PARENT 411 on 67 - 2/7/23
template for District 67
February 7, 2023
Dear Lake Forest Families,
This month, we celebrate the 100th day of school in the 2022-2023 year.
Over the last 100 days, I have shared updates about:
The Strategic Plan design process currently underway
The District Illinois State Report Card
The analysis underway for the K-8 Reading Curriculum
The future analysis of the K-5 Math Curriculum
The implementation of the Instructional Coaching model in our buildings
In addition, I would like to share an update (below) from D67 Director of Teaching and Learning, Vail Kieser, on her first 100 days in our District.
“When I came to District 67, I was incredibly excited for the work to be done. I thrive on collaboration and continuous learning and so an opportunity to come in as an outsider and assess the K-8 instructional system was an enormous, yet rewarding undertaking.
Where Did I Begin?
I hit the ground running in July and met with as many stakeholder groups as I could. My mission was to listen and learn. I solicited feedback from staff, families, and experts. Some of the common themes that I heard around literacy included concerns around general reading skills including phonics, spelling, and writing, measurements of success including grading and reporting, and a perceived lack of focus on foundational skills. Simultaneously, I partnered with our building and district administration to dive headfirst into our student data. Our staff came together to look at the data and realized we had a shared sense of urgency to make changes to instruction.
What Did I Do with My Findings?
I established top priorities for the year and partnered with our building and district administration to put action plans into place. With my arrival, we began a common core state standards analysis with the Regional Office of Education and engaged in a thorough reading review. We also implemented the Illustrative Mathematics resource for 6-8 math instruction that was piloted the year before. Additionally, we are building an instructional coaching program that will support our implementation of best practices across the District.
What is Happening Now?
From my lens, there are opportunities in the District to focus on the common core state standards, assessments, and best practices for instruction. Good change implementation takes time, yet we’ve been able to also make immediate shifts. We are now 18 months into our reading review and with all of our research, we are ready to consider what resources are available that align with the needs of our students. Thus, we are currently preparing for staff to pilot three research-based resources. Later this week, families will receive communication from me with more information. However, over a span of four weeks beginning February 21, all four schools will complete a mini-pilot program. All K-4 classroom teachers and 5-8 ELA teachers will test three new research-backed resources for reading and writing instruction as well as foundational skills (as applicable). This will help us assess which resource most closely aligns with our beliefs in order to positively impact student reading, writing, and foundational skills.
What Happens Once the Pilot Ends?
After Spring Break, based on multiple factors such as research from implementation districts, staff input, and discussions with the publishers, Dr. Montgomery and I will make a recommendation to the District 67 Board of Education at the April 25 regular Board meeting. Depending on the outcome of the pilot program, this new resource could potentially replace the Lucy Calkins curriculum.
The biggest change that will come out of the program, regardless of which resource is adopted, will be a revision to instruction to include more emphasis on foundational skills, a focus on the common core state standards and best practices with assessment and instruction. This will be a multi-year layered plan in order to provide a robust and thorough plan for implementation that will positively impact our students moving forward.
In many ways this focus on common core state standards has already begun, and building leaders have done an excellent job of prioritizing research-based strategies and co-creating building-based school improvement plans to keep a focus on improving student outcomes.
I look forward to regularly communicating updates to you throughout the remainder of this school year. We have supports in place to ensure that all learners can thrive in District 67.
From the Superintendent
Our historic, 88-year-old high school is in need of fundamental improvements to the basic, aging infrastructure elements like plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, windows, and roofing.
By placing a $105.7 million referendum on the April 4, 2023 ballot, District 115 seeks to preserve and protect our historic high school by addressing the building’s most pressing capital facility needs.
We understand that our community wants to learn more about the referendum and so I invite you to join us tomorrow, February 8th, at 7:00pm for building tours followed by a LET’S TALK: D115 Referendum community educational event. A panel including Dr. Erin Lenart, the District’s architect of record, the Director of Facilities, and the District 115 Board of Education President will be discussing the financial implications, anticipated benefits, uses of the funds, and answering questions in the Little Theater, located at LFHS East Campus 1285 N. McKinley Rd.
