McHenry High School District 156

Nov. 23, 2021

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A message from Dr. McTague

Dear Warrior Family,

I wanted to take a moment and wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. I feel blessed for our strong, resilient, and compassionate school community. I’m thankful that after more than a year and a half we were able to come back to school and fully participate in all of our school activities, events, and athletics that we missed so much. I’m also thankful that our students, staff, and community can access our state-of-the-art facilities at the Upper Campus, such as the new Center for Science Technology and Industry and College and Career Center; engage in progressive course pathways; and walk the halls of our newly renovated Freshman Campus. Finally, I want to thank our incredible students, parents, and staff members for all of their support, guidance, and commitment to our school community and Warrior family. I hope you are able to relax and enjoy your family and friends over this Thanksgiving break before we enter the last few weeks of the first semester when we return to school next Monday.

Emergency Closing Information

With the weather turning colder, I’m sharing with you the general criteria that will be used in determining whether to cancel in-person instruction and close our school buildings due to inclement weather. If your family contact information has changed, it is imperative that you update your contact information in your Skyward Family Access portal by following the directions below:

  • Please use the following directions to Update Your Parent / Household Contact Information in Skyward Family Access. This is how we will contact you if there is an emergency situation or school closing. If you fail to update your contact information, you will not receive an automated message in the event of an emergency or school closing. If necessary, you may select more than one contact number and you may list your mobile number as the primary number if that’s the best number to reach you.

We will always do our best to keep our schools open. Sometimes it is an easy, clear-cut decision but other times the forecasts are more variable and it becomes less obvious. The decision to stay open is based on the following factors:

  • Visibility and street conditions in McHenry

  • Functioning of our buses in conjunction with our feeder districts

  • Operational status of our mechanical systems

  • Overall conditions of both Freshman Campus and Upper Campus parking lots and grounds

  • Staffing

Excessive Snowfall

Excessive snowfall can make roads impassable and travel dangerous. When a large snowfall occurs (or is anticipated with a high degree of certainty) we consider closing schools since travel can be hazardous. Whenever possible we try to make this decision in advance (the night before, for example) so that families can make any necessary plans. However, this decision is often made early in the morning on the day of the snow event in an effort to see if streets or parking lots can be cleared overnight.

Extreme Cold

When the wind chill reaches approximately -30 degrees, we consider closing school since frostbite can occur within 10-30 minutes of exposure and outside conditions can be dangerous. Most often when the wind chill drops below -30 degrees a Wind Chill Warning is issued. A Wind Chill Warning (below -30 degrees) is the general benchmark we use for closing school due to extreme temperatures. When the wind chill is predicted to reach or exceed -25 to -29 degrees, most likely a Wind Chill Advisory or Watch will be issued to highlight the need for individuals to dress appropriately if they will be out in the elements for any extended period of time.

Emergency Closing

  • On days of inclement weather, we will make the decision to cancel school before 5:30 a.m. The District 156 website will be updated immediately with school closure information. Subsequently, you will receive an email and automated phone message and/or text to the number(s) listed in your Skyward Family Access portal. Please do not call the Transportation Department to find out whether McHenry schools are closed due to weather.

  • The District 156 Website will continue to be updated throughout the day with additional information. The building principal - in conjunction with staff members and coaches - will decide whether scheduled after-school events or athletic practices/competitions will take place later in the day or evening.

Digital Learning Day

We now also have the option to move to a digital learning environment if we can make the decision to close our school buildings in advance (night or day before) of an impending weather event. We will not move to digital learning day if we need to close our buildings early in the morning on the day of the snow or weather event.

Please click here to view our Digital Learning Contingency Plan for Emergency or Inclement Weather. Thank you for your time and attention. Please make sure you review your household contact information in your Skyward Family Account and update if necessary.

In closing, I want to thank you again for your continued support of our school community. Unfortunately, some of the challenges we faced last year are not over. However, I do believe that we will continue to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever as ONE - One School, One Community, and One Family. On behalf of the staff, administration, and school board of District 156, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a restful break.

Take Good Care.

Dr. Ryan McTague

District 156 Superintendent of Schools

Center for Science, Technology and Industry wins design award

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Our newly built Center for Science, Technology and Industry earned an Award of Merit for design of educational environments from the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The center and award were on display last week at a joint conference in Chicago with the Illinois Association of School Administrators and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Dr. McTague said, "Our school board was excited to receive this honor and be recognized by our peers in other school districts throughout the state of Illinois."

MCHS selects student's design for holiday card

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For the second year in a row, MCHS sophomore Mia Wiginton card design wins the top prize in the MCHS Winter Season Greeting Card contest.

Mia's card will be printed by MCHS graphics students and sent to members of the community next month. Dr. McTague presented her with a gift card Tuesday, and congratulated all who entered the contest.

Second-place went to Odalis Flores, 3rd-place is Brianna Sorensen, and 4th-place honorable mention went to Kayla Gaddini. Congratulations to all!

The winning designs were selected from more than 100 entries in the annual card contest.

Veterans Day at MCHS

On Nov. 11, MCHS honored veterans with special National Anthem performances, displays and panel discussions with veterans throughout the day.
Veterans Day Surround Sound National Anthem 2021