Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 7 Issue 11
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The Reading Games is a success!

"The Last Minute Readers" from Hillcrest School celebrate their level 1 top score with Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli.

District 58 held its third annual The Reading Games on Saturday, March 12 at O'Neill Middle School. Hundreds of students on 87 teams had fun working together to answer questions about a variety of books!

District 58 congratulates all of its participating Reading Games teams for their hard work and dedication. Participants read several books, prepared for possible questions and then joined the competition! 

A special congratulations to the two top-scoring teams: 

Level 1: The Last Minute Readers  - Hillcrest School
Kyeon, Bobby, Abigail, Elizabeth, Christopher and Varun
Level 2: R is for Reading - Indian Trail School
Ava, Riley, Kyra, Sara and Rainu 

Board expands OKEEP districtwide

The District 58 Board of Education is pleased to announce that it has approved districtwide expansion of the Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program, or OKEEP, for the 2016-17 school year!

OKEEP is an optional, fee-based enrichment program offered as an afternoon enhancement of District 58's existing, high quality half-day kindergarten program. With OKEEP, kindergarten students participate in the traditional half-day kindergarten program in the morning, and enrichment opportunities in the afternoon. The program costs $2,450 per student. Eligible students may qualify for a fee waiver.

OKEEP will be accessible to all incoming District 58 kindergarteners, and will include special considerations for Lester School, which currently lacks the space to fully host the program. More detailed information for Lester families will be available at Lester's Kindergarten Roundup today at 2:20 p.m. 

View the upcoming Kindergarten Roundup schedule.
2016-17 school calendar approved

The District 58 Board of Education approved District 58's 2016-17 school calendar during its regular meeting on March 14. 

The first day of student attendance for 2016-17 will take place on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

Thanksgiving Break will take place from Nov. 23-25, 2016.

Winter Break will take place from Monday, Dec. 19 through Monday, Jan. 2, with students returning to school Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Spring Break will take place March 27-31, 2017.

District 58 will post the full calendar online at shortly.
Register for summer school 

District 58 will offer a wide variety of fun and educational summer school classes this June and July, including reading, math, art, kindergarten prep, band, orchestra, digital gaming design and more! 

Summer school is open to students enrolled in public, private or parochial schools. However, to participate, students must live within the District 58 attendance area and be entering kindergarten through eighth grade. Summer school classes will take place at Henry Puffer School, with the exception of band and orchestra classes, which will be at Herrick Middle School.

Learn more and register online at by Friday, April 29. Scroll down to read course descriptions and click the "Register" button. 

In addition, District 58 will offer Extended School Year classes for students eligible through their IEP. For more information or to register for Extended School Year, please visit
Parent survey open thru March 31
Parents asked to share feedback regarding school environment and district reporting systems

District 58 parents may take the Annual School Environment Survey between March 14-31. New this year, the survey also includes questions regarding the District's Reporting Systems. Please consider completing this survey; your input will guide the District's principals, teachers and administrators as they plan school improvement efforts. All responses are anonymous.

In addition to the parent survey, third through eighth grade students will participate in a Student School Environment Survey after spring break. This survey will give students the opportunity to share feedback regarding school experiences. All responses will be anonymous, and results will be used for school improvement planning.

To view a PDF of student survey questions, as well as other survey information, please visit
Ken Young named director of buildings and grounds

The Board of Education appointed Ken Young to the director of buildings and grounds position, effective July 1, 2016. He will replace Rick Bubula, who retires at the end of June.

Young joined District 58's Buildings and Grounds Department in 1985. He was promoted to maintenance mechanic in 1989 and maintenance supervisor in 1999, a position he holds today. In this role, Young manages daily facility operations, supervises mechanics and custodians, and assists the director of buildings and grounds with building operations. 

The facts of lice: District 58 follows CDC lice procedures for schools
  • These organizations estimate that 6-12 million young children have lice each year. This means that statistically lice are always present in our classrooms. 
  • Although lice can be the source of anxiety, frustration and embarrassment, lice do not carry infectious diseases, nor do they pose a health risk to students and staff. For these reasons, these organizations recommend that schools do not exclude children with lice from the classroom.
  • Fortunately, research finds that most children do not catch lice while at school. Lice are spread by direct and sustained head-to-head contact (i.e. children rubbing heads together for a sustained period of time), which is more common at slumber parties or camping trips. 
  • Lice cannot jump or fly from head to head, and they die quickly when they are not attached to a human. This means they die quickly in hats and hairbrushes.
  • District 58 educates its students on how they can protect themselves from lice and discourages them from making direct head-to-head contact. The best offense is a good defense!
  • Since lice are statistically always present, District 58 typically will not send home a letter for an isolated case, just like we wouldn't send letters when one child is out ill with the flu. As District 58 does for all health conditions, if we notice a cluster of lice, we will send a note home to affected families -- it could be a note to a classroom or to an entire school, depending on how large the cluster is.
District 58 hosts a successful first instructional coaches network

District 58's four instructional coaches lead professional development training for teachers. But how do the coaches receive training for themselves?

