Volume 12, Issue 14 | Wednesday, March 10, 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 aims to accelerate timeline to increase elementary school day
Yesterday's revised public health guidelines for schools may result in new changes
Dear District 58 Families,
This week’s warm weather has been such a breath of fresh air and a pleasant reminder that spring is just around the corner! Spring is a time for renewal and hope. While we have endured this pandemic for a year, I am hopeful that the worst has passed and a return to normalcy is nearing.
Here in District 58, our staff is striving to safely increase the school day for both onsite and full remote students in grades 1-8 starting April 7. Our original plan called for us to increase the elementary school day from 2.5 hours to 4.25 hours on April 7 and then to again increase the school day to a full day (6 hours, 10 minutes) on May 3. With the School Board’s guidance, we are aiming to cut that first step and to instead increase the elementary school day to a full day beginning April 7. We are also staggering elementary and middle school start and end times to help families with children who attend multiple schools. 
We plan to finalize our post-spring break instructional schedule and inform families by Friday, March 19. Please see the tentative schedules below:
Tentative Schedule Beginning April 7:
Preschool Schedule: No change from before
  • Blended Sessions: 8:15-9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:15-2:45 p.m.
  • Special Programs: 8:15-10:30 a.m., 12:30-2:45 p.m.
Tentative Full Day Elementary Schedule: Our goal is to provide elementary students with a full day of instruction starting April 7. If we meet this goal, this will be the tentative schedule:
  • A.M. Kindergarten: 8:20-10:50 a.m.
  • P.M. Kindergarten: 12-2:30 p.m.
  • Grades 1-6: 8:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tentative 4.25 Hour Synchronous Elementary Schedule: If circumstances do not allow us to meet our Full Day Elementary goal for April 7, we will instead increase the onsite/synchronous elementary schedule from the current 2.5 hours to 4.25 hours, with a new goal of increasing to a full day by May 3. If we need to implement a 4.25 hour day, this will be the tentative schedule:
  • A.M. Kindergarten: 8:20-10:50 a.m.
  • P.M. Kindergarten: 12:20-2:50 p.m.
  • Grades 1-6: 8:20 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. (Synchronous)
  • Grades 1-6: 2-3 p.m. (Asynchronous)
Tentative Middle School Schedule: 
  • 8:30 a.m.-2:20 p.m.
  • 2:25-3 p.m.: Band/Choir/Orchestra
  • Onsite students continue to attend school in-person on alternating days
Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released new public health guidance for schools. These guidelines loosen many of the previous restrictions public schools had to follow and may result in additional changes to our plans. One of the biggest changes is that social distancing is now defined as 3 feet to 6 feet. Our administrative team, in partnership with our associations, is thoroughly reviewing this new guidance to determine how it will impact our schools. As we review the new guidance, we will continue to follow our priorities for this school year:
  1. Follow the safety guidelines from the ISBE and IDPH.
  2. Increase instructional time in-person and live on the computer to the greatest extent possible.
  3. Minimize educational disruptions to the greatest extent possible.
I realize our community wants to know what to expect for the remainder of the school year. We just received the new public health guidance yesterday, and there are many facets to coordinate in order to successfully and safely increase the school day. While I wish we could have a concrete plan ready right now, it is imperative our team have time to analyze the new guidance so we can determine the best way to implement it in District 58 schools. I sincerely ask for your patience and understanding at this time. We will continue to work around-the-clock to incorporate this new guidance into our plans and decision-making process. We have shared the tentative plans (see above) that were made prior to receiving the guidance. 
The receipt of the new guidance - and any potential implementation - could have an impact on teacher assignments as of April 7. Because of this, we will be releasing teacher assignments along with all of the final details of our instructional schedule on Friday, March 19. We were prepared to share information based upon previous guidance this Friday; incorporating the new guidance makes that deadline impossible. 
In addition to processing the new public health guidance, our team is completing other tasks critical to increasing the school day. First, we must hire approximately 150 lunchroom supervisors. All lunchroom supervisors will become a part of the 1B vaccine eligibility group, which means they will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine now through their doctor or other private provider. Once hired, District 58 will give lunchroom supervisors a letter confirming their eligibility in the 1B priority group. Click here to complete a lunchroom supervisor interest form by Friday, March 12.
Another way we can safely increase the school day is by vaccinating our staff. Along with our partner school districts and municipalities, District 58 co-hosted a vaccination clinic on Feb. 28 at Downers Grove South. Nearly 1,300 individuals in the 1B priority group received a vaccine, including any District 58 staff member who wanted/was able to receive a vaccine! Additionally, we vaccinated local public/private school staff, senior citizens, municipal workers and other essential workers. This same group will reconvene on March 21 – prior to spring break – to receive their second dose.
We also must coordinate busing schedules. To save taxpayers money, District 58 shares a busing contract with Community High School District 99 and Woodridge School District 68. This means that we share buses with these other school districts and must work collaboratively to make any scheduling changes. This task is especially challenging now, as all three school districts are planning schedule changes for after spring break.
I am very proud of the perseverance that our staff, students and families have shown this past school year. In addition, I am proud that our community has taken COVID-19 safety protocols seriously. It truly takes a community to slow the spread of COVID-19 and safely increase the school day. I urge everyone to continue to keep vigilant and to follow the 3Ws: Wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands. By following these safety guidelines, we can continue to keep our community healthy, which enables us to keep our schools open!
Kevin B. Russell
Superintendent of Schools
Katie Novosel appointed Lester School principal
The District 58 Board of Education approved the appointment of Katie Novosel to the Lester School principal position during the Board’s meeting on Monday, March 8. Mrs. Novosel, who currently serves as Lester’s assistant principal, will begin her new role on July 1, 2021.

