Communicate 58
Latest news from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 6 Issue 8
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
Vote daily to help O'Neill win up to $60,000 in Follett Challenge
Prizes would benefit all District 58 schools! 
This screenshot shows O'Neill's video entry for the Follett Challenge. Click through to view the video and vote for it! The video depicts O'Neill's Conquest of the Realm program, which used innovation and creativity to encourage students to read, write and discuss books.

Help O'Neill Middle School win up to $60,000 in academic goods and services that would benefit all of Downers Grove Grade School District 58! 


How? Vote for O'Neill's "Conquest of the Realm" video in the Follett Challenge once per day through Friday, Jan. 30 online at 


The Follett Challenge is a national education contest that awards 14 prizes to the most innovative schools in America. The first prize school will receive $60,000, and three semi-finalists will win $30,000. The challenge will also award 10 People's Choice 

winners with $8,000. The People's Choice awards will be based solely on how many public votes applicants receive for their videos. In addition, 20 percent of the grand prize and semi-finalist prizes will be based on viewer votes.


"If we were to win any of the prizes, we could purchase a lot of books and e-books that can be shared across District 58," said Tasha Squires, O'Neill school librarian and Conquest of the Realm organizer. "With our new cataloging system, a win for O'Neill is a WIN for District 58 since all the materials are shared!"


O'Neill submitted a video to the Follett Challenge that highlights its innovative Conquest of the Realm library program. Conquest of the Realm used creative games and competitions to motivate 80 percent of the student body to voluntarily read more books, write book reviews, create book trailers and more! Previous voluntary library programs only netted a 17 percent participation rate. The program took place throughout the 2013-14 school year and into the summer. Fall 2014 MAP scores showed that O'Neill students made significant academic gains and avoided summer academic regression, which was likely helped by the Conquest of the Realm program.


Thanks to the Conquest of the Realm program, students produced 217 catalog reviews, 63 character stories, 42 blog entries, 34 book trailers and 30 original stories.


The People's Choice winners and semi-finalists will be selected Feb. 13. The grand prize winner will be announced April 30. The judges will look for applications that illustrate critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration among students, teachers and school staff.


This challenge is sponsored by Follett, a global education solutions leader. Learn more about the Follett Challenge at 

Check your email for upcoming surveys!
District interested in parent opinions on full-day kindergarten, 
District will also soon open annual parent, student and staff surveys


Full day kindergarten

Over the past months, District 58 administrators have investigated the feasibility of full-day kindergarten in District 58. At this point, they seek public opinion and will release a public survey regarding full-day kindergarten on Friday, Jan. 23. The survey will be emailed to prospective kindergarten families and posted on for the general public to complete.


5Essentials, school environment surveys for parents, students and staff

To ensure District 58 offers a nurturing, supportive and child-centered learning environment, the District annually administers school environment surveys for all parents and students in third through fifth grades. In addition, District staff and sixth through eighth grade students participate in the Illinois 5Essentials Survey, as put forth by the Illinois State Board of Education. 5Essentials survey results will be released in October 2015 as part of the 2015 Illinois State Report Card for your child's school.


This year, District 58 will administer these surveys from Feb. 2-13.


Parents will receive a letter and email with more information about these surveys next week. Students and staff will take the surveys at school. A web link to the parent survey will be emailed to all parents. To request a paper copy, please contact your school's principal.


Survey results help principals and teachers improve their schools to better serve our students and community.The survey should take no more than a few minutes of your time and all responses are anonymous. 


To view more information on District 58's surveys, please visit 

District hosts Erin's Law presentation 
Learn about the District's sexual abuse prevention curriculum at parent info night on Jan. 27

Photo from
Erin's Law is named after childhood sexual assault survivor, author, speaker and activist Erin Merryn. Erin's Law requires schools to offer sex abuse prevention education.
District 58 invites parents to an Erin's Law parent curriculum night on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 6-7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.

Parents will learn more about Erin's Law and the District's sexual abuse prevention curriculum. Jessica Stewart, assistant superintendent for special services, will lead the conversation. She will be joined by principals, social workers and counselors to answer any questions parents may have.


The District implemented a sexual abuse prevention curriculum in fall 2013 after Gov. Quinn signed Public Act 097-1147, also called Erin's Law. This mandate requires all schools to provide sexual abuse prevention education and to train teachers on sexual abuse warning signs.


The District provides age-appropriate lessons to equip students with knowledge and skills to protect themselves. Erin's Law curriculum teaches students body awareness and self-advocacy, as well as skills to recognize good and bad touches and how to tell a trusted adult when something seems wrong.


