Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 6 Issue 1
Friday, Sept. 5, 2014
Welcome from Dr. Cremascoli

Dear Parents and Guardians of District 58,


Welcome to the 2014-15 school year!


As the school year gets started, we are very excited about the fantastic year of learning, growth and achievement that lies ahead of us in District 58. Our staffs, students and parents work hard to build and maintain high standards of excellence in our educational community, and we are honored to support and strengthen these efforts through innovative practices and a focus on engaging and challenging all students.


This year in District 58, we are particularly excited to welcome back our students and families.  Over the past two years, we have made significant advancements in our curriculum, technology and instructional practices.  In addition, we have completed a substantial amount of facility improvement projects in each of our schools helping to ensure that our schools are safe, nurturing and vibrant places to learn.  Our teachers and staffs continue in their unwavering commitment to making our schools places where interest is sparked and a love of learning is nurtured, where students feel safe and respected, and where collaboration, creativity and innovation are encouraged.


We hope that the 2014-15 school year is engaging, rewarding, successful and filled with all the joys of learning.  Thank you for your continued support of District 58 and your children's educational endeavors. 



Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D.


Downers Grove Grade School District 58

#dg58learns: Teachers share a unique glimpse into the classroom

District 58 kicked off another exciting school year on Monday, Aug. 25. 


"It has also been very rewarding to visit schools and classrooms this week and see the smooth, energized and inspiring start to the school year," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli. "With your support and enthusiasm, we are clearly off to a wonderful start to the 2014-15 school year."


Right away, teachers began sharing some of the many interesting and creative things they were teaching students on Twitter.


Use Twitter? Be sure to follow @DGDistrict58 and hashtag #dg58learns to observe some of the cool work students are doing in their classrooms.  


To view complete coverage of first week of school activities, visit our "Photos and stories from our schools" page.

Here's a sampling of some recent tweets teachers shared:
1. Ms. Meghan Beard, Lester third grade teacher
@3MeghanBeard Sept. 3: 3rd Graders Self Portraits and Goals for the Year! #dg58learns



2. Mr. Tim Frederickson, District-wide instructional coach

@tmfrederickson, Sept. 2: 2nd grade blogging @MrsRyder58 great learning #paperblogs #dg58learns


3. Ms. Jill Henry, Herrick seventh/eighth grade science
@HenSciTeachRAug. 29: Week 1 ended with a zipline challenge. Collaboration, cooperation, and engineering! #dg58learns


@PrincipalLynde, Sept. 3: @Miss Janowitz class is writing sentences & making illustrations. #dg58learns #elsierra58

Major summer renovations finish in time for new school year 

A new HVAC rooftop unit was installed at Belle Aire (pictured), El Sierra, Henry Puffer and Herrick schools this summer.
District 58 crews worked hard this summer to renovate many district schools, upgrading alarm systems, building playgrounds, replacing floor tiles and much more! These important renovations make the district an even safer and healthier environment to learn.


"We -- the maintenance and custodial folks -- live for the summer!" said Rick 

Bubula, director of buildings and grounds. "It's our chance to accomplish the major projects that greatly improve how our school buildings look and operate. Thanks to the school board and our residents for the resources to make these upgrades happen."

One-time capital projects funded this summer's facility renovations, which


Crews replaced old carpet/tiles with new flooring at Highland (pictured), Whittier and Herrick schools.
Crews installed new boilers/vents and hot water circulating pumps at Henry Puffer this summer.
  • New fire alarm systems at nine schools, and new kitchen fire doors at Herrick and O'Neill middle schools
  • New rooftop HVAC units at Belle Aire, El Sierra, Henry Puffer and Herrick schools
  • New boilers at Henry Puffer School
  • New gym ventilation unit, three new classroom unit heaters and tuckpointing of two masonry walls at Whittier School
  • Various summer work order repairs, including thorough cleaning of all buildings and classrooms, floor tile repair, cabinet, shelving and room partition work
  • Old carpet replaced with new floor tiles at Herrick, Highland and Whittier schools
  • Painting at Hillcrest, Indian Trail, Kingsley, Lester, O'Neill and Pierce Downer schools
  • Asphalt repair and replacement projects at El Sierra, Indian Trail, Whittier and Pierce Downer schools
  • Outdoor learning space at Herrick Middle School



District 58 has invested about $23 million over the last seven years to improve its buildings, including replacing roofs on all 15 district facilities, security upgrades, new flooring, HVAC and fire alarm upgrades. $15 million of these funds came from life safety bonds sold in 2010 and in 2013.