“I am very happy to promote Mrs. Novosel to the Lester principal position. The interview teams described Mrs. Novosel as child-centered, supportive, energetic, intelligent, caring and thoughtful,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. “Additionally, as Lester’s current assistant principal, Mrs. Novosel has cultivated strong relationships with her school community and goes to great lengths to support her students, staff and families. She is already a beloved member of the Lester community, and I have complete confidence that she will serve as an exceptional principal!”

Mrs. Novosel will replace Lester Principal Carin Novak, who will retire at the end of this school year after serving as Lester’s principal for 12 years.

Board approves June 10, 2021 as last day of school
The Board of Education on Monday approved the final revised 2020-21 school calendar. View it here.

The Board amended the original calendar to turn Tuesday, April 6 (Election Day) into a non-student attendance day, as our schools are required to be used as polling locations. To account for this change, the Board added one day to the end of the school year. In addition, District 58 used one emergency day during the February snowstorm, and this emergency day was added to the end of the school year.

Therefore, the last day of school will be Thursday, June 10, 2021. Like previous years, the last day of school will be a half day of student attendance and a half day of professional learning for staff. Eighth grade promotion ceremonies will take place Wednesday, June 9. Learn more about these changes.
View the 2021-22 school year calendar
The Board of Education approved the 2021-22 school year calendar. View the full calendar here. View key dates below:

First Day of School: Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 24-26, 2021
Winter Break: Dec. 20, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022
Spring Break: March 28-April 1, 2022
Last Day of School: Tuesday, June 7 (if no emergency days are used)

The 2021-22 calendar assumes full-day five-day-per-week instruction, and this would only change if health guidelines do not permit such an instructional model in the fall. Additionally, the calendar resumes the District's professional learning program, which dismisses students at 2 p.m. every Monday to give staff critical weekly professional learning time.
2021-22 student fees approved
District 58 has incurred a significant decrease in revenues since the onset of COVID-19 and expects it will take several years before these revenues recover. The District used a combination of federal financial assistance and strict budgeting to maintain programming at its current levels.

However, the District will need to increase some student fees by 5% for the 2021-22 school year in order to continue to provide the same level of service. This is a slightly higher increase than usual. Families may pay next school year's fees during registration later this spring, or over the summer. Learn more.

On Monday, the School Board approved the following fees for the 2021-22 school year:

  • Kindergarten Instructional Materials: $132
  • Grade 1-8/Dual Language Kindergarten Instructional Materials: $216
  • Grade 1-6 Milk: $33
  • Transportation (>1.5 miles/safety hazards): $42
  • Transportation (<1.5 miles): $558
  • Grade 6 Outdoor Education: $197
  • Grade 4 Recorder Kit: $11.40
  • Grade Recorder Only: $4.55
  • Grade 7-8 Novel Fee: $10
  • Grade 7-8 Yearbook Fee: $20
District 58 continues to provide free meals to all children in need
Happy National School Breakfast Week, District 58!
District 58 continues to offer free meals to all children (ages 0-18) who live within District boundaries. Anyone needing meals for the week can stop by O'Neill Middle School on Monday mornings from 7-8 a.m. to pick up a six-day pack of breakfasts and lunches for the week. This pickup site will continue to run throughout spring break.

Since March 2020, District 58 has provided 57,474 free meals to children in the community. Throughout this pandemic, District 58 has flexed its delivery methods to ensure all students who need a meal can get one, including delivering meals directly at student homes, organizing curbside pickup sites, sending meals to after school care providers and more. This week is National School Breakfast Week. In honor of this occasion, we thank the many District 58 staff who dedicated their time ensuring all students could consistently receive healthy meals during this challenging pandemic.

