Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 6 Issue 13
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Heads up: Online registration for next school year opens April 15


District 58 will open its Infosnap online registration tool for the 2015-16 school year on Wednesday, April 15. This helpful online system lets families securely submit their children's registration information and pay any applicable fees online.


All District 58 families will receive a general email with basic Infosnap registration information on Friday, April 10. Review this email to prepare for online registration.


In addition, returning District 58 families will receive a personalized message with individualized instructions on how to access the system on Wednesday, April 15. This email will include your child's "snap code," which serves as a password to enter your child's registration account.


Please note: only returning families may register online this year. New District 58 families must visit their child's school in person to complete registration. 

Celebrate 58: Tasha Squires named Teacher of the Year!

DGEEA President Marla Gilbert (left) and DGEEA Teacher of the Year Chairwoman Janice Conboy (right) congratulate 2015 Teacher of the Year Tasha Squires (center).


The Downers Grove Elementary Education Association, or DGEEA, selected O'Neill LRC Director Tasha Squires as the 2015 District 58 Teacher of the Year. Congratulations! 


Squires served as the mastermind behind last year's inaugural "Conquest of the Realm." This innovative program used creative games and contests to motivate 80 percent of O'Neill students to voluntarily read more books. This school year, Squires entered "Conquest of the Realm" into the national Follett Challenge competition, where it won $30,000 in academic goods and services for District 58.


This year's Teacher of the Year nominees include Christine LaPointe, Hillcrest; Gloria Tatar, O'Neill/Fairmount; Tiana Kurko, Indian Trail; Kristin Cantrell, Pierce Downer; Jennifer Woods, Henry Puffer; Taffy Sanger, Indian Trail; Maura Vivona, El Sierra; and Jennifer Rodriguez, Fairmount.


Squires and the nominees will be honored at the annual Celebrate 58 teachers' banquet on May 1. 

Meet four kid-favorite authors at book signing event April 17


Children's author Barb Rosenstock speaks at the 2014 Author Fest.

District 58 invites the community to a book signing and photo opportunity with four prominent children's authors and illustrators: Blue Balliett, Laura Huliska-Beith, Barb Rosenstock and Tom Watson. The event will take place Friday, April 17 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St. Books will go on sale at 6:30 p.m., and the book signing starts at 7 p.m.


Friday's book signing will conclude the District 58 Author Fest celebration. The annual PTA-sponsored Author Fest event alternates each year between north side and south side schools. This year, El Sierra, Fairmount, Indian Trail, Kingsley and Whittier will host the event from April 15-17. The authors will visit these schools and talk about how they became writers and/or illustrators, discuss their craft, answer students' questions about writing and/or illustrating, and share insights about careers in literature.


Learn more about Author Fest and the visiting authors.

Annual Fit Fair offers families fun ways to get healthy and eat well


District 58 students attempt the Balance Challenge during the Fit Fair.

Hundreds of District 58 families enjoyed fun ways to live a healthier lifestyle at the annual Fit Fair at O'Neill Middle School on March 26. 


O'Neill's gymnasium and cafetorium were packed with bowling and DDR demonstrations, obstacle courses, dance classes, hula hoopers and family lacrosse games. Meanwhile, local health-oriented organizations filled the hallways, sharing information about nutritious food, healthy lifestyles and exercise. 


Pierce Downer School won this year's Fit Fair banner, a coveted prize annually awarded to the school with the highest Fit Fair turnout. Congrats!


The Fit Fair is coordinated by PE Teacher Mary French, with assistance from other District 58 PE teachers.


View more photos of the fun here!

58 Doing Good
Belle Aire requests your help to bring Water to South Sudan
The Water Project
Belle Aire sixth graders implore the District 58 community to participate in the Water Challenge. Learn more about their message with this video!


Did you know that a $23 donation can provide clean, safe drinking water for one Sudanese person for life? 


That's just one message that Belle Aire School sixth graders and Hillcrest fifth graders hope to share with the community during their springtime fundraisers to support the non-profit Water for South Sudan.


Belle Aire sixth graders will host a Water Challenge from April 13-24. During this time, they encourage the community to drink nothing but water (and milk) and donate any money saved to Water for South Sudan. 


