Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 9 Issue 5
Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018
Greetings from Dr. Cremascoli: Thank you for joining Vision 58!

Dear District 58 Community,
I want to thank everyone who participated in our Vision 58 strategic planning process last month. Our strategic planning facilitator, HYA, reports that 2,430 people responded to the survey and hundreds participated in the meetings. I am very happy to share that participants included current, former and future parents; current and retired staff; students and alumni; and community members and organizations. This strong and well-rounded response is sure to help us envision and plan for the future we collectively hope to accomplish for our children and our community within District 58!
So, what's next?
HYA will analyze the data and identify common themes, goals and aspirations among the responses. They will organize these themes into a draft Strategic Plan that will serve as a framework to guide the District's future decision-making. HYA will share the draft plan with their planning team in late February and the Board's Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee in early March. With additional review, HYA will refine and finalize the plan and present their final draft to the Board of Education during the Board's March 12 regular Board meeting. The Board is expected to vote to approve the final Strategic Plan at their April 9 meeting.

The plan will then be used to establish the District's goals, priorities and action items for the 2018-19 school year and beyond.
District 58 looks forward to continuing our strategic planning process and sharing the results with the community! Thank you for your continued partnership with District 58. Learn more and read updates at
Warm Regards,
Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
A closer look at the Lester project

The proposed Lester School addition may soon become a reality. The Board of Education will be asked to take action this month to award construction bids and approve a bond sale to fund the project. If approved, construction on the $2.3 million addition would begin this spring, with completion by the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The proposed addition would address Lester's space issues, adding three classrooms, bathrooms and a flexible resource space.

Nearly 600 students share discoveries at Science Fair

District 58 held its 37th Annual Science Fair on Saturday, Jan. 20. During the fair, 574 students presented 352 projects -- the highest number since 2012! 

Congratulations to middle school students whose projects advanced to the regional level:
  1. Audrey Arlis, Herrick eighth grader
    "At What Temperatures Do Enzymes Stop Working?"
  2. Colin Coit and Jacob Curulewski, O'Neill eighth graders
    "Effect of Fluoride Rinse on Tooth Enamel"
  3. Sydney Fleming, Herrick eighth grader
    "The Effects of Low Environmental Oxygen Levels on the Amount of Hemoglobin Produced"
  4. Aiden Lee and Justin Martinets, Herrick seventh graders
    "How Do Different Ferrofluids React to Magnets?"
  5. Charisse Lee and Elisenda Lee-Palou, Herrick eighth graders
    "Audio, Visual & Written Learning Styles"
  6. Charles O'Neill and Luca Veriotti, O'Neill eighth graders
    "Measuring the Speed of Light in Gelatin"
  7. Taran Sooranahalli, O'Neill seventh grader
District 58 thanks the students, judges, volunteers and parents for helping to make this Science Fair a huge success! 
District announces 2018-19 Kindergarten Roundup schedule

Will your child attend kindergarten next school year? Come to Kindergarten Roundup to meet your child's future teachers and principal, learn about the kindergarten curriculum, and receive important paperwork! 

Belle Aire : Friday, March 16 at 1 p.m.
El Sierra: Monday, March 19 at 9 a.m.
Fairmount: Thursday, April 12 at 9 a.m.
Henry Puffer: Tuesday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 18 at 9 a.m.
Highland*: Friday, March 16 at 1 p.m. (Info Night: March 5 at 6 p.m.)
Hillcrest: Thursday, April 26 at 9 a.m.
Indian Trail: Wednesday, April 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Kingsley: Friday, April 27 at 9:30 a.m.
Lester: Friday, March 16 at 2:20 p.m.
Pierce Downer: Thursday, March 22 at 9:30 a.m.
Whittier: Friday, April 13 at 9 a.m.

* Due to recent enrollment growth, Highland's incoming kindergarten class will be capped at 56 students. Incoming Highland kindergarten parents are invited to an information night on Monday, March 5 at 6 p.m. at Highland to learn more about the school's kindergarten enrollment process.

For more information about kindergarten in District 58, please contact your neighborhood school or visit 
In Our Schools
Two District 58 middle schoolers win Patriot's Pen essay writing contest

District 58 congratulates  Sydney Fleming, an eighth grader at Herrick Middle School, and Ryan Lynde, a seventh grader at O'Neill Middle School, for winning the VFW Century Post 503's Patriot's Pen contest. 