Thanks to a suggestion by District 58's instructional coaches, the DuPage County Regional Office of Education (ROE) held the first ever Instructional Coaches Network at District 58's Longfellow Center on March 1. T he morning event offered coaches valuable group-guided break-out sessions on a variety of topics ranging from math/literacy coaching to building relationships.
"It's important that every one of our teachers has the opportunity to refine their craft, and finding other professionals who work in this specific segment of teaching can be difficult," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Matt Rich. "So it's neat to have this opportunity to bring them together in Downers Grove."
The event gave instructional coaches many opportunities to get new ideas and better  connect with their colleagues in similar positions. Here's some of the feedback:

"It's interesting to see how other districts structure the instructional coaching role, manage their schedules and  connect with other teachers to support student growth."
- Megan Ryder, District 58
"There's many different models of instructional coaching, but we still share the same goal of helping and supporting classroom teachers. So, it's good to see what other coaches are doing so we can learn from each other."
- Kelly Lynn, District 7 (Wood Dale)
"We are learning some of the best research-based strategies on how to be an effective instructional coach."
- Lori Riley, District 201 (Westmont)
"I think the biggest thing is making sure we understand the role and how it looks in other districts and how to best support the teachers."
-  Kristen Ward, District 58
School Spotlight
Crosstown Classic raises $4,800
Thank you, District 58 community, for packing the Downers Grove North gym for the Crosstown Classic between the Herrick and O'Neill girls' basketball teams! Thanks to your generosity, the event raised $4,800 to support Bloom's Angels, a Herrick service organization, and the Herrick PTA.

Both girls' basketball games offered ample excitement, as the teams played their hardest for the win. Ultimately, the Herrick seventh grade girls and the O'Neill eighth grade girls were victorious. Congratulations!

Beyond basketball, the Crosstown Classic offered fantastic Herrick/DGN pep band performances, entertaining play-by-play commentary by District 58 alumnus Zain Bando, a half-time contest and pep talks by the school mascots. Gail Pistello, co-founder of Bloom's Angels, was honored for her exceptional service during half-time.  In addition, the event held a fun raffle with prizes that included autographed Blackhawks jerseys, Bulls tickets, a Chicago getaway and more!

The Crosstown Classic series is a new District 58 tradition that makes the annual Herrick vs. O'Neill basketball games more dynamic and exciting for the community to attend. Earlier this basketball season, the Herrick and O'Neill boys' basketball teams faced off in the inaugural Crosstown Classic event. All proceeds from that event supported the O'Neill PTA and their endeavors.

STEM workshops inspire learning in Pierce Downer classrooms

Story by Elizabeth Foreman; Photos by Amy Goray Photography

Students at Pierce Downer have had the opportunity to take part in an extra hands-on science workshop this year, thanks to the planning and funding of the Pierce Downer PTA. Teachers in each grade selected workshop topics that aligned with their science curriculum and instructors from the company High Touch/High Tech Science Made Fun visited each classroom to conduct the workshops.
In Christine Balagtas' fifth grade classroom, students were provided with materials and guided through the necessary steps to design small solar panels that captured and transferred energy. They also created take-home mini compost kits to encourage kids and their families to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

Children of the American Revolution recognizes District 58

Children of the American Revolution members during an event last fall.
The Children of the American Revolution honored several District 58 students who participate in the group's Pierce Downer Society during its recent state conference. 

The Children of the American Revolution is the oldest patriotic youth organization in the United States. During the conference, the Pierce Downer Society was presented the "Outstanding Illinois Local Society" award, in addition to several other individual awards and honors.

Also during the conference, the following Pierce Downer Society members and District 58 students were elected as organization voting delegates:
  • Diana Kwak, O'Neill seventh grader
  • Alan Kwak, Fairmount fifth grader
  • Frank Kwak, Fairmount fifth grader
  • Cooper LamBeau, El Sierra sixth grader 
  • Kellar LamBeau, El Sierra fifth grader
Hillcrest fourth graders share magnetic learning with parents

Hillcrest fourth grade teachers and students recently welcomed parents for their Circuit Board Parent Experience. Students demonstrated what they learned during first  semester science classes studying magnetism and electricity. 

"Students worked to build circuit board games to show and play with parents. There was a tremendous turnout for the event, making it an even more memorable learning experience," said Principal Michelle Rzepka.
Destination Imagination advances Whittier and Pierce Downer teams

Several students from Whittier and Pierce Downer recently participated in the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament. Both schools performed exceptionally well, with nine teams advancing to the state tournament, which takes place in DeKalb next month. Congrats to:
  • Battle Bunnies, Pierce Downer
  • Blonde Squad, Pierce Downer
  • DI Donuts, Whittier
  • Mystical Marshmallow Sky-DI-vers, Pierce Downer
  • Imagine we are Dragons, Whittier
  • Magic Six, Whittier
  • LMD, Whittier
  • Awesome Majestic Rainbows, Pierce Downer
  • On Top of the World!, Whittier
Destination Imagination is an international program that encourages teams of students to complete challenges related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the arts and service learning. It hosts annual competitions at the regional, state and global level. In District 58, school PTAs organize the program.
District 58 Girl Scouts gather for Girl Scout World Thinking Day

Girl Scouts from seven District 58 schools participated in a Girl Scout World Thinking Day Fair on Friday, Feb. 26.   Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day that celebrates international friendship, encourages girls to speak out on issues affecting them, and increases awareness of the Girl Scouts' global component.

