Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 12
May 8, 2013
Staff honored with service awards

A number of District 58 staff members recently were recognized for their dedicated service.  


Education Foundation Distinguished Service Awards 


Nearly 200 staff, students and parents attended the District 58 Education Foundation's Distinguished Service Awards ceremony at Ashyana Banquets April 25 to honor a record 20 nominees with a variety of job titles and responsibilities.


Two award recipients were announced: Doreen Arlow in the category of classroom teacher, and Charles Caton in the category of staff member working in a capacity other than classroom teacher. Arlow, who teaches fifth grade at Lester, was praised for the unwavering support she provides her students, and her ability to help them make connections. A parent wrote about the impact that Caton, the social worker at O'Neill Middle School, had on her son, helping him not only successfully transition back to public school, but also to make friends and enjoy activities.


DGEEA Teacher of the Year

On May 3 at its annual retirement dinner for staff, the Downers Grove  Elementary Education Association recognized O'Neill science teacher Meg Van Dyke as its 2013 Teacher of the Year. 


Van Dyke, who holds a doctorate in educational technology, was praised for her dedication, passion and commitment to science education and for continually inspiring her students. She has

Beverly West nominated Van Dyke, and was also a nominee.

written and received numerous grants to purchase items for her department, formed numerous groups to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related competitions and challenges, and sponsors the student council. She even had her head shaved at the St. Baldrick's event at Downers Grove South in March to reward them for surpassing their fundraising goal for the organization.  


Board swears in new members, elects officers, sets last day of school  


During a special re-organizational meeting on May 6, the District 58 Board of Education swore in new member Jim Paul and elected Sallie Lupescu as president and John Cooper as vice president. Paul, a member of the district's Financial Advisory Committee, a CPA and a parent of two students at Belle Aire School, was elected in an uncontested race April 9. Board President Steve Funk did not seek a second term in office, and Lupescu thanked him during the re-organization meeting for his dedicated service.   


On Monday, May 6, the District 58 School Board also voted to establish the last day of school as Wednesday, June 5. This was the last day that had been established earlier this spring. One emergency day was used April 18 as a result of the flooding that hit the area, but the district had scheduled more than the required number of student attendance days, so it is not necessary to make up the day.
District 58 students create winning designs for library bookmark contest

Several bookmarks designed by District 58 students were chosen as winners in the Downers Grove Public Library Junior Room 2013 annual bookmark contest. Winners were selected based on originality, artwork and theme.


District 58 students whose bookmarks were selected as winners were:

  • Maya Santos, El Sierra School, third grade winner
  • Cassidie Autumn Martinez, Henry Puffer School, sixth grade winner 
  • Autumn Neil, Lester School third grade, Librarian's Choice Award
  • Kendall Hennelly, Highland School third grade, Reader's Choice Award
  • Katie Figliomeni, Whittier fourth grade, Artist Choice Award
A number of District 58 students also earned honorable mentions for their designs.

Grove Foundation donates to District 58 first grade Little Sprouts program

Downers Grove Grade School District 58 recently received a $500 donation from the Grove Foundation to benefit its Little Sprouts program.


Little Sprouts supports the first grade science curriculum, New Plants. Students travel to the Downers Grove Park District's Interpretive Center at Lyman Woods to participate in four hands-on stations. Students explore the inner workings of a bean seed, role-play and become a seed growing through an entire life cycle, identify the parts and functions of a plant and become familiar with edible plant parts, and make soil by following a recipe in a cooking show format. 


"Little Sprouts provides wonderful hands-on educational opportunities for our students, and we are so grateful to the Grove Foundation for their continued support," said District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli.

The Grove Foundation has donated to District 58 for Little Sprouts for many years. Also, again this year District 58 staff members Kathy Catalani and Ginny Lauterbach applied for and received an Illinois Biodiversity Grant, netting the district $150 for bus transportation for Little Sprouts for each of the 11 elementary buildings. Other community organizations that have provided support for the program have included the Pierce Downer Heritage Alliance and the District 58 Education Foundation.

District 58 anticipates adopting balanced budget for 2013-14

The District 58 Board of Education got its first look April 22 at the tentative $60 million spending plan for 2013-14, which is anticipated to be in balance again for the year.  

The 2013-14 budget includes an expansion of the district's iPad pilot program, the majority of the funding for which will come from repurposing or reallocating existing budgeted funds.

"District 58 continues to spend responsibly while at the same time achieving excellent results for our students," said District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli. "Thanks to our conservative budgeting, proactive responses to economic conditions, and maintenance of fund balances, our financial position has remained solid despite continued cutbacks in state funding."


Projects planned for the 2013-14 year include expanding the district's pilot iPad program toward eventual implementation of a 1:1 student device program, the majority of which will come from repurposing and reallocating existing budgeted funds; hiring two additional instructional coaches to support teachers; developing curriculum ladders and supporting training in Common Core math, Common Core English-Language Arts and the Next Generation Science Standards; developing a digital citizenship curriculum; updating the network; and purchasing a replacement truck for the Operations and Maintenance Department.


