Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 7 Issue 4
Monday, Oct. 19, 2015
The International Friends Project
Preschoolers quickly learn key academic skills while
discovering new countries and cultures

Know anyone who skis to school? Probably not, but students in Nancy Hildreth's preschool class do! As part of their International Friends Project, they recently invited Anders Singdahlsen, a Norwegian preschool parent, to visit their classroom.

"It was very different when I grew up in Norway," Singdahlsen told the preschoolers. "We skied everywhere. I sometimes even skied to school! When it got warm outside, some people would even ski in their swimsuits!"

Grove Children's Preschool teachers created the International Friends Project, a new program that integrates several key preschool lessons into one fun and exciting learning environment. They're piloting the program in Henry Puffer's preschool classrooms this year.
Education Foundation awards
21 grants to inspire ingenuity

Thanks to an Education Foundation grant, some students will learn coding skills with a Sphero robot.
Technology that encourages student ingenuity. Books that generate meaningful discussions. Activities that foster social-emotional learning.

These are just some of the themes represented among the 21 teacher grant projects that the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 awarded this school year. The Education Foundation selected these projects after completing a thorough and blind review of all grant proposals submitted to its Teacher Grants Program last month.
The Reading Games are coming!
Book lists out Oct. 19; Reserve a team Nov. 2

A reliable source reports that children all over Downers Grove are frantically calling and texting friends, forming groups with funny names and planning, this is not about Halloween trick-or-treating!  This is about The Reading Games 2016!  
Here's the scoop: The District will post the two book lists for The Reading Games on Monday, Oct. 19 online at  Take time to investigate the List 1 and List 2 books.

Team reservations will open on Monday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. on The Reading Games' Web page.  To reserve a team, a team parent needs to fill out the form with his/her contact information and indicate if the team will read List 1 or 2 books. That's it! Remember, we are limited to 90 teams so please make your reservation early. Questions? Please see The Reading Games Web page  and "Let the Books be in your Favor!"
School Spotlight
Herrick makes history by clinching cross country conference title
  O'Neill eighth grade girls finish strong

Herrick wins conference at all levels! Photo credit: Jill Henry
Congratulations to Herrick Middle School for making history by sweeping the cross country conference title! 
Herrick's seventh and eighth grade boys' and girls' cross country teams all took first place. This is the first time that all four Herrick cross country teams won the conference championship in the same season.
"The team was an extremely dedicated and hard working group of athletes with great eigth grade leadership during workouts," said Mary Lueck, one of Herrick's cross country coaches.
In addition, Herrick seventh grader Melissa Jachim placed first at the Franklin Invitational meet in Wheaton earlier this season. This elite meet invites the most talented runners to compete.
"Melissa's first place finish was a first in the history of Herrick's girls' team," Lueck added.
O'Neill Middle School also finished strong this season, with the eighth grade girls placing third in conference and eighth grader Kennedy Warden taking first place in the race. Congratulations!

Lester recognizes the DGPD

Lester students and staff celebrated Blue Balloon Day on Sept. 30 in honor of the Downers Grove Police Department. Blue Balloon Day is part of the "Blue Across the Nation" initiative, which honors law enforcement.

Lester surprised the police during their annual Lockdown Drill. Students decorated the school and wore blue. Student Council officers  read a statement thanking police for their bravery and service to the community. They also presented the officers with blue balloons and treats. Students and staff lined the halls and sidewalks to give the officers accolades and high fives.

Lt. Mike DeVries commented that he "was very honored to be a part of the celebration" and that "it was one of the coolest things he had ever experienced."
Rep. Roskam visits Pierce Downer

Congressman Peter Roskam visited Pierce Downer on Thursday, Oct. 15 to teach fourth, fifth and sixth graders about how a bill becomes a law. He creatively got all the students engaged and involved in his presentation! 

Authors encourage Hillcrest and Whittier  students to seek stories
Jennifer Nielson meets with Hillcrest students.
Brian Floca and Avi pose after their Whittier presentation.
"Everyone walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them." -Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game
Bestselling children's author Jennifer Nielson shared this powerful quote with Hillcrest fourth, fifth and sixth graders while she visited the school on Thursday, Oct. 8. She challenged the students to simply seek one good story idea each day, noting that this practice will one day pay off.
"Keep seeing the story ideas in your life. Find one every single day," she said. "If you do this, and if you keep writing, I would bet that there'd be at least one student here in this room who will become a famous writer."

Likewise, award-winning authors Avi and Brian Floca visited Whittier on Thursday, Oct. 15, during which they shared insights on writing and illustrating.

District celebrates International Walk/Bike to School Day

District 58 was among the thousands of school districts worldwide that joined the International Walk/Bike to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

"Thanks to our neighborhood schools, many of our students live close enough to enjoy a walk or bike ride to school," said Dr. Kari Cremascoli. "It is always great to see our sidewalks packed with students as they travel to school!"

Preschoolers visit The Farm

District 58 preschoolers enjoyed an exciting and educational field trip at The Farm in Westmont on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. The fun started with a bus ride from school to The Farm -- for most preschoolers, this marked their first ever bus ride! 
When they arrived, they were joined by parent volunteers, and together they joined a fall-related scavenger hunt, picked pumpkins and completed fall arts and crafts projects. They also weighed pumpkins and estimated how many pumpkin seeds were inside them. 

Board News
The Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Longfellow. Meeting highlights include a technology infrastructure update, superintendent's report, Hillcrest playground crowdfunding update and more.

The Board will hold a Curriculum Workshop on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.
Community e-flyers
E-flyer logo

New community e-flyers were posted  Thursday, Oct. 15  on the District 58 e-flyer page.  Click here to visit the page.  

Upcoming events geared specifically for families with special needs children:
  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 International Friends Project
Education Foundation awards 21 grants to inspire ingenuity
The Reading Games are coming!
Herrick makes history by clinching cross country conference title
Lester recognizes the DGPD
Rep. Roskam visits Pierce Downer
Authors encourage Hillcrest and Whittier students to seek stories
District celebrates International Walk/Bike to School Day
Preschoolers visit The Farm
Community e-flyers
Parent education meetings 10/19
Say "thanks" to your principal
Join the Teal Pumpkin Project
District 58 on social media

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Parent education meetings 10/19

Want to learn more about SQUIRREL, 1:1 learning, standards-based reporting and longitudinal reporting?Join  a parent informational meeting!

Parent Tech Support Meetings:
(Focus on SQUIRREL Portal and 1:1 in Learning) 
- Monday, Oct. 19 at 12:30 p.m. at Longfellow
- Monday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Herrick

Parent Learning, Assessment, & Reporting: 
(Focus on Standards-Based Learning & Longitudinal Reporting) 

- Monday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at Longfellow
- Monday, Oct. 19 7:30 p.m. at Herrick

Can't make it? The District will soon announce additional fall meeting dates.

Say "thanks" to your principal

Principal Appreciation Week is the week of Oct. 19-23. If you see your principal, make sure to say "thank you" for all the hard work he or she does.

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project

This Halloween, please consider having some non-food treats to share with children who may have food allergies.

Place a teal pumpkin outside. This signals that your home has something to offer children with food allergies.

Thank you! Learn more here.