"The average person spends around $1-$4 per day on everything from coffee to soda and juice," said Annika and Paige, Belle Aire sixth graders. "The money that is saved would be donated to Water for South Sudan. It would be greatly appreciated by the people without clean water all over the world."


Patricia Miller, Belle Aire sixth grade teacher, leads the Water Challenge. She said she's impressed by her students' initiative.


"From emails to data spreadsheets, videos to class presentations - they have done it all with our supervisory guidance only," Miller said. "They are so excited to see what they can achieve and as a teacher I couldn't ask for anything more!"


Learn more information about the Belle Aire Water Project at donations to the Belle Aire Water Challenge to Belle Aire School, c/o Patricia Miller, 3935 Belle Aire Lane, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Thank you for your generosity! 


Learn more about how Hillcrest is supporting Water for South Sudan in the last issue of Communicate 58 or on the District 58 website .

Lester wears yellow to support
5-year-old British boy Seth
Lester students #WearYellowForSeth
Lester students #WearYellowForSeth

On Friday, March 27, Lester students collectively wore yellow to support Seth, a 5-year old boy from Britain. Seth has a rare auto-immune disorder that's also called Bubble Boy Disease. Seth asked the world to wear his favorite color, yellow, on March 27 to show support as he prepared for his second bone marrow transplant. Watch this sweet one-minute video above! 

School spotlight
Kingsley sixth grader qualifies for State Special Olympics

Kingsley sixth grader Xavery Briggs recently competed in the Special Olympics District Meet in Palatine, taking the all-around silver medal and qualifying for the Special Olympics State Games, which take place in June.

Xavery competed and received gold or silver medals in every men's gymnastics event offered at the District games. Events included high bar, floor, pommel horse, vault, rings and parallel bars. 

"Xavery is an all-around happy student here at Kingsley," said Mark Stange, Kingsley principal. "His smile brightens our day. We're so proud of his accomplishment, and the entire school celebrated with him. We will continue to cheer for him as he moves on to middle school next year."

According to Xavery's mother, Kristyn Briggs, Xavery joined gymnastics in 2008 in lieu of doing physical therapy.

"We found not only did he like it, but he was pretty good at it too," Kristyn says.

As a result of Avery's stellar performance at a Regional competition last year (he took the bronze all-around in men's level one), Xavery has also already qualified to compete in the National Special Olympics meet next month in Atlanta. 

We look forward to cheering Xavery on at both the State and National level.

When he's not practicing gymnastics, Xavery enjoys reading, coloring, movies and playing games.

Congratulations, Xavery!

O'Neill engineers take first place in U of I Bridge Busting Competition 



Twenty-five O'Neill students split into teams and used their STEM skills to design structurally- and aesthetically- sound bridges. They entered their finished products into the University of Illinois/4H Bridge Busting Competition on Saturday, March 21. 


O'Neill students Katelyn Scott, Maddy Pteanc and Sam Erb won first place overall in the categories of both Strength and Aesthetics. 


The competition judged aesthetics based on specifications, craftsmanship quality, sound structural design and originality. They determined structural efficiency using technical calculations.


Congratulations, girls!

Artcot 2015: Travel the world without leaving Pierce Downer 



The distinct and melodic sound of bagpipes recently echoed through the halls of Pierce Downer Elementary School. The music beckoned visitors to enter a classroom where, with a little imagination, they were transported to the rolling green hills of Scotland. Families checked out tartans on display, sampled

shortbread and took part in art projects, including assembling their own miniature bagpipes. And this was just the first stop of a world tour taken that evening by the participants of Pierce Downer's Artcot.

Artcot is a PTA-sponsored evening event that gives students an opportunity to appreciate and explore the arts hands-on. This year's theme, Artists of the World, invited travelers to experience some of the art, food and culture found in Scotland, Italy, China, Russia, Switzerland and Australia. 


Learn more about the incredible Artcot experience and view photos here!


Story by Liz Foreman Wenger, Pierce Downer PTA
Photos contributed by Amy Foray, Pierce Downer PTA
Henry Puffer sixth graders perform "The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt"

The Henry Puffer Paper Moon Players blended comedy, suspense and a little romance in their performances of "The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt" on March 26 and March 27.


