Volume 13, Issue 8 | Wednesday, Nov. 17, 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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Happy American Education Week, District 58!
Recognize an exceptional staff member with a Green Apple Award
In honor of American Education Week, the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 invites the community to thank a special teacher or staff member with a donation to its Green Apple Teacher/Staff Recognition Program.

With each Green Apple donation received, the Education Foundation will send a specially-designed Green Apple Award card to the teacher or staff member the donation is honoring, with a custom message from the donor. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell and/or the building principal will hand deliver the awards. All donations will support the Education Foundation’s programs.

Mark your calendar! There's no school Nov. 24-26
District 58 reminds families that the District office and schools will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 24-Friday, Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving break. School will resume on Monday, Nov. 29.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

District 58 shares winter weather school closing procedures
If inclement winter weather prompts District 58 to close its schools and facilities, the District will notify families and staff as soon as possible using a variety of communication tools. Extreme weather is very unpredictable, and the decision to close schools is typically not able to be made until the morning of the event. District 58 will only send a message if schools will be closed. Otherwise, the day will proceed as usual.

The next few issues of Communicate 58 will each feature one frequently asked question regarding District 58's winter weather procedures.

Visit the Winter Weather Procedures webpage to view all winter weather FAQs, including:

  1. Will students have a "snow day" or an e-learning day during bad weather?
  2. How does District 58 communicate emergency closure information?
  3. How does District 58 decide whether to close its school buildings due to weather?
  4. When would schools cancel outdoor recess due to weather?
  5. How does District 58 prepare the grounds for inclement weather?
  6. How can I prepare for winter weather in Downers Grove?
Three COVID-19 updates for District 58 families
1. No COVID screening next week
District 58's weekly COVID-19 screening program will not be offered next week (the week of Nov. 22), due to the abbreviated holiday schedule. The District's Health Office staff will provide symptomatic and test-to-stay testing on Nov. 22-23. The screening program will resume on Monday, Nov. 29.

2. Bundle up! Bus windows will stay open in winter
To decrease the number of students required to quarantine at home for 10-14 days due to being a close contact, District 58 will keep bus windows cracked open though the winter. If your children are bus riders, please ensure they are dressed for cold weather.

Buses will keep windows open in response to joint guidance recently released from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education. The guidance says that when a student bus rider tests positive, fellow bus riders who were 3-6 feet from the infected student will not require exclusion if both the positive case and the close contact were consistently masked AND the windows were opened or HEPA filters were in use.

3. Families are invited to submit their child's vaccination card to school office
District 58 invites families to voluntarily share an electronic image of their child’s vaccination card with their school's health office. Providing proof of vaccination is not required. However, current CDC guidance excuses fully vaccinated individuals from having to quarantine unless symptomatic.

If your child is a close contact, having the vaccination card on hand will expedite the school’s investigation process. Copies of proof of vaccination will be kept in each student’s individual health file and treated in the same way as all health records.
District 58 is hiring substitute instructional assistants!
Board of Education increases substitute IA pay rate
District 58 is hiring substitute instructional assistants. Instructional assistants perform a variety of tasks to support classroom instruction. This substitute position is great for parents with children in school, since the hours are similar to school hours.

This month, the District 58 Board of Education increased the pay rate for substitute instructional assistants to $90 per day, or $45 per half-day. Learn more, including application instructions, at www.dg58.org/subs.
Want to help families in need? Join the new Helping Hands program
District 58 is very fortunate to have many generous individuals, families and organizations within our community. Over the years, District 58 has received various community donations to help families in need, and we are always incredibly grateful for this support. Community members often ask us what we need and how they can help us support families who are struggling.

We are happy to launch the new District 58 Helping Hands program! The Helping Hands program is simply a database of community members who are willing to be contacted when a need arises, on a no obligation basis. The database will be split into two categories: individuals/families and organizations/groups. When a small need arises, we will contact people on the “individuals/families” list, and when a large need arises, we will contact people in the “organizations/groups” list.

For example, if a new student starts school in December, and his family cannot afford a winter coat, we might reach out to someone on the “individuals/families” list to see if they can donate a new coat. In the summer, we would reach out to several members of our “organizations/groups” list to coordinate school supply donations for all of our students in need. Through this program, all student identities will remain private, and donors will not know who will receive their donation.

Please note: this is a no obligation program; if you join and we contact you, you are under no obligation to agree to make a donation. This program simply gives us permission to reach out!

If you or your organization would like to join, please fill out the Helping Hands signup form. Please contact Megan Hewitt at mhewitt@dg58.org or 630-719-5805 if you have any questions.
Thank you, vaccine clinic volunteers!
Last week, District 58 asked families and staff to consider volunteering at the upcoming community vaccination clinics. We are happy to share that more than 50 community members signed up, which will cover every shift!

