Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 5, Issue 7
November 22, 2013
Student art on display at D58 office

The District 58 office is filled with artwork created by our wonderfully talented students. Click here to check out some of this year's featured projects! 
District 58 observes American Education Week

November 18-22 marked the 92nd annual observance of American Education Week. The theme, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools.


Schools throughout District 58 participated in a variety of activities to celebrate American Education Week, including a parent visitation event at Hillcrest (right), Breakfast with Books events at Belle Aire (left), Lester (below right), Pierce Downer and Highland; Family Reading Night and spirit days at El Sierra; and Grandparents/VIP Day at O'Neill Middle School (below left). In addition, the District 58 Board of Education approved a resolution Nov. 12 proclaiming Nov. 18-22 American Education Week, and urging "all citizens to make a commitment to public education and to the future of our community,  state and nation by visiting their local public schools and by donating their time and talents to help make the public schools even better."  


 "District 58 truly is a wonderful place to learn and grow. In addition to our wonderful students, staff and families, we are so fortunate to be part of a larger community that embraces, supports and celebrates public education," said Superintendent Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D. "Students benefit from our strong partnerships with numerous community partners who give generously  of their time, expertise, financial support and facilities to help us provide the best possible educational experience. We look forward to continuing and expanding these partnerships in the years to come."


Please take an opportunity to join District 58 in celebrating our great public  schools by thanking our teachers and staff, and our  partners in education.


"Together, we provide a well-rounded, excellent education to each and every student in District 58. We're proud to work hand-in-hand to make a difference in the lives of our students," Cremascoli said.

District 58 reminds parents, community about inclement weather notification procedures


Should it become necessary to close school for the safety of our students, District 58 utilizes numerous tools to notify parents and community members.  


District 58 utilizes an automated calling system to alert parents of school closings. Parents are encouraged to make sure that their child's school(s) has their most up-to-date contact information. New this year, District 58 is also offering parents the option to receive a text message, in addition to a phone call and e-mail, in the event of a school closure. To opt in, simply text YES to 68453.  


In addition to the automated calling system, District 58 also posts information on its Web site,, and places a message on the district's answering machine, which can be accessed by calling (630) 719-5800. The district also notifies the following radio/TV stations from which the official announcement is made: WBBM (780), WGN (720), CBS Ch 2, NBC Ch 5, ABC Ch 7, WGH Ch 9, FOX 32, and CLTV.


Parents may also check the status of the district or their school by going to and searching for the school facility or school closings. Parents are asked not to call their child's individual school to check on whether classes will take place.  

Final fall Digital Learning Workshop coming up Dec. 2

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. On Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., District 58 and the Downers Grove Public Library will host the final fall session of their Digital Learning Workshops for parents and the community. Participants will learn about the unique opportunities that digital tools provide, including executive functioning skills such as calendaring, task management, reminders, communication, and organization. Because of the partnership with the Downers Grove Public Library, parents can learn more about accessing the library's digital materials, including ebooks, emagazines and online databases. The workshop also will address Internet safety and digital citizenship. The session will take place at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss Street, Downers Grove, and is open to all interested parents and community members. For more information about the workshop, contact Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Matthew Rich at


 Visit our Parent Tech Support page to check out resources shared at previous workshops!  

Around the District

Puffer students tape kindergarten teacher to the wall for a good cause

Henry Puffer School kindergarten teacher Carolyn Murphy recently got taped to a wall -- for a very good cause. During the week of November 4, students could purchase pieces of duct tape for $1 apiece, or six for $5. During the lunch hour on November 8, they got to use their pieces to tape Murphy to the wall. The goal was to raise at least $200 to purchase gift cards for needy families in the school community for Thanksgiving. This year's event raised $450. Click here for more photos from the activity!

Fairmount first-graders 'eat' a whole plant


Students in Alicia Micele's first-grade class at Fairmount School recently "ate" an entire plant, with various vegetables standing in for different parts--carrots representing roots, celery representing the stalk, etc.!

Lester first-graders nurture seedlings in plant unit 


First-graders at Lester School have been learning all about plants by growing and caring for their own. As part of the class's plant unit, students spent one morning last month with the help of numerous parent volunteers planting a variety of seedlings. This included fast-growing brasica, alfalfa, rye, radishes and sweet potatoes. They also got to learn about various vegetables, plant part of a potato, and unearth pumpkin seeds to take home. The students have been watering their plants and checking on their progress regularly. Their study of plants concludes with a trip to Lyman Woods to participate in the Little Sprouts program, in which all District 58 first-graders take part. Click here for more photos from the activity! 