I also had the pleasure of presenting to the Lake Forest City Council at their February 6 meeting during the Community Spotlight. I am grateful to Mayor Pandaleon and City Council for the kind invitation. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the important work underway in our District and discuss the facility needs at Lake Forest High School. You can watch my presentation and Q&A with members of City Council below.
In addition, I’d like to share some of the most frequently asked questions that we have received about the referendum:
What is the total cost of the proposed improvements and how would the funds be allocated?
The District anticipates borrowing $105.7 million through a bond issue, with approximately half of the funds going towards infrastructure upgrades and the other half allocated to renovating science labs, classrooms, and other instructional spaces, technology upgrades, and enhanced student support services. The classrooms that would be updated were not addressed by the 2006 Referendum.
Did the District consider other proposals?
Yes. A larger proposal, totaling approximately $160 million, was considered. However, public opinion research indicated limited support for this size referendum. The Board of Education was able to reduce the request to $105.7 million by eliminating athletic-related upgrades, expansion of the cafeteria, additional improvements to the auditorium, and the addition of classrooms on the third floor.
When was the last time voters approved funding for building improvements?
It’s been 17 years since the District sought voter approval for capital improvement projects at Lake Forest High School. The improvements that would be addressed by the 2023 Referendum were not part of the previous referendum.
What is the estimated tax impact of the proposed referendum?
The estimated tax impact of the proposed 20-year, $105.7 million bond issue on a home with a fair market value of $1,000,000 is about $950 per year, or, roughly $79 per month.
Why is the District’s per-pupil funding higher than many of its peer districts if the District’s tax rate is lower than these other districts?
Our spending per pupil is higher because our school is smaller than several of our peers. The funds are distributed among a smaller number of students. We offer a greater variety of course options, giving our students more choices and a more customized learning experience.
- Some taxpayers argue that the District is top heavy. Is the number of administrators in the District growing?
- No. In fact, the District currently has the lowest amount of full-time administrators that it has had in the last five years, contributing to our balanced budget. The state of Illinois does not define how districts should classify and report on administrative positions. To be as transparent as possible, LFHS classifies Instructional Directors (department heads) as administrators, while other Districts classify them as teachers.
- How do you explain the Illinois State Report card data showing LFHS ELA SAT scores average at 61%?
- We are not satisfied with our results but they are also misunderstood by some. The 2022 Illinois State Report card offers data on the percentage of 11th graders scoring at each of the performance levels for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. In the state of Illinois, the average percentage of ELA exam scores meeting the state standard for “college readiness” is 30%. District 115’s percentage is 61%, placing LFHS in the 99th percentile, ranking 6th among all non-selective enrollment public school districts in Illinois. For Math, LFHS is in the 99th percentile, ranking 3rd among all public school districts in Illinois.
Would any of the funding from the 2023 Referendum go toward operations?
No. Proceeds of the referendum would be used specifically for capital improvements.
Would any of the bond proceeds be used for salaries or improving administrative spaces?
When will the existing bond issue from the 2006 Referendum be paid off and how much will the tax rate go down when they are paid off?
- The last payment on the District’s outstanding 2006 bond issue will be paid off in 2025. In 2026, the tax rate for a $1,000,000 home will go down by $410.
You can find more Frequently Asked Questions and additional information about the D115 referendum on our website here:
Matthew L. Montgomery, Ph.D.
LET'S TALK | D115 Referendum
Wednesday, February 8 at 7:00PM
Building Tour at 6:00PM
Lake Forest High School - East Campus
1285 McKinley Rd., Lake Forest
Please park in the west staff parking lot by the RMA.
A staff member will be available at the RMA entrance to assist with directions to the Little Theatre.
