Help Shape LV41’s Future!

download-1Every organization needs a road map to advance from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future.  You now have a direct opportunity to shape Lake Villa 41’s future.  On Saturday, November 5th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. our board will be hosting a Strategic Planning Event in the  board room at Palombi Middle School.  This event is aimed at engaging community members, business leaders, residents, recent graduates, and staff in planning the direction of the district.  It is a time for everyone’s voice to be heard. This meeting is open to the public.

The strategic plan is the driving force for the district’s actions. It guides all planning, fiscal decision-making and student achievement efforts.  A good strategic plan can improve student outcomes, keep great teachers and involve the community in the business of the schools.

If you are interested in joining us, please let the district know so we can be sure to have lunch for you and send you materials a week before the event.  You can simply fill out the form below and we will do the rest!

Our board is committed to gathering ideas from community and staff representatives to guide our school district’s planning activities.  Our board believes that by working together we can strengthen our efforts to continuously improve our schools.  On behalf of all the students in the community, the board and I appreciate your contribution to this effort.

Achieving excellence takes everyone!

Help our Kids Feel Safe


download-2You may have heard news reports about “creepy clown” sightings across the country, and recently in nearby school districts. We know that some of our students and parents have heard these reports as they have expressed concerns to each other and to school staff.

The safety of our students and staff is our priority and we work closely with the Lake Villa and Lindenhurst Police Departments to ensure that safety. Although there have been no “creepy clown” sightings around our schools, please know the police are taking the growing phenomenon very seriously and are on alert. In our schools, we always closely monitor visitors to our buildings.  Staff continue to watch around the buildings during recess, outdoor gym time, and during arrival and dismissal.

We ask for your help in keeping our community safe and in helping children who are concerned or anxious. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to the Lake Villa or Lindenhurst Police Departments and to your building principal. Please reinforce digital citizenship lessons with your children (i.e., do not “friend” or communicate with strangers at any time online or through text messaging, and always share messages of concern with an adult). Remind them to play outdoors in groups and always walk with a buddy.  This is a perfect opportunity to talk about “Stranger Danger” with your child.  Finally, reassure your children that school is a safe place and that there are lots of adults watching and taking good care of them.  If your child seems particularly anxious or afraid, please know our social workers and psychologists are available to meet with them. 

We will continue to monitor media reports to understand concerns in nearby communities, and will be in close contact with our own police departments.

Upcoming Parent Workshop

images-1I normally don’t promote workshops for parents because there are so many good ones, but here is one I don’t think you will want to miss, especially if you have teens (or tweens) in your house.  From Use to Abuse is being held at the  Warren-Newport Public Library on October 27th from 10 – 11:30 a.m. then again at 6:30 – 8 p.m.   Flyer

Not only will you learn about local drug trends and why prescription opiates are so harmful, but how to safeguard your own home.  There will also be an interesting interactive traveling exhibit of a teen bedroom that contains over 100 items that may be indicative of risky behavior.  I encourage all parents to save the date!

Gearing Up for a Great Start

50b0a1c5ebee49c6bfe772e19cef0bd6It is hard to believe, but the First Day of School is right around the corner.  Our staff is busy putting the final touches on classrooms, hallways and playgrounds.  We are looking forward to welcoming 2,700 smiling faces into our schools next Tuesday.

I am optimistic and confident that this year will be an outstanding year for all of our students.  Talking with a number of teachers and administrators over the summer, I have picked up on a sense of renewed excitement and enthusiasm  for the upcoming school year.

Recently, a number of staff volunteered to meet at Panera for a book study on a school 518+7JOSZmL._AC_UL320_SR210,320_transformation process.  (Seriously,  it MUST  be interesting for people to give up vacation time to talk shop.) The book that has folks buzzing is The Leader in Me by Sean Covey. It teaches leadership skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child (and every person) can be leader.  The Leader in Me is not an event and it is not a curriculum.  It is an integrated approach of leadership training that involves the entire school.  In fact, schools cannot become a Leader in Me school unless there is a commitment from 90% or more of the staff that this is something the entire school wants to do.  It simply won’t work if it is top down or administratively directed.  This year our schools are just beginning the initial exploration stage. Principals will be trying to gauge if this is something their schools support.  (By the way, every one of our principals is very excited about the Leader in Me.  Feel free to ask them about the Leader schools they visited.)   If you want to see what the excitement is about check out  The Leader in Me.