Register for summer school, summer band/orchestra, summer sports camps, Chinese immersion 

A few weeks remain to register students for several summer learning opportunities in District 58.

Kindergarten readiness, math, reading, art, band/orchestra

The deadline to register a student for District 58's Learning in the Summer 2013 program, including kindergarten readiness, math, reading, art and band/orchestra, is May 24. Sessions are open to all students who will be entering K-8 in 2013-14 and reside in the District 58 attendance area. Classes will take place Monday through Friday from June 10 through June 28 at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave., except for band and orchestra, which will take place at Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh Ave. Please note that the new Digital Game Design and Digital Video Production classes are already full for this summer. Click here to access the registration page.

Chinese immersion

District 58 has partnered with STARTALK again this year to offer a 60-hour Chinese language immersion summer program for current fifth, sixth and seventh grade students. Participants will learn about Chinese culture through a variety of cultural activities, as well as develop skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening and typing Chinese. The program will run from June 10-28, Monday through Friday at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave. Online registration will be available through May 28, and students will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to view the flyer for registration information.

Summer volleyball, basketball and cross country camps

District 58 also will host a series of sports camps this summer. Volleyball will run from June 10-14, cross country from June 17-21, and basketball July 8-12 and August 5-9. Students entering fifth through eighth grade in the fall are welcome to join any or all four of the camps. Click here for more information and to access the registration form. For more information, e-mail All forms must be submitted by May 31.

School snapshots, stories and videos

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

Click here to check out the following new additions to our videos page:

  • Hillcrest launches composting efforts with assembly
  • Beginning south side band/orchestra students present spring concert at O'Neill
  • Fairmount visits Feed My Starving Children for first all-school packing event 

O'Neill to hold fundraisers for awareness campaign 


O'Neill eighth graders will be doing their part to raise awareness of past and present genocides during their annual fundraising campaign, "Got Awareness." Over the past four years, O'Neill students have raised more than $13,500, and there are several upcoming opportunities for community members to support the cause.


bd's Mongolian Grill at the Bolingbrook Promenade will donate $3 for every person who comes in from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, and says they are there for the guest grillers--O'Neill Middle School staff. Click here to download the flyer.


On Thursday, May 16, Home Run Inn Pizza at 75th Street and Lemont Road will donate 20 percent of the bill for every dine-in or carryout customer who turns in the event flyer. Click here to download the flyer.


Click here to visit our 58 Doing Good page for more information! 

Puffer to host walk to benefit Gigi's Playhouse
The Henry Puffer Student Council will host a walk/run fundraiser after school Friday, May 17 to benefit Gigi's Playhouse. Gigi's Playhouses are Down syndrome awareness and educational centers that provide resources, specialized teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community.

"This event will be held to show support for students and families within the Puffer community, and all District 58 students, parents and community members are invited to participate in this event," said student council co-sponsor Katie Hurckes.  


The event will begin at approximately 3 p.m. Preschool through second grade students will make one lap around the school property (a little less than one mile), third through sixth grade students will make two laps, and those older than sixth grade will make three laps.


Visit 58 Doing Good, www.58-doing-good, to download the registration form! Completed forms can be e-mailed to, or returned to Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave., Downers Grove, IL, 60516.  

Fairmount grandfather helps second generation of kindergartners build birdhouses


Back in 1980, Brooks Ruyle's father, Robert, then a woodworking teacher at Downers Grove South, visited Brooks' kindergarten class at Hillcrest School to help the students make their own birdhouses from scratch. Robert told Brooks later that he would love to do the same for a grandchild someday--and he recently brought that wish to life.  


Brooks' son, Will, attends kindergarten at Fairmount School, and on April 19, Robert visited the morning and afternoon classes to help them build wren nesting houses. Just as he did 30 years ago, Robert, who retired from Downers Grove South in 2000, purchased and prepped all of the materials in advance. On April 19, he guided the children through sanding, hammering, and assembling the pieces. Brooks, now a documentary filmmaker, took footage of the proceedings.


Click here to view the photo gallery!         


Kindness Connection comes to Belle Aire   


On April 16, Belle Aire students participated in the first-ever school-wide Kindness Connection Day.


During the morning-long event, provided through the non-profit organization The Kindness Connection and sponsored by the Belle Aire PTA, Belle Aire School students visited the gymnasium in one-hour shifts to learn about volunteerism. They could then choose two of three projects to complete: decorate tote bags to fill with items for the FISH pantry, create braided fleece toys for animals up for adoption at the West Suburban Humane Society, and designed and decorated journals to be provided to children at Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Hospital. Belle Aire students will host a food drive in the coming weeks to fill the tote bags for the FISH pantry. Later in the year, representatives from the organizations that benefited from the Kindness Connection Day plan to visit the school to speak with the students about the impact of their projects.


