Pierce Downer This Week

March 3, 2023

Pierce Downer Families,

We are officially into March and today marks the end of our second trimester! Today was filled with so much encouragement, which just so happens to be our monthly PD PROMISE focus, having our PD PROMISE assembly, The Grove Foundation recognition awards, Panthers of the Month, and so many smiles entering the building!


REMINDER! Book-It slips are due back by March 15th (or date determined by teacher) for students who are participating in the reading program!

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out 630-719-5860 or LWagner@DG58.org.

We are PD!

L. Wagner, Principal

3rd Grade Field Trip to MSI!

The 3rd grade students enjoyed a field trip the the Museum of Science and Industry. During this trip, they had the chance to see an educational movie, engage in hands on activities, and learn so many new things from all of the exhibits!

Panthers of the Month

The Grove Foundation "Helping Children Grow" Award

Although the Grove Foundation is known mostly for its ability to support and sustain others, it has one unique program of its own that has greatly impacted dozens of young recipients. In 1998, The Grove Foundation started a recognition program called Helping Children Grow for fifth grade students in two District 58 schools. Since that time, it has expanded to include all 11 grade schools, plus St. Mary of Gostyn School.

"Helping Children Grow" is an award given to one fifth grade student in each classroom to recognize unique qualities not always present in traditional school awards such as work ethic, positive attitude, friendliness, and other character attributes. As one 5th grade teacher wrote: "The award comes at a perfect time when students are still figuring out things about themselves. It helps them learn about who they are and their impact on others of all ages. The award gives direction and motivation to boys and girls who may never experience the opportunity to realize their uniqueness."

Students are nominated by their teachers. Recipients receive a framed Award Certificate and book selected to fit their interest and reading level, which is purchased along with a gift card from Anderson's Bookshop in Downers Grove. Members of The Grove Foundation visit the schools to present the award, with the student often being surprised at a school assembly in front of peers, teachers and parents. The Foundation has received many letters of gratitude from both the winners and their parents.

Full Day Kindergarten in Downers Grove 58

District 58 is excited to offer a universal full-day kindergarten program for the coming 2023-24 school year. What this means is that the tuition-based full-day kindergarten program known as OKEEP will end after the current school year. Yearly student registration fees will still be required. We are excited about this move as it provides a full-day program to all District 58 students and gives teachers more flexibility in delivering instruction, socialization time, deeper discovery and play-based learning. Please ask friends and neighbors with preschool-age children who are eligible for kindergarten (children who are five years old on or before Sept. 1, 2023) to contact our school at 630-719-5860 to be added to our incoming kindergarten list. Kindergarten RoundUp is scheduled for March 21st and we want to ensure that parents and guardians can visit their child’s future school and meet the principal and teacher. Families may visit www.dg58.org/kindergarten to access pertinent information in the District 58 Kindergarten Resource Guide.

Kindergarten Registration

Will your child attend kindergarten in District 58 next school year? Or do you have a friend or neighbor whose child will? Here are three steps to prepare!

1. Call Pierce Downer to let them know your child will be attending kindergarten next year. They can add you to any school-specific kindergarten contact list.

2. Attend Kindergarten Roundup in March or April.

3. Visit our Kindergarten Resource webpage for information on Kindergarten Roundup schedules, school boundary maps, kindergarten registration, immunization requirements, kindergarten curriculum and much more!


Dual Language Program: Did you know that incoming kindergarteners can apply to participate in District 58's two-way Dual Language Program? The program is open to both native English and Spanish speakers and is located at El Sierra School. Click here to learn more about the Dual Language Program. Click here to complete a Kindergarten Dual Language Interest Form.

Full Day Kindergarten: Will District 58 offer free full-day kindergarten next school year? District 58 is exploring the feasibility of a full-day kindergarten program and hopes to complete its work and make a recommendation at the Feb. 27 Board of Education Curriculum Workshop. More information will be announced following this meeting!


Congratulations to Ms. deBuhr for being this weeks PD Cup recipient. Ms. deBuhr is a third grade teacher at Pierce Downer School and exemplifies service to our school. She serves as the Earth Helpers sponsor, an after-school club that helps collect the recycling throughout the school and is also a member of the sunshine committee. Ms. deBuhr makes a positive impact on not just the students in her class, but our entire school!

Thank you Ms. deBuhr for ALL that you do!

National School Social Worker's Week

The School Social Work Association of America is proud to promote National School Social Work Week, held the first full calendar week of March (Sunday - Saturday). We are happy to celebrate Pierce Downer Social Worker, Mrs. Richelia. She deserves to be celebrated for the vital role that she provides to students, administrators, teachers, educators, parents, and the community!

The theme for National School Social Work Week 2023 is “We Rise.” School Social Workers rise up - supporting their students, families, and school communities. School Social Workers rise to share hope. They rise to listen and understand. They rise to challenge inequities. They rise to support all students.