Is your child's Apple ID set up?

District 58 greeted the new school year with a large expansion of its 1:1 program. This year, 3,600 students will have their own iPad to use at school and home, and for work and play. 

District iPads come with a wide variety of educational apps and tools that enhance the entire learning experience. The iPads are filtered through the district content filter, no matter where they are located and no matter what network they connect to. To provide additional security, all students' emails and documents are scanned and monitored through a service provided by Gaggle.


To activate the iPads, parents must set up their child's Apple ID for Students Under 13. Although we wish we could simply set up this account for your child on his or her iPad, Apple does not currently permit this.


More than 85 percent of our eligible students already have Apple IDs. Thank you to all parents who have completed the setup process! If you have not set up an Apple ID, please follow the directions that James Eichmiller emailed you on July 21. Mr. Eichmiller is the district's director of innovative technology and learning, and can be reached at or 630-719-2768. If you have not received these emails or if you are experiencing any challenges in completing this process, you may also contact either Mr. Eichmiller or Matt Rich, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, at or 630-719-5867


District 58 is is very excited for the expansion of its iPad program and the innovative and creative collaboration it's already created. 

New faces at District 58

District 58 welcomed four new administrators and 37 new teachers for the 2014-15 school year.

"I'm fortunate to work with an incredibly dedicated group of teachers and administrators, and our new employees are no exception," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli. "I worked alongside our new staff during orientation, and I was very impressed with their expertise in education, as well as their passion for teaching. I'm confident they will all be great additions to the District 58 team."

Welcome new administrators and teachers!

New administrators:

  • Jessica Stewart, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services
  • Melissa Capizzi, Assistant Principal, Hillcrest/Pierce Downer
  • Amy Gray, Assistant Principal, Herrick
  • Megan Hewitt, Community Relations Coordinator

New teachers:

  • Kyle Winter, P.E., Whittier/Highland
  • Ted McGinness, P.E., Fairmount/El Sierra/Henry Puffer
  • Patrick Donnelly, P.E., Lester/Highland
  • Emily Anzelmo, Speech, Indian Trail/Highland
  • Karen Sims, Nurse, Indian Trail, Highland/Belle Aire
  • Josh Haushahn, Resource, Lester
  • Emma Bolam, Kindergarten, Pierce Downer
  • Julie Janowitz, First Grade, El Sierra
  • Maria Pulido, ELL, El Sierra, Hillcrest
  • Kelly Coleman, LRC, Whittier
  • Colleen Sullivan, Second Grade, Whittier
  • Louise Modine, Third Grade, Whittier
  • Jenna Carey, Fourth Grade, Whittier
  • Philip Szuck, Resource, Whittier
  • Paul Black, AEP, Kingsley
  • Anna Demlow, Primary DLP, Hillcrest
  • Lauren Moravecek, Second Grade, Hillcrest
  • Karen Grant, Kindergarten, Belle Aire
  • Carli Hochstetter, Social Worker, El Sierra
  • Julie Hummel, Social Worker, Belle Aire
  • Maria Ibarra Lorence, Bilingual, El Sierra
  • Jennifer Boatman, Gifted Language Arts and Social Studies, Herrick
  • Noelle Williams, Math, Herrick
  • Collin Konny, Social Studies/Science, Herrick
  • Lisa Groch, Social Studies, O'Neill
  • Kim Musial, First Grade, Belle Aire
  • Kendall Del Monico, Preschool, Henry Puffer
  • Katie Main, Third Grade, Kingsley
  • Janet Hecht, Music, O'Neill
  • Myles Moroney, Art, Lester
DG Roadrunners Soccer Club donates backpacks, supplies


The Downers Grove Roadrunners Soccer Club pulled up to the Administrative Service Center on Wednesday, Sept. 3 with a van full of backpacks, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, pencils, pens, crayons and much more to donate to about 30 district families in need!


