Volume 12, Issue 9 | Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020
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

Have feedback regarding Communicate 58? Click here!
District shares helpful updates, key dates and next steps
As families and staff prepare for winter break, we wanted to share a few helpful updates and reminders:

  • District 58 received nearly 2,000 responses to its instructional model feedback survey last month. District administrators, teachers and staff are analyzing the results and will use this valuable feedback to strengthen its instructional model. The District shared an update on this process with the School Board on Monday. These discussions will continue in early January and will help inform a recommendation regarding the District's instructional model moving forward. District leadership will present its final recommendation at the Jan. 11 School Board meeting.

  • District 58 schools will be closed Dec. 21-Jan. 1 for winter break. During this period the District's Administrative Service Center and Longfellow Center will be open Dec. 21-22 and Dec. 28-30. Monday, Jan. 4 is a Teacher Institute Day, and a non-attendance day for students. School will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

  • Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell will send staff and families his biweekly update on Friday, Dec. 18. This communication will include the schedule for after winter break. Specifically, the District will share when in-person hybrid instruction will resume in January.

Please verify that you've read the family handbook!
The Schools of 58 Family Handbook contains important information about District policies and procedures. Each school year, parents/guardians are required to sign off that they have reviewed the handbook and agree to all policies, procedures and notices outlined in it. This year, the District asks parents to electronically verify that they have read the handbook. Please follow the below steps to complete this task:

  1. Carefully read the Family Handbook with your child. (Un Manual para las Familias)
  2. Create a PowerSchool account (if you haven't already).
  3. Log on to your PowerSchool account.
  4. Once you have signed in, you will find the Family Handbook Digital Signature form linked on the left hand side. Please select this form and sign off on it.

Thank you for your cooperation! During registration last spring, some families requested a print copy of the handbook. The District mailed these handbooks earlier this fall. If you received a print copy, please still complete the digital signature form.
Learn about Internet safety in District 58
District 58 has many Internet safety measures in place to help protect students. Visit the District's Internet Safety page to learn more about content filtering, student email, student YouTube access and more.
District increases substitute teacher pool
Having a strong pool of available substitute teachers is integral to District 58's ability to keep schools open. In the past month, the District increased sub pay and recruited new qualified substitute teachers. The District also hired one-to-two floater substitutes to work at each building on a daily basis. These efforts have helped significantly decrease the number of unfilled positions in the District's buildings each day.

The District continues to seek substitute teachers. Learn more and apply at www.dg58.org/subs.
Education Foundation awards 11 teacher grants to support learning
The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 will fund 11 teacher grants totaling more than $5,500 through its 2020-21 Teacher Grants Program. The Foundation annually awards grants to teachers and staff for projects that support student learning.

“This year’s Teacher Grants Program will fund a variety of timely, relevant and important grants, such as books that will increase diversity in classroom libraries and tools to enhance student remote learning,” said Briana Richardson, the Foundation’s grant coordinator. “We realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has added new challenges to instruction, and the Foundation was very impressed with how teachers leveraged the Teacher Grants Program to support projects that can fit the needs of remote and hybrid learners. We are proud to fund these grants!”

Congratulations to this year's grant recipients!
  1. “Hands on Fun” awarded to Kendall Buege, Henry Puffer’s Grove Children’s Preschool teacher
  2. “Cultural Representation through Trade Books” awarded to Katie Gallagher, Kingsley second grade teacher
  3. “Multicultural Library” awarded to Georgina Cervantes, Highland and Herrick ELL teacher
  4. “Diversity in the Library” awarded to Mary Loversky, El Sierra teacher librarian
  5. “Enhancing the Classroom Library with a Spotlight on African American Young Adult Literature” awarded to Kate Nickell and Nicole Ferroli, O’Neill English-language arts teachers
  6. “Nearpod” awarded to the following District 58 teacher librarians: Mary Loversky, El Sierra; Leslie Hesterman, Hillcrest; Jamie Krier, Kingsley; Christina Forzley, Indian Trail; and Lucy Elford, Pierce Downer
  7. “PebbleGo Next” awarded to Joan Mommsen, Belle Aire teacher librarian
  8. “Our Steps Matter” awarded to Sarah Pinkus and Jennifer Johnson, O’Neill science teachers
  9. “Nonfiction Book Collection” awarded to Christina Forzley, Indian Trail teacher librarian
  10. “BrainPop ELL” awarded to Natalie Notardonato, Fairmount and O’Neill ELL Teacher 
  11. “Building a Community of Readers” awarded to Alison Brechtel, Herrick English-language arts teacher

Foundation donates 160 grocery store gift cards to D58 families in need
This week, the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 donated 150 $50 grocery store gift cards and 10 $100 grocery store gift cards to District 58 schools! Funding for these gift cards came from the Foundation's COVID-19 Family Support Fund. Principals, social workers and secretaries will provide these gift cards to low-income District 58 families, as well as to families who were negatively affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, the Education Foundation's COVID Family Support Fund has raised over $14,000 from individuals and local businesses. The Foundation will continue to purchase grocery store gift cards throughout the winter and spring to assist District 58 families who are struggling. If you would like to make a donation to this fund, please click here. If your family is struggling financially and would benefit from a grocery store gift card, please contact your school's principal or social worker.
Financial Workshop Board Briefs

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected District 58's finances. During the fall Financial Workshop on Dec. 7, the Board reviewed the District's 2020-21 budget, new financial plan, financial projections and capital planning. The Board also discussed approaches to closing the District's budget deficit. Read the Board Briefs.
December Meeting Board Briefs

The School Board's regular December business meeting featured an update on the District's learning model, a spotlight and vote on the 2020-21 District 58 audit report, an electric rate discussion, a recognition of students selected to participate in the ILMEA Fall Festival Masterclass Day and more. View the Board Briefs.
Looking ahead: Jan. 11, 2021 Board meeting

The School Board will hold a regular January business meeting on Monday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. via the Village of Downers Grove YouTube livestream.

