Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 5, Issue 10
January 23, 2014

Two new administrators appointed to District 58 team

Two new administrators will be joining the District 58 team, both with a demonstrated commitment to putting students first. 

On January 13, the District 58 Board of Education approved the appointments of James Eichmiller (left) as Director of Innovative Technology and Learning, and Jessica Stewart (right) as Assistant Superintendent for Special Services. Mr. Eichmiller will begin in his role April 7, taking over for former Director of Technology Scott Meech. Ms. Stewart will replace Terrence Martin, who is retiring after 10 years in District 58, and she will begin in her role July 1.


"Mr. Eichmiller and Ms. Stewart are truly outstanding individuals with extensive knowledge and experience, a collaborative approach, and a demonstrated commitment to putting students first. I am confident that they will be wonderful additions to the District 58 team," said District 58 Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli. 


Click here to learn more about Mr. Eichmiller and Ms. Stewart!  

Education Foundation sponsoring digital citizenship parent night Feb. 13


Education Foundation logo The District 58 Education Foundation is pleased to present a parent education night entitled "Digital Citizenship: How to Create a Positive Digital Culture for 6th- 8th Grade Students" on Thursday, February 13 from 7-8 p.m. at Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh Ave. The event is open to all interested District 58 parents.  


While technology continues to evolve, the need to instill and reinforce the concepts of digital citizenship remain constant. This session will emphasize the need for creating a positive digital culture within your household and community, while highlighting current trends and digital platforms.  


Melissa Hemzacek, MSW, an internet safety specialist from the Illinois Attorney General's Office - High Tech Crimes Bureau, will discuss, among other things: 

  • Digital citizenship
  • Self-representation
  • Cyberbullying
  • Online predation

The workshop will also highlight available resources that will assist parents in facilitating conversations with their children about digital safety.  

Capacity is limited to 300 people.    


Click here to register for this free event.  

For information and resources on Internet safety, visit

District 58 to host kindergarten roundups for incoming parents

young-boy-reading.jpg Parents of incoming District 58 kindergartners will have the opportunity to visit their school, meet the principal and staff, and get their questions answered during the upcoming annual Kindergarten Roundups. Parents whose children will be five years old on or before September 1, 2014, are encouraged to call their neighborhood elementary school prior to the kindergarten roundup for information about registration.
Online registration is coming!

District 58 families will have the option to register their children online for the 2014-15 school year. Details will be sent to families later this winter. At least for the coming school year, families still will have the option to complete their registration offline if they prefer.

Board Briefs

Highlights from the January 13 meeting of the District 58 Board of Education
  • Representatives from the Herrick Middle School student council led the flag salute and reported on the organization's activities.
  • Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli provided an update on the recent weather-related school closings and a projected change to the District calendar. She reported that the District's buildings fared very well in the harsh weather, and she thanked the community and the Board for continuing to support the facility upgrades as well as the custodial and maintenance crews for their hard work maintaining District facilities. She provided an overview of the presentations that staff will be sharing with the Board over the next few months.  
    • February: Facilities planning update, 2014-15 fee recommendation, overview of 1:1 pilot program survey results 
    • March: ELL/bilingual committee program evaluation and recommendations
    • April: 1:1 pilot program evaluation and recommendations for 2014-15
    • May: Kindergarten program analysis, plans for implementation of Next Generation Science Standards, possible update from Gifted Committee 
  • The Board approved Policy #5153 regarding bus transportation. The revisions provide flexibility for the Board to establish a fee schedule for bus transportation, but does not require the Board to do so.    
  • Financial Advisory Committee Chair John Cooper reported that the District has again received the Financial Recognition designation from the Illinois State Board of Education.
Reminder: Students Involved with Technology conference registration closes Jan. 24 


District 58 students are encouraged to register to participate in the 2014 Students Involved with 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 a student 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 event flyer. 

Educators collaborate, share ideas at Playdate 58: A Literacy Blizzard

Approximately 150 educators from District 58 and all over Illinois collaborated, shared ideas and learned from one another during District 58's Literacy Blizzard Jan. 18 at O'Neill Middle School. The event was sponsored by the District 58 Education Foundation.

PLAYDATE stands for People Learning and Asking Y: Digital Age Teacher Exploration. It was conceived by three educators in Chicago as a new type of professional development, in which educators come together to create and learn through collaboration and sharing of ideas. Participation is completely voluntary, and sessions are facilitated, rather than taught. Literacy Blizzard was District 58's second PLAYDATE; the first, hosted last July, was extremely well-received. 

Participants could choose from among approximately 40 sessions Jan. 18, including Twitteracy and Literacy Through Social Media, Digital Content Creation for Students and Augmented Reality. For more information about Playdate 58, visit

Participants took to Twitter to share their thoughts:

"Learned a ton and had a blast!" 
"#playdate58 was awesome! Thanks to the presenters and organizers! You guys rock!" 
"What a great way to energize my teaching. I am so excited to be here." 