Thank you very much for your generosity!



School spotlight
O'Neill seventh graders discover a cool way to beat the heat


O'Neill seventh graders make air conditioners
Dr. Van Dyke encouraged her 140 students to think like a scientist when they complained of the hot weather. Together, they created several homemade air conditioners. Watch how they did it in this 2-minute video!


The front board on Dr. Meg Van Dyke's seventh grade science classroom boldly displays her classroom's theme for the year: "Think Like a Scientist."


So when some of her students complained of the summer swelter - and O'Neill Middle School's lack of air conditioning - Dr. Van Dyke nodded toward her theme. Think like a scientist. What does this mean? How can we think scientifically to solve our problem?


Together, they used science to create homemade air conditioners.


"It can be like a pizza oven in this building when it's hot outside. The air conditioning project started from the necessity to make our classroom cooler," Dr. Van Dyke explained.


Dr. Van Dyke taught her 140 students how to study variables and collect data to successfully build their air conditioner.


How did they do it? Here are a few basic steps, or watch the video for more information. 

  1. Get a cooler you no longer need, and add a few frozen water bottles to it.
  2. Get a fan and pipe. Trace holes around each on the cooler's lid.
  3. Use a drill and jigsaw to cut out the two holes.
  4. Place the fan and pipe into the cooler.
  5. Turn on the fan, and enjoy the cold air!
The seventh grade students who demonstrated how to create an air conditioner in the video above pose for a picture. Nice job!
Renowned children's authors speak to Henry Puffer students


Authors Margaret Peterson Haddix and Lisa McMann get Henry Puffer fourth, fifth and sixth graders interested in reading.

Two prolific children's authors paid Henry Puffer School a visit on Thursday, Sept. 4. The 

school's fourth, fifth and sixth grade students listened to Margaret Peterson Haddix and Lisa McMann speak about their exciting books, as well as their writing inspirations. 


Peterson Haddix is most known for her Shadow Children series and her more recent The Missing series. The wildly popular Shadow Children comprises seven books and explores a world in which families are legally allowed only two children. 


"When I finished the Shadow Children series, everyone asked me what was next, and I had no idea! I had writer's block," Peterson Haddix told the kids. "I went on vacation with my family, and on the trip home, I fell asleep on the plane. When I awoke, I was very disoriented. I couldn't remember where I was, when it was, and, for a brief moment, I couldn't remember who I was." 


And that, she said, was what inspired her to write The Missing series.


"I was fascinated by my disoriented moment," she said. "Whenever something fascinates me, I ask, can I put this in a book?"


Peterson Haddix said that this idea evolved a little bit -- from waking up on a plane not knowing her identity, to children waking on a plane with no memory, to a mysterious plane appearing with no crew and no passengers -- with the exception of 36 babies. And this is the basis on which The Missing series began.


Two of those babies - Jonah and Chip - grow up and one day confront their past and, through several twists and turns, discover they can time travel. As the series continues, the two protagonists travel through time to visit the sites of many well-known mysteries, such as the Roanoke colony and the Henry Hudson mutiny.


Peterson Haddix just completed the seventh book in the series, "Revealed." She showed a black-and-white photo of a pilot to the students, and asked if anyone knew his name. 


"Charles, I think," a boy asked.


"Yes! Charles Lindbergh, you are right!" Peterson Haddix exclaimed. "I've asked this question to many schools, and this is the first time a student knew the answer!"


She added that "Revealed" will investigate the famous Lindbergh Baby kidnapping. 


Lisa McMann is the author of several young adult series, including the

Henry Puffer students eagerly answer Lisa McMann's question.

"Unwanteds." This series starts in a place in which creativity is banned. Anyone who believes or acts otherwise is considered "unwanted" and led away for execution. 


