Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 9 Issue 3
 November 2017
Camp Edwards

Camp Edwards is a 40-plus year tradition for Downers Grove District 58 sixth graders. Each fall, students embark on a three-day journey to explore the woods of East Troy, WI and learn more about ecology and the environment. They also gain social-emotional skills through team-building exercises. This year, we highlight trips by Fairmount, El Sierra, Highlands and Lester Schools.

Be a part of designing the future of District 58 schools

District 58 wants to hear from you! In January, parents, students, teachers, staff and community members will be invited to participate in interviews, focus groups and an online survey as part of the District's strategic planning process.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is the systematic process of envisioning the future we want for District 58, and translating that vision into goals or objectives. Strategic planning begins with the desired end and works backward to create the steps to reach that vision. District 58's Strategic Plan guides its decision making at every level, from the Board of Education to the classroom teacher.

Why should you get involved?

Whether you have children in District 58, are employed by District 58, or your tax dollars support District 58, you have a stake in the future of our schools. By sharing your thoughts about community values, district strengths and challenges and significant issues you think District 58 should address, you can play a part in shaping the plan that guides our schools into the future.

All of the 
input collected will be analyzed to inform goals and objectives of the district and to guide the district in planning for the future. The results will be presented to the Board of Education in spring and released to the public in a Strategic Plan report.
 To learn more, click   here .

Strong student achievement on MAP
District 58 students continue to show strong achievement and continue to be consistently above the national norms in both reading and math on fall NWEA-MAP assessments. "The results on the MAP reflect strong student academic achievement and show that our students are not only exceeding standards but continuing to grow and improve over time," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul.  District 58 student median achievement percentiles are at or above the 69th percentile for math and reading in grades 1-8 across the district; the national median percentile is 50.

At the District 58 Board of Education Curriculum Workshop Oct. 23, Sisul reported on MAP scores and other achievement data. He noted that the PARCC test results were not consistent with students' strong academic performance on MAP, despite both being aligned to Common Core State Standards. He referenced a 2016 study done by NWEA of over 23,000 Illinois students that shows a strong correlation between MAP and PARCC scores. The study noted that students who perform at about the 62nd-70th percentile or higher on the MAP, depending on their grade level, are likely to meet or exceed standards on the PARCC. 

The Board discussed reasons for the disparity and asked the administration to investigate this further with teachers and district administrators. Read more here
Calling young scientists!

Downers Grove Grade School District 58 seeks curious students to conduct creative experiments and present their discoveries at the 37th Annual Science Fair!
Science Fair registration runs from Friday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Dec. 22. Please register online .
The Science Fair will be held Jan. 20, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at O'Neill Middle School. The fair is open to all District 58 students in grades 1-8 who attend District 58 schools or whose family is a member of Downers Grove Friends of the Gifted and reside within District 58 boundaries. Click here for more information.
How District 58 notifies you about winter school closings

District 58 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 some or all of the following - local superintendents, the bus company and the police department - 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, or by 6 a.m.
Meredith Williams Foundation funds needed school projects and programs

Thanks to the Meredith Williams Foundation, our schools have more needed science and PE equipment and students were able to go on a Career Day field trip, among many other projects that have been funded. The foundation is led by two retired District 58 teachers, Jim and Pam Williams, and is named in memory of their daughter Meredith Williams, who died suddenly in 2010.

Recently, Jim Williams published a second photography book, Wisdom from the Wilderness. It features 150 of Williams' favorite photos alongside short essays about each image. Proceeds from the book will go entirely to the Meredith Williams Foundation, which benefits District 58 and Downers Grove area students and projects. The book is available at Anderson's Bookstore in Downers Grove and online.

Cross country and volleyball teams record stellar season
Eighth grade O'Neill runners captured First Place at conference.
Cross Country
The O'Neill Middle School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams all finished in the top three at the conference meet. Additionally, the eighth grade girls finished the season undefeated and took First Place at conference. In all, a total of 18 O'Neill runners earned ribbons for finishing in the Top 12 places of their race.
"They all worked hard this season to embrace the discomfort that comes with pushing past their comfort zone to make great personal gains," said Coach Barry Kincaid. The team also dealt with one of the most demanding season schedules, including meets with temperatures in the mid-90s.  
The seventh grade team took First Place at the conference meet.
Likewise, the Herrick Girls' Cross Country Team had a winning season. The seventh grade girls took First Place in all six meets against conference competition. They also took First Place in conference.
The eighth grade girls took Second Place at the conference meet.
The Herrick Boys Seventh Grade Team also finished strong with a First Place at the conference meet. Three of the runners finished the conference meet in the second, third and fourth place.
The eighth grade boys team finished the season in Second Place. "There were many strong leaders this year on our eighth grade team," said Coach Steven Gross. "Their hard work and positive attitude set the tone for the entire season."

