Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay

Posted: August, 8, 2016 - 7:44am


It is my pleasure and honor to once again welcome back all of our Community High School District 117 families!  We are excited to provide our students with high quality programing that promotes all forms of personal growth.  I would like to extend a special welcome to our Freshman Class of 2020!                                                           

While you were on summer break, the District was working hard to improve our learning spaces and infrastructure so as to provide the best possible environment for learning.  I’m certain you will notice and appreciate some of our improvements.
I want to share with you a message from the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year Kim Thomas.  I think her message is appropriate for this time of the year and embodies our newly developed mission statement, Ignite passion and discovery in all students. Enjoy.

Live + Laugh + Love = Learn

Teaching and math share a common denominator – they center on relationships.

Of course, in math the relationships are between numbers …positives, negatives, addition, division, etc., and you have to find the satisfactory solution before moving on to the next problem. Teachers of any subject understand the correlation of success and building relationships with our students, parents, colleagues, and the community. I want to share my approach to building strong relationships that demonstrate all the good things going on in classrooms across Illinois.

The teaching profession is filled with diverse angles. Some are acute while others are obtuse. The degree of each angle is irrelevant. It is the “mathlicious” approach I take that makes me who I am as a teacher.  I just completed my 10 x 2 + 3 year teaching in Peoria. This is the most challenging era to be an educator. Policies, evaluations, and assessments are ever-changing; the constants in education are the love and dedication we have for kids.

I live what I teach every day. It is up to me to ensure my enthusiasm and passions for teaching are contagious for my students as well as other educators. We are all in this together, and our goal should be to make sure that the time students spend with us will be one of the best fractions of their day.

Laughter should be in everyone’s lesson plans. It is so important for kids to be happy. Beginning my class with a cheer for someone or something upbeat always puts a positive parabola on my students’ faces. My cheers are very simple and fun – I just spell out a kid’s name, and then say something great about them. I never made the cheerleading team, but now I am head cheerleader in my classroom!

The word “love” makes even the toughest kid rethink a decision. My students know I am their math mom. Moms have to correct their children, but still love them. One parental contact can transform a child’s education path, and talking is powerful and free! Parents deserve our commitment to keeping them informed.

Teachers are the length, width, and height of education. It is not easy to be a teacher, and that’s why teachers are three-dimensional super heroes. Please continue to add to your passion. Subtract the “I can’t” and multiply by “I can.” Divide by the love you have for kids, and this will equal an educational celebration.

I believe Mrs. Thomas’s message represents the beliefs and values of educators in Community High School District 117.  We are intentional with our professional practices and believe in developing, and maintaining strong, positive relationships with our students, parents, and community.  We look forward to another great school year.

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
  • District 117 Logo

    Community High School District 117

    1625 Deep Lake Road

    Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

    Phone: 847-395-9001

    Fax: 847-395-7553

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    Antioch Community High School

    1133 Main Street

    Antioch, Illinois 60002

    Phone: 847-395-1421

    Fax: 847-395-2435

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    Lakes Community High School

    1600 Eagle Way Drive

    Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

    Phone: 847-838-7100

    Fax: 847-838-3670