Insight 67 115 Spring 2023

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Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Address 4 Follow us Lake Forest School Districts 67 and 115 300 South Waukegan Road Lake Forest, IL 60045 Design: Kym Abrams Design Photography: VIP Photography Your Source for Good News in Districts 67 & 115 What’s Inside WINTER 2023 DISTRICT 67 DISTRICT 115 OR FIND US ONLINE IN ACTION Portrait of a Learner 10 DISTRICT 67 A Focus on Growth 8 D115 FINANCE & FACILITIES Referendum Facts 6 DISTRICT 115 Committed to Excellence 4 PRSRT STD ECRWSS U.S. POSTAGE PAID LAKE FOREST, IL PERMIT NO. 329

Celebrating Progress while Striving for More

To Our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood Community Members,

As we near spring, District 67 and 115 are making tremendous progress in three key areas of focus - academic growth, facilities and finance, and strategic planning.

In District 67, we are focusing on academic performance by supporting our students and teaching staff (instructional coaches, principals, and building and district leaders) while launching a thorough resource and curriculum review. It is clear that changes are necessary in the way we guide and develop our learners. We are taking steps to implement researchbased best practices and create systems and structures that will improve student achievement. District 67 Director of Teaching and Learning Vail Kieser shares in more detail on page 8.

Our work in District 115 has centered around instruction, student experiences, and financial and facility management. On page 4, Principal Erin Lenart explains the results of the most recent Illinois State Report Card and what our District 115 staff is doing to ensure our students are prepared to excel in the classroom and on testing. Our Scouts continue to perform in the classroom, a wide range of extracurriculars and go on to well-regarded institutions of higher education. In the same breath, we understand we can always do more to support our students in reaching their fullest potential and remain focused on continuous improvement.

In the last 18 months, we have instituted reductions and balanced the District 115 budget. We have engaged the community in our District 67 and 115 Portrait of a Learner visioning process. And, we have reconvened

Honoring the past, celebrating the present, building the future

our Facilities Master Plan Oversight Committee to maintain and preserve our historic high school. The truth is, behind the stunning walls of 88-year-old LFHS are maintenance and infrastructure needs that are disrupting learning and cannot be addressed within our current budget. The April 4, 2023 referendum budget includes plumbing, electrical, roofing, windows, lighting, HVAC systems, improvements to safety and security, ADA compliance, and aging labs and classrooms. Read more on page 6 and 7.

Finally, I am pleased to report significant developments in our District 67 and District 115 five-year strategic planning process. Our writing and design teams completed their work in February and we will present the final plans to each Board of Education in March. My gratitude goes to the dozens of teachers, staff, students, and community members who have contributed to this work. In combination with our Portrait of a Learner, these plans will guide nearly everything we do moving forward.

Your involvement and participation remain essential to achieving our goals.

Sincerely, Superintendent

DISTRICT 67 PRESCHOOL Registration Now Open

The blended preschool program at Sheridan Elementary accepts both typically-developing students and students with support needs, ages 3-5. In addition to learning the foundational skills for kindergarten readiness, students will develop social skills critical for collaborative learning.

A special co-teaching model provides all students in the program access to an early childhood teacher and a speech pathologist. This allows all children to accelerate their communication skills, a core aspect of early literacy. There are currently three morning classes for 3- to 4-year-olds and three afternoon classes for 4- to 5-year-olds.

The Class of 2002 celebrated its 20th reunion over the Thanksgiving holiday at the Lake Forest Club. Celebrating the double-decade milestone and the holidays with fellow Scouts was a wonderful time!

Alumni Spotlight

While only one year apart at LFHS, Jeff and Joe did not cross paths much back then, but became good friends later in life. These days, you can find them at Duffer’s Pub, a family-friendly eatery in Lake Forest where they have married their appreciation of sport and food in the town they continue to call home.

