Bobcat Bulletin

March 24, 2023

El Sierra School provides all students with a challenging and differentiated education in a safe, nurturing, respectful, diverse, and collaborative school environment.

Principal's Corner

El Sierra Families,

We look forward to a great month of April at El Sierra. Please be aware of the calendar for the first week of April because we return on Monday (4/3) but do not have school on Tuesday (4/4) due to Election Day and a Teacher Inservice. We also do not have school on Friday (4/7). We hope that you all have a safe and fun Spring Break next week!

Thank you!

Jason Lynde, El Sierra Principal

Part-Time Secretary Needed At El Sierra!

El Sierra is looking for a part-time secretary to start on April 10th. The hours are from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm each day. If you know of someone who loves kids, has office skills, can multi-task, and preferably speak both English and Spanish, please encourage them to fill out an online application from the District 58 website right away.

4th Grade Spotlight

Fourth graders have been busy developing their writing skills using the R.A.C.E.S strategy. This acronym (which stands for Restate the question, Answer the question, Cite the evidence, Explain and Elaborate your thinking, Sum it up) is a method used to help students answer extended response questions in an organized and detailed manner. We use color coding and graphic organizers to help write each part of our paragraph response.

In math, fourth grade has focused on geometry and measurement. Lots of hands-on activities have given students opportunities to measure in different units related to length, time, weight, and capacity.

In dual language, students have been transferring skills learned in math from English to Spanish across the curriculum. In our last math unit, students learned about how to solve word problems focused on elapsed time. With that math skill, they were able to build a timeline of the first 13 colonies of the United States from when they were established.

Gia Mia Dine Out Day!

Skip cooking on Tuesday April 11th and join us at Gia Mia Downers Grove for Dine Out Day! Don't forget to mention the El Sierra fundraiser at check out or use code: ESE511 when ordering online. Gia Mia will donate 20% of your order back to the PTA! Thank you for your support!

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Loteria! (Mexican Bingo) Was A Lot of Fun!

Big picture

March Math Puzzle Winners!

El Sierra Spirit Week at Nothing Bundt Cake - April 24-29th

Join us the week of April 24-29th at Nothing Bundt Cake in Darien. All orders placed during spirit week will have a portion of the sales donated back to El Sierra. Take your cakes home that day or order ahead for Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, birthdays, etc. What a sweet deal! As always we appreciate your continued support of the El Sierra PTA!
Big picture

Looking Ahead...

3/25 - 4/2 - Spring Break

4/3 - School Resumes

4/4 - No School (Election Day & Teacher Inservice)

4/5 & 4/6 - State Testing (IAR) for 3rd - 6th Graders

4/6 - Disney Day (Dress like your favorite superhero or Disney Character)

4/7 - No School

4/11, 4/12, 4/13 - State Testing (IAR) for 3rd - 6th Graders

4/12 - PTA Meeting (6:30 pm in El Sierra library)

4/14 - Bobcat Friday (Wear Blue & Yellow or other Bobcat Gear)

4/17 - Dual Language Information Night at El Sierra (6:00 pm)

4/18 - Throwback Tuesday (Dress like you are from the 60's, 70's, 80's, or 90's)

4/27 - Open House (6:00 pm - 7:30 pm)

Kane County Cougars Reading Program Information

Here’s a great opportunity to celebrate hitting student reading goals…

The PTA has partnered with the Kane County Cougars for a Fun El Sierra family experience!!

Tickets are on sale now.

Families are able to order tickets online.

Kane County Cougars

You can select your seats and print tickets at home. To ensure our families are sitting in the El Sierra school section, it’s important that you follow the instructions and select the sections listed on our ticket order form.

*Section 115 for the Saturday, May 13th game*

*Section 106 for the Sunday, May 21st game*

The special offer code is: ELSIRA

Families who order online will need to pick up their concession vouchers and Golden Ticket for free admission to June-September games when they are at the ballpark.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

State Testing Begins in April (Repeated Information)

All of our 3rd - 6th grade students will take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) when we return from winter break. Our students have been preparing for these tests in reading and math with their daily practice as our curriculum is aligned with the state standards that will be assessed on these exams. Additionally, teachers have modeled good test-taking strategies, and how to use the tools available on the test. Students have also been given practice exams and extended writing response opportunities. All of these things help provide our students with the familiarity of how to successfully take these tests.

