Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 8 Issue 6
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving, District 58!
  Thanksgiving break is Nov. 23-25

O'Neill students share what they appreciate this Thanksgiving on the OMS Gratitude Graffiti wall! Seventh grade science teachers Kit Hamilton and Sarah Pinkus created the wall to promote gratitude in a fun format.

" It connects to almost all of our SEL (social-emotional learning) concepts, but I specifically wanted to do it before Thanksgiving rolled around in order to have the students reflect on the things and people they feel most grateful for," Hamilton said.

Happy Thanksgiving, District 58!

Every summer, District leaders prepare annual  Strategic Plan action goals  that directly align with the Board's Strategic Plan This year, District 58 has three math-related goals.

#1: S upport implementation of Math Curriculum Blueprint through professional development and ongoing teacher collaboration. 
Teachers practice new high cognitive demand instruction techniques during their recent math professional development.
Progress : Created by the Math Committee, the new Math Blueprint is a very powerful tool for teachers! This useful guide provides teachers with detailed, yet flexible, lesson plans and aligned resources. The District trained teachers to use the blueprint during the August Teacher Institute Days, and continues to provide support. 

"We've had the opportunity to get a lot of feedback from the teachers on the blueprint, and it has been positive," said Math Committee member and Pierce Downer teacher Tracy Moriarty. "We're going to continue to solicit feedback from all of the teachers as we get deeper in the year to make sure what we put in place is meeting the needs of both the students and the teachers."

The Board also approved the Metro Chicago Math Initiative to provide teachers with four full-day math professional development trainings and grade-level collaboration opportunities focused on high cognitive demand experiences and new techniques to go deeper with math instruction. 
Teachers already completed their first full-day math training, and shared positive feedback with the Math Committee, along with suggestions for ways to incorporate new learning into the Blueprint.

#2: Refine the Math Curriculum Blueprint, including the provision of professional development for the Math Committee regarding assessment.

Progress: The Math Committee participated in a Regional Office of Education training on math assessment creation on Nov. 2.  This opportunity gave committee members an introduction into assessment design and development. The training will continue in December.
The committee will use these new skills to develop math assessments for the Math Blueprint. In addition, Math Committee members continue to receive feedback and suggestions for ongoing improvements to the Blueprint.

#3: Refine acceleration and support methodologies in math. 

Progress: The Math Committee created an updated process to identify students for accelerated math. To be considered for math acceleration, students in grades 3-6 must  consistently score in the 85th percentile on the MAP Math Assessment,  receive a teacher recommendation and  receive principal approval.  The school will also provide parent notification. Students who fall in the 80th-85th percentile may be considered in the future. All schools will implement this process by second semester this year.

The Math Committee also analyzed its middle school math acceleration to ensure all student needs were met. Accelerated elementary students will continue into an accelerated middle school math program. Middle school Math A and B will still exist for high-achieving students who did not complete the accelerated elementary math track.
District shares snow day procedures 

How does District 58 communicate emergency closure information?

When a decision is made to close school due to inclement weather, the District will send automated voice and email messages to all parents via its SchoolMessenger notification system. The system will also send text messages to parents who have registered to receive texts. Want to receive a text message as well? Opt in by texting YES to 68453.

District 58 also posts school closure information at, on Facebook, Twitter and on the District's answering machine at 630-719-5800. The District also notifies major news radio and network televisions stations. Finally, school closures are listed at 

How does District 58 decide whether to cancel school?

District 58's superintendent consults with a variety of resources --   Snowmanweather forecasts, neighboring superintendents, the bus company and the district's buildings and grounds teams -- to make an informed decision. The decision is based on many factors. 
  • Building conditions: Do the buildings have power, light and heat?
  • Site conditions: Is the parking lot plowed? Can buses get in and turn around? Can parents drop off students? Are the exit doors free of snow?
  • Bus operations: Can the bus drivers get to the bus company? Do the buses start? Do the drivers feel comfortable driving?
  • Road conditions: Are the roads continually plowed and is traffic moving?
  • Air temperature: How cold is it? What is the wind chill? Can children safely walk to school?
If the answer is yes to all of these questions, most likely the decision will be to keep schools open.

