Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 4, Issue 13
May 23, 2013

Board of Education approves bid for district-wide security upgrades

Back to school The District 58 Board of Education awarded the bid and Alternate 1 May 13 for phase one security enhancements at all District 58 buildings. The work will take place this summer, for a total cost of $132,970.

"The safety and welfare of our students continues to be our No. 1 priority," said Superintendent Kari Cremascoli. "Numerous measures have long been in place in District 58 to ensure students are educated in safe, nurturing environments, and these enhancements focus on both student safety and a welcoming school environment."


The phase one security enhancements will include the installation of a permanent doorbell, video camera, intercom, and remote controlled locks at the front entrances, as well as a monitor, speaker and unlocking controls in the main offices. Also included is the installation of a card system for entry by authorized staff. Alternate 1 includes the same installations at the two entrances at Longfellow Center, which houses the district's technology and maintenance departments, as well as its Media Services Office.

Eighth-graders honored with Select 58 awards for citizenship and service

May 8 marked a very special night for 58 eighth-graders in Downers Grove Grade School District 58 -- 29 from Herrick Middle School and 29 from O'Neill Middle School -- as they were honored at the annual Select 58 banquet for their citizenship and contributions to school and community.  The banquet is sponsored by the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 and hosted by Herrick Middle School.

The students and their families who attended the banquet were treated to a high-energy performance by the Downers Grove North High School Jazz Combo. They also heard inspiring speeches by former Select 58 winners Dan Leahy (O'Neill alumnus) and Mary Bedalov (Herrick alumnus), who spoke about the importance of involvement, service, and making a difference.  
Board approves new library system, laptop lease, iPad Mini purchase
On May 13, the District 58 Board of Education approved several purchases that support the District 58 goal of technology enhancing and transforming learning and instruction. The board:
  • Approved the purchase of a new library system, Follett Destiny, for a setup fee of $43,237 the first year and an annual licensing and maintenance cost of $9,100 starting in year two. Future plans for resource distribution district-wide include an increase in digital resources, which require a much more robust tool to manage, distribute, and allow patron browsing.
  • Approved a lease agreement for 400 Macbook Air laptop computers for a cost of $448,975.92, which will be distributed over three years with a yearly payment of $149,658.64, pending final approval by attorneys representing District 58. The teachers' former devices will be repurposed for student use, which supports the 2012-13 district goal of increasing student access to computers in all buildings.
  • Approved the purchase of 650 iPad Minis (65 packs of 10) for 2013-14, for a total price of $200,850. As part of the preparation for District 58's 1:1 device pilot program implementation, the Curriculum and Technology Departments adjusted 2012-13 budgeted expenditures, taking a fiscally conservative approach to cost containment for this year in order to invest in 1:1 device purchases. Using money already within the 2012-13 budget to purchase the devices at this time will allow the Technology Department to more effectively prepare over the summer for the 1:1 one-year pilot program set to launch in 2013-14. So far 37 teaching teams have applied to be a part of the full-year pilot, which will build on the three-week unit-long pilots, called Learning Labs, which have taken place during the 2012-13 school year. During the year-long pilot, the benefits to students of a 1:1 device program will continue to be studied and analyzed. 
D58 students win art awards from Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club


Several Herrick and O'Neill students earned awards in the Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club's 2013 Junior High Art contest, which is open to all seventh and eighth grade students in Downers Grove.  


Herrick seventh grade student Hollis Kerr's piece entitled "Majestic Mountain" captured first place for her grade level, while O'Neill seventh grader Gizel Essa's piece entitled "Chicago River" took second and Herrick seventh grader Nafisa Asad's untitled piece took third. O'Neill eighth grader Ellie Wold earned an honorable mention for her piece entitled "Orange Flowers." All of the winning pieces are on display at the Downers Grove Public Library.  

District 58 nurse honored with Recognition of Excellence award


Kathleen Kelly began her nursing career in a hospital setting, working in pediatric and neonatal intensive care and maternal child health -- but her 23 years as a school nurse have provided her with an entirely unique set of challenges.  