The Paper Moon Players is a sixth grade drama club moderated by LRC Director Gwen Box. The students tried out for the play last September and have been rehearsing for it weekly ever since.


The show starred Carlos Moreno, John Leonard, Paige Herbert, Tyler Schwertleger, Griffin Scofield, Willy McGarry, Alaina Holton, Quinn Hanley, Aidan Stephens, Ethan Pombert, Matthew Schellbach, Claire Gorey and Carissa Blumka. 


The tech crew included Ryan Kasko, Timmy Koch, Jada Avalo-Worsham, Lukas Palshmitas and Michael Wallin.

O'Neill celebrates Pi Day with
pi-related games and contests

O'Neill seventh and eighth graders enjoyed a belated Pi Day celebration on Friday, March 27. During their math period, they participated in a variety of creative activities with a pi twist, including a human ring toss (using the decimal places associated with pi), a pi scavenger hunt, a Pi Day button-making area, shuffleboard and hula hoop contests, pi trivia, pi digit memorization contest and pi cityscape art.


View more photos here!

Whittier parents enjoy fun children's games at playground fundraiser


Whittier parents and faculty had a chance to play like kids at the PTA's spring fundraiser, "Let's Play for the Playground."  Coach Josh emceed

the night while parents danced, mingled and played minute-to win-it games like
ping pong catch, Cheetos toss and junk in the trunk.

More than 125 attendees came out to the American Legion Hall to bid on auction items, take their chances on raffle baskets and sign up for social experiences and activities donated by Whittier families, faculty and staff.  Some of the hottest items were a Dagger Red Axis Kayak, an iFly family package and an adults only Toga party.  All the proceeds from the night will to go to fund a new primary playground.


-Story contributed by Melissa Rausch, Whittier PTA

Education Foundation news
Buy Poi Dog Pondering tickets now!
Tickets selling quickly - proceeds support Ed Foundation
Buy tickets online at

Board of Education news
The Board of Education will hold a regular meeting Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at O'Neill Middle School. Please note: this is a different location from where they usually meet. 

Read the meeting agenda at
Community e-flyers
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  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
Heads up: Online registration for next school year opens April 15
Celebrate 58: Tasha Squires named Teacher of the Year!
Meet four kid-favorite authors at book signing event April 17
Annual Fit Fair offers families fun ways to get healthy and eat well
Belle Aire requests your help to bring Water to South Sudan
Lester wears yellow to support 5-year-old British boy Seth
Kingsley sixth grader qualifies for State Special Olympics
O'Neill engineers take first place in U of I Bridge Busting Competition
Artcot 2015: Travel the world without leaving Pierce Downer
Henry Puffer sixth graders perform "The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt"
O'Neill celebrates Pi Day with pi-related games and contests
Whittier parents enjoy fun children's games at playground fundraiser
Buy Poi Dog Pondering tickets now!
Board of Education News
Community e-flyers
District 58 on social media

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Looking ahead

April 13
- 7 p.m.
BOE regular meeting at O'Neill

April 14
7 p.m.
Elementary 5th/6th Orchestra Concert (south) at O'Neill

April 15
-  2015-16 registration opens
- Report cards sent home
- Taxes due

April 15-17
-  Author Fest at Fairmount, El Sierra, Kingsley, Whittier and Indian Trail

April 16
7 p.m.
Elementary Band Concert (north) at Herrick

April 17
- 6:30-8 p.m.
Author Fest book signing at DG Library (6:30- books go on sale; 7- book signing starts)

April 20
- 3-5:30 p.m.
Blood Drive at Fairmount

April 21
7-8 p.m.
Elementary Band Concert (south) at O'Neill
- 7-8 p.m.
Elementary Orchestra (4th) and Chamber Strings Concert (north) at Herrick

April 22
7 p.m.
DG Children's Choir Spring Concert at Herrick

April 23
7:30 a.m.
BOE Coffee with Staff at El Sierra
- 7-8 p.m.
Elementary Orchestra (5th-6th) Concert (north) at Herrick

View the entire 2014-2015 calendar.
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