Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 7 Issue 5
Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015
District 58 celebrates the fall!
Schools host Halloween and fall festivities  

Kingsley biliteracy students build a scarecrow (upper left); El Sierra kindergarteners enjoy a healthy Halloween snack (upper right); Highland parades to Peace Memorial Manor (bottom).

District MAP scores continue to climb, summer regression declines

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Matt Rich shared exciting news during last week's Curriculum Workshop: While the national norms have dipped, District 58 MAP results have consistently improved since the District first administered the MAP in 2011. Plus, summer regression declined for many grade levels this fall.

Dr. Rich attributes some of these summer regression improvements to the District's extra emphasis on summer learning.  Last school year, District leaders noticed that  many students' scores decreased in the early fall. To combat this, the District introduced several summer learning expectations and opportunities. 

Dr. Rich also noted patterns in the District's MAP testing results. For example, he pointed out how the median kindergartener enters District 58 at about the 70th percentile in mathematics, but by third grade, the median falls closer to the national mean. The median student again improves to about the 70th percentile in middle school. Median MAP scores for reading remain more consistent from grade to grade.

In analyzing the mathematics data, District 58 hopes that through an increased focus on differentiated instruction, students can achieve the same growth gains in math that are consistently realized in reading.

Bonfield Express donates $13,000 
Donation rewards summer learning, good citizenship

The Bonfield Express, a local foundation, donated $1,000 to each District 58 school to show its support for summer learning achievement and good student citizenship.

"Thanks to the Bonfield Express's generosity, our schools have additional means to recognize and celebrate students who continued to read and practice math during the summer, as well as students who demonstrate good citizenship within our school communities during the school year," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli.

Several District 58 schools already put the donation funding to good use: For instance, El Sierra hosted a Welcome Back to School assembly that recognized student summer learning, and Hillcrest and Henry Puffer's principals individually visited every classroom and handed out small prizes to students who participated in a form of summer learning. Meanwhile, O'Neill presents small Dairy Queen certificates to the Senator of the Week for good citizenship , and Kingsley awards small prizes to students who complete service work.

Learn more about the Bonfield Express, including their upcoming Bonfield Express Run, at
District's tech infrastructure is strong

Director of Innovative Technology and Learning James Eichmiller shared a technology infrastructure update during the Oct. 13 Board meeting. 

  • District has access to a combined 1,100 megabytes/sec from three Internet lines
  • District's bandwidth usage rarely exceeds 40 percent
  • Fall MAP testing did not strain the bandwidth
  • District uses three Internet lines to provide redundancy in case a technical issue arises
  • District recently upgraded its firewall and replaced most wireless access points
District 58 alumni play in local band opening for celeb Drake Bell today

Local band Clear Confusion comprises current District 99 high schoolers and District 58 alumni Fredo, Griffin and Colin.

The band will open for Drake Bell, the star of Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh" at a concert at the Tivoli Theatre TODAY - Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. 

Support your District 58 alumni and check out the show!
Video Spotlight
Girls' volleyball 2015 recap:
Herrick volleyball wins conference, O'Neill places in top 3

This short video captures highlights from the Oct. 26 Herrick vs. O'Neill eighth grade championship volleyball game.
Herrick's seventh grade and eighth grade girls' volleyball teams both won the conference championship this season! Even more impressive, the seventh grade girls maintained a 12-0 record, while the eighth grade girls finished with a two-year record of 26-0!
"I attribute our success not only to the teams' athletic talent and many hours of practice time, but also because we always had fun!  The girls truly are friends both on and off the court!" said Christy Greenblatt, Herrick's eighth grade girls' head volleyball coach.
O'Neill also finished the year strong, with its eighth grade girls taking second place in conference after a well-played 3-game match versus Herrick. O'Neill's seventh grade girls finished in third place in conference.
"The best part of coaching that group of girls was watching them progress throughout the season," said Bev West, O'Neill's eighth grade girls' volleyball coach. "They had a tremendous work ethic, and their enthusiasm and love for the game was contagious. It was a pleasure coaching them."
Christy Greenblatt and Stacey Probert coach Herrick's eighth grade team. Collin Konny coaches Herrick's seventh grade team. Bev West coaches O'Neill's eighth grade team, and Dustin Moore coaches O'Neill's seventh grade team.

Click here to read a Q&A with Herrick's eighth grade head coach Christy Greenblatt. She shares what made the team so successful these past two years.

Click here to view photos from the seventh and eighth grade conference championship games.
58 Doing Good
Whittier and Hillcrest incorporate service into One Book One School

A family talks to a service organization during Whittier's Kindness-Palooza.
The Whittier and Hillcrest communities recently wrapped up successful One Book One School programs by hosting service events that exemplify the themes present in their school's book.
Whittier School jointly read "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio, a book that involves kindness, empathy and understanding. 
Whittier culminated reading "Wonder" together by hosting a Kindness-Palooza on Nov. 2 at Whittier. 
Meanwhile, Hillcrest School jointly read "Crenshaw" by Katherine Applegate, a book that explores poverty and hunger in ways that children can understand. Hillcrest capped off the program with a school-wide food drive to support FISH Food Pantry. 

Read more about Whittier's Kindness-Palooza and Hillcrest's Food Drive on 58 Doing Good.