Newer alumni spoke to students about life after high school, the college experience, and careers. Thank you to members of the LFHS classes of ‘14, ‘18, ‘20, ‘21, and ‘22!


from the City of North Chicago

What is your favorite LFHS memory?

“Not necessarily my favorite memory, but a memory that sticks with me always is the days following September 11, 2001. Everyone came together as one and really showed support for one another and our country.”

“Following September 11, 2001, the unity of our school was very cool. Everyone came together; it didn’t matter what group of friends you had.”

How do you feel LFHS prepared you for the future?

“ The teachers at Lake Forest are the tip of the spear. Dr. HGantt helped guide me through school and keep me on the right path. His advice will live with me forever. I wish I had the chance to tell him that.”

“Well, I married my high school sweetheart! And the teachers there pushed me to find the right path for ME. The LFHS Business Program helped to put me on that path.”

Why do you think so many LFHS alumni choose to return to Lake Forest to raise families and own local businesses?

“Lake Forest is an amazing place to live and raise a family. I have seen the worst of the worst in this world working as a firefighter and I am thankful every single day that I have the opportunity to give my family a wonderful life here. When you leave after high school and you head off to college or to follow your dreams, you find that growing up here was a blessing.”

“ While it may not be a very small town, it has a special, hometown feel and a rich history. While most people who go away to college and find their closest friends there, many people who go to LFHS seem to find their closest friends in high school.”

We can always do more to support our students in reaching their fullest potential and remain focused on continuous improvement.
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firefighter/paramedic Fire Department, owner of Chief’s Pub and co-owner of Duffer’s Pub
Scan to Learn More and Register!
JEFF URSO - CLASS OF ‘03 Restaurateur, founder/owner of Donati’s Pizza, Puck’s Pub, Co-owner of Duffer’s Pub, minority holder in Lake Bluff Brewery

Action! Students on the Stage

Between the freshman and sophomore November play “Rhinoceros,” and the January adaptation of “Wild Dust,” LFHS students captured their audience’s attention this winter season. Students worked diligently to research previous adaptations and create visually engaging sets to bring their performances to life.

Preparing our Scouts

Dear Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood Community:

We are well into the second semester and we have so much to celebrate. In addition to our academic programming and extensive course offerings that continue to prepare our students well beyond our time with them, our Scouts are also leading the way in their passion areas like athletics, the arts, and a multitude of other extracurricular activities. Talent Show is a wrap; the Spring Musical in rehearsal; and plans for Prom 2023 are underway. With spring right around the corner, it is great to be a Scout!

literacy expectations, and build explicit SAT critical reading and writing skills into all classes.

For an even more detailed review of our overall improvement efforts and a clearer understanding of the IL State Report Card, please watch my presentation in the December Board Meeting on our District’s website.

We know that both colleges and our ever-evolving and fast-paced world also value individual experiences, perspectives, and unique learning opportunitieswhich is where LFHS continues to excel. Our course catalog allows each student to select classes that range from rigorous core academics to courses that provide in-demand and career-oriented learning in industries such as Computer Science, New Media, and Entrepreneurship. We also continue to offer a myriad of arts, music, and wellness courses. It remains our goal to provide all Scouts with the opportunity to master key academic, personal, and success skills.

Scout Experience and LFHS 101

During these interactive events, incoming freshmen and their families learned about the LFHS student experience from current students, teachers, and administrators. They toured the school, met with athletic and club representatives, and explored the curriculum, academic expectations, electives, and the resources available to students.

Student-Athletes Make College Commitments

Congratulations to the 17 LFHS students who recently committed to playing a sport at the collegiate level. Schools include Colgate University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, and Clemson University. Go Scouts!

STEM Clubs Spotlight Student Passions

Students in the Robotics, Women in STEM, and Science Olympiad clubs stay challenged by entering robotics events, exploring student-led topics, and preparing and competing in building competitions. These fast-growing clubs are gaining momentum thanks to the spirit of student leadership and mentorship of staff advisors.