Highland students bring Gilbert and Sullivan to stage 


On November 19, the fifth and sixth grade classes at Highland School presented a musical featuring the music of Gilbert and Sullivan, who were responsible for the transition from opera only to musical theater in the 1800s. Songs in "Gilbert and Sullivan Rocks!" included spin-offs of well-known Gilbert and Sullivan tunes--such as "Modern Major Principal."  Many sixth graders had speaking parts, and they were able to use their iPads to consult their scripts. The fifth and sixth grade classes at Fairmount and Whittier also presented the musical the week of Nov. 18. Click here for more photos from Highland's production! 


Hillcrest students participate in The Great American Challenge: Geography!


What were the three ships that brought Columbus to America? Is a twister the name for a hurricane or a tornado? What are the states that border Lake Michigan? These were just a few of the questions posed to Hillcrest students on November 15 as part of the game show-style assembly called The Great American Challenge: Geography. Students were randomly selected from each grade level to compete on two teams to answer various grade-appropriate geography questions. This activity was an opportunity for Hillcrest students to shine and for teachers to appraise their students' knowledge of geography. Students also had great fun watching Hillcrest teachers compete against each other and attempt to answer a variety of obscure trivia questions. Who knew that the name "James" was the most common name for American presidents? The assembly was sponsored by the Hillcrest PTA. Click here for more photos from the event! 


El Sierra walk-a-thon raises money for humane society


Last month the El Sierra student council organized a walk-a-thon to benefit the PACT Humane Society. Walkers got pledges to take laps around McCollum Park, and some students and staff even had own their four-legged friends participate! The event raised more than $360 for the PACT Humane Society. Click here for more photos from the event!


Indian Trail fifth-graders share stories at Family Tea


Fifth-grade students at Indian Trail School had some very special guests of honor join them in class last month. As part of their study of the story "The Memory Box," each student was asked to interview a family member and write an essay based on the person's answers. Many students interviewed grandparents.  


To help students prepare for their oral history assignment, the class brainstormed topics and potential interview questions such as where the person went to school, their favorite/least favorite subject in school, where and when they were born, the costs of items such as movie tickets and gasoline, how kids dressed, and what they liked to do in their free time. The interviewees were invited to be guests of honor at an afternoon Family Tea. They were introduced to the class, after which everyone enjoyed refreshments while the students read aloud the papers they had written. Click here for more photos from the day! 


Belle Aire student council sponsors Hats for the Philippines, Penny Harvest

On November 15, the Belle Aire School student council sponsored a "hat day," in which students could donate $1 to wear a favorite hat in school for the day. All proceeds were sent to the American Red Cross to benefit victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.

The Belle Aire student council also hosted a penny harvest again this year to benefit needy families in the area. The week of November 18, student council members brought the "harvest wagon" to Belle Aire classrooms each day so students could put in their spare change.
Board Briefs

Highlights from the November 12 meeting of the District 58 Board of Education
  • El Sierra student council officers led the Board and audience in the flag salute, and reported on the organization's activities.
  • Board and audience members visited the 21st Century Classroom, a new professional development and collaboration space at Longfellow. Students from Deb Krygeris's sixth-grade class at Whittier were on hand to demonstrate how digital devices are impacting teaching and learning, and how they are used for everyday work in the classroom.

  • Controller James Popernik reported that most of the major transfers budgeted for this year, including $1.5 million from working cash and $1 million from the Medical Reserve Fund, have taken place. A transfer of the working cash interest to the sinking fund is slated to take place at the end of the year. Popernik also reported that nearly all of the $3.6 million budgeted this year for capital projects and life safety projects has been spent.