Picture3Finally, for those of you who are interested in how my Great Pyrenees puppy named  Jeep is doing with her training, I have started a new blog for students, staff and families to follow.  You can see Jeep in action at  Jeep the Dog    Become a follower!  I have posted some videos and articles that I know the kids in particular will enjoy watching.  I plan to add new photos and updates throughout the year. Hard to imagine that Jeep is now 7 months old and weighs over 75 lbs!


I am looking forward to a fantastic year ahead!!

Calling all Parents!

downloadJust a reminder  that tomorrow night there will be a presentation on how the brain learns to read at the Lake Villa District Library at 7 pm.  Reading is one of the most important skills children can develop in their lifetimes. However, learning to read is a complex process and is not easy for all children. Reading is not a natural part of human development. Unlike spoken language, reading cannot be learned by imitation or observation of other people. Reading requires multiple areas of the brain to work together.

Find out what you can do to help your child’s brain learn to read. Superintendent Dr. Lynette Zimmer will present on how the brain processes language, emotion and other stimuli to improve reading skills. You can register in person at the Adult Reference Desk, by phone 847-245-5115 or online at  Hope to see you there!

Summer Rdg Flyer

Still NO Illinois Education Budget!

piggy bankThe 99th General Assembly legislative session ended shortly before midnight on Tuesday with a thud. Despite one proposed comprehensive budget and several stand-alone K-12 education funding plans floating through the Capitol, none were passed before the midnight deadline. After a lot of drama, political positioning, and finger pointing, we are right back where we were before the Spring Session began with no FY17 budget and no FY17 school funding plan (not to mention, no Social Services funding plan and no higher education funding plan).
Public school superintendents throughout the State of Illinois cannot envision the start of a school year without assurance of our state doing its part to fund the public schools.  We, hopefully, anticipate  that some interim agreement will be approved in Springfield in the weeks ahead to assure ALL public schools can start on time in August 2016.  However, our state has just passed through an historical period of going through an entire fiscal year without a state budget for many programs and services.
Please contact our legislators and urge approval of a 2017 K-12 budget. We need to hold our legislators accountable and responsible.  Our children deserve better!

Representative Sam  Ying Ling  contact Ying Ling

Representative Jack Franks             

Representative Barabara Wheeler 

Senator Pamela Althoff                    

Senator Melinda Bush                       

Board Vacancy

bd vacancyRespected board member Michele Hawksworth is stepping down from her position effective June 13, 2016.  I have truly enjoyed working with Mrs. Hawksworth and sincerely appreciate her dedication and commitment to the students and families of Lake Villa 41.  I know I speak for the entire board when I say that her presence will be greatly missed.

In order to fill this vacancy, the district is accepting applications and letters of intent through June 3, 2016.   You can access the application here Notice – Board Member Vacancy 2016 or you can visit the school website, . Completed documents may be emailed to or be hand delivered or mailed to the district office.  The term runs through April

You can find out more about the work of school board members by logging onto the Illinois Association of School Board’s website.



School Funding Uncertainty

appleSchool funding is certainly a topic that this administration and this board take very seriously. Balancing quality educational programming with depleting revenue streams is challenging. For the past two years, the administration and board have scrutinized our budget, tightened our belts and found ways to significantly reduce our expenditures without directly impacting our students. The good news? This past year we balanced the budget.