Even while celebrating, continuous improvement and reflection is important. Though Lake Forest High School continues to be ranked in the 99th percentile of schools in Illinois, we also recognize an opportunity to do even better with the release of the 2022 Illinois State Report Card. We take this data, and the opportunity it provides us, very seriously. We have implemented targeted support efforts around college readiness and test taking, and our team of educators are explicitly addressing the key reading, writing, and mathematical skills assessed on the SAT. We continue to evolve summer school options to include key college readiness indicators, partner with feeder schools to better align

As a final note, I’m grateful to live, work, and raise my family in this great community - full of history, tradition, high expectations and, above all else, care and compassion. At LFHS, we have always been and will always remain steadfastly committed to walking alongside our students as they explore their passions and discover their purpose.

Your proud principal,

Holiday Concerts Hit a High Note

The LFHS Music department holiday concerts and Applause Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser in December featured a band, orchestra, and choir concert as well as the performance of students in the Cantorei Choir, Symphonic Winds, Symphonia Orchestra, Jazz Band, Chamber Choir, Chamber Strings and the Brass Quintet.

It remains our goal to provide all Scouts with the opportunity to master key academic, personal, and success skills.

Scope of Proposed Improvements

Preserving and Maintaining LFHS

Protecting Our Investment, Finishing What We Started

Lake Forest Community High School District 115 has placed a $105.7 million referendum on the April 4, 2023 ballot. If approved, proposed improvements would strengthen safety and security, reduce costly and disruptive emergency repairs, enhance ADA accessibility, improve energy efficiency, and ensure that roughly 50% of instructional spaces that were not renovated in 2008 are updated.

What You’re Asking

Why place a referendum on the ballot now?

The unfortunate truth is that many of the systems in our building are now truly at their end of life. Delaying further will result in costly emergency repairs, disrupted learning for our students and staff, and significantly inflated pricing for services that are kicked down the road. It has been 17 years since the District sought voter approval of additional local funding to address facility improvements.

Which of the proposed facility improvements are likely to have the greatest academic impact?

Nearly every improvement will have a direct or indirect academic impact. The greatest academic impact would be as a result of the renovation of the classroom environments including the regulation of classroom temperatures, acoustics, and lighting. The physical environment of the classroom can impact learning.

Why not use operating funds or existing savings to address current needs?

District 115 carries very little in cash reserves. This is intentional as it was/is the Board’s desire not to stockpile taxpayer money. The Board instead judiciously asks taxpayers to fund major capital improvements when needed. Even if the District were to deplete all of its current reserves, it would address only about 10% of its highest priority capital facility needs. These reserves play an important role in the strength of our Aaa bond rating and in our ability to borrow at the lowest possible cost.

Will any of the referendum proceeds fund salaries or operating expenses? No.


Anticipated benefits of the proposed improvements include:

• Creating a healthier, safer, and more secure high school

• Extending the useful life of existing facilities

• Reducing costly emergency repairs

• Enhancing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility

• Improving energy efficiency

• Attracting and retaining quality teachers

• Improving access to student support services

• Preparing students for college and careers

• Maintaining academic excellence

• Protecting property values

Lowest School Tax Rate in Lake County

D115 has the lowest school tax rate in Lake County. In fact, of 852 school districts in the state of Illinois, we are the third-lowest school tax rate.


About 10 percent of the bond proceeds would go toward infrastructure improvements on the West Campus. The 10% for includes infrastructure, specifically HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, not administrative offices. There are still a variety of student programs housed on this campus in addition to revenue-generating tenants.