"Once I was called upon to loosen a pet hermit crab's 'death grip' from the palm of a tearful second-grader's hand. As a mother of daughters, I wasn't used to slimy pets! Warm water did the trick," said Kelly, who works at Lester and Highland.  


The quick thinking, compassion, exceptional knowledge base, and willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure the health and safety of students that have exemplified Kelly's career also have earned her the respect of her peers. On May 7, Kelly, who will retire at the end of this school year, was honored with an award for Recognition of Excellence in School Nursing from the DuPage Valley School Nurse Association. The award recognizes Certified School Nurses who have demonstrated excellence in his/her practice which has benefited their students, staff or school community. Kelly was nominated by her fellow District 58 Certified School Nurses for her tireless efforts to improve the nursing care for students and families in Downers Grove District 58.

Board of Education awards additional bids for summer capital projects

District 58 is on track to complete a variety of Life Safety projects, Operations and Maintenance projects and security upgrades at its 13 schools during summer 2013 and summer 2014. These projects are the result of years of careful planning and needs assessments, including a comprehensive facilities study conducted last winter by consultant Wight and Co. The District 58 Board of Education voted May 13 to approve several bids related to facilities projects slated for completion this summer.

On May 13, the board:
  • Awarded the summer 2013 asphalt contract consisting of the base bid and two alternates to Accu-Paving for the cost of $630,600, with Alternate #3 being contingent on approval by the YMCA Board. The district will postpone asphalt work at Indian Trail and Whittier until next summer.
  • Approved maintenance grant applications for fire alarm replacements at O'Neill, Herrick and Indian Trail schools, to be submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education prior to May 31
  • Approved bids from Tuscany Construction, Inc., for Alternate #1, staff lounge remodeling for a cost of $19,500, and Alternate #2, library remodeling for a cost of $76,000, for the total additional cost of $95,500 to the Pierce Downer addition contract. The original contract, for a three-classroom addition and related remodeling, was awarded to Tuscany Construction, Inc. last month. District 58 Controller James Popernik said that the district will need to do the staff lounge remodeling work and the library remodeling eventually, and it makes the most sense from a financial and logistical standpoint to accomplish those projects at the same time as the other work is taking place.   
Lester assistant principal appointed


Adam Ubben has been appointed the new assistant principal at Lester  School.   


Ubben holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in educational leadership from National Lewis University, and has served as an assistant principal in Plainfield District 202 for three years.


"I love helping students develop a love for learning, by assisting in the creation of a school environment and culture that students look forward to being a part of," Ubben said. "I very much look forward to becoming a part of the tradition of excellence in District 58 and at Lester School."


District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli said the team was impressed with Ubben's positive attitude, as well as his administrative experience with a focus on children.  


"We are confident that he will be an excellent addition to Lester School and to the District 58 administrative team," she said.  

Grove Foundation honors District 58 students for good character

Fifth-grade students from each District 58 elementary school were recognized with this year's Helping Children Grow awards from the Grove Foundation for their enthusiasm, effort and good character.  


"The selection committee looks for children who don't seek recognition while working hard every day, are of good strong character, and are willing to help others," said Grove Foundation President Lois Kopis.


Click here for the full list of 2013 winners! 

School snapshots, stories and videos

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

O'Neill, Herrick join Rachel's Challenge chain links of kindness  


Students at Herrick and O'Neill middle schools have participated this year in various activities related to Rachel's Challenge. This included the creation of "chains of kindness," stringing together pieces of paper on which students had written acts of kindness they had recently done or seen.  

The chains were on display throughout the year. On May 10 during the Herrick/O'Neill track meet at Downers Grove North, the schools hosted a celebration and connected their chains, which stretched around the track several times over.
Whittier students, staff mix it up  


The week of May 13, Whittier School held a variety of fun activities each day to promote a sense of school community and support the district's focus on Social-Emotional Learning.

Click here to view photos from Teacher Mix-Up Day, on which students wore Whittier blue and gold, and were in for a treat when the Whittier teachers switched classrooms and taught a new class for the day. Art teacher Jon Belonio taught Eric Miller's fifth/sixth grade class, first grade teacher Heather Richards took on the role of LRC director, and fourth grade teacher Linda Vanacora became the reading specialist, to name just a few of the "switches"!   



