Volume 12, Issue 18 | Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Throughout this publication, you will see the following color-coded dots accompanying each article. They represent which strategic goal the article addresses.

• Focusing on Learning • Connecting the Community • Securing the Future

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District 58 officially opens El Sierra playground!
District thanks PTA, Rep. Stava-Murray and State for support
El Sierra School formally opened its new playground during a dedication ceremony on Monday, May 10.

The school combined its PTA’s playground fundraising efforts with a $180,000 State of Illinois “Build Illinois Bond Fund” grant to fund the long-awaited project.

“Our El Sierra community has diligently fundraised and planned for a new playground, and I am so happy that our hard work has finally paid off with this beautiful playground. Our El Sierra students will enjoy this playground for years and years to come,” said El Sierra Principal Jason Lynde.

“I want to thank the Playground Committee Chair Jim Luebbe and the PTA for their support and hard work, Rep. Anne Stava-Murray for her advocacy, and the State for awarding us this grant! Additionally, I want to thank District 58 Director of Buildings and Grounds Kevin Barto for his leadership with this project, as well as the crews who worked hard to complete the playground’s construction months in advance,” he added.

Dr. David Norman appointed Herrick principal
The District 58 Board of Education appointed Dr. David Norman to serve as the new Herrick Middle School principal, effective July 1, 2021.

“Throughout the rigorous interview process, Dr. Norman demonstrated that he has a strong work ethic, is committed to creating an environment where all students can achieve and grow at the highest levels, and will collaborate with all stakeholders to build strong relationships," said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. "We are excited to welcome him onboard!”

Welcome to District 58, Dr. Norman! Click here to learn more about Dr. Norman.
District 58 shares key end-of-year and summer dates
District 58 reminds families of these important end-of-year dates:

The last day of school for grade 8 is Wednesday, June 9. It will be a regular day of school. The O'Neill Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony will be June 9 from 5-6 p.m., and the Herrick Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony will be June 9 from 7-8 p.m. Both ceremonies will take place on the Downers Grove North football field.

The last day of onsite school for preschool and kindergarten is Wednesday, June 9. Both preschool and kindergarten will participate in virtual events on Thursday, June 10. Schools will communicate specific event times/information.

The last day of school for grades 1-7 is Thursday, June 10. It is a half day. Grades 1-6 will dismiss at 11:30 a.m., and grade 7 will dismiss at 11:45 a.m.

Schools offices will be closed for the summer from June 16 through July 30. School offices will reopen on Monday, Aug. 2.

District 58 administrative offices will be open through the summer. However, from June 14-July 30, District offices will follow a summer schedule and be open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed on Fridays.
2021-22 remote instruction application available for students with medical exemptions
It is clear from communication coming from the state superintendent, Dr. Carmen I. Ayala, that the recommendation for the fall of 2021-22 is that all schools in the State of Illinois return to full in-person learning. This is the intent of District 58 as well. Unlike this year where remote instruction was available as a part of our standard educational offering and required by the Illinois State Board of Education for anyone who requested it, this will not be the case moving forward. 
If you believe that your child may be eligible for a medical exemption requiring remote instruction for the 2021-22 school year as outlined below, it will be important that we work together to discern what those needs are. Please fill out this survey no later than Friday, May 28 to let the District know what you anticipate. Additional questions may be directed to the Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, Jessica Stewart at 630-719-5823 or jstewart@dg58.org.
Identified areas of exemption include:
  • Student has a medical condition that places him/her at increased risk of serious illness.
  • Student has special health care needs.
  • Student lives with person/people at increased risk of serious illness.
iPad and Chromebook collection information coming soon
Early next month, schools will collect student iPads and Chromebooks for the summer. District 58 will email more information to families the first week of June, but please be prepared to turn in your child's device.

Elementary students will return their iPad, case, keyboard (grades 3-6), charging block and charging cable. Middle school students will turn in their Chromebook and charger.
Wear red for Retiree Day on Friday, May 21!
District 58 and the Downers Grove Elementary Education Association (DGEEA) have declared Friday, May 21 “Retiree Day,” a day to celebrate this year’s District 58 retirees!

We invite all students and staff to wear the color red in support of our retirees on May 21. In addition, schools will recognize retirees on this day in a variety of small ways, and the DGEEA and School Board will send retirees small gifts. The District and DGEEA will also publish a celebratory retiree video.

DGEEA names Indian Trail's Kristy Hopkins the Teacher of the Year
Last week, the Downers Grove Elementary Education Association named Indian Trail Kindergarten Teacher Kristy Hopkins the 2021 Teacher of the Year! Mrs. Hopkins was nominated by colleague, Christina Forzley, who commended Mrs. Hopkins on her ability to nurture a positive, child-centered learning environment.

Congratulations, Mrs. Hopkins! View a two-minute video celebrating Mrs. Hopkins as the Teacher of the Year.
Laura DiPietro and Jac Steele win 2021 Distinguished Service Award
The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 proudly awarded its 2021 Distinguished Service Awards to Hillcrest Development Learning Program Teacher Laura DiPietro and Pierce Downer Custodian Jac Steele on Thursday, May 6.