Many Ways to Vote Key Dates

Election Day Voting

Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 6am to 7pm

Vote by Mail

Vote by Mail Application Deadline

Ballot applications must be received by the Lake County Clerk’s office by 5pm on Thursday, March 30, 2023

Vote by Mail Voting Deadline

Completed ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, April 4, 2023 and received no later than Tuesday, April 18, 2023, or be hand-delivered to the Lake County Clerk’s office or placed in a drop box by 7pm on Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Early Voting

All registered Lake County voters are eligible to vote early at any designated site, regardless of where you live

Lake County Clerk’s Office 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, IL Friday, March 10 to Monday, April 3, 2023

Lake Forest City Hall 220 E. Deerpath Rd, Lake Forest, IL Monday, March 20 to Saturday, April 1, 2023

All Designated Sites

Visit earlyvotingsites for a guide to early voting locations Monday, March 20 to Monday, April 3, 2023

Go to or scan the QR code, to access informational videos, tax calculator, FAQs and other referendum details.

“ The external beauty of this high school camouflages the needs and the urgency of some of the conditions inside the building.”
Jenny Zinser
D115 Board of Education President
We want to make sure that our students feel included in all of our spaces. We have some spaces that are very difficult for students who may have physical disabilities to navigate.”
The Bottom Line $105.7m bond issuance 20-yr bond repayment period $39.50/mo* estimated monthly tax impact for a home with a fair market value of $500,000 $474/yr* estimated annual tax impact for a home with a fair market value of $500,000
Dr. Erin Lenart Lake Forest High School Principal
“ We have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of students and staff. A portion of this proposal would increase our ability to protect those in our school.”
Dr. Matthew L. Montgomery
*For a $1M home, these amounts are roughly doubled 3 2.6 2.4 2.1 2.1 1.4 Stevenson HS Libertyville/ Vernon Hills HS Highland Park HS New Trier HS Northfield HS Lake Forest HS
District 67 and 115 Superintendent
HVAC Classrooms Science Labs Electrical StudentSafety&Security Services Roofing Furniture Misc.LabsExteriorEnclosureTechnologyRestroomsAccessibilityCollaborationSpecialEducation Fire Protection Plumbing Performing Arts

Piloting Success

Dear Lake Forest District 67 Families:

At the beginning of this school year, I had the pleasure of joining District 67 as the Director of Teaching and Learning. In this role, I bring experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, middle school assistant principal, and an elementary school principal. Not to mention, I am the proud mom of two elementary-aged children and am reminded on a daily basis about the important work we do in education. As parents, we all want to see our children succeed and grow into well rounded citizens. As educators, we share that same goal.

Following the release of the Illinois State Report Card, Dr. Montgomery noted that “we have room for academic improvement and the work to get us there is well underway.” As data was shared with staff, I saw passionate and driven educators ready to embrace change that would positively impact students. Our administrators and staff across the District agree that we need to take our instructional practices to new heights. This year alone, we’ve implemented a new math resource at the middle school level that fosters more critical thinking and problem solving. Additionally, we

are developing an instructional coaching program that will give more access to ongoing professional learning opportunities for our staff. Most notably, we are in the final stages of our reading curriculum review.

Although change is a process and will take time, we have been thoughtful about balancing immediate next steps with long-term planning. Through our partnership with the Regional Office of Education and researching best practices, we are piloting three new reading and writing curriculum resources in all four buildings. I’d like to thank our teachers for their commitment to this process and support of the pilot. All of these intentional steps will lead to a positive outcome for our students. We have a huge opportunity ahead and I look forward to sharing more about my final resource recommendation to the Board of Education in the coming months.


A Winterful Season for Science

As part of a unit on weather and seasons, Sheridan kindergarteners practiced their meteorology skills by measuring the volume of snow, observing cloud changes, and learning about weather tools.

History Comes Alive at Everett

Everett fourth graders completed a book report project after reading a “Who Was” book about historical figures who lived during the American Revolution. Each student created a poster synthesizing the information that they learned to share with their classmates during a gallery walk and presentation.

Citizenship Explored on D.C. Trip

148 DPM students journeyed to the nation’s capital in November to learn about the U.S. government. Students were immersed in history when they visited landmark spots like the Smithsonian Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and National Mall monuments.

Winter Sing Returns to the Stage

Elementary students at Cherokee, Everett, and Sheridan gave spirited performances in December, featuring a variety of genres. One number was even choreographed with flashlights! The musical variety and energetic return to the stage were delightful.