Employee Spotlight
Meet Rebekah Sorensen,
new LRC teacher at Highland School

Highland's new Learning Resource Center (LRC) teacher, Rebekah Sorensen, didn't always plan to be a school librarian, but you wouldn't know it. She exhibits incredible passion for libraries, books, reading, writing and research. She hopes to nurture her own students' passion for reading as well this school year.

Learn more about Miss Sorensen and how she became an LRC teacher. Plus, find out about the great work she's doing in the Highland LRC in this month's  Employee Spotlight feature story!
School Spotlight
District students selected to perform at the ILMEA Music Fest
  26 Herrick and O'Neill musicians will participate

District 58 proudly announces that 26 Herrick and O'Neill students will perform in the Illinois Music Educators Association's (ILMEA) District 1 Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Lockport Township High School, 1333 E. 7th St., Lockport. 

This annual festival features student musicians selected by audition from schools throughout the southwest suburbs. The 150-member band, 100-piece orchestra and 150-member choir will unite for a special public Festival Finale Concert at 3 p.m. in Lockport's east campus gymnasium. All are welcome to attend! Admission costs $5. Children under 6 will be admitted for free.

In addition, one student was also accepted into the 2015 ILMEA Jazz Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Downers Grove North.

Congratulations to District 58 students selected to perform in the District 1 Music Festival and the Jazz Festival! 

Belle Aire embarks on semi-annual "Reading to the Dogs" LRC Night

Meet the perfect reading companion. She's a good listener. He's cute and cuddly. They will never judge or critique you if you mispronounce a word. But, just make sure not to read them books with the words "dinner," "squirrel" or "want to go on a walk?" They might get a little excited. That's right, we're talking about dogs!
The Belle Aire LRC and PTA hosted its seventh semi-annual "Reading to the Dogs" event on Tuesday, Oct. 27 in the evening. Second and third graders stopped by to read books to six certified therapy dogs and their owners. 

Red Ribbon Week in District 58
Ms. Hamilton's students celebrate Red Ribbon Week at O'Neill.

District 58 students showed their commitment to a healthy, drug-free life during Red Ribbon Week, from Oct. 26-30. 
Each school celebrated Red Ribbon Week in different ways. Many hosted themed spirit days with an anti-drug theme, and others invited students to sign a "drug-free" pledge.

Highlights from Camp Edwards

Each fall, District 58 sixth graders depart on three-day journeys to explore the great outdoors: Camp Edwards in East Troy, Wis.  Part of the District's outdoor education curriculum, sixth graders visit Camp Edwards to learn more about ecology, geology and the environment. They also gain important social-emotional learning skills through team building exercises.
"The weather has been great, and the kids all seem to be having fun!" said Lester parent volunteer Dan Gowen about his Camp Ed parent volunteer experience. 
Belle Aire invites special guests to One Book One School program

Belle Aire students and staff collaborated on one of their biggest and most exciting
Special guest Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli reads to students.
One Book One School activities ever this fall! The school read "MVP: Magellan Voyage Project" by Douglas Evans, a thriller about a 12-year-old boy who travels around the world with $4 million in prize money at stake. 
Each Monday, a very special guest would visit Belle Aire and read the book to students during lunch recess. Guests included Mayor Martin Tully, Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Matt Rich and Librarian Diane Jakosz from the Downers Grove Public Library. The final guest speaker was the author, Douglas Evans, himself! Since he lives in Berkeley, Calif., he Skyped with students instead.

Evans gave the students writing advice and told them that a very famous author personally inspired him to start writing. 

Board News
The Board of Education held a Curriculum Workshop on Monday, Oct. 26 at Herrick. View an overview of the Curriculum Workshop here.

The Board will hold a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.
Community e-flyers
E-flyer logo
  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
District 58 celebrates the fall!
District MAP scores continue to climb, summer regression declines
Bonfield Express donates $13,000
District's tech infrastructure is strong
District 58 alumni play in local band opening for celeb Drake Bell today
Video spotlight: Girls' volleyball 2015 recap
Whittier and Hillcrest incorporate service into One Book One School
Meet Rebekah Sorensen, new LRC teacher at Highland
District students selected to perform at the ILMEA Music Fest
Belle Aire embarks on semi-annual "Reading to the Dogs" LRC Night
Red Ribbon Week in District 58
Highlights from Camp Edwards
Belle Aire invites special guests to One Book One School program
Board news
Community e-flyers
District continues parent education series
Register for parent-teacher conferences online by Nov. 6
Celebrate American Education Week!

District continues parent education series

Want to learn more about SQUIRREL, 1:1 learning, standards-based reporting and longitudinal reporting?Come to  a Parent Learning, Assessment and Reporting Mechanism meeting!

All meetings take place at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.

- Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 6:30-8 p.m.

- Monday, Nov. 30 from 1-2:30 p.m.

- Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 6:30-8 p.m.

- Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 6:30-8 p.m.

Register for parent-teacher conferences online by Nov. 6

Online parent-teacher conference registration will close on Friday, Nov. 6, so be sure to sign up today, if you have not already!

If you have questions, please contact the Help Desk at or 630-719-2768.

Celebrate American Education Week!

American Education Week, Nov. 16-20, recognizes public education in the United States. It also honors the teachers and staff who prepare the nation's children to lead the next generation. 

Learn more about American Education Week.
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