The meeting agenda will be posted on Friday, Jan. 8 on BoardDocs.
Lester unlocks time capsule from 1994, explores DG life 26 years ago
Lester students and staff discovered what life was like at Lester in 1994 when they opened the Lester Time Capsule! The Lester Time Capsule was assembled and inserted into a wall at Lester in June 1994, during a school construction project. Lester originally intended to open the capsule at a large event during the 2019-20 school year; however, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented this gathering from occurring.

"We would have loved to have all of the students, teachers and Lester community members be part of this epic unveiling, but due to the current times, we had to get creative in how we would share this amazing reveal to our school community," said Principal Carin Novak.

Instead, Mrs. Novak, Assistant Principal Katie Novosel and Administrative Intern Nicole Ring created three videos to share this momentous occasion! Check out the videos below! Did you attend Lester in 1994? Please contact Mrs. Novak at cnovak@dg58.org or 630-719-5855 to see if something you contributed was included in the time capsule!
Video 1: Current Lester students predict what's inside the time capsule
Video 2: Lester opens its time capsule
Video 3: Discoveries from the 1994 time capsule
El Sierra earns $180,000 grant to build a new playground
District 58 is pleased to announce that El Sierra School will receive a State of Illinois “Build Illinois Bond Fund” grant totaling $180,000 for the construction of a new playground. El Sierra plans to use the grant funding, in combination with the school’s playground fundraising efforts, to build a new playground. Construction began last week (see photo from demo day!), and the playground is expected to be completed in May 2021 if the weather cooperates.

“I am very proud of the dedicated District staff and El Sierra community members who worked hard to design and fundraise for their school’s dream playground, and I am very grateful for the State’s support of this important project,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. “The new El Sierra playground will give students new imaginative and interactive opportunities for play. It will serve as a major asset to the El Sierra community for many years to come!”

Click here to learn more about the El Sierra playground grant.
Dr. Russell visits El Sierra, Fairmount, Hillcrest, Indian Trail and O'Neill
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell is no stranger to District 58's classrooms! Although his visits look a little different now during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Russell still tries to visit classrooms (including remote classrooms!) to build relationships with staff and students, as well as to witness the fantastic learning that occurs in our schools! Yesterday, Dr. Russell made socially-distant visits at five schools. During the visits, he sought staff feedback on the District's instructional learning models and observed hybrid learning in action! Here are some highlights from those visits!
At Fairmount, Dr. Russell served as a special guest during PE Teacher Randi Kehm's virtual PE class!
While at Hillcrest, Dr. Russell stopped by Laura DiPietro's Development Learning Program classroom to connect with the students.
At El Sierra, Dr. Russell checked out new playground construction progress and helped Principal Jason Lynde read a book to first graders.
At O'Neill, Dr. Russell visited with students and staff and discussed the District's middle school learning model.
Dr. Russell played "Beat the Calculator" with Sandy Leff's fifth graders at Indian Trail. It was a close game, but the calculator ultimately won!
Instrumental Music team performs synchronized "Sleigh Ride"
Get in the holiday spirit with the District 58 Instrumental Team! These talented teacher musicians created a coordinated virtual performance of the holiday classic, "Sleigh Ride"! Click the image or click here to view this festive video.
Roadrunners Soccer Club donates more than 600 gifts for students in need
The Downers Grove Roadrunners Soccer Club generously fulfilled holiday wish lists for more than 130 District 58 students in need. Last week, they delivered more than 600 gifts to District 58 schools for these children.

This is the 10th straight year that the Roadrunners have donated gifts to District 58. THANK YOU, Roadrunners, for your generosity, your time and your support. District 58 appreciates it very much.
DGJWC donates 200 masks to District 58, Loyal Order of Moose donates winterwear
The Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club coordinated a community mask drive and donated 200 masks to District 58!

In addition, the local Downers Grove Loyal Order of Moose recently delivered a large box filled with new hats, gloves and scarves to District 58.

Most of these donations have already been circulated to schools and put to good use.

Thank you, Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club and Downers Grove Loyal Order of Moose for your continued generosity and support of District 58 students!
McKinney-Vento provides services for children lacking adequate housing
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides students experiencing homelessness with educational services. In general, children living in motels, transitional housing, shelters, the street, cars, abandoned buildings and other inadequate accommodations may be considered eligible for McKinney-Vento services.

Through McKinney-Vento, eligible children have the right to attend their school of origin (school last attended or school attended when child lost permanent housing) or attend the school that best serves their temporary living situation. Children also are eligible for immediate enrollment, transportation, free lunch, fee waivers and other services. Learn more about McKinney-Vento. If you need help, please contact Homeless Liaison Jessica Stewart at 630-719-5824.
Community e-flyers

Dec. 21, 2020 - Jan. 1, 2021:
Winter break - No school

Monday, Jan. 4, 2021:
Teacher Institute Day - No school

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021:
School resumes
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