The following email communication from new Lake Forest High School Principal Dr. Chala Holland was sent to parents of current students on July 8:
Dear LFHS Community Members,
By way of a written communication, I would like to introduce myself, and I look forward to the opportunity to meet and work with you personally. I would like to begin by offering a special thanks to the students who have met with me to share their insights, ideas and enthusiasm, as well as an informative (and fun) tour of the high school. What great ambassadors for the student body! I would also like to thank all of the community members who have taken the time to welcome me, provide feedback, and share personal insights. I sincerely appreciate it and will use the feedback to be the best leader I can for the entire school community.
As one who strongly believes in the importance of espousing a comprehensive approach to student development, I was drawn to LFHS because of the district’s commitment to supporting the holistic well-being of every learner. In speaking with staff, parents, community members and students, the focus on social, emotional, and academic growth is overwhelmingly a key priority. Having attended high-performing schools, I know the pressures and stressors that sometimes coincide with academic success. With a focus on the holistic needs of each student, I look forward to supporting academic excellence while also working to ensure that the social and emotional needs of all students are acknowledged and nurtured.
I am honored to join the school community as I believe in the importance of promoting all students to their highest potential, with great care and support. I also believe it is essential to include student voice in determining the best ways to support students.
I have been fortunate to work in large area high schools, serving the development and growth of all students. I have engaged in very important work focused on improving the academic success of all students. This entailed supporting the progress and success of students in Honors and AP courses, ensuring the growth of advanced students, accelerating the growth of students facing academic challenges, and personalizing the learning and supports for students in Special Education.
To ensure the success of all students, I spearheaded work that created and expanded Advanced Placement supports (AP Bridge Courses, AP “Bootcamps,” and AP teacher-led study sessions), implemented school-wide Executive Functioning (EF) professional development for teachers and EF supports for students. I led the creation of a fully staffed Tutoring Center to support all students in need of academic assistance on everything from writing college essays to daily homework completion. Centering the voices of students, I led the creation and implementation of a Saturday School, offering general academic tutoring and support across all subject areas, course-specific study sessions, parent support and informational meetings, and targeted supports led by social workers and deans. Over 600 students voluntarily attended on a regular basis. Utilizing feedback from the entire school community, I developed and implemented a 5-year comprehensive professional development model for faculty and instructional staff, which included Social Emotional Learning (SEL) professional development for faculty, and staff along with the expansion of SEL supports for students. These are just a few examples of the contextual collaborative efforts I have headed.
With the hearts and minds of students at Lake Forest High School centered in my work, I position myself as a learner, first, with collaborator as a close second. As a new member of the school community, I have a lot to learn and a lot to contribute. I will seek out ways to constantly grow and positively contribute. The Lake Forest High School community has my unwavering commitment to fostering positive collaborative relationships, furthering the vision of excellence, and ensuring the needs of our students as my top priority.
I am excited to serve the school community and I am looking forward to our journey ahead. My door is always open.
With great appreciation,
Dr. Chala Holland