This week, nearly 5,000 preschool through eighth grade students walked through the doors of our 13 schools and were greeted by staff and administrators who had eagerly prepared for their return. The start of a new school year always brings a promise of new hope, new challenges, new learning and new fun. Educators, parents and students alike are given an opportunity to begin anew with renewed energy and enthusiasm for our common purpose: sparking, nurturing, and sustaining a love of learning in us all. (Click here to view the full letter.)
The District 58 Board of Education voted September 10 to approve the spending plan for 2012-13, which includes $57.4 million in normal operating aggregate revenues and $57.9 million in normal operating aggregate expenditures. The budget was reviewed and discussed at several public meetings during the last few months, and a public hearing was held regarding the budget before its approval on Monday, Sept. 10. All decisions regarding District 58’s spending plan were made with the district’s mission first and foremost, which is, in partnership with parents and community, to challenge and engage each child by providing quality educational programs and support services in a safe, nurturing and child-centered environment in order to prepare all students to be lifelong learners and contributing members of a global society. (Click here for the full story.) (Click here to view the 2012-13 budget.)
September 19 marked District 58’s third annual informationnight designed specifically for parents of students receiving ELL services. Parents from throughout District 58 attended the event at El Sierra. (Click here for more information.)
Rachel’s Challenge, founded in memory of Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Joy Scott, has reached more than 18 million people nationwide since its inception. Now, that number includes hundreds of students in Downers Grove. Click here for more information about the Rachel's Challenge program being implemented at Herrick and O'Neill middle schools.
District 58 students continue record of academic success
“Although we are a high-achieving district, we are working to grow and improve each day,” Rich said. “We are so fortunate to have an excellent, collaborative staff whose focus is on meeting student needs. We also benefit from highly involved families who are eager to partner with their child’s school; wonderful students who are willing to challenge themselves, take risks, and continue to learn and grow; and a community that strongly supports District 58 and its neighborhood schools.”
District 58, in partnership with the Village of Downers Grove, hosted a well-attended Joint Safety and Security Forum at Downers Grove Village Hall Feb. 6. Participants were offered an in-depth review of the rules and regulations that govern school safety and security, as well as the many measures in place in District 58. The Village of Downers Grove, including representatives from the police and fire departments, provided a review of the partnerships in place, as well as their support of our efforts to maintain safe, secure, and nurturing school environments.
Building-level efforts and initiatives also were discussed, as was the strong implementation of social-emotional learning initiatives throughout District 58. In addition, updated information was provided regarding the district’s current considerations for improvements, which include secure front entrances (doorbells, camera with direct feed to police, intercom and remote locking feature), swipe card access for staff and updated security/burglar alarms.
During the feedback portion of the meeting, participants asked questions regarding the information presented, with an emphasis on the current considerations for improvement.
“The feedback we received regarding the information presented, as well as the event overall, was extremely positive. Participants expressed support of our efforts and appreciation,” said District 58 Superintendent Kari Cremascoli. “Following the meeting, several participants commented that they were impressed by the wide variety of school safety and security measures that are in place throughout our district and the partnerships that work collaboratively to support school and community safety efforts, and that they appreciated the opportunity to learn more. I would like to express my gratitude to the many district and community representatives who participated on the panel and who supported the success of this event, as well as those in attendance.”
Mark Stange has been appointed the new principal of Kingsley School to replace Charles Purdom, who will retire at the end of June. The District 58 School Board approved the appointment on Feb. 11.
Stange is in his tenth year as principal at Wood View Elementary School in the Valley View 365U school district, having served as assistant principal for four years prior to that. He said that what he enjoys most about education is seeing the a-ha moment on children’s faces--and, as a principal, seeing those same looks on the faces of teachers and staff.
“We all learn something every day, and it’s that excitement and joy of learning that keeps me moving ahead, too,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to joining the District 58 team.
“I’ve been so impressed with everyone I’ve met throughout my recent experiences, and I’m already very anxious to begin meeting and working with my new team. I can feel the positive energy and collaborative spirit wherever I have gone in District 58, and my philosophy of ‘children first’ fits that of District 58,” he said.
Superintendent Kari Cremascoli said the interview team is confident that Stange will be a wonderful addition to District 58.
“We were extremely impressed with Stange’s collaborative and child-focused leadership style, his skills as an instructional leader, his knowledge of data-informed decision-making and instructional technology, his tremendous prior success as a principal, his ability to nurture and support shared decision-making and a strong school community, and his clear commitment to keeping kids first,” she said.
District 58 staff, students and families played key roles in Downers Grove South’s 2013 Shave Day for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation March 15, which raised more than $60,000 for the charity that supports childhood cancer research.
Lester fourth-grader Nate Pautsch has been raising funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in honor of a preschool friend who survived cancer. This year, in honor of his tenth birthday, Nate asked friends and family to donate $10 to the St. Baldrick’s cause, and he took the stage to have his head shaved for St. Baldrick’s for the fourth year in a row on March 15. In the past two years alone, Nate has helped the Downers Grove South students raise more than $120,000 for St. Baldrick’s.
Nate’s generosity recently earned him the 2013 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago Chapter, and he will be recognized at the annual awards luncheon May 10.
“Nathan Pautsch has only begun his life of making an active effort to promote human welfare,” the AFP said.
Brenna Quirin and Audrey Mahoney
The Downers Grove community rallied last year around the Quirin family when Brenna Quirin, then a second-grade student at Kingsley School, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. As Brenna underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, residents of Downers Grove uplifted and encouraged Brenna and her family by tying blue ribbons on trees all around town, in honor of Brenna’s favorite color. Students put blue streaks in their hair to support Brenna, and students, families and local businesses hosted various fundraisers--including lemonade stands, bracelet sales and benefit nights--to help offset medical costs.
“We can’t begin to tell you how often we leaned on our community’s support to get us through the darkest days of Brenna’s diagnosis,” said her mom, Kerry. “How blessed we are to live in a community like Downers Grove.”
Kingsley third-grader Audrey Mahoney raised funds for St. Baldrick’s in honor of Brenna, and had her head shaved March 15 with her friend standing by her side.
Meg Van Dyke
For the past several years, O’Neill Middle School’s student council has partnered with Downers Grove South to support St. Baldrick’s. Science teacher and student council sponsor Meg Van Dyke told the students several months ago that if they broke last year’s fundraising record of $4,500, she would have her head shaved at this year’s St. Baldrick’s event.
The students came through in a big way, smashing the record by more than $1,000--and as promised, Van Dyke climbed the steps to the stage to thunderous applause to have her head shaved. Student council members documented the occasion by taking numerous photos and videos, and even used an iPad to Skype with other students back at O’Neill so they could be in on the action.
“I had my head shaved to stand in solidarity with kids like my friend Sally, who is 12 years old fighting bone cancer, but more importantly, to raise money to find cures,” Van Dyke said. “I’m just so proud of the students for working so hard to bring in this much money for cancer research.”