The bad news? Because of an extremely low Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 0.7% coupled with continued declining enrollment, balancing our budget is going to be even more difficult, if not impossible in the years ahead. Our declining enrollment directly impacts the amount of General State Aid (GSA) we receive since it based on the number of students we serve. The GSA funding formula is also negatively compounded by increasing EAV.  Right now, Lake Villa 41 is experiencing both declining enrollment and increasing EAV.  That spells DANGER for our district.  Further complicating this problem is that the state has not fully funded GSA for 7 years. The GSA funding formula must be overhauled in order for school districts such as ours to remain fiscally sound.  Until that time it needs to be fully funded.

In the meantime, our community needs to turn its attention to our elected state officials. They need to hear from all of us. Illinois is embroiled in a political war that won’t cool down until after the March 15 primary and maybe not even until after the November general election. This Springfield deadlock is negatively impacting schools and other government bodies. Unfortunately, right now there is no state budget for K-12 education. We can’t wait until November to develop local budgets with uncertain state revenue streams. Incredibly, Illinois has entered its ninth month without a FY2016 budget.

Illinois Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis sent letters to superintendents throughout the state today asking them to contact their legislators in support of an FY17 budget developed by Rauner for PK-12 education. I hope you take the time to read this and contact our elected officials because the outcome directly impacts state funding for Lake Villa 41. Our children deserve better.  Letter from the Govenor


What can you do?

  • Contact your representatives and encourage them to pass the education budget for PK-12 which supports full funding for GSA no strings attached.
  • Encourage representatives to revise the GSA formula to be more adequate and equitable.
  • Become familiar with the initiatives of Vision 20/20 which is a blueprint for the future of public education in Illinois. It is the joint effort of a diverse group of front-line educators across the state. It has been adopted by the Illinois School Board Association, the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials Association and dozens of other stakeholder associations.


Please act to support our schools and our children by holding our legislators accountable and responsible. To make it easier, here are just a few addresses to get you started. Thank you!

Representative Jack Franks             

Representative Barabara Wheeler 

Senator Pamela Althoff                    

Senator Melinda Bush                       


Give Feedback on our New Website

downloadI am excited to announce that Lake Villa 41 is developing a new website and is actively seeking feedback from the community regarding our new layout and design. Our goal is to develop a website that is more interactive and easier to navigate than our current one.

We believe it is critical to obtain user feedback before our live launch later this spring. We recognize that parents, staff, students and community members all have varying needs and interests when it comes to a website’s design and functionality.

Please help us design a spectacular site by logging on to and spend some time touring the different pages. Please leave your  feedback on our district survey for our design team. The survey can be found on our current website.

We already have over a 100 responses that are being analyzed by our design team, but if we are to meet the needs of our entire community of users, we need even more feedback!

Our hard-working new technology team is developing this site in-house eliminating the district’s need to out-source this project. In addition, the district will save almost $10,000 annually by switching to a different hosting platform. Our hope is to get an improved website and reduce expenditures at the same time which is certainly a win-win for Lake Villa 41!

Special thanks to our new tech crew for all their hard work their first year here!


PARCC Results Released

testingThe Illinois PARCC scores were released today to the media. While the Chicago Tribune describes the results as “a troubling picture of performance” and “dismal”  I would like to caution parents not to read too much into the results of these first-time tests. These scores are not comparable to ISAT despite the media’s on-going attempts to do so. These results do not mean that students at Lake Villa 41 know less, are less capable or that our schools are suddenly failing. Be assured that our teachers and administrators continue to provide a quality education for all of our students. PARCC is only one of many factors used to measure student progress.

You may recall last year, Lake Villa 41 students took the test using paper and pencil. Although some of the media outlets are reporting that the paper pencil scores have not been released yet, you can indeed view our district and schools’ results at   While all our schools fared markedly better than the state average, the scores overall are low particularly in math.

Individual student scores will be sent home in early January.

Whether you are pro or anti PARCC, the reality is that this test is required by the state of Illinois. PARCC testing will begin again in early April. The good news is that in response to feedback from school districts, this year’s PARCC format is designed to be shorter and easier to administer than last year’s exam. Total test time will be reduced for most students by 90 minutes and the tests will include fewer questions.  This year Lake Villa students will be taking the test online.

You can view the Daily Herald story at

FAQs about PARCC for Parents: