Greetings from Dr. Russell: Welcome to a new school year!

August 21, 2019

Dear District 58 Families:

I hope this letter finds you well, and I am pleased to welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year! On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to thank you for your partnership with District 58. The District is excited to welcome our students back to school tomorrow.

Staff have worked tirelessly throughout the summer getting the buildings ready and preparing for the upcoming school year. I encourage families to visit the District’s website to access important information about the upcoming school year (https://dg58.org/back-to-school/).

The District has made significant strides updating its curriculum and aligning it to the Illinois Learning Standards. This year, the District is pleased to announce that it will fully implement a new science curriculum for all students in grades K-8. The new curriculum and resources will give students opportunities for hands-on and three-dimensional learning. The District also looks forward to learning from this year’s math pilot; 63 classrooms will explore new resources in mathematics with the goal of recommending a districtwide curricular adoption for the 2020-2021 school year.

New curriculum is accompanied by new instructional strategies for teachers and support staff; to utilize new materials with fidelity, staff need time to explore, implement, collaborate and reflect. To accomplish this, the District has adopted a weekly early release on Mondays for all students in grades K-8. After our students are dismissed at 2 p.m. each Monday, our staff will participate in weekly professional learning opportunities, which will strengthen instruction and ultimately enhance the educational experience for all students.

Returning families have been accustomed to NWEA (MAP) assessments in the fall. However, based upon committee and administrative recommendations, the District will no longer administer these assessments in the fall to all students; rather, spring 2019 scores and other previous MAP data will be utilized to guide instructional decision-making. All students in grades K-8 will take the MAP assessments in December and May, which will continue to provide both moment-in-time achievement snapshots, as well as long-term growth data. The District is pleased to recapture several hours of valuable instructional time in the fall that would have otherwise been spent on MAP assessments.

As part of the District’s Strategic Plan, staff members are finding new ways to communicate and share what takes place in the schools. Various social media platforms include Facebook, Seesaw and Twitter. Over the past several years, the District has increased its use of Seesaw, which is a digital journal of student work that allows families to view and comment on learning artifacts that students are creating. This is part of the continual effort to improve parent partnerships in learning. For the 2019-2020 school year, all preschool and elementary classroom teachers will use Seesaw so families are better able to view the outstanding work taking place in the District’s classrooms. In addition to Seesaw, a large number of staff utilize Twitter to share District 58’s story. Please consider setting up a Twitter account and following the hashtags #dg58pride and #dg58learns. I am certain you will be quite impressed with the dedication of our staff and all of the wonderful things taking place in the District.

On a personal note, I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to serve as your Superintendent. Along with the Board of Education and staff, we are fully committed to providing the best educational experience for your student(s). Thank you for allowing us the privilege of working with your student(s), and we look forward to a great school year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin B. Russell

Superintendent of Schools