Another way that we all can support our 3rd - 6th grade students is to encourage them to do their best, and to instill the belief that we can do hard things if we put in the extra work necessary. I have been impressed with the effort that our students and staff have put into the preparation of the IAR thus far.

If you would like your child to have some extra practice, or even take some time to practice the IAR with your child to talk through ways that you would answer questions, please feel free to access the links below:

Reading Items:

Math Items:

Your partnership with your child's education is appreciated! Below is our testing schedule for the IAR after spring break.

Big picture

Student Registration Is Open (Repeated Information)

District 58 student registration for the 2023-24 school year is now open! Downers Grove Grade School District 58 invites families to register their student(s) for the 2023-24 school year using the District’s PowerSchool Enrollment system! The District asks all returning students to please register by Monday, April 3. This includes all returning District 58 students who attend an outplacement or specialized program. New student registration is open indefinitely. District 58 encourages families to register their student(s) in a timely manner, as early registration helps the District determine its staffing, classroom and transportation needs for the upcoming school year.

District 58 recommends families register their student using a computer when possible (although you can also use a mobile device). Please do not use the PowerSchool mobile app as it does not support registration. If you have technical questions during registration, please contact District 58’s Technology Help Desk by filling out a Technology Help Ticket here or calling 630-719-2768. If you have general registration questions, please contact your school office.

Registration Update for 2023-24: Residency
District 58 will continue to contract with Thomson Reuters CLEAR, a third party vendor, to automatically verify student address information. The vendor will use parent and/or guardian names and addresses to crosscheck the information against other public electronic databases, such as utility companies, DMV records, property tax records. This service has been safely used by many surrounding school districts to verify student residency information, including District 99.

In some circumstances, additional documentation will be needed:

  • Families of all new students

  • Families of all kindergarten students (regardless of preschool attendance or current siblings in the District)

  • Families that annually lease their residence

  • Families that provide an affidavit of residency

  • Families whose residency is not able to be electronically verified

If the District is unable to verify your address, you will receive a letter directly from our District Office. The letter will provide details regarding the additional information you will need to provide in order for your child to start the 2023-24 school year.

Verifying residency is an effort to protect taxpayers and district resources by identifying non-residents attending District 58 schools. Illinois law mandates that parents demonstrate residency prior to enrollment in school and allows for periodic verification to validate compliance with the law.

How to Register: Returning Students

Step 1: Complete registration forms and submit documents.

  • Log on to your PowerSchool account. (Still need to create a PowerSchool account? Click here for instructions.)

  • If you have multiple children, please select a student from the menu on the upper left. (Please remember to complete a separate registration for each of your children).

  • In the left navigation panel, click on “Forms.”

  • In the Forms menu, click on the “Enrollment” tab.

  • All registration forms will appear. Click on the first form, “A: Student Information: 2023-24” to begin the registration process.

  • Complete all registration forms and download all required supplemental documents. The registration portal will explain which documents are required.

  • Your “Enrollment” homepage will show which forms are submitted and empty (“empty” includes forms that haven’t been started, as well as forms in progress).

  • Please remember to submit any supplemental documents (i.e. health forms) either by email, mail or in person to your school office. Forms are due by the first day of school, but we encourage families to submit these forms as soon as possible.

Step 2: Pay student fees.

  • After District 58 processes your child’s registration, you will receive an email invoice from the District’s PushCoin system with all registration fees for 2023-24.

  • The PushCoin email will arrive after April 3.

  • Fees are due by the first day of school.

  • While we encourage families to use the PushCoin system to pay registration fees, families may also pay by check. If paying by check, please clearly identify the student(s) for whom the fees are being paid. Please make checks payable to “Downers Grove Grade School District 58” and send the check to your school or the District office at:

District 58 Office
2300 Warrenville Road, Suite 200NE
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Visitor Screening System Coming This Spring (Repeated Information)

Dear District 58 Families:

District 58 is pleased to announce that after Spring Break, we will begin using the Raptor Visitor Management System in all of our schools to strengthen our program of campus safety for students and faculty. Part of keeping students and faculty safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times. The Raptor system will better allow us to screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff. Community High School District 99 currently utilizes the same platform on its campuses.

Upon entering a district building, visitors will be asked to present photo identification, such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system. The Raptor system will check to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering our school campuses without our knowledge. The Raptor system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.