Highland School 'families' make blankets for Project Linus


Highland School students and staff recently worked together to make dozens of blankets for Project Linus, which provides blankets to sick and hospitalized children in need of comfort.     


"We're going to give them to hospitals for people who feel sad or lonely, and this will help them feel better," explained sixth-grader Nora Thurbush. 


The students and staff worked together in their school families, which was modeled after a program launched last year at El Sierra School. First- through sixth-grade students have been divided into families that include at least one student from each grade level and one staff leader. The families participate in family meetings throughout the year, with students staying with the same school family until they move on to middle school and new students being added to existing families.


Hillcrest's News Crew is on the job      


Hillcrest students and staff who want the latest scoop on what's happening at their school now have their own news crew to keep them informed.  


About a half-dozen sixth grade students, who were recommended by their teachers to participate, comprise the school's brand-new News Team, which began working together several months ago. They conduct interviews, write and edit scripts, speak on-air, and record/edit their weekly broadcasts during lunchtime using a green screen, lighting and other equipment purchased by the Hillcrest PTA.


Click here for the full story and photos! 


Belle Aire outdoor reading circle revitalized in memory of late retiree

The outdoor reading circle and garden at Belle Aire School recently got a facelift in memory of former longtime teacher Dee Regas, who passed away earlier this year.


Regas was a master gardener, and had put those skills to work at the school, even after retiring six years ago. Teachers, staff, neighbors, students, alumni and friends contributed to the reading circle and garden, which were dedicated during the Belle Aire teacher appreciation luncheon in April.


Regas's daughter, who had attended Belle Aire along with her brothers, was on hand for the dedication. She also brought her two children, the oldest of whom who will attend Belle Aire this coming fall -- in Regas's former classroom.

Click here to view the photo gallery! 
Kingsley all-school walk benefits JDRF 

Kingsley School recently hosted an all-school walk to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Each class walked a certain number of laps around the building based on their grade level, with sixth graders completing six full laps -- a total of 2.2 miles. The event ended up raising approximately $1,900!


"We have two students with diabetes at our school, and we are excited to celebrate the money we are raising for research," said sixth grade teacher and student council co-sponsor Ashley Bidlencik.

Click here to view a gallery from the walk! 

Lester students take the lead at school


May 16 was an exciting morning for two Lester students. Abbie Scantlen became the principal and and Alexa Wall the assistant principal after winning the honor at the Lester PTA Game Night this year. The two did the announcements, 
supervised children before school and during recess, sent e-mails to staff, conducted a fire drill, attended planning meetings for 2013-14, and more. The students found out that the life of a principal is never dull!

Puffer walk benefits Gigi's Playhouse 


The Henry Puffer Student Council hosted a walk/run fundraiser after school May 17, which raised approximately $700 for 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 was held to show support for students and families within the Puffer community," said student council co-sponsor Katie Hurckes.


Click here to view the gallery!     


More than 250 students participate in Pierce Downer Fun Run


More than 250 children participated in the 2013 Pierce Downer School Fun Run May 16. Children gathered after school for the one-mile run, sponsored by the PTA's Healthy Kids committee.  



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): 

 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
BOE approves bid for district-wide security upgrades
Eighth-graders win Select 58 awards
BOE approves new library system, laptop lease, iPad Mini purchase
D58 students win art awards
D58 nurse honored with Recognition of Excellence award
BOE awards additional bids for summer capital projects
Lester assistant principal appointed
Grove Foundation honors District 58 students for good character
School snapshots and stories
Upcoming events
Find us on social media
Quick links

Upcoming events

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

Find District 58 on social media


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Recent Tweets:

Check out this great gallery in the Reporter from last Friday's walk at Puffer for Gigi's Playhouse! @MySuburbanLife ...

"I want to help find a cure by supporting the people who walk." Belle Aire 6th-grader is on @avonwalks Youth Crew!

MT "@JuniorRoom: Summer reading starts today. We are in @DGDistrict58 grade schools this week." Very exciting!!