Superintendent News

Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95

A Message from Dr. Kelley Gallt

September 30, 2021

Dear District 95 Families,

Since the start of school I have been so grateful to have students in our buildings and a wide range of activities in full swing! I have had the opportunity to visit many athletic competitions, meetings, and other events at our schools and am so proud of how students and staff have managed to make the most of our second year in a pandemic while still remaining vigilant and safe.

In addition, we are hosting events with and for community partners such as the District 95 Educational Foundation where they recently held a Cultural Diversity Fair at our high school in the PAC parking lot. If you missed this wonderful event, please visit the Educational Foundation website for photos, a video, and more information about the event. In addition, the district partnered with the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce and the Educational Foundation to host an "after hours" event which included small tours of our new LZHS Learning & Innovation Hub. We look forward to more events in October including our Distinguished Alumni and Internship Partner Recognitions.

Finally, this newsletter features a new article series, "A Day in the Class of...", where I visit a classroom at each school for a full period, participate as a student, and write about the experience to share with you. I hope you enjoy this snapshot into our schools as much as I enjoy being a learner alongside our students!


Dr. Kelley Gallt

Social Media Challenges

Recently, a destructive social media challenge has been trending with the nation’s youth, particularly at the high school and middle school levels. The initial trend was known as the TikTok Devious Licks challenge, which encourages students to damage or steal items from schools, then post videos showing the damage. In particular, school bathrooms have been targets (damaging or removing sinks, soap dispensers, toilets, etc.), but in other cases damage extends to technology and other items. District 95 is not immune to this trend, as we have already seen some property damage at the secondary level. There are many stories in the media about this trend, but here are links to two recent articles:

Although TikTok has denounced this challenge and removed it from their search engines, some students are continuing with it under other hashtags such as #dispicablelicks. Some additional monthly challenges have also been circulating - which include slapping and inappropriately grabbing other students and/or staff members. In general, social media challenges are not likely to disappear any time soon.

As parents, we ask that you monitor your student’s social media usage, be on the lookout for signs of these trends, and most importantly have a conversation with your children to help them understand the seriousness of such behaviors. We all have a role to play in supporting responsible decision-making for our students, and in helping to prevent poor choices that may result in negative consequences. We hope that you will join us in this effort to build responsible decision-making skills within our school community as it relates to this disruptive social media trend.

Safety & Security

Since the school lockdowns on September 15th, our administrative team at the district and building levels conducted debriefs to establish a detailed timeline of the events prompting the lockdown, the district/school response, areas of strength/opportunities for growth, and any follow up items.

Please know that many details of incidents like these will not be made public in order to protect student privacy and also to prevent certain aspects of safety protocols from being public and therefore vulnerable. However, we can share a few details at this time.

  • During and after the incidents on September 15th, we received numerous communications from parents indicating that the email messages sent via School Messenger were not received in a timely manner (voice messages were received promptly however).
  • School Messenger’s parent company, Intrado, indicated there was a systemic problem beyond our district - which ultimately was not resolved until 9pm. At no time did the District receive any type of communication regarding these issues.
  • We have immediately begun investigating other mass communication vehicles and have begun an expedited process to identify options, including the ability to quickly send emergency text messages. At the same time, we continue to work with Intrado.
  • Continue with our staff training on all aspects of safety and security. Continued training is one of the best ways to ensure our staff and students are prepared in the event of an emergency.

Additionally, we are grateful for the Board’s commitment to safety and security, including the hiring last year of a full time District Safety Coordinator, Danielle Stevens. Ms. Stevens has done an outstanding job of implementing changes to our safety protocols based upon recommendations made by an outside review in 2019-20 and based on her own knowledge and training as a sworn police officer.

In any incident of this nature, there will always be some aspects of our response that need improvement. However, we are pleased with the handling of this incident overall.

Appreciation Days

This year we will be highlighting appreciation days for various staff roles throughout the district. By sharing these dates with you via this newsletter and social media, we hope you will take a moment to share your appreciation with the individuals who serve our district in these roles.

October - National Principals Month

  • October 24th -30th - Illinois Principals Association (IPA) Principals Week
  • October 29th - (IPA) Principals Day

October 2nd – School Custodian Appreciation Day

October 6th - National Instructional Coaches Appreciation Day

Board Briefs

As a convenience to families, we are now publishing “Board Briefs” which contain a few highlights of recent Board of Education meetings. Our first installation can be found here, from the September 23rd, 2021 Board meeting. Board Briefs are also available on our website under the School Board menu. As always, full meeting agendas can be viewed on our website or by clicking here, and full livestream recordings are also available and can be viewed here.