The District 115 Board of Education is pursuing a $105.7M referendum on the April 4, 2023 Lake County election ballot. The historic, 88-year-old high school—one of our community’s most important public assets—is in need of fundamental improvements to the basic, aging infrastructure elements like plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, windows, and roofing.
DPM Spelling Bee Results
Congratulations to the DPM Spelling Bee winner Karmen LaMartin (pictured on the left) and second runner up is Nicole Janowicz (pictured on the right). Best of luck in the upcoming rounds!
Congratulations to the other participants, as well: Helen O’Neil, Riya Kapoor, Nora Reid, Ameilia Pickett, Juilana Tschanz, Ava Hashiguchi, Rilyn Nagory, and Tanner LaMartin. A huge thank you to Spelling Bee sponsors Katie McMahon and Jean Hersey for their organization and leadership.
Multicultural Family Night
All D67 Families are Invited to Highlight Your Heritage on March 8
In honor of World Language Week, we invite all District families to join us at Deer Path Middle School on Wednesday, March 8, for a night to travel around the globe and visit the different cultures that D67 represents. We are looking for families or groups who are willing to set up a table and make a poster board to share your heritage. Please respond on this Google form if you would like to participate.
Questions? Please contact Vail Kieser, Director of Teaching and Learning, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spirit Grant Application Deadline is this Thursday!
The application deadline is this Thursday, February 9 at 3:00 PM! Submit your applications today by filling out the grant application online.
The Spirit Board encourages anyone with an innovative idea that fills a need and is supported by the school administration, to submit a grant. Each request will be evaluated by the building principal and the Grants Committee to ensure that they meet the goals of our Spirit of 67 Foundation mission.
Celebrate with the Spirit this Spring!
Save the Date
Saturday, April 29, 7:00 PM
Ferrari Lake Forest (990 N Shore Dr, Lake Bluff)
LFHS Talent Show
Join Us for the Next FAN Event
Sponsored by Family Action Network (FAN), in partnership with Lake Forest High School.
Zoom registration link: www.bit.ly/SARFANSponsor
Toni Boos, Psy.D. will moderate a discussion with Leslie Brankin, Psy.D. and Anna Finis, Psy.D. about school anxiety and refusal from childhood through young adulthood. This presentation will provide an overview of school anxiety and refusal and will help families gain an understanding of its various presentations, potential causes and functions of refusal behavior, and strategies for supporting youth and young adults in getting to school more consistently. They will also discuss how to best partner and collaborate with schools and community resources to create change.
Drs. Brankin, Finis, and Boos are all licensed clinical psychologists on staff at Compass Health Center (CHC). They will cover a range of topics, including 1) the relationship between anxiety and school refusal behavior; 2) the various functions of school refusal behavior; 3) the role of the family system as it relates to school anxiety and refusal, including an overview of family accommodation and how to set up plans and systems at home to improve school attendance; 4) ways families can partner with schools to support youth and young adults with school anxiety and refusal; and 5) when to seek out professional mental health support.
This event will be recorded and available later on the FAN website and our YouTube channel.
NOTE: FAN collects registration data to inform event planning.
APS TrueNorth Virtual Family Education
National Girls and Women in Sports Day 2023
Saturday, February 11, 2023 at 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM
Lake Forest College Sports and Recreation Center
Lake Forest, IL 60045
The College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee presents National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Lake Forest College. The event is open to girls ages 6-14 and space is limited to the first 125 registrants. All activities are FREE of charge.
Registration starts at 12:30 p.m., and the program begins at 1 p.m.
Prom Dress Collection Drive
Prom Dress Collection Drive Now Underway at Mothers Trust Foundation and Zengeler Cleaners
Spring is just a few weeks away and for most area high schools, planning is already underway for prom season later this school year. Once again, that also means all Zengeler Cleaners stores are accepting lovingly worn donations for the annual 2023 prom dress collection drive, along with formal wear items such as shoes, purses, jewelry and other accessories. Read more about it here.