P-R-O-U-D DPM Spelling Bee 2023

Students cheered on their classmates during the annual DPM Spelling Bee in January. Students on the stage signed up weeks before and impressed the audience with their spelling prowess. Congratulations to champion Karmen and runner-up, Nicole!

Today’s Readers, Tomorrow’s Leaders

Cherokee second graders celebrated a stirring Reader’s Theater performance of “The Ugly Duckling!” Reader’s theater is a strategy for developing reading fluency. Students read parts of a story aloud in small groups which enhance their reading skills and confidence by giving then a reason to read aloud and collaborate with their peers.

“ Through our partnership with the Regional Office of Education and researching best practices, we are piloting three new reading and writing curriculum resources in all four buildings.”
Vail Kieser
District 67 Director of Teaching Learning


“I really wanted to read to my little brother and his preschool friends. I thought they would like it because they couldn’t read by themselves yet in school and I could because I’m bigger and have learned. I had 20 Sharkbites saved up and chose for my prize to be to read to the preschool class. It was really fun and used a book from my classroom that I could read.”

Eleanore Akemann Sheridan Elementary School 2nd Grader


“I was really excited to join the Debate Team. I was nervous for my first debate but being on the team has shown me that I have a voice and that people will listen to my opinion if I communicate it.”

Alice Carruthers Deer Path Middle School 5th Grader

“Going on the 8th Grade Washington, DC trip helped me develop a better sense of confidence and responsibility. Over the course of the trip, I was able to become better at knowing when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to be respectful. I felt confident about being responsible when going to new places and doing new things.”

Carter Savage Deer Path Middle School 8th Grader


“LFHS athletics has brought so much to my life. I remember being a freshman surrounded by upperclassmen who seemed stronger, faster, and better. I strived to be just like them at every practice. Volleyball has given me some of the most important role models to become confident in my abilities on and off the court. I began to realize believing in yourself was the key to being successful.”

Courtney Hvostik

Lake Forest High School Senior

portraits of

“Throughout my LFHS career, being involved in numerous activities has helped me come out of my shell and learn how to communicate with others. Writing for The Forest Scout, not only had the privilege of collaborating with other students (I filmed a podcast and met some amazing people) but also learned how to make interviews flow like a conversation. The secret? Show people that you are interested in what they have to say.”

Amani Yousuf Lake Forest High School Junior

confident confident adaptable

our learners

“I have participated in both theater and New Media for the majority of my LFHS career. With both of these areas comes adaptability. In theater, the set designs can change with little notice. Instead of completely starting over, we build off of what we already have. We work with the change, not against it. In New Media, while on set, I have to be prepared to work with whatever obstacle comes my way.”

Henry Thomas Lake Forest High School Senior

citizen critical thinker empathetic

“ Volunteering has helped me realize the importance of a safe, happy, and healthy childhood. I’ve learned not everyone has the same opportunity. DPM’s in-school service events, such as making cards for veterans and blankets for chemotherapy patients, provide opportunities to give back to our community. I have an understanding for others and hope an act of kindness leaves an imprint on someone’s heart forever.”

Tia Poulton

Deer Path Middle School 8th Grader

“Our class had a Reading Expo where we chose a topic to become an expert on and used books from the library to learn about it. We made topic webs and posters and marked important facts in the books we read. On the day of the Reading Expo, was nervous but excited and it was really fun teaching all the families what had learned about my topic, the Chicago Bears.”

Ralph Windle Cherokee Elementary School 2nd Grader


“ This year we had a fun Veterans Day assembly at school where veterans, including my grandma and grandpa, came to speak about their service. This was such a special time and it made me feel proud to be an American and want to be a better citizen every day!”

