Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 5, Issue 9
December 19, 2013
Introducing District 58's new video series:
Conversations with Dr. C.

Check out the first three videos in our new series, Conversations with Dr. C., in which District 58 Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli chats with students about their journey of learning and discovery in District 58.

In these short episodes, you'll hear kindergarten students talking about seven swans a-swimming and partridges in pear trees, Puffer students talking about sleep cycles and Genius Hour, and Lester students talking about what they would do if they were in charge of their school!

IdeaPaint, activity monitors, e-books and more: Showcasing the 2013-14 Education Foundation grants  
Foundation grants 2013 
The District 58 Education Foundation funded more than $26,000 in grants this year for projects and purchases to enhance education in District 58. Grant recipients spoke during the December 9 Board of Education meeting about their projects/purchases, and how they will benefit students. Check out the video for a peek at this year's grants, and visit for the full list!

District 58 reminds parents and 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 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 posts information on its website,, 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.  

Science Fair registration due Dec. 20 


chemistry-boy.jpg All first through eighth grade students in District 58 are invited to submit projects for the annual science fair sponsored by Downers Grove Grade School District 58. The fair, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 1 at O'Neill Middle School, is non-competitive for students in first and second grade, and children in third through eighth grade can choose to enter competitively or non-competitively. Registration forms are due by Friday, Dec. 20. For more information, visit and input the password science. The fair will be open to the public from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 1, and everyone is encouraged to come and see the many creative, well-researched projects on display!

District 58 alum part of USAF band that played flash mob at Smithsonian

Flash Mob: The U.S. Air Force Band at the Smithsonian
Flash Mob: The U.S. Air Force Band at the Smithsonian
A former District 58 student, Kristin King, is principal/first chair clarinet with the United States Air Force band, which recently played a "flash mob" holiday concert at the Smithsonian!  Click here or the thumbnail above to check out the video on the USAF YouTube channel. King is the clarinetist on the left beginning at about 1:14.
Around the District


Singer-songwriter performs, writes music with Indian Trail students thanks to Target grant, PTA


Indian Trail students were treated to a visit Dec. 11 from singer-songwriter Thaddeus Rex, who not only performed during an all-school assembly, but also co-wrote songs with students during two writers' workshops following the assembly. He shared with students how concepts like similes, metaphors and alliteration are used when crafting song lyrics; brainstormed potential topics with the students; asked them to vote on their top choice; then led them through the songwriting process. The finished pieces, "Boom Oww Kapow" and "But I'm Plain," have been posted to Rex's blog,! Rex's visit to Indian Trail was funded by a $2,000 Target grant obtained by LRC teacher Taffy Sanger, as well as a $500 donation from the school's PTA.

O'Neill students 'sequence' PB&J

How, exactly, does one make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? What are the steps involved? Students in Elizabeth Bartosiewicz's English Language Learners class at can tell you!

The class has been working on exploratory writing, and as the introductory activity for their sequencing unit, the students were asked to write out directions on how to make a PB&J.


Puffer students participate in Hour of Code


More than 100 kindergarten through sixth grade students at Henry Puffer School spent an hour after school December 17 learning to code! The school hosted the event as part of the national Hour of Code. A Puffer alum who is a student at Downers Grove North sent Principal Todd McDaniel an e-mail about a coding class in which he currently is enrolled. He spoke of his interest in coding and the fact that one of his classmates talked about a coding class he had experienced during his elementary/middle school years. His e-mail ended by encouraging McDaniel to look into the possibility of offering coding to current Puffer students. At about the same time, a parent forwarded McDaniel information from the Illinois PTA regarding Computer Science Education Week Dec. 9-15, of which the Hour of Code is a part. McDaniel registered Puffer to be a part of the Hour of Code, which promotes the goal that 10 million students be exposed to one hour of coding experience. As time allowed, teachers in several grades at Puffer provided some coding experience, and the Hour of Code Dec. 17 was intended to enhance those in-school efforts. 


"Computer literacy is an area that is more crucial today and into the future. Exposing children to the language of computer science will allow doors and opportunities to open, and I'd like to thank that former student and current parent for providing a nudge," McDaniel said.


Hillcrest Green Team hosts ornament exchange


Holiday ornaments recently got a new lease on life at Hillcrest, when the Green Team sponsored the school's first-ever ornament exchange.

The week of December 9, students were invited to bring in unwanted or unused holiday ornaments and hang them on the holiday tree in the Hillcrest lobby. Then, on December 16, students could choose ornaments to take home.

Members of the Green Team visited each classroom to explain the idea of the ornament exchange.

El Sierra families enjoy Breakfast with Santa


El Sierra families had a wonderful time December 14 at the school's annual Breakfast with Santa. Students shopped for gifts for friends and family members, met Santa, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast that included sausages donated by Egg Harbor and pancakes cooked by Papa Passero's. Families also participated in a cakewalk and raffle and created fun crafts.   


Grove Preschool to host open house for current and prospective families  


District 58's Grove Children's Preschool program will host a Winter Open House for all current and prospective families from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 15.  Current families will have the opportunity to celebrate their child's work, and all prospective families are invited to attend to learn more about the program and visit with staff.


Grove Children's Preschool class sessions take place at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave., and at Indian Trail School, 6235 Stonewall Ave. Prospective families are welcome to attend the open house at either location. However, please note that while Grove Preschool makes every attempt to consider parent requests for location and session times, student assignments within the program are determined by staff at the time of enrollment.  


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.


Grove Children's Preschool is a blended early childhood program. The program serves students from three different student populations: tuition paying, students with identified disabilities, and students who have qualified for the district Preschool For All program as the result of being found to be at-risk for potential future academic difficulties through the district preschool screening process.


