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: 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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  • Posted: November, 28, 2016 - 1:59pm

    Positive Power of Our Schools

    The holiday season should be a positive, sentimental and enduring time filled with family gatherings and friendship.  Unfortunately, too often, this idyllic time is not enjoyed by our students or families but rather represents a time of struggle both financially and emotionally.  Compounded with the unprecedented negative rhetoric of recent political campaigns and the ongoing pockets of civil unrest, in our country, our students may be even more vulnerable. 

    That is why it is critically important to reaffirm the strength and positive power of our schools. Community High…

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  • 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…

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  • Posted: August, 30, 2016 - 11:02am

    Illinois Class of 2016 average ACT score up slightly as national average declines

    SPRINGFIELD — Results released today in ACT’s annual score report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016,” show Illinois’ graduating seniors achieved an average composite score of 20.8, an increase of 0.1 over last year’s score. The national average composite score on the ACT fell from 21.0 to 20.8.

    “Our graduates continue to show progress,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The work of improving opportunities for all students and increasing the pace of progress is one we approach with urgency.”

    Illinois’ graduating…

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  • 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…

    read Post
  • Posted: May, 27, 2016 - 10:11am

    Summer ... A time for reflection

    The end of a school year marks a very busy time for everyone that is involved in the education process.  Senior students eagerly transition into their next phase of their life, while underclass students dream about summer break and anxiously anticipate another year in high school.  It’s the summer break period that I would like to address, in an effort to maximize this time away from school.

    Have you ever contemplated what makes a good summer break? A lot of things come to mind such as an extended family vacations, spending time with friends and family, sleep, and specific…

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  • Posted: May, 5, 2016 - 2:30pm

    Thank You Teachers

    I wanted to share what our country’s new Secretary of Education, John King wrote about teachers.
    “This week, our nation recognizes and honors you for your tireless efforts on behalf of our students, everywhere from small towns and suburbs, to rural communities and Tribal lands, to big cities. Teachers have one of the most challenging and fulfilling jobs — literally shaping and changing lives. Especially during Teacher Appreciation Week, we celebrate and thank you for the vital role that you play in supporting students and strengthening the future of our nation.

    read Post
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