Illinois Honor Roll

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2013 Academic Excellence Awards

Academic Excellence Awards recognize 23 schools that have sustained very high academic performance over at least three years. Some of these schools receive national recognition, placing them among the nation's most outstanding.

In elementary and middle schools, at least 90 percent of the students met or exceeded state standards in both reading and mathematics for at least three consecutive years. In high schools, at least 85 percent of the students met or exceeded standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam in 2011-2012 and 92.5 percent in 2013. All Academic Excellence schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for years 2011-2013.

At a number of high schools that received Excellence Awards in prior years, 85 percent or more of all students continue to meet or exceed standards on the Prairie State, but these schools did not meet the criteria for AYP due to rising standards and higher cut scores on state tests.

Achieving and maintaining excellence is not easy in any school. The critical strategies for success cited in Billman, Mission Possible also operate in the schools winning the Excellence Award.


Total Number by Year

Chart showing types of schools receiving awards

School Types

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Chart showing types of schools receiving awards


Academic Excellence High Schools

Number indicates total times the award was received.

Jones College Prep, Chicago (10) Northside College Prep, Chicago (10)
Payton College Prep, Chicago (9) Young Magnet, Chicago (9)


Test Scores - Moving More Students into the Exceeds Range

Four elementary schools showed increases in scores over last year even though they started at a baseline above 90 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards.

  • Half Day School, Lincolnshire
  • Iles Elementary, Springfield
  • Lincoln Elementary, River Forest
  • Edison Elementary Regional Gifted Center, Chicago

Ten elementary schools showed decreases in test scores, but stayed above the 92.5 percent mark.

Low-Income Enrollment ("Low-income" is designated by eligibility for free or reduced lunch.)

  • The 11 Academic Excellence schools in Chicago enroll 13 percent to 46 percent low-income students.
  • Of the 23 Academic Excellence schools, 11 (or 48 percent) enroll fewer than 15 percent low-income students.


Geographic Distribution of 23 Academic Excellence Awards

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Chart showing geographic distribution of schools


School Size

  • Young Magnet High School in Chicago is the largest Academic Excellence school with 2,116 students. The five high schools earning an Academic Excellence award enroll between 842 and 2,116 students.
  • Elementary enrollments range from 192 students in Poe Elementary Classical School in Chicago to 814 students in Skinner Elementary School, both in Chicago.
  • Four of the 23 (or 17 percent) elementary schools enroll 400 or more students.

Repeat Winners

10 times
9 Schools
Jones College Prep High School, Chicago
Lincoln Elem School, River Forest
Northside College Preparatory High School, Chicago
Edison Regional Gifted Elem School, Chicago
Decatur Classical Elementary School, Chicago
Lenart Regional Gifted Center, Chicago
Half Day School, Lincolnshire
Washington Gifted School, Peoria
Iles Elementary School, Springfield
9 times
7 Schools
Brook Forest Elem School, Oak Brook
Keller Gifted Magnet Elem School, Chicago
McDade Elem Classical School, Chicago
Payton College Preparatory High School, Chicago
The Lane Elementary School, Hindsdale
Washington Gifted School, Rockford
Young Magnet High School
8 times
1 School
Deerfield High School, Deerfield
7 times
2 Schools
Poe Classical Elem School, Chicago
Butler Junior High School, Oakbrook

Districts with 2 or More Excellence Awards in 2013

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Chart showing school districts with 2 or more awards