Please note, this meeting is for parents only.


Parents may request a Spanish translator to attend this meeting by calling their building principal or the District office at 630-719-2768 by Friday, Jan. 23. Any person with a disability who desires reasonable accommodation to attend this meeting may contact Jessica Stewart at 630-719-5824.


For more information on Erin's Law, please visit

Get your tickets for the Harlem Wizards!
Popular, fun-filled game takes place Feb. 15 at DGS
Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli high-fives a fellow teammate during the 2013 Harlem Wizards basketball game.
District 58 is off to see the Wizard! The family-favorite Harlem Wizards vs. District 58 basketball game will take place Sunday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at Downers Grove South High School.


District 58's team will include a fantastic lineup, comprising about 30 students, principals, teachers and popular community members, including Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli! Even the referees will be familiar - Rep. Ron Sandack will be one of them!


The talented Harlem Wizards play basketball games worldwide. The players provide a fantastic basketball performance, which includes elite athleticism, impressive slam dunks, fancy tricks and top-notch comedy - all while playing members of the District 58 community.


General admission tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door (if the game is not sold out). Proceeds will support the Downers Grove District 58 Education Foundation. Please buy your tickets in advance - the game sold out last time! Tickets may be purchased at the Community Bank of Downers Grove, 1111 Warren Ave. 


Souvenirs will be available for purchase. Students who purchase a Wiz Kid jersey before the game will be invited to warm up with the Wizards and take a special photo with the players. The Wizards will also sign autographs for free after the game.


The Downers Grove District 58 Education Foundation coordinates the Harlem Wizards game. Learn more about the Harlem Wizards at Learn more about the Education Foundation at 

Grove Children's Preschool invites parents to open houses Jan. 26, Feb. 2
Grove preschool students explore at their recent field trip to Green Earth Institute.

Parents of toddlers and young children - are you considering enrolling your child in preschool next school year? Current District 58 preschool parents - want to learn more about what your child does in school? 


The Grove Children's Preschool program will host two open houses  on Monday, Jan. 26 from 6-7 p.m. at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave. and on Monday, Feb. 2 from 6-7 p.m. at Indian Trail School, 6235 Stonewall Ave. 


Current families will have the opportunity to celebrate their child's work, and all prospective families may learn more about the program and visit with staff.


To learn more about Grove Children's Preschool, visit or call 630-968-0454. 

Learn tips to help your child with time management, organization on Feb. 2

Do you struggle to get your children to take ownership of their homework? Need help getting the kids to manage their activity schedule?


The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 invites parents to a special parent education presentation that addresses these issues and more. "A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Child Develop Critical Executive Function Skills for Success in School and in Life" will take place on Monday, Feb. 2 from 7-8 p.m. at the Herrick Middle School cafeteria, 4435 Middaugh Ave.


This free event will feature highly regarded guest speaker Lisa Marsicano, an executive function skills specialist and coach. Marsicano owns Solutions for Student Success, LLC, in Downers Grove and serves students, families and schools across the country. She produces her own line of student planners and wrote "A Manual for Student Success: Practical Strategies for How to REALLY Do Better in School." She recently created an innovative online coaching tool that offers customized support for students.


The event will start with a presentation followed by a question and answer session. It will focus on the following:

  • executive functions and how they affect student performance
  • support options in the areas of organization, time management, and social-emotional and stress management
  • supporting students at different ages, including the support roles that students, parents, teachers, schools and others play
  • common pitfalls/obstacles in supporting students
  • technology use and suggestions for integrating technology into executive function skills development
  • concrete strategies and suggestions for all topics discussed 

While the event is free, there is a 300-person capacity and registration is required. Visit to register.


For more information on the Education Foundation, please visit

School spotlight
Pierce Downer sixth graders share world holiday traditions with students 


Students at Pierce Downer enjoyed sharing fun facts about international holiday traditions with the younger students at their school last month.


Sixth graders recently finished a world holiday tradition research project. Students studied a wide variety of countries, such as Greece, Finland, China and Canada. They showed off their knowledge during a school-wide presentation on Dec. 19. Students created PowerPoints and games that helped younger Pierce Downer students learn more about their country's holiday traditions. They even brought in food native to each country to share!


View the photo gallery here!
58 Doing Good
Belle Aire donates 1,118 food items to local food pantries


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead


This powerful quote has rung especially true for Belle Aire third grade teacher Tara Fulton this holiday season. After teaching her students about world hunger, third and fourth graders decided they wanted to help fight hunger on a local level. 


