Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 9 Issue 6
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
Greetings from Dr. Cremascoli: Student safety in District 58

Dear District 58 Community,
Like all of you, I was deeply saddened by last week's senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. With such significant tragedy occurring in public schools, we are again reminded of our shared responsibility to be vigilant in keeping our children safe; in practicing, reviewing and following our safety protocols; in being aware of our surroundings at all times; and in supporting each other to ensure the well-being of one another.
District 58's highest priority is ensuring our students' safety and well-being. To that end, the District enhanced its safety and security procedures in recent years to better protect students, staff and visitors, and continues to review and strengthen our plans.
In summer 2013, the District upgraded its front-door security and protocols at all schools. All doors remain locked during the school day, with the exception of the exterior foyer door in schools that have a double door entryway. Prior to gaining access to the school, all visitors ring the doorbell and are visually and verbally identified via the entry camera. Visitors are asked to verify their name and purpose for visiting the school. Once approved and buzzed in, guests must sign in at the front desk and pick up a visitor's badge before continuing to their destination.
In addition, the District annually meets with the Downers Grove police, fire and emergency management departments to review and update the District 58 Emergency Management Plan. Each fall, principals carefully review the plan and school emergency procedures with their staff. Finally, our schools annually hold safety and emergency drills with students and staff in cooperation with our emergency responders, and share age-appropriate information with students on keeping safe in an emergency.
The District also places a high-priority on teaching the whole child, including social-emotional learning skills. I am very proud of the work that occurs each and every day within our schools to support the social emotional learning and well-being of our students. Our teachers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, administrators and other staff work together to develop our students' social-emotional learning and to support students' mental health needs. While no one can predict when an emergency might take place, it is important that we remain vigilant in supporting student needs, and in identifying and responding to potential threats. Caring for and supporting one another is a daily priority for us - at difficult times such as these as well as always. We will continue to support one another and take seriously the shared responsibility of keeping one another safe.
On behalf of the District, we work hard to keep our children safe and to nurture our children to become kind and caring citizens. This is a team effort. If you ever have any safety concerns, please reach out to your school principal or your child's teacher, or in an emergency, call 911. Thank you for your partnership.
Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Parents invited to attend Board's Curriculum Workshop on Feb. 26

The Board of Education will hold its winter Curriculum Workshop on Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Henry Puffer School, 2220 Haddow Ave. 

"The Curriculum Workshop offers parents and community members an excellent opportunity to learn more about student assessment results and what they mean, student learning in different curricular areas and more," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Justin Sisul. "I hope to see many visitors at this workshop!"

The Curriculum Workshop will cover the following:

Assessments : Mr. Sisul will present student achievement and growth on the winter MAP assessment. He will also delve into the data and share what it means and how teachers and administrators use it to inform instruction. Mr. Sisul will conclude with a discussion of the upcoming PARCC assessment and how the District is preparing for it.

Roundtables: Teachers and staff will lead short roundtable presentations on student learning in different curricular areas, progress reporting and parent-teacher communications. These presentations will offer the Board and guests a first-hand look at the District's work and progress in these areas. 

Extended Reception of Visitors: The Board will offer an extended Reception of Visitors, which is a 30-minute opportunity for the community to engage in a two-way dialogue with the Board.
District shares survey results

The District's current Strategic Plan (from 2011) identified student well-being and social-emotional learning as a priority, and the District's School Environment Survey annually polls parents on the District's progress in these areas. Administrators and school improvement teams use the results to guide district and school planning.

This December, more than 950 parents responded to the School Environment Survey, and survey results are posted online. While key findings will be presented to the Board of Education at a future meeting, at first gla nce the parent survey results reveal:
  • 95 percent said their school is a supportive and inviting place 
  • 93 percent believe they have sufficient opportunities to communicate with their child's teachers.
  • 89 percent said their child is getting a quality education.
  • 95 percent said that adults at this school believe that their child can be a success.
  • 91 percent recognize that their child's school focuses on teaching the whole child, including social and emotional skills.
In addition, District 58 students (gr. 4-8) and teachers took the state's 5Essentials survey. When the state releases these survey results, we will post them online. Learn more at 
Board appoints Kevin Barto to director of buildings and grounds

Kevin Barto
The Board of Education approved the appointment of Kevin Barto to the director of buildings and grounds position, effective July 1, 2018. He will replace Kenneth Young, who retires in June after serving District 58 for 33 years.

"In addition to his impressive credentials related to work experience and training, interview teams were especially impressed by Mr. Barto's deep understanding of facility management, his collaborative team approach, his strong communication skills, his thoughtful and strategic approach to facility management, and his commitment to serving students and staff," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli.

In Our Schools
Whittier sixth graders use 3D computer-aided design to solve real problems

Whittier LRC Teacher Kelly Coleman and District Instructional Coach Megan Ryder recently brainstormed ways their students could use Whittier's 3D printer in a more authentic way. 

"We hoped to make the 3D printing experience more of a design challenge that solved a real-world problem," Coleman said.