Patriot's Pen is the VFW's nationwide youth essay competition that encourages children to express their views on democracy. This year's topic was "America's Gift to My Generation." Sydney's essay described how U.S. history and her ancestors' memories are America's greatest gift to her generation, while Ryan's essay asserted that forest preserves and wildlife conservation deserve this recognition. Both students wrote clearly and demonstrated knowledge on their topic.

Crosstown Classic invites families to enjoy volleyball and basketball fun

O'Neill and Herrick middle school athletes will face off during their annual friendly Crosstown Classic fundraiser event on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Downers Grove North. The community is invited to cheer for their favorite District 58 middle school during the following events:

2:30 p.m.: Seventh grade boys' volleyball
3:30 p.m.: Eighth grade boys' volleyball
4:45 p.m.: Seventh grade girls' basketball
5:45 p.m.: Eighth grade girls' basketball

Tickets cost $5 each, for a maximum of $20 per family. Concessions, raffles and contests will also be provided.
Hillcrest fifth graders design instruments with sound in mind

Hillcrest fifth graders recently culminated their science unit on sound with an especially creative activity: The students fashioned instruments using everyday household objects, like rubber bands, PVC pipes, glass bottles and more. 

They applied their newfound knowledge on volume, pitch and tension to guide their design. They demonstrated their instruments to their classmates, using key vocabulary to explain how the instruments were made and how they work.

"It's always impressive to see the creative and thoughtful ingenuity that goes into these instruments," said Hillcrest Principal Michelle Rzepka, in her recent school newsletter.

Indian Trail celebrates culture at International Fair

Indian Trail students and families proudly shared their heritage with peers during the PTA's International Fair on Jan. 18. Visitors enjoyed exploring different cultures' food, art, language and more, as well as an exciting scavenger hunt.

Fairmount families participate in inaugural STEM Night

The Fairmount PTA hosted its first Family STEM Night on Friday, Jan. 19. It was a fun night of  interactive STEM exhibits and presentations by Fairmount families, teachers and organizations. 

More than 230 children and parents participated in the evening and learned  about various STEM concepts through exhibits such as:
  • Meet Pepper the Robot, a robot that can read human emotion
  • Learn coding and inductive reasoning through games
  • Build electric circuits with paper and Play-Doh
  • Learn about aeronautics by building foam plate model airplanes 
  • Listen to Mr. Freeze (physicist Jerry Zimmerman) from Fermilab give a "cool" presentation demonstrating the properties of liquid nitrogen.
Contributed by Suzette Stapleton and Danielle Schoenike

Highland, Fairmount and Whittier choir students sing at Chicago Wolves game

About 130 fifth and sixth grade choir students from Fairmount, Highland and Whittier schools sang at the Dec. 17 Chicago Wolves hockey game. The combined choirs sang a robust rendition of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" to the audience at the beginning of the game. Nice job!
58 Doing Good
Herrick 8th grader donates 4,000th book to Caribbean children in need

Gabriella has donated books to the Caribbean since she was in first grade. This photo was taken during her March 2017 delivery.
During winter break, Herrick eighth grade student Gabriella Frank delivered 200 pounds of school supplies and books to low-income schools in the Caribbean. This donation represented her 4,000th book donation to Caribbean schools. 

Gabriella started donating books and school supplies to the Caribbean when she was in first grade. She was inspired after she witnessed the area's extre me poverty during a family trip. Since then, her program, Gabi's Helping Hands, has annually helped children.

Gabriella continues to work on Gabi's Helping Hands, and she welcomes any contributions of school supplies, paperback children's books in good condition or suitcases to transport the donations. Please email her mother, Mrs. Frank, at if you're interested in getting involved!
Blessings in a Backpack makes a difference in District 58

Blessings in a Backpack provides weekend meals to about 350 District 58 students in need. Thanks to fantastic volunteers, school staff and donors, each week, meals are delivered and discreetly distributed to students.

The District 58 Blessings in a Backpack program continues to evolve each year. For example at Lester:

"Enhancements were made this year at Lester by implementing a new 4-week rotating menu to provide variety for our participating students," said Morgan Mancuso, Lester alumna and Lester Blessings in a Backpack co-coordinator. "(Principal) Carin Novak and her team continue to do an amazing job in supporting the program by packing bags weekly and finding opportunities to supplement the food offering as they did again this year at Thanksgiving."

