Welcome to Pierce Downer!
Show your PAWS!!
Our school community is fortunate to enjoy strong parent support – clearly evidenced through the numerous quality activities of the PTA. From assemblies to field trips, from fun lunch to the very pages you are reading, our PTA works tirelessly to enhance the educational experiences of all Pierce Downer students. Your continued involvement in and support of the PTA activities ensures the enrichment of our students each year, and we are grateful.
Pierce Downer has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation of academic achievement for many years and with the efforts of our incredible teaching staff, I am confident that we will continue on this road, even reaching new heights. The teachers at Pierce Downer are second to none; your children are challenged, encouraged, and cared for by outstanding educational professionals. From classroom teacher to secretary, custodian to Assistant Principal, this building is staffed with fine men and women who care deeply about children and are passionate about delivering the highest quality instruction in every domain.
For the past four years, we have worked to embed the school theme into every aspect of our culture; that then has become a part of the fabric of Pierce Downer. We invite all to “Show your P.A.W.S” throughout this year; “PAWS” stands for “Positive Actions…Wear Success.” We have further delineated the acronym of “SUCCESS” to represent Self-Respect, Understanding, Character, Compassion, Empathy, Self-Control, and Strong Students – all of the things we hope to instill in the young people that walk through our doors each day.
With our theme calling us to educate the whole child, combining the pursuit of academic excellence with the strong development of social-emotional competencies, we are ready to embark upon each school year’s awesome journey. As partners in education – parents, teachers, administrators, and students – there is nothing we cannot achieve.
Finally, know that it is my continued pledge to be available to all of you, parents and community members, in any way that I can. My door is always open, my phone is always on, and my email is always accessible. May we together eagerly embrace the challenges that each year may bring as we anticipate celebrating tremendous successes at year’s end!
Justin Sisul, Principal
Show your PAWS!
Pierce Downer School History
Pierce Downer started out as a kindergarten through fourth grade school in 1952. The building has grown through several additions. In 1959 the school expanded to serve grades K through 6. A second addition was built in 1967. In 1985 the library doubled in size and acquired a unique, sunken storytelling area. Two classrooms were added and the kindergarten classroom and front office expanded in 1989. In 1993 an addition created four new classrooms, a larger computer lab and more space in the parking lot and asphalt playground. During the summer of 1997, another new classroom was added to the school as well as some interior remodeling to provide additional space for resource, social work, speech and school psychologist services. A new roof and gym floor were added during the summer of 2001.
In 1961 the students were divided between Pierce Downer and Longfellow schools. Pierce Downer housed primarily the intermediate grades. Through the years there were some variations in the distribution of students, but the two schools shared a principal and had a joint PTA. Due to declining enrollment, Longfellow was closed in June of 1978 and now houses the teacher center, library processing center, board meeting rooms, and maintenance shop. The primary classes returned to Pierce Downer for the 1978-79 school year. However, in that year, Pierce Downer sixth graders attended Washington School, which then closed in June 1979. Since September 1979, Pierce Downer has operated as a K through 6 school, with the exception of the 1989-90 year, when it operated as a K through 5 school with sixth graders attending Herrick.
Traditionally, Pierce Downer School was known throughout the community for its pumpkin festival, which included the sale of pumpkins, refreshments and carnival rides. The year 1992 was historic, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the school’s opening and the 200th birthday of the founder of Downers Grove, Pierce Downer, as well as the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Village of Downers Grove. 1994-95 was the first time Pierce Downer School housed three sections of a grade level—three kindergarten classes. Enrollment continued to increase through the next 15 years.
In May of 2013, ground was broken on a construction project that included a 3-classroom addition and significant renovation to the library, teachers’ lounge, and reading room. This project was the result of years of study by the Board of Education and input from parents, staff, and community members. During the summer of 2013 all carpeting was replaced in the building, most with tile flooring. The construction and renovation allowed for increased classroom space as well as appropriate small group learning space with a design cognizant of 21st century learning. On August 26, 2013, the 423 students at Pierce Downer walked through new doors, onto new floors, and into new spaces for the first time, marking the completion of the first significant construction project in District 58 in nearly two decades.