They reached out to colleagues on Twitter for ideas, and inspiration struck when one colleague lamented how her students' glue sticks always seemed to roll off their desks, clattering to the floor.

And so, the Great Glue Stick Challenge began. Coleman and Ryder challenged their students to design an improved glue stick cap. Students used coding, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, communication and presentation skills to solve the problem. 

Henry Puffer dads join program that promotes positive male role models

Henry Puffer welcomed 67 dads and their children to the recent kickoff of the Puffer Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program! Watch D.O.G.S. is a national program that invites dads, grandpas and other father figures to volunteer at their child's school.

"Goals of the program include making fathers more visible in our school, increasing awareness of what is occurring in our school and positively impacting students' lives in the areas of academic performance, self-esteem and social behavior," said Henry Puffer Principal Todd McDaniel.

Community Partnerships
Education Foundation announces spring concert and programs  

Blue Öyster Cult will perform March 15

The Education Foundation invites the community to its spring fundraiser concert featuring the classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult and special guest James McCoy Taylor from ABC's The Bachelorette. 

Nominate a District 58 employee for a DSA

Honor a special District 58 employee by nominating him or her for a Distinguished Service Award! Nominations are due March 16, and the Education Foundation will announce this year's DSA winners during a special ceremony on May 15. 

Eighth graders invited to apply for Select 58

Select 58 annually recognizes 58 eighth graders who  exhibit outstanding service and citizenry  to their school and community. Applications are due March 9. Select 58 recipients will be honored at a banquet on May 9. 

Thank a teacher or staff member with a Green Apple

The community can acknowledge a teacher or staff member with a donation to the Education Foundation's Green Apple program. With each donation you make, the Education Foundation will send a specially-designed Green Apple Award card to the teacher or staff member you are honoring, with a custom message from you. Learn more.
PTA will host parent education night focused on cyber bullying March 6

The Downers Grove Area Council of PTAs welcomes parents to attend " Cyber Guide for Parents " presented by cyber crime expert Rich Wistocki. The free event will take place Tuesday, March 6 from 7-9 p.m. at Herrick Middle School.

Parents - Do you want to know how to protect your children against cyber-bullying? Do you want more information on how to teach your children to be responsible online and with their devices? Then be sure to attend! 

Support District 58 schools and local businesses at Passport to Dining

The Grove Foundation invites District 58 families to support local businesses and their schools while having fun.  How? Attend  Passport  to Dining on Thursday, March 8!

Guests can sample delicious food from five local Downers Grove restaurants and have opportunities to win fantastic prizes! The event costs $30 and will support the Grove Foundation's programs, which include District 58's Little Sprouts program for first graders and the Helping Children Gro w awards for fifth graders. They also support several community programs, including Blessings in a Backpack and Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence.
Community E-flyers
E-flyer logo
District 58 emailed new community e-flyers to all parents on  Feb. 15. E-flyers are also posted on the District 58 e-flyer page at and listed below.

In this issue
Greetings from Dr. Cremascoli: Student safety in District 58
Parents invited to attend Board's Curriculum Workshop on Feb. 26
District shares survey results
Board appoints Kevin Barto to director of buildings and grounds
Whittier sixth graders use 3D computer-aided design to solve real problems
Henry Puffer dads join program that promotes positive male role models
Education Foundation announces spring concert and programs
PTA will host parent education night focused on cyber bullying March 6
Support District 58 schools and local businesses at Passport to Dining
Community E-flyers
Board of Education news
Upcoming Board meetings
The Reading Games seeks volunteers
Looking ahead: Summer school signups open soon!
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, Feb. 12. The Board took action on the proposed Lester project, listened to a Curriculum Workshop preview and more.

Upcoming Board meetings

Monday, Feb. 26

7 p.m.

Curriculum Workshop at Henry Puffer School


Wednesday, Feb. 28

7 a.m.

Legislative Committee at the ASC


Thursday, March 1 

7 a.m.

Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee at Longfellow


Monday, March 12

7 p.m.

Regular Board Meeting at DG Village Hall


The Reading Games seeks volunteers

The Reading Games will take place Saturday, March 10 at O'Neill Middle School.  More than 100 teams of third-through-eighth graders have spent several months reading 15 books and preparing for the friendly Reading Games book trivia tournament!

To make this event a success, The Reading Games seeks parents and high schoolers to serve as moderators (ask the questions), scorekeepers (record the answers) and in other roles. 

Interested in volunteering?

Looking ahead: Summer school signups open soon!

It may still be chilly outside, but it's not too early to start thinking about summer!

District 58's summer school and extended school year registration will open Thursday, March 1. 

The District will email parents more information on these summer programs next week.

Here are upcoming dates:

Friday, March 2
Teacher Inservice Day - No school for students

Tuesday, March 6
7-9 p.m.
PTA Parent Education Night: Cyber Guide for Parents

Saturday, March 10
8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
The Reading Games

Wednesday, March 14
7-9 p.m.
Downers Grove North
Festival of Music

Thursday, March 15
7-10 p.m.
Tivoli Classic Cinemas
Education Foundation Fundraiser Concert: Blue Oyster Cult

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.