Photo depicts Cheryl, a District 58 staff member, and Kenny, a First Student driver, as they prepare meal deliveries for students in need last spring!
Summer School registration is coming next week!
District 58 is excited to offer students new Summer School opportunities this year! This year's offerings will include the traditional Summer School programming we offer every year, as well as refresher courses for students, identified through District criteria, that will review essential grade level standards not mastered during the previous school year.

District 58 will share details and registration information next week.
Sign up to be a lunch supervisor
District 58 needs to hire approximately 150 lunchroom supervisors in order to extend the school day and offer students a lunch break. If you would like to serve as a lunchroom supervisor, please complete this interest form by Friday, March 12. Thank you for your partnership! Learn more.
Nominate an outstanding
D58 staff member for a DSA
The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 invites the community to nominate an exceptional District 58 staff member for a Distinguished Service Award, now through Monday, March 22. Learn more and access the nomination form.

Take the School Environment and 5Essentials surveys
District 58 invites parents and guardians to take the District's School Environment Survey by Friday, March 26 and the State's 5Essentials Survey by Friday, April 2.

March 8 Board Meeting
The Board of Education held a regular meeting on March 8. The meeting included a staffing spotlight, appointment of a new Lester School principal, approvals of the revised 2020-21 calendar and proposed 2021-22 calendar and much more. Board Briefs will be posted at www.dg58.org later this week. View the agenda to learn more.
Looking ahead
The Board will hold a curriculum workshop on Monday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at O'Neill and on the District's YouTube livestream. The Board will hold its regular April business meeting on Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall and on the Village's YouTube livestream. Meeting agendas will be posted the Friday prior to the meeting on BoardDocs.
District 58 shares School Board election information
Four School Board members will be elected during the upcoming April 6 election day. District 58 encourages community members to inform themselves on the candidates and vote!
Student musicians perform virtual Solo Day
District 58’s Instrumental Music Program transformed its annual Solo Day to a virtual format this past weekend!

Each year, the District’s Instrumental Music Program includes a study/performance unit on the preparation and performance of solo literature. Every intermediate through eighth grade instrumentalist prepares a solo to perform. The students spend about 10 weeks working to carefully prepare and polish their individual solo pieces. Professional adjudicators are brought in to listen to each student's performance and provide constructive feedback. This year, students performed for adjudicators over Zoom.

“We are proud of the initiative and flexibility students have shown in adapting to this new learning and performing environment,” said Orchestra Director Julie Spring, on behalf of the entire District 58 Instrumental Music Team. “This is an excellent opportunity for our students to improve their individual musical skills, to take ownership of their learning, and to build confidence!”

Pictured: The District 58 Instrumental Music Staff Team gathered at Herrick to ensure the first ever Virtual Solo Day was a success!
Three District 58 students win DGJWC Junior High Art Contest
The Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club recently announced the five winners of this year's Junior High Art Contest. Three of the recipients attend District 58 schools!

Congratulations to our three District 58 award recipients:

Herrick 7th grader Audrey G. - First Place
Herrick 8th grader Eva H. - First Place
O'Neill 7th grader Taylor C. - Second Place

Education Foundation's COVID Family Support Fund gives back
This week, District 58 is processing and distributing 50 $50 grocery gift cards (or $2,500) for specific District 58 families in need, thanks to the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58's COVID Family Support Fund. So far this winter, the Education Foundation has donated $14,000 in grocery store gift cards. District 58 works to discreetly give the gift cards to families in need. Thank you, Education Foundation, for your support! And, thank you, organizations and community members who donated to this cause!

Individuals can donate to the Foundation's COVID Family Support Fund here.

If your family has been negatively financially affected by COVID and if you are in need of grocery assistance, please contact your school principal, secretary or social worker and reference the Foundation's COVID-19 Family Support Fund.
More than 600 jump ropes donated to District 58 schools
The Meredith Williams Foundation, American Heart Association (AHA) and Commitment2Community recently donated 600 jump ropes to District 58! These jump ropes will be given to students in need, allowing them to jump rope and participate in the AHA's Kids Heart Challenge!

In addition, some individual school PTAs also donated jump ropes to fill any gaps. Thank you, community partners, for your generous donation!
Community e-flyers
Thursday, March 11
4:40-8 p.m.: Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences

Friday, March 12
Deadline to complete lunchroom supervisor interest forms

Sunday, March 14
Daylight savings time starts

Tuesday, March 16
7-8 a.m.: Policy Committee Meeting at the ASC/Zoom
Monday, March 22
Distinguished Service Award applications due
7 p.m.: Board of Education Curriculum Workshop at O'Neill

Friday, March 26
Parent/Guardian School Environment Survey deadline

March 29-April 5
Spring Break

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