Student safety is District 58's top priority, but the District also understands that canceling school is inconvenient for students, teachers and parents. The superintendent will make the decision as soon as safely possible.

In Our Schools
Whittier welcomes Buddy Benches
Buddy Benches encourage inclusivity, empathy

Whittier Principal Michael Krugman celebrates the new Buddy Benches with MAVinS.
The local nonprofit group, Mothers
Against Violence in Schools (MAVinS), partnered with Whittier School and the PTA to debut two Buddy Benches at the school during an all-school assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The goal of the benches is to encourage inclusion and kindness during a child's formative years. Students who feel they don't have anyone to play with or would like to make a new friend can simply sit on the bench, which is a signal to others to ask the student to join them in play.

Henry Puffer kicks off "Everybody Plays at Puffer" playground effort
The Henry Puffer Playground Committee announced their "Everybody Plays at Puffer" playground effort and received the District 58 Board of Education's support during the Monday, Nov. 14 Board meeting.

Playground Committee Member and Henry Puffer Parent Nick Rambke said that the committee created an official 503c nonprofit corporation for the effort, which will allow donations to be tax-deductible.

The committee has already created concept drawings. The proposed project will completely replace the existing old and outdated large playground. They hope the new playground will better serve all children in the school and community, especially children with special needs. The project is estimated to cost $250,000-$300,000.

Looking for a good cause to help this holiday season? Please consider contributing to the "Everybody Plays at Puffer" fundraiser! View the above
video, like the Facebook group , and donate on their YouCaring website!
Herrick and O'Neill share
cross country season highlights

Herrick and O'Neill recently concluded very successful cross country seasons! 

Herrick's seventh grade girls won the conference, and all other Herrick cross country teams -- eighth grade girls, seventh grade boys and eighth grade boys -- placed second. 

O'Neill's seventh grade boys clinched the conference, and O'Neill's seventh grade girls and eighth grade boys earned third place. 

"Perhaps what was most impressive were runners who battled through the discomfort and pain that comes with pushing yourself to your limits, to finish the race while earning the highest honor of respect in overcoming adversity," said O'Neill Cross Country Coach and School Counselor Barry Kincaid. "They embodied our team mindset that we get stronger as the race goes longer, and when other runners tire, we finish the race on fire!"

Congratulations, Herrick and O'Neill cross country teams!
Indian Trail celebrates Veterans Day 

Though students did not have school on Veterans Day this year, they still celebrated veterans through different educational school activities. For example, this video shares photos from Indian Trail's recent Veterans Day music concert (fourth, fifth and sixth grades). Happy Veterans Day to all local vets! The District 58 community appreciates your service!
Running club inspires Henry Puffer girls to reach their potential

This year, the Puffer-Hefty PTA started a Girls on the Run team. For 10 weeks, girls in third through sixth grades gathered to enjoy running and other fun activities. The club inspired the girls to be happy, healthy and confident!

This past weekend, the girls reached their ultimate goal: running a 5K at Grant Park with other local Girls on the Run chapters! Great job, girls!

58 Doing Good
O'Neill's Connections classes give back to the community

O'Neill seventh graders in Barb Manley's Connections classes spent time giving back to the community this semester!

First, they used their creativity and craftmanship to create homemade dog pull toys using old T-shirts. They donated their dog toys to the  "4 PAWS 4 U 4 Ever," a no-kill pup rescue. 

The students  also organized and promoted a school-wide collection of items needed for the PADS shelters in Downers Grove. 

El Sierra fifth graders volunteer at Feed My Starving Children

El Sierra fifth grade students recently packed meals at Feed My Starving Children. 

Collectively, the students packed 148 boxes containing 31,968 meals totaling $7,032.96. That's enough food to feed 88 children for a year. 

Way to go, El Sierra fifth graders! Thanks also to your awesome teachers, Mrs. Vivona and Mrs. Rohlfing. 
Community E-flyers
E-flyer logo New community e-flyers were posted Tuesday, Nov. 15  on the District 58 e-flyer page.    Click here to visit the page  or view the e-flyers below. 