With the help of Mrs. Fulton and other teachers, they organized a food drive. Thanks to their efforts, they donated 1,118 food items, weighing more than 1,000 pounds!


Belle Aire students celebrate their donation of 1,118 food items to charity!


"Our students were inspired by Robby Novak, aka 'Kid President,' to do something 'to make the world awesome.' We brainstormed ideas on how we can give back to others and found that we would like to help feed the hungry," Fulton said.


Large vans from three local organizations - FISH Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes and West Suburban Community Pantry - arrived at Belle Aire on Thursday, Dec. 18, and students and teachers made several trips to fill the vans up.


The food drive received generous support from Caputo's, Trader Joe's, Shop & Save, Ultra, Target, Kramer's, Whole Foods and the Lemon Tree Grocer.

Indian Trail students volunteer at Feed My Starving Children



Indian Trail's second and fourth grade Girl Scout Troops, a few siblings and parents recently volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. 


"This has become an annual event for many of them," said parent Michelle Frauendorff. "They worked together to pack dry food packs to send to third world countries." 


Thank you for your service, Indian Trail!

Pierce Downer donates 3,022 books, hosts holiday auction

Pierce Downer held a competition to see which class could donate the most books to the Bernie Book Bank. Together, they donated 3,022 books, beating their goal of 2,000 books!! Mrs. Breault's third grade class won the competition, donating 633 books. Nice work, Pierce Downer! 

A Pierce Downer fifth grader shows off holiday presents he purchased via the charity auction. He scored some great gifts for a low cost!
Isn't it great when you have a WIN-WIN-WIN situation? That's exactly what happened at Pierce Downer's fifth grade charity auction Friday, Dec. 19! 

Students brought in gently used items they no longer use (it's a great way to declutter!). During the auction, they bid on items brought in by other students. These items make great inexpensive gifts for family and friends! All the money raised was donated to a charity chosen by each fifth grade class. 

"It has been a fantastic, fun-filled activity that we have held for over 10 years," said fifth grade teacher Sue Murphy. "The kids love it and everyone leaves with arms full of items and smiles on their faces."
Board news
The Board of Education held a regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 12 at the Longfellow Center. Topics discussed include:  
  • Flag salute and presentation by the Hillcrest Student Council and PTA
  • Education Foundation grant program presentation
  • Overview of the District's facility needs, improvements and planning
  • Strategic Goals Action Plan 2014-15 mid-year update
  • Superintendent's report
  • Business report
  • Committee reports 
  • Village of Downers Grove presentation regarding potential shared facilities plan
  • Full-day kindergarten exploration update
  • And more!

The next Board of Education meeting will be Monday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.
Community e-flyers
E-flyer logo

New community e-flyers were posted on the District 58 e-flyer page. Click here to visit the page or check out the e-flyers below.















  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
Vote daily to help O'Neill win up to $60,000 in Follett Challenge.
Check your email for upcoming surveys!
District hosts Erin's Law presentation.
Get your tickets for the Harlem Wizards!
Grove Children's Preschool invites parents to open houses Jan. 26, Feb. 2
Learn tips to help your child with time management, organization on Feb. 2
Pierce Downer sixth graders share world holiday traditions with students
Belle Aire donates 1,118 food items to local food pantries.
Indian Trail students volunteer at Feed My Starving Children
Pierce Downer donates 3,022 books, hosts holiday auction.
Board news
Community e-flyers
District 58 on social media

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In the next Communicate 58:
District 58 honors December/January Green Apple winners

Looking ahead

Friday, Jan. 23
End of second quarter
5-7 p.m.
Science Fair project setup at O'Neill Middle School

Saturday, Jan.24
8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Science Fair at O'Neill Middle School

Monday, Jan. 26
6-7 p.m.
Preschool open house at Henry Puffer School

Tuesday, Jan. 27
6-7 p.m. 
Erin's Law parent information night at Longfellow Center

Monday, Feb. 2
6-7 p.m.
Preschool open house at Indian Trail School
7-8 p.m.
Education Foundation parent education night: "A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Child Develop Critical Executive Function Skills for Success in School and in Life" at Herrick Middle School

Wednesday, Feb. 4
Half day of school for students; 11:40 a.m. dismissal

View the entire 2014-2015 calendar.

Quick Links
DuPage County requests input

To prepare for future extreme weather events, DuPage County is creating a resiliency plan for its East Branch Watershed. This watershed encompasses central DuPage, extending from Addison into Will County.


DuPage County requests community input on flooding and quality of life. 

If you are able, please complete a  brief survey here by Friday, Jan. 23.