brian Krajewski. Student volunteers also were chosen from each school to support the team. 


Please join us for what promises to be a fun-filled evening of basketball and comedy in support of the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58.


Click here to purchase tickets! 


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

District 58, Village host well-attended Joint Safety and Security Forum

District 58, in partnership with the Village of  Downers Grove, hosted a well-attended Joint Safety and Security Forum at Downers Grove Village Hall Feb. 6. 


Attendees were offered an in-depth review of the rules and regulations that govern school safety and security, as well as the many measures in place in District 58. The Village of Downers Grove, including representatives from the police and  fire departments, provided a review of the partnerships in place, as well as their support of our efforts to maintain safe, secure, and nurturing school environments. Building-level efforts and initiatives were discussed, as was the strong implementation of social-emotional learning initiatives throughout District 58. In addition, updated information was provided regarding the district's current considerations for improvements, which include secure front entrances (doorbells, camera with direct feed to police, intercom and remote locking feature), swipe card access for staff and updated security/burglar alarms. 


"The feedback we received regarding the information presented, as well as the event overall, was extremely positive. Participants expressed support of our efforts and appreciation," said District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli.  


Click here to view the video of the Joint Safety and Security Forum. 


Click here to view the PowerPoint from the meeting.   


Eight District 58 schools receive Academic Excellence Awards


  Academic excellence logo

Eight District 58 schools received an Academic Excellence Award from the Illinois State Board of Education in recognition of their exemplary performance on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test from 2010 to 2012.


Belle Aire, Fairmount, Highland, Hillcrest, Kingsley, Lester, Pierce Downer and Whittier schools were among the 454 schools statewide to receive the Academic Excellence Award for 2012 by sustaining high performance levels on state assessments for at least three years. To achieve this award, schools must meet the following criteria: 

  • All schools must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2011 and 2012.
  • At schools serving students in eighth grade and under:  90 percent of students must have met or exceeded state standards in both reading and mathematics for the three most recent school years.

The state assessments are used to measure adequate yearly progress for all public schools. District 58 students in third through eighth grade will take the test from March 4 through 15 this year.


The Illinois Honor Roll celebrates the accomplishments of Illinois public schools that are providing high quality education for all their students.

Power of technology will change teaching, learning

The following column by Director of Technology Scott Meech appeared in the January 23 issue of the Downers Grove Reporter.

There has never been a more exciting time to be in education. Technology continues to evolve quickly, and is transforming how students learn, explore, and make connections.


Learning spaces today do not look or feel like the classrooms that most adults remember. What we see now, more than any other time in the history of public education, are classrooms full of actively engaged students involved in new learning opportunities with digital tools.

We see students who are helping to shape their own learning, and the experiences of those around them, in new and innovative ways. We see teachers continuing to reinvent the classroom experience in so many ways through new strategies and new technologies. We see a student-centered learning environment brimming with dynamic, vibrant, collaborative energy that invigorates and inspires.


Click here to read the full column!  


Superintendent's message regarding ISAT scoring changes


Dear District 58 parents and community,   

As you may know, in January the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently increased the proficiency expectations in reading and mathematics for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for students in third through eighth grade. Specifically, the state is raising the performance scores needed for a student to reach the threshold of "meets" or "exceeds" on the ISAT.


According to ISBE, this change better aligns the ISAT with the more rigorous Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards are more rigorous and robust than the Illinois Learning Standards previously in place, and are intended to better prepare students for success in college and careers within our increasingly global economy, as well as to compete with peers around the country and the world for the jobs of tomorrow. 

The new ISAT scoring is also helping the state transition to a new test that will be given to students beginning in 2014-15. At that time, the state will replace the ISAT with a new test called the PARCC assessment, created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The PARCC assessment will align with the new Common Core State Standards and provide information to ensure students are mastering the appropriate skills and content benchmarks for college and careers.


District 58 schools have historically performed very well on the ISATs, and we want our parents and community to know well in advance of our 2013 scores being released next fall that the percentage of elementary and middle school students in the "meets standards" and "exceeds standards" categories may decline as a result of the adjusted norms--even though student learning and performance may have increased. 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.  


District 58 kindergarten roundup dates set  

District 58 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 their roundup for information about registration. 