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. 
In this issue
Happy Thanksgiving, District 58!
District Strategic Plan goal progress: Mathematics
District shares snow day procedures
Whittier welcomes Buddy Benches
Henry Puffer kicks off "Everybody Plays at Puffer" playground effort
Herrick and O'Neill share cross country season highlights
Indian Trail celebrates Veterans Day
Running club inspires Henry Puffer girls to reach their potential
O'Neill's Connections classes give back to the community
El Sierra fifth graders volunteer at Feed My Starving Children
Community e-flyers
Board News
Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee
Upcoming Board meetings
Heads up: Parent survey will open Nov. 28
Sign up for the Science Fair
Lester PTA holds Holly Days on Dec. 2
Flu safety
District 58 on social media

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Board News
The Board held their regular Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 14. Read the Board Briefs or view the meeting agenda.

The meeting included:
  - Henry Puffer Student Council, PTA and Playground update

- A spotlight on the Math Committee

- Approval of the 2017-18 school year calendar

- Public hearing for the recommended 2016 tax levy

- Reports from the Superintendent's Office and Business Office

- Reports from the Policy, Legislative and the proposed Meet & Confer Strategic Plan committees

Flaticons by Freepik and Made by Oliver

Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee
The Board is forming a new committee to increase
communication, feedback and ongoing strategic goal review with its many stakeholder groups, including parents. 

Parents interested in joining this committee may complete this interest form by Tuesday, Nov. 22. The PTA Council will randomly select representatives.

The Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 a.m. at the ASC. This meeting will be open to the public.

Board Orientation
Do you plan to run for the District 58 Board of Education?

Please consider attending the Board Orientation on Monday, Nov. 28 immediately following the 7 p.m. Financial Workshop at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.

The Board Orientation will provide helpful information for community members considering running for one of the four open Board seats in April 2017. 

The orientation will cover the school board election process, board member expectations and responsibilities, school board organization, school board meetings, school finances and school board governance.

Upcoming Board meetings:

- Policy Committee Meeting
Tuesday, Nov. 22
7 a.m.
Admin Service Center

F inancial Workshop and Board Orientation
Monday, Nov. 28
7 p.m.
Longfellow Center

- Hillcrest Building Tour & PTA Meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 30
6:30 p.m.
Hillcrest School

- Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee - Preliminary Planning
Tuesday, Dec. 6
7 a.m.
Admin Service Center

- Regular Meeting
Monday, Dec. 12
7 p.m.
Longfellow Center
Heads up:
Parent survey will open Nov. 28

District 58 annually asks parents to complete a School Environment Survey. Survey results help principals, teachers and administrators as they plan school improvement efforts.

This year's parent survey will be open from Monday, Nov. 28 through Friday, Dec. 16.

In addition, District 58 will also administer its student School Environment Survey for children in grades 3-5, as well as the state's 5Essentials Survey for teachers and students in grades 6-8. These surveys will be administered in school between Monday, Dec. 5 and Friday, Dec. 16.

Parents will receive an email with more information regarding these surveys on Monday, Nov. 28. This email will include a link to the parent survey, a link to the student survey questions, and a form that parents can complete if they want to opt their child out of the survey.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important survey!
Sign up for the Science Fair

Calling all young scientists! It's time to sign up for the 36th Annual Science Fair!

Registration is open now through Friday, Dec. 16 online. Please note: the registration prompts will ask you to sign in to your SQUIRREL account.

The Science Fair will take place Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 at O'Neill Middle School. Students in grades 1-8 may participate! 

Lester PTA holds Holly Days on Dec. 2

The Lester PTA invites the entire community to Holly Days on Friday, Dec. 2 from 3-8 p.m. at Lester School, 236 Indianapolis Ave.!

This ultimate holiday shopping event offers something for everyone, young and old. Local crafters and vendors will sell one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. Plus, enjoy pictures with Santa, mini manicures, the kids' gift shop, kid craft tables, holiday cookie bake sale, face painting, chili cookoff, food/refreshments, raffle prizes and much more! 

Flu safety

Fight the flu this winter! The CDC shares helpful everyday preventive actions that can help prevent flu.