In girls' volleyball at Herrick, both teams finished as regular season conference champs. In the DMV conference championship game, the seventh grade team lost to Westlake, but can be proud of a successful 11-1 season. The eighth grade team won the DMV conference tournament and is celebrating a two-year undefeated stretch at 24-0.
The eighth grade O'Neill volleyball team finished the season with a 9-3 record and made it to the championship game for the second year in a row. The seventh grade team finished the season 5-7. After winning their first round playoff game and advancing to the semi finals, they lost to Herrick, two games to one.
58 Doing Good
Kingsley pays tribute to veterans

Kingsley students welcomed veterans and active military for a special tribute concert on Veteran's Day. 

Many of our schools participated in activities to honor our active military and veterans. Kingsley School paid tribute to veterans with its third annual Veteran's Day Concert, inviting families and special guests who served in the military. The concert featured students singing the Star Spangled Banner, sixth graders performing a rhythmic cup routine to America The Beautiful and students performing a special medley featuring the official song of each branch of the military. "I was so proud of these students," said music teacher Jane Bouhuys.
Fairmount collects for food pantry

Fairmount collected more than 350 canned goods  during Red Ribbon Week. The drive was organized by the student council and donated to the Downers Grove FISH Pantry. At left are students working on sorting and boxing the donated food.
In Our Schools
Some eager listeners spur reading
Belle Aire students had some eager listeners during the school's recent LRC Family Night. Reading to the Dogs is sponsored by the PTA and has become a favorite tradition at Belle Aire. The program can boost reading fluency in children. Students often try more challenging books when they read to a pet, and also are more motivated to read at home. The animals are certified therapy dogs, owned by Belle Aire volunteers and Advocate Hospice.

STEM learning in 1st grade

Fairmount School first graders participated in some all-grade STEM activities recently.  Moving from station to station, they created sketches on paper and transferred those designs to a pumpkin using golf tees and string. At other stations, they created a picture from sticker art, read the book "Pumpkin Harvest," and solved math pumpkin problems. "Big STEM activities makes it fun and memorable for the students," said first grade teacher Alicia Micele.
Celebrating Red Ribbon Week 

Each District 58 school celebrated Red Ribbon Week with different themes and events to promote a drug-free lifestyle. Lester School held five days of activities, including wearing red, "teaming up against drugs" and showing that Lester "paws" don't touch drugs.

Community E-flyers
In this issue
Strategic Plan update
Students perform well on MAP
Kingsley honors Veterans
58 Doing Good
Belle Aire Fun Fair
STEM learning
Upcoming Board meetings
Board Briefs
District 58 on social media

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Upcoming Board meetings

Regular Board Meeting
Monday, Dec. 11
7 p.m.
Downers Grove Village Hall

Financial Workshop 
Monday, Nov. 27
7 p.m.
Highland School

BOE regular meeting - Oct. 10, 2017
The Board of Education held its regular October business meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Meeting highlights included:

- An update on the 1:1 learning program

- Approval of a facilitator for the Strategic Planning process 

- Discussion on enrollment planning

- Superintendent's report

- Business report

- Committee reports

The Board Briefs can be found here.

Foundation awards grants to teachers

Congratulations to this year's grant recipients! The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 has awarded 16 innovative grants totaling more than $10,000 to teachers this fall. Each grant supports innovative school projects that align with the District's curriculum and strategic goals.
"The quality of the grant applications was impressive," said Foundation Board member Karoline Kellam who facilitates the grants committee. "The Foundation is proud to help students and spur learning through these grants," she said.
The Foundation annually awards grants to teachers and staff who have inventive ideas for their classrooms and schools but lack funding to implement them. Teachers submit their grant applications in September, and the Foundation's Grants Committee completes a thorough and blind review of all grant proposals in early October. The Foundation selects projects that show strong potential to impact instruction using innovative tools and/or techniques, and selects those that impact the greatest number of students. Project proposals must align with the District's curriculum goals and have measurable outcomes, among other requirements. Congratulations to the following grant winners.

Bonfield Express donates to schools
All 13 schools in Downers Grove Grade School District 58 have benefitted from a donation this fall from the Bonfield Express Foundation. The local charity donated $1,000 to each school, which will be used for additional educational resources as well as to recognize students who display extra effort and citizenship.
"The Bonfield Express benefits every single one of our schools and truly makes a difference for our students," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli. "We very much appreciate their generosity," she said.
The Bonfield Express Foundation's major fundraising effort is the popular annual Bonfield Express 5K run on Thanksgiving morning. Read more here.

Here are upcoming dates:

Wednesday, Nov. 22 - Friday, Nov. 24
No School: Thanksgiving Break.

Monday, Nov. 27
No School: Teacher Institute Day

Health insurance enrollment information

Here is information for our families on signing up for health insurance. The enrollment window is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. DuPage County has trained staff to help in the process. Learn more  here. 


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.