Herrick chamber ensembles take their show on the road


Herrick Middle School's Chamber choir and orchestra recently performed around the community. They spent the morning of April 16 at the Wyndemere nursing home in Wheaton, performing and visiting with the residents. After lunch, they headed to Hillcrest and then to Pierce Downer to perform for the students.   


Grove Children's Preschool students have a ball during field trip to Tivoli Bowl

Students in District 58's Grove Children's Preschool program recently took a fun field trip to the Tivoli Bowl, where they tried their hand at knocking down pins -- and, of course, cheered for their classmates.

Click here to view the photo gallery! 
Highland hosts first-ever movie night 

Highland School recently hosted its first all-school Movie Night! Students and families relaxed on their own blankets or comfy chairs and watched The Lorax while enjoying popcorn, drinks and candy. They also had a chance to play Lorax trivia to win prizes. The event was sponsored by the school's PTA.

Click here to view the gallery!

Puffer partners with village to plant tree 

On April 26, Village of Downers Grove Forester Kerstin von der Heide visited Henry Puffer School for an Arbor Day planting. Twelve randomly chosen members of the school's Earth Club assisted in planting a shingle oak near the corner of Belmont Road and Haddow Avenue. Six to eight trees along Haddow had to be taken down during the Belmont underpass project, and through grant funding, the village will be planting 21 trees around the new underpass. The shingle oak planted by the village and Puffer on April 26, along with three new crabapple trees, are now growing on the southeast corner of Henry Puffer's grounds. Puffer's Earth Club sponsors are Carrie Murphy and Jennifer Woods.


El Sierra Career Day gives students a peek at vocations   


Architecture, civil engineering, music production and video design were just a few of the careers students at El Sierra School had the chance to learn about recently. El Sierra welcomed a variety of professionals from the community to speak with students during its annual Career Day April 12; each class got to hear from four visitors. Visiting the school this year to discuss their vocations with the students were Dan Gross, civil engineer; Cinda Lester, architect; Kara Nelson, attorney; Edward Casmere, attorney; Jim Neumann with Mars; Kim Van Loon, music production; Laura Kamedulski with the Morton Arboretum; Melissa Flasza, respiratory therapist; Maurice McBryde, personal trainer; Brian Harrison, video design; Leslie Harris, DJ; Ty Snouffer, web development and marketing; Eric Jackson, DDS; Rose LaRue Slater, medical sterilization; and Cory Nelson, an FBI agent.


Click here to view the photo gallery!

On Wednesday, May 15, at 9 a.m., Downers Grove Grade School District 58 will host a meeting at the District 58 Administrative Service Center, 1860 63rd Street, to discuss the district's plans for providing special education services during the 2013-14 school year to students with disabilities who attend private/parochial schools or will be home-schooled within District 58. Parents of private/parochial school students or home-schooled students who has been or may be identified with a disability and reside within the boundaries of Downers Grove Grade School District 58 are urged to attend. Please call (630) 719-5824 for more information or to indicate your intention to attend this meeting.

What's new on 58 Doing Good?

58 Doing Good was created to showcase for our community the wonderful service projects completed by District 58's students, staff and schools, and to serve as a connector between organizations in need of help and classes/groups within District 58 who might be looking for a service project to complete.

Visit to read about these and other projects:
  • Herrick SNAC students complete service project 
  • Cub Scouts clean up flowerbeds at Whittier
  • Belle Aire hosting raffle for Read to Feed
  • Hillcrest's Green Team collecting shoes for those in need
  • Puffer Penny Wars brings in nearly $1,000 for Almost Home Kids
  • Fairmount student council organizes first-ever school-wide packing event for Feed My Starving Children
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 World Languages Club presents Language Fair for Kids -- event May 23 


Downers Grove Park District May Park AveNews   





 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
Staff honored with service awards
Board swears in new member, elects officers, sets last day of school
D58 students create winning designs for library bookmark contest
Grove Foundation donates to Little Sprouts program
D58 anticipates adopting balanced 2013-14 budget
Summer school, band/orchestra, sports camps, Chinese immersion
School snapshots and stories
District to host special education services meeting
What's new on 58 Doing Good?
Upcoming events
Find us on social media
Quick links

Upcoming events
May 8
Select 58 banquet, 6 p.m., O'Neill

May 9
Herrick vocal recital night, 7 p.m., Herrick

May 13
Regular board meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow

May 15
Legislative Committee meeting, 3:45 p.m., ASC

May 16
O'Neill choir and orchestra concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill

May 21
Herrick orchestra spring concert, 7 p.m., Herrick

May 23
Herrick band spring concert, 7 p.m., Herrick

May 27
Memorial Day--NO SCHOOL

May 28
Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

May 29
Herrick choir spring concert, 7 p.m., ASC

May 30
O'Neill band and jazz band concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill

June 3
Financial Advisory Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

June 4
O'Neill promotion, 5 p.m., O'Neill

Herrick promotion, 7 p.m., Downers Grove North

June 5
Last day of school

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to all of the wonderful teachers in D58, and thank you for all you do! #TeacherAppreciationDay #ThankaTeacher

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