This award program annually invites community members to nominate District 58 employees who exceed expectations and serve as inspirations to their community. Two winners are chosen each year: one teacher and one non-teaching staff member.

This year, 25 District 58 staff members earned DSA nominations. Congratulations to Ms. DiPietro, Mr. Steele and all District 58 DSA nominees!

El Sierra Interventionist Amanda Zimolzak wins Excellence in Elementary Mathematics Teaching Award
The Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics presented its 2021 Excellence in Elementary Mathematics Teaching Award to Amanda Zimolzak, an El Sierra interventionist. Ms. Zimolzak will be recognized formally during the Council's conference in October.

This award is annually given to a highly motivated and effective elementary mathematics teacher.

Congratulations, Ms. Zimolzak!

Art Teacher Jon Belonio will present at global Green Screen Summit
Jon Belonio, a District 58 art teacher, was asked to present at the global Green Screen Summit this summer! This virtual summit will feature 20 experts worldwide, who will present on various green screen tools and techniques. Mr. Belonio is well-known in Downers Grove for his creative uses of the green screen, both in the classroom and out!

Congrats on this opportunity, Mr. Belonio! Learn more about the Green Screen Summit.
Give the gift of a Green Apple Award
The Education Foundation invites the community to honor a special District 58 teacher or staff member with a Green Apple donation! With each donation you make, the Education Foundation will send a specially-designed Green Apple Award card to the teacher or staff member you are honoring, with a custom message from you. All cards will be hand delivered by Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell or the school principal. Learn more.

2021-22 Band and Orchestra registration is open through June 1
Third, fourth and fifth grade families: Is your child interested in joining Band or Orchestra next school year? Please make sure you have registered for Beginning Band or Orchestra by Tuesday, June 1!

Relatedly, District 58's Instrumental Music Program has enjoyed a busy spring! View video links to three of their major performances below.

(Featured photo taken pre-COVID)

"We are excited to show all the work and progress we have made this year in our Band, Choir, and Orchestra programs and hope you will enjoy watching it at home with friends and family," said Orchestra Director Julie Spring.

This performance includes District 58 sixth, seventh and eighth graders performing in "Greater Than!" It also includes three soloists, all District 58 orchestra program alumni.

District 58's Band gave this 2.5 minute performance earlier this year. Not only did our Band students do a great job, the video features a wide variety of musical instruments used in our program!
The Board of Education held a regular Board meeting on Monday, May 10 that featured a spotlight on 2021-22 enrollment/staffing, a resolution that authorized the sale of the Longfellow Center, and more. View the Board Briefs.

The Board will hold a regular business meeting on Monday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at Downers Grove Village Hall. The meeting agenda will be posted on BoardDocs on Friday, June 11.
District 99 donates 28 Pantry Packs to help District 58 families in need
District 99 students, in partnership with local community groups, recently fundraised, prepared and packed more than 150 Pantry Packs. Pantry Packs are part of the Feed6 program, a nonprofit that helps individuals and groups distribute food to people in need in their local communities.

Last week, District 99 delivered 28 of the Pantry Packs to District 58, to forward on to families in need. Each pack contains 22 servings of nutritious dried food goods.

Thank you, District 99, for your donations!
Community e-flyers
Four COVID-19 updates that affect District 58
As the school year winds down, District 58 wants to provide four COVID-related reminders. We previously shared some of this information, but thought it would be helpful to compile the most recent updates in one place for your reference!

1. District 58 is committed to opening the 2021-22 school year as "normal" as possible. District 58 will follow all State health protocols while maximizing instruction and minimizing educational disruptions. As shared earlier in this newsletter, Illinois State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala declared that, starting next school year, all schools must provide full in-person learning for all students, provided that remote instruction is available for students not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine AND who are under a quarantine. The Illinois State Board of Education will vote on a resolution supporting Ayala's declaration today. Unless State COVID-19 protocols change, the District intends to follow a typical school day schedule, offer extracurricular activities, and resume OKEEP. When District 58 receives more definitive 2021-22 guidance from the State, we will promptly communicate with our community. District 58 will offer remote instruction to students who have a medical exemption. If your child qualifies for a medical exemption and would prefer to participate in remote learning next school year, please fill out this survey by May 28.

2.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that schools continue to follow all current COVID-19 prevention strategies -- including mask wearing -- for the duration of the 2020-21 school year. District 58 will continue to follow the CDC's guidance.

3.District 58 reopened its playgrounds for student use yesterday! Principals and staff collaborated to stagger playground time, students cleaned their hands before and after playground play, and custodial staff routinely cleaned playground equipment.

4.District 58 encourages students ages 12-and-up to get their COVID-19 vaccine! Please read this message to learn how to sign up for an upcoming vaccination clinic, courtesy of local school districts 99 and 86.
May 10-28
Spring Benchmark Assessments (MAP and AIMSweb)

Monday, May 31
Memorial Day - No School

Tuesday, June 1
Band and Orchestra registration is due

Friday, June 4
Summer School Session IV registration is due
Downers Grove Grade School District 58, 1860 63rd St., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Community Relations Office: 630-719-5805 I mhewitt@dg58.org | www.dg58.org