Volume 12, Issue 7 | Wednesday, Nov. 18, 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

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Superintendent's Corner:
Dr. Russell updates community on COVID-19, learning models and more
Dear District 58 Families and Staff,

This past Monday, District 58 began what school districts refer to as an “adaptive pause.” An adaptive pause is a temporary shift to remote learning for most students. The District had no choice but to make this temporary shift due to the high number of COVID-19-related student and staff absences. Per Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines:

  • Students and staff who have confirmed COVID-19 cases must isolate for at least 10 days after symptom onset (or COVID-19 test date, if asymptomatic) AND for 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) AND improvement of symptoms

  • Students and staff who exhibit any COVID-19 symptom must complete a 10-day quarantine (as described above), or get tested and present a negative test result, or receive an alternative diagnosis by a doctor

  • Students and staff who are a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case must complete a 14-day quarantine after their most recent contact with the positive case. If symptoms develop, please follow the isolation rules for cases. A quarantine must be observed, even if the individual receives a negative test result.

Since taking an adaptive pause, the nation, State of Illinois, DuPage County and District 58 have all experienced a sharp increase in positive cases. Stakeholders can find COVID-19 information about State and local data on Northwestern University’s COVID-19 tracker. Additionally, information specific to District can be found on the District 58 COVID-19 Dashboard

I continue to receive inquiries from staff and families on both sides of the school reopening issue. Several people in our community are advocating to stay in remote learning while many others have urged us to fully reopen the schools. There is a great deal of trepidation regarding fully reopening schools due to COVID-19. There is also a great deal of concern about the impact remote learning has on a child’s mental and emotional health. Superintendents wish there were a way to make this all go away and get everything back to normal. The truth is that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution that will satisfy the needs of all stakeholders. Guidance and data continue to change on a daily basis, and therefore school districts are left in a very difficult spot. I understand how frustrating this situation is as a parent. Like all of you, I live this daily with my seven school-aged children. In addition, my wife is a teacher and I see firsthand the impact this has had on those who are in the classroom. 

The District will continue to partner with local districts and the DuPage County Health Department to determine whether we will continue with remote learning or be able to reopen in our hybrid model. The District strives to give staff and families at least one week’s notice prior to making a shift to remote or in-person instruction. The District will communicate with families on Monday, Nov. 23 as to whether or not we will be able to resume in-person instruction on Monday, Nov. 30.

Preparing for the Unexpected
While it is impossible to know what the future may bring, as a District we must be ready and prepared for all possible scenarios. To that end, all District schools and offices will be physically closed on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24, and all students will be instructed remotely. This will allow our special programs to practice remote learning in the event a shutdown order comes from Gov. Pritzker; it will also provide all staff an opportunity to practice working from home in our current instructional model, which is markedly different from last spring. Please note that we have not received any indication that a shutdown will take place. However, the governor has strongly suggested this could be a possibility so the District must ensure that we are ready in the event a shutdown like the one we experienced in the spring is put in place. 

Maintaining the Current Remote Model at the Elementary Level/ Upcoming Feedback Opportunities
I have also received several inquiries as to whether the District would revert to the fully remote model that began the school year during this temporary shift. The District will continue with the current elementary remote model as it was built to shift from onsite to remote. Why? In September, the Board of Education approved a hybrid learning model that could shift to remote if needed; this was a significant transition for the entire district. Shifting the model at this time would cause too much of a disruption (especially since this is only meant to be a temporary shift) as schedules for support services, specials and special education would all have to be altered and services would be temporarily interrupted. However, we are also committed to receiving feedback on the current remote model. Prior to Thanksgiving, we will survey teachers and families about their experience. We will share that feedback with the Board, staff and community and use it to strengthen our plan. We want to make sure that we get things right and we are committed to reviewing the model and making any necessary changes. The District is committed to listening to our teachers and families so we can have the strongest model in place, and we encourage everyone to provide us with feedback via the survey.

Family Assistance
As we head into the holidays, please reach out to the District Office if you need any assistance. The Education Foundation of District 58 has established a COVID-19 relief fund that is designed to assist families in need, and we are happy to lend a hand during these challenging times. The District has also partnered with the DuPage County Board and Comcast to assist with delivering high-speed Internet access to any family that needs assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance.

Thank You!
On a final note, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I am truly grateful to be the Superintendent of Downers Grove Grade School District 58. Leading this District is a true honor and the Board and I are committed to seeing us through this pandemic. There will be better days ahead and we are in this together.

Dr. Kevin B. Russell
Superintendent of Schools
District shares winter weather procedures
Each year, District 58 shares its winter weather school closing processes with families and staff. Due to the pandemic, the District’s processes will look a little different, depending on whether schools are hybrid in-person or fully remote.

Inclement weather should not affect students while the District is in a full remote learning model. Students should follow their regular remote learning schedule. District 58 will notify on-site staff to work from home if winter weather requires the District to close its buildings.