For more information on Grove Children's Preschool, visit, or call (630) 968-0454.   

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. Not only do these 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:

Belle Aire students serve as guest ringers for Salvation Army

Belle Aire sixth grade students and their families were guest Salvation Army bell ringers outside Fry's Electronics December 14! The activity was organized by the Dennison family, and was sparked by the class reading a story about people donating their time to ring a bell and collect money.

"We had a good time discussing the story and making some connections. Kim Dennison, one of my many awesome parents, was motivated to call the Salvation Army to see if it was possible to have a group come and volunteer time to ring for the Salvation Army one Saturday.  They said yes and this parent sent out a signup sheet. It filled up quickly with other families from our class," said Belle Aire sixth-grade teacher Tricia Miller.

A total of 10 families participated, each covering a half-hour shift, and they had a wonderful time while making a difference.

"The kids have already asked about getting together next year to participate again!" Miller said.

O'Neill collects for Santa Good Cause

O'Neill Middle School students raised nearly $500 for Santa Good Cause this month.

"During a time when we have so many great groups engaging in community service and raising funds for worthy causes, it is very heartwarming to see O'Neill go the extra mile," said social worker Charlie Caton. "It is wonderful to see so many of our students and staff helping to make this holiday season a little bit brighter for families in the community!" 


El Sierra fifth grade students pack meals at Feed My Starving Children
The fifth grade students at El Sierra recently had a blast while making a difference at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. 

They arrived on a snowy December morning along with a crew of parent volunteers and were greeted with an orientation video showcasing the children from around the world who benefit from the meals from FMSC. Then, it was off to the production room! 

Students were given instructions detailing the different parts of the assembly line and then were told to choose a station. Each station was named after a country such as Haiti and Ghana. Students made up a cheer for their station, which they got to yell as soon as they filled a box completely. Holiday music blasted through the speakers which got the students dancing and singing along. 

After 90 minutes of packing and cleanup, the students went back to the orientation room to learn about the effect of their packing. In all, the group packed 102 boxes, which translates to 22,032 meals.  This means 61 children will eat for an entire year because of the work of the El Sierra fifth graders.  The students felt so proud of their accomplishment, and some wiped away tears as they saw the final video of people from around the world thanking them for their help.

Lester collects warm clothing, toys, food items


The Lester School student council has been collecting new hats, scarves, mittens and gloves. Items have been decorating the tree by the office during the week of December 9, and will be donated to the People's Resource Center. On December 13, the school hosted its Winter Wiggle, during which the student council collected new, unwrapped toys to be donated to the Caring Connection of Downers Grove and cans/boxes of food to be donated to the People's Resource Center.


Belle Aire Penny Harvest raises nearly $500


Thanks to families' generosity, the Belle Aire student council collected a total of $461.81 during their Penny Harvest at the end of November.  $100 will go to a local family in need, and $361.81 will go to a Downers Grove branch of PADS to feed and care for the homeless this winter.
Board Briefs

Highlights from the December 9 meeting of the District 58 Board of Education
  • Pierce Downer student council officers led the Board and audience in the flag salute, and reported on the organization's activities. PTA co-president Melissa Nuttall also reported on the PTA's activities. 
  • Superintendent Kari Cremascoli reported that the District's band, orchestra and choir students have been hard at work rehearsing and performing in concerts. Additionally, artists from every school participated in this year's Reflections arts recognition program, and pieces by more than 50 students were selected to advance to the regional level. She also reported that students are busy preparing for the Science Fair Feb. 1 and the Reading Games March 15. Cremascoli also shared that the budget process for 2014-15 is well underway, and administrative staff has met to talk about cost reduction opportunities that would have as little impact as possible on programs and services to students.  
  • The Board formally recognized students who were selected by audition to participate in the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA) Music Festival.
  • The Board approved for first reading Policy #5153 regarding bus transportation, and placed it on the January board agenda for final approval. The revisions would provide flexibility for the Board to charge a fee for bus transportation, but would not require the Board to do so. 
  • The Board approved the District's 2013 tax levy, and accepted the fiscal year 2012-13 audit report as prepared by Miller Cooper & Co. Ltd.
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 Junior Sabres 3-on-3 cross ice hockey, 2013 Learn to Skate and Play Hockey  


Downers Grove North Athena Dance Clinic -- event February 8 


Downers Grove North boys baseball skills camp -- event January 18  


Downers Grove South Holiday Baseball Camp -- Jan. 2-3 



  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. 

Find District 58 on social media


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Follow #dg58learns on Twitter to come along with us on our journey of learning!  
Save the date for the Family Fitness Fair!
Save the date...District 58 will be hosting a Family Fitness Fair on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at O'Neill Middle School! The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., with a variety of fun activities and sessions for families to try. Stay tuned for more details after winter break!
Upcoming events
December 19
Herrick Middle School orchestra Festive String Shindig, 7 p.m., Herrick

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

December 23 through January 3

Winter break

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

Fighting the flu


Flu season is upon us. Let's keep our schools healthy! The flu is a serious illness. On average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of complications from the flu. Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease.


What YOU can do:


The single best way to protect against seasonal flu and its potential severe complications is for children (and adults) to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccination is recommended for children aged 6 months and older.  


Making healthy choices at school and at home can help prevent the flu and spreading the flu to others. Children, parents, and staff should take the following everyday preventive actions:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or
    sneeze. Throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

To find a flu clinic near you, go to


Click here to view a flu prevention flyer from the DuPage County Health Department.