Highlights from the June 8, 2020
Lake Forest High School District 115 Board of Education Meeting
President’s Report
District 115 Board President David Lane expressed his gratitude to the Lake Forest High School faculty, staff, administrators and students for creating a June 6th commencement experience that, in some ways, was more personalized than a traditional ceremony. Highlighting the individual attention given to each graduate, commencement speeches, staff clap out, and the precision with which the entire operation was managed, Dave expressed the community’s “love and appreciation” to all involved for “going above and beyond.” As a Board member and father of two Class of 2020 LFHS graduates, Dave said the experience was an excellent example of taking a “challenging situation and making it better.” The entire Board joined in a round of applause. View video for complete report     
Superintendent’s Report
As a Class of 2020 parent, Superintendent Mike Simeck echoed David Lane’s remarks, expressing appreciation for the relatively relaxed pacing of the event that allowed families to take pictures, shoot videos and be in the moment with their graduates. He celebrated the genuine enthusiasm of staff who participated in the day-long clap out in the Lake Forest train station parking lot, and spoke of the sheer joy of seeing LFHS students following three months of remote learning. 

Lake Forest High School Principal Chala Holland began by thanking everyone who contributed to the planning and execution of this year’s unique graduation ceremony, including those on the graduation committee, student speakers, and the faculty and staff who organized and participated in the clap out. She said she hoped the Class of 2020 felt loved and that they would never be forgotten. 

Chala also mentioned an upcoming virtual meeting for parents and guardians of the Class of 2024. The session, called Supporting a Positive Transition into LFHS During Changing Times, will take place on Wednesday, June 17 at 6:00 p.m. and include information about student learning, student supports, extracurricular activities and planning for the fall. She noted that registration was available online

Superintendent Mike Simeck updated the Board on his participation on behalf of the District in the June 2 Lake Forest-Lake Bluff COVID-19 online community update. Joined by Lake Forest Mayor George Pandaleon, Lake Bluff Village President Kathy O'Hara, and local municipal, medical, and education leaders, Mike provided the current District 67 and 115 outlook for school in the fall. A replay of the session in its entirety is available to the public here .  

Mike also provided an update on insights and feedback gathered from the community regarding sending our students back to school in the fall. He reviewed perspectives gleaned from parent leader focus groups and pulse surveys regarding what it will take for families to feel confident about reopening our schools if and when Governor Pritzker says we are able to do so. MIke also discussed results from a recent District 115 parent/guardian remote learning survey in which parents were asked for their views on the amount of time spent on remote learning, the frequency of remote learning sessions, the meaning found in the work, and to weigh the importance of academics and social-emotional connection. View video for complete report  

Education Committee
Committee member Jenny Zinser invited Chala Holland to report on her recent presentation to the Education Committee regarding remote learning. Chala said her report focused on the D115 remote learning journey, from its earliest days following school closure in March through the end of the school year. Priorities shared included seeking balance for students between academics and social-emotional support. Calling the committee conversation “insightful,” Chala said they also discussed their planning process, changes in state guidelines for remote learning, and the importance of keeping students connected. Committee member Dewy Winebrenner added that he felt the school’s ability to pivot so quickly into remote learning earlier in the semester was a testament to the quality of faculty and staff at LFHS. View video for complete report

Finance and Operations Committee
Committee Chair Sally Davis said the Finance and Operations Committee will meet one more time in mid-July or early August to review the updated proposed budget, contingent upon several current unknowns including District receipts from property taxes. The tentative budget will be posted for 30 days and the final budget will be voted upon no later than September 30. The date of the next Finance and Operations Committee meeting will be posted on the website as soon as it is available. View video for complete report

Policy Committee
Committee Chair Ted Moorman said the Committee had not met since the last Board meeting but indicated the Committee is in the second reading of the fund balance policy, in alignment with the direction of District 67. View video for complete report

ED-RED Legislative Update
ED-RED Liaison John Noble took the opportunity to thank the District 115 administration for its outstanding work on the recent commencement ceremony. Pointing the Board to his full report , John said the majority of legislative work was focused on issues of tax collections due to the recently announced Lake County property tax payment extension, and legislative compliance efforts relative to remote learning. View video for complete report

NSSED Update
NSSED Liaison Ted Moorman reported on the evolving finance model for NSSED. Noting a goal of keeping students in their home districts when possible, Ted said NSSED was moving to an equitable membership fee model that would increase the District’s NSSED base tuition by approximately $11,000, covering various expenses including professional learning and facility costs. Ted said NSSED remains a great value to our District and recognized Special Education Director Jenny Sterpin, Principal Chala Holland, and Superintendent Simeck for their work keeping this student population engaged and supported at the high school. View video for complete report

Action Items
Approved: Approval of Director of Student Services 3-Year Contract

A Letter from the Secretary of the Board
Board Secretary Ted Moorman read the following letter into the District 115 meeting record:

Mr. Simeck and Dr. Holland,  

I was hopeful the graduation celebration would go off ok but was somewhat skeptical. After seeing it and participating in it the only thing I can say is you guys hit it out of the park!!! It was absolutely awesome and it was obvious the graduates and their families really enjoyed being back on campus for a happy event.
It was also obvious that an incredible amount of time went into the planning and organizing of the event! It went off without a hitch–even the weather cooperated! I would venture to say it was one of the best in person/remote graduation events in the nation! Seriously.
Well done!
Ted Moorman, Secretary of the Board View video for complete report
Upcoming Meeting
Monday, July 13, 2020, 7:00 p.m., LFHS West Campus Board Room or by conference call, pursuant to any updates to Governor Pritzker’s order to suspend physical presence requirements under the Open Meetings Act to all public bodies across the state. The public will be updated accordingly.