District 58 thanks everyone who signed up to volunteer! We will contact everyone with their volunteer shift and assignment today.
District 58 will hold equity focus groups
District 58 sent all families information about upcoming equity focus groups and surveys on Monday, Nov. 15. Learn more here. Want to get involved? Fill out the equity focus group interest form here.
View our emergency preparedness resources
Have questions about emergency preparedness in District 58? The District's Emergency Preparedness webpage contains helpful infographics regarding how the District prepares, communicates and responds to school emergencies.
Reminder: District 58's admin offices moved!
Last month, District 58 moved to a new administrative office! The District Office is located at 2300 Warrenville Road, Suite 200NE, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Office hours continue to be Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
A look at Fairmount's Veterans Day celebration
World War II veteran Jacob Pollack has visited Fairmount's sixth grade classrooms for the past 20 years. Last week on Veterans Day, Fairmount sixth graders had the privilege of meeting the 95-year-old Pollack at Fairmount in honor of Veterans Day. Principal Lisa Niforatos and Sixth Grade Teacher Kathryn Chick led an all-school ceremony over the PA system, live from Ms. Chick's classroom. Students in all grades also talked about Veterans Day and the importance of celebrating and thanking our brave American veterans.

On behalf of District 58, thank you, veterans, for your service and sacrifice!
Three Herrick cross country teams clinch conference title
Both Herrick and O'Neill's cross country teams finish the season strong!
Congratulations to Herrick and O'Neill's cross country teams on a fantastic 2021 season!

Herrick's seventh grade girls, seventh grade boys and eighth grade girls cross country teams all won the conference championship! Herrick's eighth grade boys team came in second place.

O'Neill's seventh and eighth grade girls team came in second place, and O'Neill seventh and eighth grade boys team took third. There are six teams in the conference. Great job, student athletes! Photo credit: Julie Chen
Highland shares school highlights at School Board meeting
Highland Principal Zac Craft shared this five-minute video with the Board of Education last week, highlighting Highland's school improvement process, recent curriculum implementations, school celebrations and more!

View the video to learn more about Highland School.
November Board Briefs
The Nov. 8 Board of Education business meeting featured a tax levy public hearing, a Highland presentation (pictured), and a discussion on defining student success and strategic planning.

Looking ahead
The Board of Education will hold its December business meeting on Monday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at O'Neill Middle School. Please note: this meeting combined the facilities workshop and regular business meeting and is being held one week earlier than typical business meetings. The agenda will be posted on BoardDocs on Friday, Dec. 3.
How to access Board meeting video
Did you know that District 58 livestreams all Board of Education business meetings and workshops and posts the meetings online?

Save the date: The Reading Games will return April 23!
District 58 is happy to announce that The Reading Games will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at O’Neill Middle School. Registration will open soon, so begin to form your teams now!

The Reading Games is a free and fun reading competition for District 58 students in grades 3-8. The mission of the Reading Games is to encourage reading; expose kids to different genres, series, authors and topics; and foster teamwork and responsibility. All this occurs as teams of five to eight kids, led by a parent or other volunteer community member, prepare for a fun competitive day of book trivia! The Reading Games is a community-led and Education Foundation-supported program. Click here to learn more. Click here to visit The Reading Games's website.
Meredith Williams Foundation supports District 58 students
Retired O'Neill teacher Jim Williams publishes third book; all proceeds will benefit Meredith Williams Foundation
$250 for art supplies. $300 for social work supplies. $500 for jump ropes. These are just a few of the most recent donations that the Meredith Williams Foundation provided District 58. 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.

Mr. Williams recently published his third photography and writing book, “Searching for Sweet Home: The Goodness Before Your Eyes.” The Meredith Williams Foundation is funded primarily by proceeds from Jim Williams’ books; all proceeds from this book will support the foundation, which in turn benefits District 58 schools and other area programs.

Click here to learn more about the Meredith Williams Foundation, including how to purchase your own copy of "Searching for Sweet Home."

Thank you, Jim and Pam Williams, for your incredible support of District 58!
Reminder: New Grove Express 5K will benefit District 58
As shared in the last Communicate 58, District 58 thanks the Bonfield Express, a local charity, for donating $1,000 to each of its 13 schools this year. District 58 is fortunate to have incredible community partners like the Bonfield Express here in District 58! After 17 successful years, the Bonfield Express has retired its Bonfield Express 5K race. Fortunately, the Thanksgiving Day Downers Grove race tradition will continue! Three local nonprofits -- including the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 -- collaborated to establish the new Grove Express 5K race.

Community e-flyers
Friday, Nov. 19
End of first trimester

Wednesday, Nov. 24-Friday, Nov. 26
Thanksgiving break - No school

Monday, Nov. 29
School resumes

Thursday, Dec. 2
7 p.m. Southside 4th/5th Grade Orchestra Concert at O'Neill

Downers Grove Grade School District 58
2300 Warrenville Road, Suite 200NE, Downers Grove, IL 60515
Community Relations Office: 630-719-5805 I mhewitt@dg58.org | www.dg58.org