Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay

Posted: September, 30, 2016 - 12:00am

Far Too Common!

On September 29th, the national evening news reported once again on a tragic school shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina. The threats of violence in schools and society are becoming far too common and sadly, in my opinion, creating a new “normal”.  While Community High School District 117 encounters threatening situations occasionally, it never becomes easier for parents, students, staff or our greater community to accept.  These threats of violence are senseless and require immeasurable resources on the part of our schools and communities.  We take these threats very seriously and will use all our means possible to identify and discipline the individuals involved.  We understand our role and first responsibility of ensuring the safety, security, and well being of our students and staff.

As I indicated in an article last spring, we continue to believe that our schools have never been safer. The District has invested heavily in upgrading our security systems which include increasing the number of high resolution cameras, a variety of communication systems, stronger cooperation/collaboration with our fine Police departments and other significant improvements.  Additionally, we are working directly with all our first responders to improve our policies and practices.  The Administration consistently communicates with our student body and encourages students to notify staff if they feel something is suspect.  One of the many assets of our schools is the strong, positive relationships that are developed between staff and students which ultimately builds a healthy sense of security.  Moreover, it is not uncommon for our students to bring concerns to the attention of our staff.  The adage of “it takes a village to raise a child” also applies to ensuring the safety and security of our schools and community.

While we take all possible precautions to help ensure that our campuses are safe, secure and provide a peaceful, rich learning environment, we all know that unfortunate and unplanned events can and do occur. In the event of an emergency, we are prepared to provide to our students, staff, parents and school community timely, accurate and honest information.  As you know, information moves fast in the electronic age. One inaccurate email or text message can spark rumors, create unnecessary panic or make a real emergency much worse. In the case of an emergency, we ask that you remember to look for accurate information from the District. We will deliver messages over these services:
Website. The District’s and respective school’s webpages will provide the most up-to-date and accurate information.  Our web address is
Email. If you provide an email address to the District, we will contact you through an email message in an emergency.
Phone Calls. We can reach parents at each school site and throughout the entire district through our All-Call message system. Please be sure to provide us the phone number that we should call in an emergency.
Local Media. We will work closely with the local media to keep our community informed of the situation.

In an emergency, we ask that you do not contact the school’s main line. To help ensure student safety, we must keep these lines open for use by regional safety officials. To help ensure campus safety and security, we have developed a crisis preparedness and communications plan that involves local first responders, and you have a role too: Please make sure that we have your best contact information, phone number and email address. Please also remember to turn to our official sources of information on situations, which will help to not complicate an emergency with misinformation or rumors.

We are proud that our schools are a safe and rich learning environment for everyone. While future threats of violence may occur, we continue to work closely with our fine first responders to thwart these efforts.

Yours in Education,
Jim McKay

post Archive
  • Posted: October, 31, 2017 - 10:13am

    2017 Illinois Report Card shows upward trends

    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today released the 2017 Illinois Report Card at The annual Illinois Report Card shows the performance and progress of schools, districts, and the state overall on a wide range of educational metrics. The interactive website will go live on Friday, Nov. 3. The Data Quality Campaign and the Education Commission of the States have praised the Illinois Report Card as comprehensive and easy to understand.

    State-level data on the 2017 Illinois…

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  • Posted: September, 29, 2017 - 7:56am

    Advanced Placement data show results of state’s focus on equity

    SPRINGFIELD – The College Board released non-accountability reports of Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, and PSAT results from Illinois students statewide. State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D., issued the following statement:

    “The Advanced Placement (AP) data released by the College Board show increases across the board in the numbers of students taking AP exams and in the percentages of students performing well. The State Board committed to increasing access to AP classes and exams, especially among underrepresented student groups. School teams across the state embraced…

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  • Posted: September, 7, 2017 - 3:07pm

    U.S. Department of Education approves Illinois ESSA Plan

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Illinois State Board of Education officials say the state’s ESSA Plan incorporates feedback gathered from thousands of online comments and 100 in-person forums and meetings.  Under the Illinois ESSA Plan, multiple indicators of school quality and student growth will be collected and examined, and will be used to help schools perform better under a plan that specifically meets their unique needs. 

    Additionally, the Illinois ESSA Plan…

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  • Posted: August, 9, 2017 - 11:44am

    Welcome Back and While You Were Away

    Let me be the first to say welcome back, we are honored and happy to serve you and our communities!
    I would like to welcome the incoming Freshman Class of 2021!  We also welcome our upperclassman and anyone new to Community High School District 117; we truly look forward to ensuring that every student is offered the opportunity to grow and learn in a positive, safe, and engaging environment. Our dedicated and talented staff strives to realize our mission of Igniting the Passion and Discovery of Every Student.  We are very proud of our unwavering commitment to student growth…

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  • Posted: August, 7, 2017 - 4:55pm

    State Funding for Schools

    I want to provide residents of Community High School District 117 information regarding state funding for schools in Illinois for the 2017-18 school year as you may be familiar with this issue through the news media and other sources.

    Due to the inequality associated with the current Illinois school funding formula and its significant adverse consequences particularly to school districts with the greatest economic need, the legislature has developed a new funding formula designed with evidence based criteria to equitably support state funding for schools.  To date, the legislators…

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  • Posted: May, 31, 2017 - 11:36am


    ISBE submitted the ESSA State Plan for Illinois to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on April 1, 2017.  On April 10, 2017, ED identified a section of the plan that it considered incomplete.  This section included measurements of interim progress for academic attainment, graduation rate, and English Learner proficiency.  In the plan submitted on April 1, 2017, ISBE stated that it intends to develop measurements of interim progress based on three-year baseline data and that this data is currently unavailable due to not having three years of data from which to determine a baseline…

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  • Posted: April, 24, 2017 - 10:43am

    State Budget Impasse

    There is an effort statewide by many in a variety of public and private sectors including educators currently encouraging our state legislators to formulate and pass a responsible and responsive state budget. Below, are some of the consequences and concerns shared by many as a result of the current budget impasse.

    All areas of society, including Illinois public school students, have suffered the consequences of Illinois’ financial problems over the past couple decades. For nearly the past two years, Illinois has operated with just a partial budget for education and “stopgap”or band-aid…

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  • Posted: January, 5, 2017 - 11:51am

    Community High School District 117 asks the voters at the April 4th Election

    The Board of Education passed a resolution (December 8, 2016) that places a question on the ballot of the April 4th, 2017 election.  The question asks voters of the District whether all Board Members should be elected At-Large.  District residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote regarding this question at the Tuesday; April 4th, 2017 consolidated election.

    The reason for the question stems from the current difficulty in sustaining representation from the unincorporated areas of the District.  Since at least 1965, it has been required that the unincorporated…

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Ignite passion and discovery in every student
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    Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

    Phone: 847-395-9001

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