"Who here would be scared if this happened to you?" she asked, and hands flew up throughout the room. 


Except, McMann said, the unwanteds aren't executed, but instead secretly taken to a secret society in which creativity is treasured.


After their presentation, both authors signed books for the kids, many of whom had become instant fans of the two.

"I'm so impressed with the kids at Henry Puffer," Peterson Haddix said. "They are so engaged and knew a lot about history!"

Indian Trail begins school year with unique Penny Ceremony


Indian Trail Principal Robin Bruebach gives pennies to all students and staff during her annual Penny Ceremony on Aug. 26.

Indian Trail School celebrated the start of school with a unique event: the 11th Annual Penny Ceremony.


Principal Robin Bruebach distributed pennies to students and staff alike, and then showed students how they're all different.


"Everybody has a different penny. I want you to look at your penny for a second. And then I want you to look around and I want you to see if anybody looks exactly like you," she said. "We may look similar, but we are each different and special in our own way."


Ms. Bruebach then introduced this year's theme: the three R's: respect, responsibility and resilience.


Together the entire student body yelled, "I am respectful! I am responsible! I am resilient!" Loudest of all, they shouted, "We are IT!"


To conclude the ceremony, Ms. Bruebach asked students to reflect on the upcoming school year.


"Close your eyes, close your hands around your penny and silently make a wish for this school year," Ms. Bruebach said.


Ms. Bruebach has led the Penny Ceremony at Indian Trail for 11 years.


"Kids like it. Some keep their penny all year, some have all the ones they have ever received," she said.


Ms. Bruebach's favorite part of the ceremony?


"I like watching the kids make a wish," she said.

Board news
The Downers Grove School District 58 Board of Education reviewed the final 2014-15 budget during a special meeting and budget workshop Monday, Aug. 25.

District Controller James Popernik reported that the final 2014-15 budget is healthy and generally balanced. The budget includes an estimated $62.3 million in revenues and $64.3 million in expenditures. One-time capital projects generated by a life safety bonds sale account for the slight difference.
"The district is solid financially, but there will always be needs, so we must monitor our money and prioritize projects," Popernik said.
One-time capital projects funded this summer's facility renovations at several district schools. Work included new fire alarm systems, new kitchen fire doors, replacement rooftop HVAC units, boiler replacement, new gym ventilation units, new classroom unit heaters, tuckpointing, new floor tile, painting, asphalt repair, new playgrounds and more.


District 58 has invested approximately $23 million over the last seven years improving its facilities, including desperately needed new roofs on all 15 district facilities, security upgrades, new flooring, HVAC and fire alarm upgrades. $15 million of these funds came from life safety bonds sold in 2010 and in 2013.


Other facility needs throughout the district exist and will continue to be prioritized and addressed as funds become available to do so. Those priorities include ongoing maintenance projects in each building, science lab improvements at the district's middle schools and planning for a long-term solution to the district's central office facility needs.


"District 58 has maintained and even expanded staff and services while maintaining a balanced budget during challenging economic times," Popernik said. "We will continue to serve as good stewards of taxpayers' money while delivering excellent services in the best interest of our community.

The next regular Board of Education meeting is Monday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.

Community e-flyers
E-flyer logo
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 Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt at or 630-719-5805. 
In this issue
Welcome from Dr. Cremascoli
#dg58learns: Teachers share a unique glimpse into the classroom
Major summer renovations finish in time for new school year
Is your child's Apple ID set up?
New faces at District 58
DG Roadrunners Soccer Club donates backpacks, supplies
Renowned children's authors speak to Henry Puffer fourth to sixth graders
Board news
Community e-flyers
District 58 on social media

Like us on Facebook Follow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube

Follow #dg58learns on Twitter to come along with us on our journey of learning!


Looking ahead

Monday, Sept 8

Regular Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Longfellow

Thursday, Sept. 18

School Improvement Day - Half day attendance for students

Monday, Sept. 22

Building Tours at Henry Puffer and Herrick, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Policy Committee Meeting, 7 a.m., Administrative Service Center

View the entire 2014-2015 calendar.

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