  • In honor of School Board Member Day Friday, November 15, Superintendent Kari Cremascoli thanked the Board of Education members for their service and leadership in District 58. She shared that three teachers -- Jon Belonio, Ashley Bidlencik and Meg Van Dyke -- had been nominated for Golden Apple awards, and that the nominations are well-deserved. Cremascoli reported that staff is progressing in its planning for capital projects to be accomplished next summer, and is looking forward to finalizing those plans shortly after winter break. Teachers and staff are planning for parent-teacher conferences on November 14 and 19, and looking forward to the opportunity to meet with parents. The District will be administering two surveys during that time. All parents will be surveyed regarding the current parent-teacher conference structure, and parents of students in the 1:1 pilot classrooms will be surveyed regarding their experience with the program thus far. Cremascoli said the plan is to share the survey results with the Board in December, and to survey the 1:1 parents again at the end of second semester to garner additional feedback about the pilot program. Lastly, Cremascoli shared that the District had partnered with the Downers Grove Park District and with Downers Grove North and South high schools to run a successful wrestling clinic and tournament at Herrick and O'Neill.

  • The Board held a public hearing regarding its 2013 property tax levy, which is slated for approval on December 9.
  • The Board awarded the contract for online student registration to Infosnap for a first-year cost of $28,500, and the option to renew for two additional years at a cost of $18,000 per year.

  • The Board approved Change Order #1 to Critical Technology Solutions for security enhancements at all 13 District 58 school buildings for an increase of $23,224.40, resulting in the final contract price of $156,194.40.

Upcoming events

Puffer to host Toy Swap event 


  summer-toys.jpg Do your children have a lot of toys? Do you want to get rid of some? Are they in good shape? Instead of throwing them away or donating them, consider exchanging them at the Henry Puffer School Earth Club's upcoming Toy Swap! Swappers can drop off toys at Puffer, 2220 Haddow Ave., on Friday, Nov. 22 between 1:30 and 3:30, and again between 6-7 p.m. Participants will get a ticket for each item dropped off. Swappers can come back on Saturday, Nov. 23 between 9 and 10 a.m. and exchange each ticket for a "new" toy. From 10 to 11 a.m. on Nov. 23, the toy sale will be open to the general public. All proceeds will go to Earth Club activities.  


Click here to view the event flyer for more information!  

Herrick set to perform 'High School Musical'

Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh Ave., is proud to present three performances of "High School Musical" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 21 and Friday, November 22, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 24. Sunday's performance will be a children's/community performance, in which children under 12 are admitted free with the donation of a non-perishable food item. Tickets will be $6, and are available at Herrick, (630) 719-5810, and at the door.

Herrick to host Family 'Fun'draiser 


On Saturday, November 23, Herrick Middle School and the Herrick PTA will host a fundraiser at Downers Grove North High School, 4436 Main St.  The event will feature the seventh grade and eighth grade Herrick Middle School Spartans taking on the Jefferson Junior High Wolverines basketball teams. The doors open at 6 p.m., and the games start at 6:30 p.m. The Herrick band will perform. Admission is $5 per person or $15 per family. There will also be a raffle for prizes and split the pot, as well as half-court "lottery shots." Proceeds will benefit the Herrick PTA, which sponsors assemblies, field trips and programs at the school.   


Community invited to celebrate Kingsley's 50th anniversary

The entire community is invited to attend the 50th anniversary program at Kingsley School, 6509 Powell St., from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, November 24 -- exactly 50 years from the original dedication on Sunday, November 24, 1963.

There will be a short program re-dedicating the school, including musical performances by Kingsley groups. The program will be followed by light refreshments and an all-school open house.  All community members, as well as current and former students, parents and staff are welcome to attend.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Principal Mark Stange or Secretary Diane Glowicki at (630) 719-5850.

Lester PTA to host Holly Days shopping bazaar


Lester School, 236 Indianapolis Ave., will host its third annual Holly Days Holiday Bazaar from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.


The event will feature festive, unique and handmade items from more than 25 local vendors and craftspeople including jewelry, clothing and accessories, desserts and food, candles, home accessories and more. Bring your camera for a visit with Santa! There will also be more than $600 in raffle prizes for kids and adults, mini manicures, chair massages, a kids activity area, haircuts for the whole family, complementary gift wrapping, food and drink, entertainment, and free goodie bags for the first 50 guests. A portion of all sales fund academic enrichment and community building activities provided by the Lester School PTA. For more information, contact Pamela Nicholas at

Special Services Parent Group meeting to focus on Social-Emotional Learning programs in District 58

school-group.jpg The next meeting of the District 58 Special Services Parent Group, scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m., will feature a presentation by a panel of District 58 teachers and social workers about Social-Emotional Learning programs in District 58.