Hayden Trace Everett Elementary School 4th Grader

critical thinker

“ Through LFHS programs like the Veterans Day art contest, I met amazing people at the American Legion. They taught me about dedication to the community and the nation. I found myself standing on the steps of Congress, lobbying to preserve our nation’s battlefields, and I wrote a children’s book hoping to inspire the next generation. LFHS has given me a foundation to believe that I can make a difference in the world both near and far.”


“As a member of the math team, I’ve worked to solve unique math problems with my peers and teachers. I’ve been pushed to solve problems might not see in any of my math classes, and as a result I’ve developed new ways to think critically and problemsolve in math-related subjects.”

“Being empathetic has always been a focus in my life, whether it be working at a food pantry since I was in elementary school, or organizing a community wide holiday gift drive. Being a part of these experiences inspired me to get involved in LFHS service clubs including Big-2-Little, Student to Student, Scout Buddies, and Student Council.”

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Solo Spotlights

Aidan Watts - Junior

Aidan Watts has been playing violin since the age of three. He recently made his debut as a soloist for the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, joining them in their October 9 performance, Legends and Fairy Tales. “I feel very honored to be offered the chance. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to perform as a soloist with an orchestra and it’s an incredible experience,” says Aidan. “These programs really benefit young musicians by giving them more ways to share their talent and passion for music with the community.”

Ciara Carroll - Senior

Ciara Carroll has been playing drums since the age of six and was chosen to play drums in the pit orchestra for the 2023 Illinois High School Theatre Festival production of Shrek at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in January. Ciara also studies voice, guitar, bass, tap, and Irish dance, and is the LFHS Band President. She has been accepted, early decision, to Boston’s Berklee School of Music, and was awarded a scholarship.


Annual 4th Grade Student Art Show

Community Safety Series:

What Parents Need to Know about Fentanyl

Spring Break

School Reopens Following Spring Break

DPM Geography Bee

Institute Day - No School for Students

JumpStart to 5th Grade (Parent/Guardian Event)

Spirit of 67 Spring Event at Ferrari of Lake Forest

DPM Spring Orchestra Concert (4th-8th Grade)

DPM Bandstravaganza

Registration Opens for 2023-2024 School Year DPM 5-8 Choir Concert

Matthew Hahn - Sophomore

Matthew Hahn has been playing piano since childhood and is a Scholarship Fellow of the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. He recently performed on the November 9 episode of National Public Radio’s From the Top, America’s largest national platform celebrating young classically-trained musicians. Matthew enjoys using music to give back to his community and was chosen to perform for the inaugural 2020 MIC Families in Concert, a fundraiser where performers raise money for peers with financial aid needs.


LF/LB Community Safety Series: What Parents Need to Know about Fentanyl Spring Break

School Reopens Following Spring Break

Honors Recitals

LFHS Foundation Spring Luncheon and Online Auction Prom

Registration Opens for 2023-2024 School Year

Wellness Walk

Music Banquet

Business Incubator Pitch Night

Honors Night

Musical (Big Fish)

Memorial Day - No School for Students or Staff

LFHS Graduation Rehearsal

Last Day of School


DPM General Music Show 1⁄2 Day A.M. Student Attendance – 1⁄2 Day School Improvement Day for Staff Memorial Day - No School for Students or Staff DPM Graduation Ceremony 1⁄2 Day A.M. Student Attendance – 1⁄2 Day School Improvement Day: Last Day of School for Students District 67 3/14-4/6 3/21 3/27-31 4/3 4/5 4/7 5/10 4/19 4/29 5/3 5/17 5/10 5/23-24 5/26 5/29 5/30 6/6 District 115
Summer School Registration Opens
LFHS Booster Bash
3/27-31 4/3 3/18 3/17 4/28 4/13-14, 4/20 5/6 5/11 3/21 5/17 5/15 5/18 5/25 5/29 5/27-29 6/1 6/2 6/3 6/6 KEY ELECTION DATES 3/10 Early Voting in Lake County Begins 3/20 Early Voting at LF City Hall 4/4 Election Day
Graduation Ceremony Summer School Begins
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