To Our District 115 Parents and Guardians:

62, 23 and 97. These three numbers are like coordinates on a map for us. It’s been 62 days since we left our buildings and moved to e-Learnin g, 23 days until LFHS graduation , and 97 days until the first day of the 2020-2021 school year . My note this week is intended to give you a better understanding of how we are thinking about and planning for each of these important milemarkers.

We were fortunate that when we left our buildings in mid-March we had a plan in place and the technology available to support e-Learning. With your help, we moved quickly and within days we were able to reconnect with our students and continue delivering our curriculum to them remotely. Since then, we have worked in real time to plan, adjust, and refine as we navigated the academic and social-emotional aspects of this unique time for our students and each other. Your continued feedback has helped us grow and evolve our practices. We remain grateful.

As an administrator and parent of a senior, I have followed carefully the moving target that is graduation for the Class of 2020. I commend Dr. Holland and her team for their stamina and agility in adapting plans based on the ever-evolving guidance from the State and for always putting our students at the forefront of those decisions. I was pleased to see the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently issue updated joint guidance for schools regarding commencement . As a result, we are hosting a drive-thru commencement on June 6 at LFHS East Campus . Our seniors will now each have an opportunity to walk across the stage on the lawn of Lake Forest High School, receive their diploma, and pose for a professional photograph. This portion of the ceremony will also be live streamed to provide our school community an opportunity to celebrate with us. More details are available here . I look forward to sharing a letter to the Class of 2020 in my message next week.

School in the Fall
While we work together to bring the 2019-2020 school year across the finish line in the very best way possible, we are all also thinking ahead to next fall. I hear questions on a daily basis, Will we be back in our buildings? Will we still be e-Learning? When will we know more?” The short answer is we don’t know and can’t predict. As always, we rely on the Governor and ISBE to guide our timeline and decisions. Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan provides a public health approach to reopening our state. Our plans must follow suit. What we do know right now is that we will not be returning to “business as usual” in our buildings when school resumes in August. With that in mind, our Coronavirus Task Force is actively working through potential scenarios ranging from a modified, in-person opening, a hybrid scenario of in-person and e-Learning, and a fully remote learning opening. We will share more on these plans before the end of the school year. Our guiding principles as we consider all possibilities for the fall: 

  • The health and safety of our staff and students
  • The social-emotional well-being our our staff and students
  • The ability to transition smoothly between in-person and e-Learning, as needed
  • The alignment with our values

As the 2020-2021 school year begins, we are committed to meeting our students where they are in their learning journey, striving to create a grounded, connected, and engaged educational experience for all.

And Finally
I have shared the Epictetus quote before, “It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. It has become my mantra in this season of uncertainty. With the end of an unprecedented academic year in sight, I want to express my appreciation for your partnership and support as our teachers, staff, and administrators have worked to create continuity of learning and growth during the pandemic. With your help, our students have shown engagement, creativity, and perhaps most importantly, empathy and understanding for each other. In this way, as a school community, we have not only survived during this crisis, we have thrived. 

Thank you,