January 19, 2021
To Our District 115 Families and Staff:

As we begin the New Year, it is a pleasure to see our Lake Forest High School students return to their e-Hybrid schedule. We are delighted to begin welcoming back into the building students who have selected the e-Hybrid in-person instructional model. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Holland and her staff for the thoughtful preparation and meticulous attention to detail that they have employed to bring this goal to fruition.

COVID-19 Testing and Other Mitigation Strategies
I also want to acknowledge the effort of our students who participated in mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to their return. It is through this collective effort as well as the ongoing implementation of our other mitigation strategies that we have the best chance of opening our doors and keeping them open. Our most effective mitigation efforts include using the daily screener, staying home when ill, masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, ongoing cleaning and disinfection, and cooperation with contact tracers. It is our expectation that everyone does their part to maintain our health and safety standards. 

Weekly voluntary COVID-19 testing was approved by the Lake Forest District 115 Board of Education earlier this month. In an effort to plan and staff that effort, LFHS students and staff will soon receive a survey assessing interest in voluntary, free-of-charge COVID-19 testing for the balance of the year. With that information in hand, we will then create a voluntary testing schedule for staff and students who are teaching and learning in person at LFHS.
New District 115 COVID-19 Dashboard
At the end of the week, you can also expect to see our updated District 115 COVID-19 dashboard. The updated dashboard will reflect the guidance of the District 115 Metrics Advisory Council and include state, county, and school-level information. Beginning this Friday, January 22, LFHS Director of Safety and Security Mr. Lane Linder will share a weekly dashboard update with the District 115 community.

Superintendent Search
Some of you have asked about next steps regarding the District’s Superintendent search. This process is being jointly led by District 115 Board President Mr. David Lane and District 67 Board President Mr. Justin Engelland and they will be keeping you updated as they move forward. Their latest update may be found here.
Two Pieces of Great News 
I am pleased to announce that Lake Forest High School Principal Dr. Chala Holland has been selected as the Illinois Principal Association, Lake Region, High School Principal of the Year. For me, this honor comes as no surprise and is well deserved. Chala is an agent for change, supporting our high school community in a multitude of ways. As principal, she prioritizes time each day to spend in and out of our classrooms (even virtually) engaging with students and staff. She has increased student participation in extracurriculars by encouraging students to identify their interests and seek opportunities to engage that are meaningful to them. Chala meets with students regularly and helps them create pathways to transform their goals and ideas into reality. She has focused on evolving multiple curricular areas and implemented a new schedule that has been beneficial for students and staff, alike. During her tenure, Chala has realigned administrative positions to ensure leadership for newly developed instructional systems. I would be remiss if I did not add that much of this has taken place as she has also navigated the uncharted waters of leading our high school during a pandemic! Please join me in congratulating Dr. Holland on this recognition.
In addition, District 115 and District 67 Director of Human Resources Mr. Pete Theis has been selected by the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (IASPA) as the recipient of the 2020-2021 Mentor Award. This award is given to an IASPA member who has shown exceptional leadership by serving as an enthusiastic mentor to fellow IASPA colleagues. Pete’s work has significantly enhanced the field by providing that support. Pete will be recognized on January 21 at the IASPA Fourteenth Annual Conference to be held virtually this year. Please join me in congratulating Pete on receiving this distinguished award!

As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic, I am constantly impressed and amazed by the resilience, empathy, and creativity of our school community. On behalf of your Administrative team, I wish you a second semester full of learning, good health, and personal growth.

Michael V. Simeck