Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Vol. 7 Issue 3
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015
"We are building a community to make our school a better place"

Sixth graders and kindergartners sit together at lunchtime at Indian Trail.

The bell rings, signaling the start of lunchtime at Indian Trail. But you wouldn't know it. The usual chaos that often accompanies the start of lunch - children running to the cafeteria, yelling to their friends - is gone. Instead, students walk calmly, smiling, using their inside voices to chat with those around them.  
What happened?  It's a remarkably easy answer: the Indian Trail Lunch Buddies Program.

Attend a parent education meeting
Learn about SQUIRREL, longitudinal reporting

Have questions regarding the District's new SQUIRREL system? Curious to learn more about longitudinal reporting? Please consider attending one of District 58's upcoming parent education meetings!

Parent Tech Support Meetings: 
(Focus on SQUIRREL Portal and 1:1 Learning)
Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. at Longfellow
Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Herrick
Monday, Oct. 19 at 12:30 p.m. at Longfellow
Monday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Herrick

Parent Learning, Assessment and Reporting Meetings: 
(Focus on Standards-Based Learning & Longitudinal Reporting)
Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. at Longfellow
Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Herrick
Monday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at Longfellow
Monday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Herrick

Parents may also view the meeting presentations at the links below. Please note: these presentations are best understood with additional context during the parent meetings. 

District 58 earns four state-wide communication awards

The Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association awarded District 58 with two Awards of Excellence, its highest honor, and two Awards of Merit. The awards recognized state-wide communication achievement from the 2014-15 school year.


Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt

- Communicate 58

Award of Excellence for Electronic Newsletters


- "Hillcrest's Partners in Art program spurs creativity"

Award of Excellence for Writing 

- "Distinguished Service Award winners inspired each other"

Award of Merit for Writing

- Winter SAMRI Teacher Camp 

Award of Merit for Video (less than 10 minutes) 


Parent emergency preparedness

District 58 recently shared information with parents regarding the District's safety drills: fire, tornado and lockdown drills.  While it is very unlikely that a major emergency will occur at school, the District encourages families to be prepared. Here are some tips to help:

Get prepared:
  • Keep your child's information up-to-date. This ensures that the District can contact you during an emergency. This also lets your school know who has permission to pick up your child.
  • Follow the rules. When you visit your child's school, always first stop at the front desk to sign in and get a visitor's pass.
  • Talk to your child. Use age-appropriate language to describe the importance of safety drills in preparing for the highly unlikely event of an emergency. Stress the importance of remaining calm and listening to the teacher or trusted staff member in charge during a drill or an actual emergency.
  • Create a family plan. School safety drills complement home safety drills. If you haven't already, create a family preparedness plan. The Village of Downers Grove offers good resources on family preparedness.
If an emergency takes place:
  • Keep informed.  Depending on the crisis, District 58 will send emails, texts and voice messages district-wide informing parents of updates. If a situation merits early dismissal, please be aware in case you need to arrange a pickup for your child.
  • Avoid calling or driving to school. If there is a crisis, the school will likely be in "lockdown" mode and you will not have immediate access to your child. Clogging the phone lines may hinder other important emergency response calls from getting through. In addition, heavy vehicle traffic near school can delay access for emergency vehicles.
  • Go to your school's alternate site.  All schools have an alternate site that may be used as shelters for students or gathering places for parents in an emergency.  Alternate site locations are not announced in advance because locations may change based on the incident.  Parents will be notified as soon as possible when the alternate location has been determined.
Employee Spotlight
Craig Kubinski and Mark Larsen: They keep Pierce Downer pristine

There's never a dull moment for Craig Kubinski and Mark Larsen, and they like it that way. The duo has served as Pierce Downer's custodians for a combined 45 years (Kubinski for 35 years, Larsen for 10). They oversee a wide variety of tasks to ensure that the school looks its best possible.
"Craig and Mark each have a personal sense of dedication to our students, staff and the building as a whole," said Pierce Downer Principal Justin Sisul. "They take pride in their work, and it is reflected throughout our school not only in cleanliness and quality but in the relationships they have built with staff, students and the entire Pierce Downer community." 
Twice per shift, the custodians complete general cleaning tasks throughout the school. They lead groundskeeping, minor maintenance and preventative maintenance. Regular tasks range from changing light bulbs to cleaning the gutters and roof, and many other jobs in between. Often, they get presented with unexpected tasks, such as spill and mess cleanups.
"It keeps us on our toes," Larsen, the night custodian, said.
When students and teachers leave for the summer, both custodians remain, already preparing for the school year ahead.
"Going from working with 400 people to three is strange. The challenges of summer cleaning kick in, and it's like working a different job," Kubinski, head custodian, says, recalling how he and Larsen carefully wash all furniture, wax the floors and complete a deep clean of the entire inside and outside of the school.
In his 35 years at Pierce Downer, Kubinski has witnessed thousands of students pass through the school's doors.
"Seeing so many kids grow up and become productive citizens is what I like most about District 58," Kubinski says. "Tons of parents were also students here."
School Spotlight
Running for a good cause:
PTAs host fun runs

Friends and family cheer on Lester's Fun Run participants on Sept. 27. Photo credit: Nicole Vermolen.

Many District 58 PTAs enjoy fall traditions that range from fall festivals to pumpkin carving to fun runs. This photo gallery will spotlight some of this year's PTA Fun Runs. Currently featured schools include Lester, Whittier and Kingsley.
Have photos from your child's school's Fun Run? Email them to for possible inclusion in this gallery!
Teachers collaborate and learn on School Improvement Day

District 58 teachers and staff participated in a variety of professional development and learning opportunities during the School Improvement Day Sept. 24. 
"Thursday's half-day of school provided teachers with an additional half-day of professional time for data-teaming, instructional planning, school improvement efforts and professional development," said Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli.
In addition to this professional time on Thursday afternoon, last month the District developed additional professional development and training for teachers related to math longitudinal reporting, SQUIRREL, differentiation and instructional reporting.

"Today was incredibly beneficial," said El Sierra sixth grade teacher Danielle Mimbs. "We completed a deep-dive into the new SQUIRREL system, and I feel much more confident navigating it now."
Biliteracy students share customs for Mexican Heritage Month

Students in District 58's Biliteracy Program recently shared their customs and traditions with students at Kingsley in honor of Mexican Heritage Month. The kindergarten, first and second grade students performed traditional Mexican songs and dance, and shared some information about Mexico's history. They ended the program inviting the student body to join them in dance!

Herrick band performs with DGN

Herrick Middle School band members enjoyed the unique opportunity to perform with the Downers Grove North High School, Jefferson Junior High and Westview Hills Middle School bands at Downers Grove North on Friday, Sept. 18. View their fantastic combined performance here!
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
"We are building a community to make our school a better place"
Attend a parent education meeting
District 58 earns four state-wide communication awards
Parent emergency preparedness
Craig Kubinski and Mark Larsen: They keep Pierce Downer pristine
Running for a good cause
Teachers collaborate and learn on School Improvement Day
Biliteracy students share customs for Mexican Heritage Month
Herrick band performs alongside DGN
Community e-flyers
District 58 on social media

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