If inclement winter weather requires District 58 to close its school buildings while the District is in a hybrid in-person learning model, the District will temporarily shift to a full remote learning model for all students and staff. The shift will last for the duration of severe weather. 

View District 58's winter weather procedures page to learn how District 58 communicates emergency school closure information, as well as how District 58 decides whether to close its school buildings due to poor weather.
District 58 increases sub pay to $140/day
Having a strong pool of available substitute teachers is integral to District 58's ability to reopen schools. This month, the Board of Education increased District 58's substitute teacher daily rate to $140. 

The District has open sub assignments for remote and in-person learning. Please consider filling these important jobs! Learn more at www.dg58.org/subs.
Sign up for a parent-teacher conference by Dec. 4

Parents and guardians may sign up for a parent-teacher conference on the PowerSchool Parent Portal from Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. through Friday, Dec. 4 at noon. Parent-teacher conferences will take place virtually on Dec. 8, 10 and 11 via Zoom. Read signup instructions.
FYI: School self-certification form links do not change

During onsite learning days, principals email families a self-certification form to complete prior to arrival.

FYI: Our schools use the same self-certification form link each day. We send daily emails as a convenience, but families can re-use the link from a previous email at any time.
Students will take winter MAP, AIMSWeb tests in January

District 58's winter MAP and AIMSWeb assessment window is Jan. 11-29, 2021. All grade K-8 students take the MAP test. All grade K-2 and some grade 3-8 students take the AIMSweb assessment.

View Slide 7 of the November School Board spotlight to see the District's entire 2020-21 assessment calendar.
Read Board Briefs for Nov. 9

The Nov. 9 School Board meeting featured the 2020 Illinois Report Card, the rationale regarding the District's decision to return to full remote learning, a vote to increase substitute pay and more. Read the Board Briefs.
Board meeting: Looking ahead

The Board will hold its fall Financial Workshop on Monday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be streamed on YouTube. A meeting preview will be sent to families on Friday, Dec. 4 and the agenda will be posted to BoardDocs.
District shares School Board election information

Interested in serving District 58 as a School Board member? District 58 residents will elect four individuals to the Board of Education next April. Candidates may download a petition packet from the DuPage County Election Commission. Learn more.
District 58 celebrates Veterans Day!
On behalf of everyone here at District 58, we thank all of our veterans for their service and hope they had a Happy Veterans Day!

This 11-minute celebratory Veterans Day video highlights many of the vets who are related to District 58 students. Several District 58 students contributed photos and video testimonials in honor of this important day. Thank you, veterans; we are so proud of and thankful for you! This video was coordinated by Belle Aire PTA President Erin Doty and edited by District 58 Alumnus Brett Harrington. Thank you for your time!
Thank a teacher or staff member with a Green Apple Award
In honor of American Education Week, the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 invites families to thank a special teacher or staff member with a donation to its Green Apple Teacher/Staff Recognition Program. Donations will support the Foundation's programs for District 58.

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. Learn more.
Bonfield Express donates $13,000 to District 58 schools
District 58 thanks the Bonfield Express Foundation, a local charity, for donating $1,000 to each of its 13 schools this year. Since the Bonfield Express Foundation was founded in 2004, it has given back over $700,000 in scholarships and funding to area schools.

The Bonfield Express’s capstone fundraising effort is its annual community Bonfield Express 5K. The race will take place on Thanksgiving morning. Due to the pandemic, it will be a virtual event. To learn more or to sign up for the Bonfield Express 5K, please visit www.bonfieldexpress.com.
Knights of Columbus donate 40 coats
Last week, the Bishop Fitzgerald Council 14649 Knights of Columbus (from St. Joe's) delivered 40 coats for District 58 children in need. The District coordinated with the Knights to provide coat sizing to ensure each child's need was met. The District distributed the coats to our schools last week, allowing most students to receive their coat before full remote learning began.

The Knights of Columbus organization annually donates coats to District 58. As always, THANK YOU, Knights of Columbus for your generosity! Pictured: The Knights of Columbus delivering 40 coat donations to District 58.
Local crafting group donates nearly 50 homemade hats and scarves
The Woodridge Active Adults Senior Group - Crafting for a Cause recently donated nearly 50 homemade hats and scarves to support District 58 students in need! These donations were distributed in mid-November to students in need before the cold weather set in. On behalf of District 58, thank you, Woodridge Active Adults Senior Group - Crafting for a Cause!
Community e-flyers
Nov. 16-20
American Education Week

Nov. 23-24
Remote learning for all students

Nov. 25-Nov. 27
Thanksgiving break - no school
Monday, Nov. 30
Tentative return to in-person hybrid learning date (District will send update on Nov. 23 to confirm whether this is feasible)

Friday, Dec. 4
7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting at the ASC/Zoom
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