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

New principal appointed to lead Kingsley School

Mark Stange has been appointed the new principal of Kingsley School to replace Charles Purdom, who will retire in June. The District 58 School Board approved the hire Feb. 11. 


Stange is in his tenth year as principal at Wood View Elementary School in the Valley View 365U school district, having served as assistant principal for four years prior to that. He said that what he enjoys most about education is seeing the a-ha moment on children's faces--and, as a principal, seeing those same looks on the faces of teachers and staff.


"We all learn something every day, and it's that excitement and joy of learning that keeps me moving ahead, too," he said, adding that he is looking forward to joining the District 58 team.


Click here for the full story! 


School snapshots and stories

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

District 58 schools celebrate 100th day of school
Students and staff throughout District 58 participated in a variety of fun activities and events to mark the 100th day of school Feb. 5. At Highland, first-graders dressed like they were 100 years old, worked on activities about 100 in reading, writing and math, and had a fashion show after parading through kindergarten, the LRC and the office.  At Whittier, first-graders made 100 day hats; did exercises throughout the day such as dance for 100 seconds, run in place for 100 seconds, and do 100 jumping jacks, to name a few; wrote 100 words; graphed foods that they would eat 100 of; wrote about and drew what they would be like if they were 100 years old; did estimation jars with more than, less than, and exactly 100 items; rolled to get 100 tallies; and read a 100th day poem.

Click here to check out some 100th day photos!

Herrick student to represent D58 at county Spelling Bee 


The annual Herrick-O'Neill Spelling Bee was held February 11 at Herrick Middle School. Altogether, 28 middle school students -- 21 from Herrick and seven from O'Neill -- participated in the spelloff. At the end it was down to two contestants: Emma Doak (Herrick) and Chandana Sooranahalli (O'Neill). Emma correctly spelled "Iliad" to emerge as this year's spelling bee champion, and will represent District 58 at the DuPage County Spelling Bee on February 20.

Belle Aire students dazzle in variety show at Tivoli

Belle Aire students took to the stage at the Tivoli Theatre on Feb. 2 to showcase their skills during the school's annual talent show. Acts included a perfectly-choreographed "Thriller" dance complete with spooky set, a dazzling laser sword display and a Blues Brothers re-enactment.

Click here for photos from the event!  


Kingsley students take in-school field trip     


Fourth-grade students at Kingsley School recently participated in a geometry exploratory in-school "field trip" with the DuPage Children's Museum. Third-grade students will soon participate in a similar opportunity with the museum, this one involving simple machines. Click here to view more photos from the activity! 

Lester hosts hoppin' celebration for 25th Jump Rope for Heart anniversary


Lester School hosted a hoppin' 25th anniversary celebration of participating in Jump Rope For Heart Feb. 2. The event, which was well-attended by current and former students, staff and parents, featured local celebrity jumpers, an appearance by the Rope Warrior, and special presentations by Lester students and staff who have been affected by heart disease.

During the past 25 years, Lester School's Jump Rope for Heart events have raised more than $141,000 for the American Heart Association.  


Click here for more information and to view photos from the event!    


Indian Trail students donate toiletries to help the homeless, less fortunate 


In an effort to help those who are homeless or less fortunate, third and fourth grade students at Indian Trail School recently brought in toiletries to donate to Journeys, a collaboration between the PADS shelter and HOME center. Each class collected a different item, such as shampoo and conditioner, a razor and shaving cream, deodorant and soap, tube socks, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. They worked together to assemble the items to donate, along with greeting cards to lift the recipients' spirits.

Click here to view photos of the students assembling the donations! 

O'Neill teams take third place in bridge-building contest


Two teams from O'Neill Middle School won third place trophies in the bridge-busting competition hosted over winter break by Purdue University and University of Illinois. A total of 18 O'Neill students participated in the competition, which calls for teams to build bridges and test how much weight they can hold.


"We were also fortunate enough to have two current Purdue engineering students talk with the kids about design and strategies to use for next year. The wheels are already turning," said science teacher Meg Van Dyke, who sponsored the O'Neill teams.


Click here to visit the News from our Schools page for more information! 


