Headshot photo of Superintendent Jim McKay

Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay, Ed. D.

Posted: June, 18, 2019 - 8:08am

Looking Back Helps Us Move Forward

I am hoping families are able to enjoy the adage lazy days of summer.  Many may think the adage applies to school districts as well; in fact, it is a very busy and important time of year.  Summer is a critical time for professional and programmatic reflection and preparation to ensure a successful start to a new academic school year.
Simultaneous to conducting summer school which serves approximately 600 students at both Antioch and Lakes Community High Schools, teachers and administrators are reflecting on which practices and procedures of the past year worked well.  Similarly, improvements are made to facilities to provide the best teaching and learning spaces possible. Many educators also return to universities and/or participate in training to better perform their jobs.  Lastly, in preparation to provide the very best student experience possible, educators need and deserve a break.

Looking back on the 2018-19 school year, many indicators show the district is doing well.  The Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE) identified both Antioch and Lakes Community High Schools as EXEMPLAR, the highest recognition.  Similarly, US News and World Report (https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools)  recognized both schools among the top in the state of Illinois.  The District has also earned the highest financial rating, given by ISBE, for eight consecutive years.  While many internal and external indicators show the District is performing well, we also know there is much more to improve upon. 

The District continues to work toward achieving all areas identified in the strategic plan (https://www.chsd117.org/index.php/strategic-plan/).  Some of the noteworthy accomplishments this past year include:

• School safety and security – Instituted ALICE (https://www.alicetraining.com/) training and procedures.
• Exemplary school (Antioch & Lakes) rating from ISBE.
• 1:1 chromebook teaching and learning environment - All students received a computing device as a learning tool.
• Dual credit opportunities – Teachers prepared and planned courses that provide both high school and college credit.
• Equity – The District Equity Committee implemented practices and procedures that provide equitable access for all students.
• Social and emotional learning – The District adjusted services to best serve the growing social and emotional challenges of students.
• Advanced Placement testing fee assistance – The District assisted AP students by funding 90% of the AP assessment costs.
• District Field House – The Board of Education approved the construction of a District field house to better serve the needs of students without raising the taxes of residents.
•  Shared Services – The District continues to find opportunities with feeder districts and local government entities to share redundant services, effectively reducing overall costs.
• School Board Governance – The School Board of Education participates in ongoing training to be the best stewards of school district resources.

Have a safe and restful Summer,

Dr. James McKay

post Archive
  • Posted: November, 1, 2018 - 5:43pm

    Illinois New School Report Card

    The Illinois State Board of Education just released the 2017-2018 Illinois Report Card. This year, the report card is new and improved, with a ton of great new data, including a new school rating system that helps offer schools much needed supports.

    Take a look at the joint stakeholder press release.

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  • Posted: October, 9, 2018 - 10:22am

    Both Antioch and Lakes Community High Schools earn an Exemplary School designation from The State

    Every School in the state of Illinois will receive a designation on their annually issued school report card.  The Illinois State Board of Education’s vision of Illinois is a state of whole, healthy children nested in whole, healthy systems supporting communities wherein all people are socially and economically secure. Bringing this vision into reality requires all of us—the state, districts, schools, educators, families, and communities—working together. Illinois’ system of support and accountability helps us identify which schools need the greatest assistance to meet our shared…

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  • Posted: August, 10, 2018 - 8:03am

    Welcome Back And While You Were Away

    This is my 9th year of having the privilege to be the first to say welcome back; we are honored and happy to serve you and our communities!
    This time of the year is always invigorating and full of possibility.  Welcome the incoming Freshman Class of 2022!  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…

    read Post
  • Posted: February, 20, 2018 - 5:29pm

    School Safety Letter To Familes

    To our District 117 Families,

    Our hearts go out to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community and all the families affected by the senseless shooting. We are greatly saddened by another instance of school violence that has devastated the community of Parkland.

    For Community High School District 117, the safety of students and staff continues to be a top priority.  As a District, we have built strong relationships with the Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst Police and Fire Departments. We are grateful for their leadership and input which helps guide our mission for…

    read Post
  • 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 http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getSearchCriteria.aspx. 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 www.illinoisreportcard.com 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…

    read Post
  • 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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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

  • Antioch Community High School Logo

    Antioch Community High School

    1133 Main Street

    Antioch, Illinois 60002

    Phone: 847-395-1421

    Fax: 847-395-2435

  • Lakes Community High School Logo

    Lakes Community High School

    1600 Eagle Way Drive

    Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

    Phone: 847-838-7100

    Fax: 847-838-3670