Around the District

Downers Grove Children's Choirs renamed by students

The three Downers Grove Children's Choir ensembles -- previously known as Levels 1, 2 and 3 -- have catchy new names, thanks to some very creative students! The DGCC hosted a "name the choir" contest in the fall. From the suggestions shared through the Google Form, members voted on the names they liked most. The three winners were recognized at the Winter Concert Jan. 15 at O'Neill, and each received an iTunes gift card. 

The new choir names and their submitters are as follows:
  • The Mini-Melodies Chorus (formerly Level 1, beginning 4th grade choir), submitted by Amelia Chavez, Whittier sixth grade 
  • The Second Measure Chorus (formerly Level 2, 5th-6th grade), submitted by Diana Kwak, Fairmount fifth grade
  • The Final Forte Choir (formerly Level 3, 6th grade/second and third year members), submitted by Grace Osterman, Whittier sixth grade
El Sierra participates in Jingle Jeans fundraiser, letter-writing campaign for Make-a-Wish project  

El Sierra staff enjoyed raising money for a good cause last month. Teachers were invited to participate in Jingle Jeans, where during most of December they could wear jeans for $1 a day. Staff raised $260 for the tornado victims of Washington, Ill. The donation was made through the McCormick Foundation, whose 50 percent matching grant resulted in $390 being donated by El Sierra. 


In addition, El Sierra K-6 students took part in the Macy's Make-a-Wish project again this year, writing a total of 292 letters that were dropped off at Macy's.  Each letter translated to $1 donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation by Macy's. What a difference the students made!

Herrick students perform readers theater version of 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

Last month, students in Megan Winthrop's language arts/reading class at Herrick Middle School were transformed into the various characters of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," when the class staged an abridged readers theater production of the play. Winthrop said the activity is designed to provide a fun introduction to the time period in which the play was written, and prepare the students to encounter Shakespeare in high school. Students who wanted to participate chose their role out of a hat. 


Hillcrest students create 'dream team', hear from statisticians

As an extension project, two fifth-graders in Jo Fiene's class at Hillcrest School recently analyzed basketball stats in the NBA and in the NCAA and created a "dream team."  

"We then tweeted out to sports statisticians for feedback and have actually heard from two people -- one of whom works for ESPN!" said instructional coach Kristen Olsen, who worked with them on the project. 

Puffer third-graders take to Twitter to ask questions of 'Abraham Lincoln'

Students in Andrew Kupisch's third grade class at Henry Puffer School recently learned about Abraham Lincoln's life in a truly unique way: by "asking" him questions on Twitter and receiving real-time replies.  


Kupisch arranged to have his students "chat" several times over the course of about a week and a half with a Lincoln enthusiast and historian, who answered questions as Abraham Lincoln himself may well have done.


Herrick jazz band plays a set at DGN Jazz Cafe

Herrick jazz band students got the chance Jan. 10 to perform at Downers Grove North High School's Jazz Cafe, which gives jazz musicians an opportunity to play in a family-friendly "club" atmosphere. The North cafeteria is transformed for the evening into a jazz club complete with music, candlelit tables, refreshments and fun.

Each year the high school invites a professional jazz musician to sit in with their top group as a featured artist for the evening, and the bands from Herrick and from Jefferson Junior High are invited to "play a set" on the same bill with the high school students. All donations collected that evening are given to charity.  


"It's a great program for all lucky enough to perform or just attend and enjoy," said Herrick band director Jon Ball.  


Click here to check out more photos from the event!  


Fairmount second-graders build (and write about) tasty treats 
Students in Jennifer Wozney Susmarski's second-grade class at Fairmount School participated in a tasty writing activity last month. The students built and decorated gingerbread houses, then spent several days writing descriptive pieces about their creations, as well as procedural pieces about how they put their house together. The hardest part, according to the students? Waiting three days to eat them! 

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 Woman's Club new member social -- event January 28 


Downers Grove North Athena Dance Clinic -- event February 8  


Downers Grove Public Library bookmark contest flyer and entry form  



Fullersburg Woods maple syrup program -- event March 2 




  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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Save the date for the Family Fitness Fair!
Save the date...District 58 will be hosting a Family Fitness Fair on Thursday, March 6 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!
Upcoming events
January 28

Policy Committee meeting, 7 a.m., ASC

Herrick participating in Downers Grove North choral festival, 3:30 p.m.

February 1

District 58 Science Fair, 8:30 a.m., O'Neill Middle School

February 3

Preschool screening, AM only, Indian Trail School

February 5-6

Parent-Teacher Conferences -- evening only

February 8

North side band and orchestra solo day, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Herrick Middle School

February 10

Regular Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow

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