Puffer families participate in 'one school, one book' program  


"The 68 Rooms," by Marianne Malone, has been all the talk at Henry Puffer. K-6 students, staff and families recently participated in Puffer's first all-school book club, reading and discussing the children's novel based on a popular exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago.  Click here to read the full story! 
Grove Children's Preschool registration now open

Applications for tuition-based enrollment in District 58's Grove Children's Preschool program, with its established, research-based educational curriculum, are now available at all District 58 schools and on the District 58 website at Enrollment is open to all District 58 children who will be 3 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2013, and tuition has decreased for 2012-13.

The goal of the Grove Children's Preschool program is to meet the developmental and individual needs of all children in a safe, inclusive and nurturing environment, while promoting educational success through engaging and collaborative learning experiences.Two-day and four-day options are available. Classes take place at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave., and Indian Trail School, 6235 Stonewall Ave.  


Grove Children's Preschool is a blended program, meaning that tuition students, students identified as having special education needs, and students identified as being at risk for future academic difficulties due to cultural or socio-economic factors are taught in the same classroom. 

For more information on Grove Children's Preschool, including registration information and tuition costs, call (630) 968-0454, or visit  

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! 

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.

Visit the 58 Doing Good page,, to read about these and other projects:
  • District 58 schools raise funds for Sandy relief 
  • O'Neill students write greeting cards to hospitalized veterans
  • Herrick student council hosts Valentine's activity to warm the hearts of veterans
  • El Sierra students collect money for book donation
  • Lester students participate in MDA "packing party"  
  • Belle Aire continues Soup for Soup-er Bowl tradition to benefit FISH pantry
  • O'Neill student council raising funds for childhood cancer research
  • Fairmount to host candy estimation contest to benefit Feed My Starving Children

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, or click the links below to view individual flyers): 

Downers Grove North boys basketball offensive skills camp for 6th-8th grade -- starts April 7 

 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 team set to take on the Harlem Wizards
D58, village host well-attended Joint Safety and Security forum
Eight D58 schools receive Academic Excellence Awards
Power of technology will change teaching, learning: Column by Scott Meech
District 58 kindergarten roundup dates set
New principal appointed to lead Kingsley School
School snapshots and stories
Grove Children's Preschool registration now open
Reminder: D58, public library hosting Digital Learning workshops for parents
What's new on 58 Doing Good?
Family Fitness Fair cancelled
Board Briefs
Next three weeks at a glance
Quick links

Family Fitness Fair canceled
District 58's Family Fitness Fair, scheduled to take place on Feb. 28, has been canceled. We look forward to hosting this wonderful event again next year! 

Board Briefs
At its Feb. 11 meeting, the Board of Education:

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

--Heard a presentation by Dr. Matt Rich, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, regarding Common Core State Standards implementation, learning targets, instruction and assessment. Further details will be presented at the board's curriculum workshop on Monday, Feb. 25.

--Reviewed a draft of the 2013-14 school year calendar

--Held a public hearing regarding the transfer of funds from the Education Fund to the Operations and Maintenance Fund in the amount of $1 million, and ratified the creation and funding of a separate sub-fund within the O&M fund

--Authorized District 58 administration to file with the regional and state superintendents of education proposed Life Safety amendments and all supporting documents required to receive approval of life safety projects for the 13 schools of District 58 estimated at $5,128,547. These projects encompass a variety of much-needed work at schools throughout the district, including carpeting, tile and asphalt repair and replacement projects; HVAC and fire alarm improvements; and the first phase of security upgrades.

--Authorized the administration and Wight & Co. to solicit formal bids for the Pierce Downer three-classroom addition and renovation project

--Approved a proposal from Wight & Co. for asbestos abatement project design at Fairmount, Hillcrest, and Pierce Downer schools for a cost of $9,800 and asbestos project management and air monitoring services for referenced projects at those three schools for a cost of $46,000  


Next three weeks at a glance

February 17

District 58 Education Foundation presents an evening with the Harlem Wizards, 6 p.m., Downers Grove South High School

February 18

No school

February 19

Parent technology workshop, 1 p.m., Downers Grove Public Library

February 23

Students in Technology Conference at Herrick Middle School--all day

February 25

Curriculum workshop, 7 p.m., Longfellow Center

February 26

Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

March 1

Teacher institute--no school

March 4

Casimir Pulaski Day--no school

March 5

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

March 4-15

ISAT testing 
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!

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