It costs about $100 to feed one student per year. Want to make a difference at your school? Click here and  specify your school's name, plus "Downers Grove, IL."
Community E-flyers
E-flyer logo
District 58 emailed new community e-flyers to all parents on  Jan. 15 and Jan. 31. E-flyers are also posted on the District 58 e-flyer page at and listed below.

In this issue
Greetings from Dr. Cremascoli: Thank you for joining Vision 58!
A closer look at the Lester project
Nearly 600 students share discoveries at Science Fair
District announces 2018-19 Kindergarten Roundup schedule
Two District 58 middle schoolers win Patriot's Pen Essay Writing Contest
Crosstown Classic invites families to enjoy volleyball and basketball fun
Hillcrest fifth graders design instruments with sound in mind
Indian Trail celebrates culture at International Fair
Fairmount families participate in inaugural STEM Night
Fairmount, Highland and Whittier choir students sing at Chicago Wolves game
Herrick 8th grader donates 4,000th book to Caribbean children in need
Blessings in a Backpack makes a difference in District 58
Community E-flyers
Board of Education news
Upcoming Board meetings
34 students advance to the state PTA Reflections program
41 students selected for ILMEA All-State Elementary Chorus
Register for Grove Children's Preschool
Snow days: How District 58 makes the call
Flu safety tips
District 58 on social media

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News from the Board of Education

The Board of Education held a regular business meeting on Monday, Jan. 8. The meeting opened with a BINA hearing regarding the proposed bond sale, followed by a Pierce Downer presentation, an Education Foundation grants spotlight and more.

Upcoming Board meetings

Monday, Feb. 9

7:30-9 a.m.

Legislative Breakfast at



Monday, Feb. 12

7 p.m.

Regular Board meeting at DG Village Hall


Tuesday, Feb. 20 

7 a.m.

Policy Committee at the ASC


Monday, Feb. 26

7 p.m.

Curriculum Workshop at Henry Puffer School


Wednesday, Feb. 28

7 a.m.

Legislative Committee at the ASC


34 students advance to the state PTA Reflections program


Congratulations to the 34 District 58 students whose PTA Reflections art projects advanced to the program's state level. 

"The PTA Reflections program offers students the opportunity to showcase their creativity and individualism," said Allison Dale, District 58's PTA Reflections coordinator. "Each year, District 58 students excel, with many progressing to regional, state and even national levels. This year is no exception, and we are very proud of our student artists!"

41 students selected for ILMEA All-State Elementary Chorus

Congratulations to the 41 fifth and sixth graders selected to participate in the Illinois Music Education Association's All-State Elementary Chorus on Jan. 27. 

Register for Grove Children's Preschool


Grove Children's Preschool in District 58 has opened registration for the 2018-19 school year. 

Grove Children's Preschool offers children an outstanding curriculum and social-emotional learning experience. It is one of only two preschools in Downers Grove to earn a Gold Rating, the State's highest rating for preschools. 

Reminder: Sign up for a parent-teacher conference

Parents may sign up for a parent-teacher conference now through Monday, Feb.
5 at noon. Please note: parents must use their SQUIRREL parent account, not their student's account (i.e. dg123456), to sign up for a conference.

Report cards go home on Friday, Feb. 2. Parent-teacher conferences will take place the evenings of Wednesday, Feb. 7 and Thursday, Feb. 8 for grades K-8.

Grove Children's Preschool will host parent-teacher conferences on March 6 and March 8 (Henry Puffer preschoolers) and on March 13 and March 15 (Indian Trail preschoolers). Preschool parents may choose to sign up for a parent-teacher conference during the Jan. 22-Feb. 5 window. Otherwise, signups will reopen Friday, Feb. 9 exclusively for preschool parent-teacher conferences.
Snow days: How District 58 makes the call

If hazardous winter weather prompts District 58 to cancel school, the District will notify parents, staff and the community using a variety of communication tools.

How does the District decide to cancel school? How is school closure information communicated? 

Flu safety tips

The flu is especially bad this year. Protect yourself and your children, and please follow these helpful guidelines from the DuPage County Health Department. 


Here are upcoming dates:

Friday, Feb. 2
Report cards sent home

Wednesday, Feb. 7 - Thursday, Feb. 8
Parent-teacher conferences (evening)

Saturday, Feb. 10
District 58 Solo Day at Herrick

Monday, Feb. 19
No school: Presidents Day

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 shares 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.