Thank you Mrs. Richelia for ALL you do to support our students, families and staff at Pierce Downer!

3rd and 4th Grade Music Performance

In the coming weeks, our 3rd and 4th grade students will share songs they have learned from their music classes with our 1st and 2nd grade students. Because of the limited number of performance opportunities over the past few years, we wanted both to offer this opportunity to all of our 3rd and 4th graders, as well as to model the experience for our younger students (who will have an evening performance later in the school year). We are excited to offer this in-school opportunity for our students; because the focus is on modeling for our primary grade students, the audience will be limited to those students (no family members will be able to attend in person). We do hope to have a recording available to share at a later date, and will provide more information on that moving forward.

School Environment and 5Essentials Survey

District 58 invites parents/guardians to take two anonymous surveys: the District’s Parent/Guardian School Environment Survey and the State’s Parent 5Essentials Survey.

The School Environment Survey measures parent/guardian satisfaction with their child’s school experience, and the 5Essentials Survey gathers data related to five indicators that can predict important student outcomes.

District 58 schools will receive a 5Essentials parent survey report if more than 20% of parents/guardians complete the survey.

The District will also administer the State’s 5Essentials Survey to staff and fourth-through-eighth grade students. These surveys are also anonymous, and the survey results will become a part of District 58’s 2023 Illinois Report Card. Learn more at www.dg58.org/surveys.

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2023-24 registration for Grove Children’s Preschool opened on Feb. 22

Will your child be 3 or 4 years old this August? Please consider applying for your child to attend Grove Children's Preschool in District 58! Grove has earned back-to-back gold ratings, which is the highest rating the State awards preschools for excellence in teaching and learning. Applications opened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. at www.dg58.org/preschool. First priority applications are due Wednesday, March 8.

District 58 E-learning Plan and Winter Weather Closing Procedures

Will students have a snow day or an e-learning day during bad weather?
If schools cannot be open due to inclement weather, District 58 will have the option to declare an emergency day (also known as “snow day”) or an e-learning day. The Board of Education has approved an e-learning plan that allows District 58 to use e-learning days in lieu of emergency days.

​​​​​​​For the 2022-23 school year, District 58 will use an e-learning day, in lieu of an emergency day, if staff have adequate time to prepare e-learning materials to make the day meaningful. Otherwise, the District will call an emergency day (“snow day”). District 58 anticipates that most inclement weather days will be e-learning days. An e-learning day does not need to be made up in June. However, students are required to participate in e-learning from home in order to earn credit for the school day. If District 58 uses a traditional emergency day, that day will need to be made up in June.

This process is an update from last school year, when District 58 planned for most inclement weather days to be traditional emergency days.

All school closure communications will specify whether the District will use an emergency day or an e-learning day. After declaring an e-learning day, families would receive additional communication regarding how to access instruction. All elementary students (including morning preschoolers) would begin their day by logging into a Google meet virtual session with their teacher at 8:30 a.m. Middle schoolers would similarly log into their first period class at 8:30 a.m.

How does District 58 communicate emergency closure information?
When a decision is made to close school due to inclement weather, the District will send an automated voice and email message to all parents and staff via the SchoolMessenger notification system. The system will also send a text message to parents and staff who have registered to receive texts. Sign up to receive District 58 text messages by texting YES to 68453 using a phone number that is on file with District 58. Opt out at any time by texting STOP to the same number.

District 58 also posts school closure information on its website, Facebook page, Twitter page and on the District’s answering machine at 630-719-5800. The District notifies major news radio and network television stations about closures and posts closure information at www.emergencyclosings.com.

February Focus is about ENCOURAGEMENT

The PD PROMISE monthly focus for March is ENCOURAGING others. Encouraging others helps:

  • People feel important, valued, and seen
  • Encouragement reinforces the right things
  • Encouragement inspires people in tough times
  • Encouragement cost NOTHING
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Monday and Friday Spirit Days All Year Long!

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Safe2Help Illinois

District 58 has partnered with Safe2Help to give students a safe and confidential way to report potential threats or crises. Safe2Help was launched by the State of Illinois in December 2020 and aims to help prevent suicide, bullying, school violence and other threats to school safety.

With Safe2Help, students can connect with a trained crisis professional during their own crisis, or to report a potential threat. Students can submit a Safe2Help alert via the following ways:

All alerts are responded to by a trained Safe2Help crisis professional. Safe2Help is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

District 58 staff are not the initial responders to the alert and will receive each alert after the Safe2Help professional provides support. District 58 staff will review alerts sent by Safe2Help during regular school hours, unless the nature of the alert necessitates immediate school action.

March 15

3rd/4th grade music performance (in-school)

March 17

Fun Lunch

March 27-31

Spring Break