The safety of our students is our highest priority and the Raptor visitor management system allows us to quickly identify those that may present a danger to our students. Thank you in advance for your understanding and your support in enhancing the school safety protocols in our district. We appreciate your patience as our office staff works to implement this new protocol.

Thank you for your continued partnership,

Downers Grove Grade School District 58

Bus Reminder (Repeated Information)

Our bus company would like me to remind families who have children that ride the bus that students are required to be at their bus stop at the specified time in order to be picked up for school. The bus cannot wait for each student to get out of their residence and still maintain the schedule needed to arrive at school on time. Even in cold weather, please have your child at the bus stop on time. Thank you!

Safety Presentations (Repeated Information)

Dear Elementary Families,

District 58’s number one priority is ensuring that all of our students and staff are safe and we continue to be thoughtful and proactive in terms of how we address these critical conversations with our community and with our staff and students. Preventing school violence is the responsibility of us all. In the weeks ahead, our school principals will be meeting with each classroom in their schools to review critical safety measures and reinforce expectations with our students. Below are the presentations and/or talking points that will be used with grade bands for your review.

K-2nd Presentation

3rd-6th Presentation (Will also be used as review with middle school)

We know that while these discussions are crucial to have with our children, as adults, it can be difficult to know exactly how to broach these topics with our children at home. We hope a review of the materials that we have developed will provide you with some of the terms, vocabulary, and developmental approaches that we use to support students’ understanding of these concepts. In addition, the materials provided below are from various organizations that specialize in this topic that can help you prepare for further discussions with your child.

Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

National Association of School Psychologists

Helping Children Cope with Frightening News and How to Ask What Kids are Feeling

The Child Mind Institute

Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers and Assisting

Parents/Caregivers in Coping with Collective Traumas

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

As always, our social workers and counselors can assist you in thinking through how best to tailor discussions at home for your particular child or children. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Preventing school violence is the responsibility of the entire community and together, we can make a difference in helping our children understand the importance of those collective efforts.

Snack Reminder (Repeated Information)

Families, please remember that the school does not provide snacks for students unless they qualify for free lunch due to economic hardship. We have seen an increase in students coming down to the office for a snack recently. Thank you!

Health Office Information (Repeated Information)

As we approach the holidays, we are experiencing an increase in respiratory illnesses such as RSV, Influenza, and COVID-19 in our communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing of flu activity has varied more than usual. It is unclear how COVID-19 activity will affect the timing and duration of flu activity in the future. (CDC Guidance).

As the health office and school secretaries track the various illnesses in our school community, it would be helpful to have the following information when you call 630-719-5825 (or email Michelle Junkas [] and Candist Martinez []) your child into the attendance line. The more information we receive will eliminate the need for us to call you for more details.

  • your child’s first and last name;

  • the child’s grade and teacher;

  • the reason for the absence, including all symptoms such as fever, cough, achiness, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and/or headache;

  • please state if your child is absent due to vacation or a non-illness;

  • please include any testing that was done with the results such as,

home COVID tests that were negative or positive for Influenza A.

Please complete a home COVID test if your child has ANY one of the following symptoms: fever of 100.4 or greater, new cough, sore throat, bad headache, shortness of breath, vomiting OR diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell.

Watch DOGS During Recess! (Repeated Information)

As part of our Watch DOGS program, we have opened an online sign-up for dads/or other positive male role models of El Sierra students who are interested in supporting our students during the lunch/recess time period. Please use this Sign-Up Genius link to sign up to be an El Sierra Watch DOG during the 11:25 am - 12:10 pm time period.

Birthday Treat Information (Repeated Information)

Families are allowed to bring in a small gift to the class in honor of their child's birthday such as a book for the class, or pencils/stickers for the students. We ask that no food or treats be brought into school for birthdays. We will honor all birthdays by announcing each child's birthday during the school year at the start of the day.

Food Deliveries For Students (Repeated Information)

We ask that families do not utilize food delivery services like Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc. for student lunches at school.

No Dogs Allowed On School Property (Repeated Information)

Dogs (even on a leash) are not allowed on school grounds. While most dogs are friendly and can provide joy to many of us, we do ask that families not bring their dogs to school, especially during drop-off and pick-up times because some students may be allergic to dogs, and others are afraid of getting bit.

El Sierra Spirit Wear

Please see the flyer below regarding El Sierra Spirit Wear.
Big picture