Health Updates

Exclusion Requirements

Earlier in September, the Governor issued an executive order that further clarified school exclusion requirements. Many of these requirements are already being followed in District 95. The updated order also states that we must exclude students until 48 hours after diarrhea and vomiting have ceased, which reflects a change in our current practice. Please note that if your student is exhibiting diarrhea or vomiting, they will be excluded until 48 hours have passed since the start of these symptoms.

Physicals & Immunizations

Additionally, please be reminded that all students who require updated physical and/or immunization information (for example, 12th grade meningitis immunizations) on file must submit these records to their School Health Office by 10/15/2021 in order to avoid your student being excluded from school. Please see the Health Services webpage HERE for more information (click Health Form Requirements and your student’s grade level for more information).

Outstanding Student Fee Balances

Please take a moment to ensure that all student fees have been paid to avoid late fees. As a convenience to our families, we have extended the date for assessing late fees until October 15th, 2021, but after that a late fee of $15.00 will be applied.

On September 10th a communication was sent to anyone with outstanding fees (to the email address listed in PushCoin) but please be aware that additional fees may have been billed since then. Please visit PushCoin to view any outstanding fees in your account. If you have questions about a fee, please contact your child’s school.

In accordance with Board policy, all fees owed to the school district must be paid in full in order to participate in fee-based extracurricular activities.

For your convenience, payments can be made in one of two ways:

  • Via credit or debit card or e-check using PushCoin:
  • Or a check payable to CUSD95 can be dropped off at your student’s school. When paying with a check, please include your student’s ID number.

If your income has changed and you would like to apply for a waiver or reduction of school fees, please click here and follow the instructions for completing a Fee Waiver Application. If you have paid your fees, but your payment does not show in your student’s account please contact the Business Office at . If you have signed a Promissory Note with the district to pay your fees, please disregard this notice.

A Day in the Class of…

In this feature article, “A Day in the Class of…”, we will highlight the Superintendent as a member of a classroom for one full period. A different school and class will be highlighted each month, allowing readers a view into the classroom from a new perspective! Enjoy!

Last Friday I had the wonderful opportunity to join Seth Paine third graders for Art class with Mrs. Simmons where we created masks. Mrs. Simmons began with the reasons and ways that masks may be used in the world. Our class had the chance to share our thinking about this and came up with some ideas:

  • Holidays or parties
  • For protection
  • Cultural traditions
  • To hide one’s face
  • Ceremonial reasons
  • Sports, for protection
  • Ninjas!
  • Flying a stunt plane!

Mrs. Simmons told us the focus for our project was on ceremonial and cultural masks – specifically, in the Pacific Northwest. We reviewed designs with lines and patterns and looked at a model mask which was ‘really cool’ and had a cardboard base.

We talked about the importance of having a plan for our mask. Just like any other project or problem – like a math problem – our plan guides us and helps us to start and finish. For example, we talked about painting our small, detailed items first. We also talked about three dimensional masks which can make it more exciting by adding details through relief sculptures that appear to come out of the base.

Our job for this particular day was painting. We had to wait patiently to get our paint and other supplies. It turns out we needed a quick gluing lesson, so Mrs. Simmons guided us with that too, to meet our learning needs.

Mrs. Simmons talked to us about how Art tells stories. She asked us to think, “What story am I telling with my mask?” She left us with this thought as we were cleaning. I am still thinking about my story… one of color and celebration…

Thank you to Seth Paine Elementary School and Mrs. Simmons, I loved my learning time with you!

Symptom Monitoring Reminders

We want to take this opportunity to provide a reminder that while the District is currently not requiring a daily health screener, all students, families, and staff members must remember that regular symptom monitoring is an important mitigation strategy to maintain the ability to continue in-person instruction. As such, please remember that students who are not feeling well CANNOT attend school, and families MUST report their symptoms to their school health office. In addition, siblings or family members of ill or symptomatic students CANNOT attend school until the symptomatic student has been cleared by the school nurse, which may include a negative COVID test. Finally, students and/or students of family members who have tested positive for COVID cannot attend school and must contact the school nurse.