58 Doing Good
El Sierra fifth graders do 29 acts of kindness for Leap Day

El Sierra fifth graders celebrated Leap Day by giving back -- 29 times! Students worked together to creatively do 29 random acts of kindness for their school and community. Acts of kindness included: 
  • Donating clothing and games to charity
    El Sierra fifth graders make ice packs to help their school nurse.
  • Reading to kindergarteners
  • Creating a sweet "Take a Compliment" sheet for District 58 staff
  • Making a coupon book for mom and dad
  • Singing a surprise song to their teachers
  • Making placemats for Meals on Wheels
  • Writing Post-It notes for their peers
  • Giving last year's teachers a hug
  • Writing cards for local firefighters and police officers
  • Creating St. Patrick's Day decorations for a local nursing home
  • Making ice packs to help the school nurse
  • Singing to office staff
And more! Thank you Mrs. Maura Vivona and Mrs. Meg Rohlfing for coordinating this activity. View photos highlighting several of these Random Acts on the El Sierra fifth grade Twitter account, @ElSierraGrade5.
Kingsley 'dances off' for Rare Disease Day 

Kingsley held a dance off to raise awareness for rare diseases on Rare Disease Day, Feb. 29.  Each Kingsley classroom spent 15 minutes dancing in the school's multipurpose room.  The event provided students the opportunity to make donations to support the Global Genes Project and Noah's Hope. 

Noah's Hope is an organization that raises money to find treatments and a cure for Batten disease, a terminal illness for which there currently is not a cure. Noah's Hope was started by a  Kingsley  family that has two children, Noah and Laine, with Batten disease.

"As a Student Council, we made the decision to spread the awareness of rare diseases and to help raise funds to support children, like Noah and Laine, who have a rare disease for which there is no cure," said Ashley Bidlencik, sixth grade teacher and Student Council sponsor. "The Global Genes Project has sent us 'gene' ribbons to wear to show our support of the rare disease community as well. Everyone at our school wore a 'gene' ribbon on Rare Disease Day."

Board News
The Board of Education held a Regular Meeting on Monday, March 14. Visit later this week to review the Board Briefs!

The meeting included: 
  • Flag salute and presentation by Fairmount School
  • Approval to expand the Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program districtwide
  • A spotlight on STEM in District 58
  • Approval of the donation agreement to build the Hillcrest Playground
  • Approval of student fees for 2016-17
  • Approval of the 2016-17 school calendar
  • Appointment of David Bein to the Assistant Superintendent of Business position, effective July 1
The Board of Education will hold its next Regular Meeting on Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.
Community e-flyers
E-flyer logo
New District 58 community e-flyers will be posted this afternoon,  Tuesday, March 15,  on the e-flyer page. Parents will also receive their twice-monthly e-flyer email this afternoon.

The flyers posted below were published in the District's Tuesday, March 1 e-flyer distribution.  Click here to visit the e-flyer page .  

  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
The Reading Games is a success!
Board expands OKEEP districtwide
2016-17 school calendar approved
Register for summer school
Parent survey open thru March 31
Ken Young named director of buildings and grounds
The facts of lice: District 58 follows CDC lice procedures for schools
District 58 hosts a successful first instructional coaches network
Crosstown Classic raises $4,800
STEM workshops inspire learning in Pierce Downer classrooms
District 58 students recognized at Children of the Revolution event
Hillcrest fourth graders share magnetic learning with parents
Destination Imagination advances Whittier and Pierce Downer teams
District 58 Girl Scouts gather for Girl Scout World Thinking Day
El Sierra fifth graders do 29 acts of kindness for Leap Day
Kingsley 'dances off' for Rare Disease Day
Board news
Thanks for coming to '80s Night with Sixteen Candles!
PARCC parent presentation

Thanks for coming to '80s Night with Sixteen Candles!

The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 thanks everyone who came to their spring fundraiser, '80s Night with Sixteen Candles, at the Tivoli Theatre last week! Thank you for your support of District 58.
PARCC parent presentation

Do you have questions regarding your child's 2015 PARCC results? Would you like to learn more about changes to the 2016 PARCC assessment

View the District's recent Parent PARCC presentation.

Kindergarten Roundup - share the schedule

Will your child enter kindergarten in the fall? Or, do you know a local family with  an incoming kindergartener? 

Please share the District 58 Kindergarten Roundup schedule with them! 

Kindergarten Roundup offers families the chance to meet their new principal and teachers, learn about kindergarten and register their child for kindergarten. 

Kindergarten Roundups start today with Lester School and continue throughout March and April.

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