A District 58 education focuses on the whole child, and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is an important component. SEL, as defined by the not-for-profit Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), is ''the process whereby children and adults develop essential social and emotional skills, knowledge and attitudes'' related to the core areas of social and emotional competency:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

Over the past few years, District 58, led by its Social-Emotional Learning committee, has focused on incorporating SEL at the district, building and classroom levels. District 58's goal is to create a learning environment where students show up eager to learn; feel a sense of connectedness to their school and teachers; feel safe from being treated poorly; perform to their fullest potential; treat all others with respect; and contribute to the well-being of the community.


The Special Services Parent Group meeting will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. December 10, 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.

Reminder: Registration now open for Students Involved in Technology (SIT) Conference; register by Dec. 1 for Reading Games

Students Involved with Technology Conference


District 58 students are encouraged to register to participate in the 2014 Students Involved in Technology (SIT) conference, which again this year will be hosted by District 58. The theme for this year's conference is "Technology in Motion."


The 2014 SIT conference will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, 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 24, 2014. Teachers, administrators, other school staff and parents/guardians can also register to be conference volunteers.


Click here to view the SIT conference flyer.   


Reading Games--register by December 1 


Registration is now open for the District 58 Reading Games! Teams of District 58 third through eighth graders are invited to participate in the district-wide celebration of reading. The registration deadline is December 1. 


Teams of four to eight students will collaborate to read 20 books from one of two book lists: Level 1 and Level 2. During a competition on March 15 at Herrick Middle School, teams will answer questions that the Reading Games Committee has written about the books.


Interested in getting involved with this great new event? Community members who would like to volunteer on the day of the competition and/or donate prizes are encouraged to e-mail the Reading Games Committee at


Click here to view the Reading Games flyer. 

Four preschool screening dates remain in 2013-14; next screening set for Dec. 16


Each year, District 58 offers free preschool screenings designed to identify glasses-boy-blocks.jpg 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. Preschool screenings are available free of charge to District 58 residents, and are designed to evaluate development in children ages two years and 10 months to five years old. 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.


Remaining 2013-14 preschool screening dates and locations are as follows:


Date                                                   Location

December 16, 2013                           Indian Trail

January 13, 2014                               Henry Puffer

February 3, 2014                                Indian Trail

March 17, 2014                                  Henry Puffer


Henry Puffer School is located at 2220 Haddow Avenue. Indian Trail School is located at 6235 Stonewall Avenue. Concerned parents who have not previously screened their child for speech, vision, hearing, learning or behavioral needs are encouraged to call (630) 719-5800 to schedule an appointment.

Preschool screening takes approximately 90 minutes. Parents are required to attend with their child. For more information about District 58's Grove Children's Preschool program, please call (630) 968-0454, e-mail, or visit to check out our Preschool Guide and watch our Education Foundation-sponsored informational video.

Community Corner

Nov. 22 supply drive for tornado victims

The Randall Park neighborhood is organizing a tornado relief donation drive. They have access to two Westway school buses ready to be filled up with needed supplies on Friday, Nov. 22, to be delivered on Saturday, Nov. 23 to Washington, Ill. The relief drive will take place at 5305 Park Ave., Downers Grove, from 1-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Look for the big yellow school buses!

E-flyer logo
Community e-flyers

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 Park District Winter Break Escapes -- Dec.23-27 and Dec. 30 through Jan. 3  



Eighth grade testing dates for high school Honors English 









  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. 

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Upcoming events

November 21-22

Herrick musical -- "High School Musical", 7:30 p.m.

November 24

Herrick musical, "High School Musical," 2 p.m.

November 25 

Board of Education financial workshop, 7 p.m., Longfellow

November 26

Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

November 27-29

Thanksgiving break

December 2

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

District 58/Downers Grove Public Library parent tech support workshop, 7 p.m., Downers Grove Public Library

December 3

South side fifth and sixth grade orchestra concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill Middle School

PTA Reflections recognition ceremony, 7 p.m., Herrick Middle School

December 5

North side fifth and sixth grade orchestra concert, 7 p.m., Herrick Middle School

South side band concert, 7 p.m., O'Neill Middle School

December 9

Regular Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow Center

Click here to view the full calendar. You can use the drop-down menu and icons to customize your view (day, week, month, list!)

Flu season: Tips for parents

With the onset of the flu season, we wanted to share with our parents and community some helpful guidelines from the National Association of School Nurses.   


Click here to view the tips. 

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