Illinois Honor Roll

Contact Us | Site Map | ISBE | NIU

2009 Academic Excellence Awards

Academic Excellence Awards recognize 438 schools that have sustained very high academic performance over at least three years. Some of these schools often receive national recognitions placing them among the nation's most outstanding. The number of Academic Excellence Awards continued to rise after more than doubling in 2008. The number of middle schools and elementary schools increased significantly.

In elementary and middle schools, at least 90% of students met or exceeded state standards in both reading and mathematics for at least 3 consecutive years. In high schools, at least 80% of students met or exceeded standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam in 2007-2009. All Academic Excellence schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the past two years.

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

Return to Top return to top

Chart showing types of schools receiving awards


Academic Excellence High Schools

Number indicates consecutive annual awards.

Deerfield High School, Deerfield (6) Northside College Prep, Chicago (6)
Jones College Prep, Chicago (5) Payton College Prep, Chicago (5)
New Trier Township, Winnetka (5) Young Magnet, Chicago (4)


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.)

  • 20 Academic Excellence schools in Chicago enroll 4.6 to 65% low-income students.
  • 316 of the 438 Academic Excellence schools (72%) enroll fewer than 15% low-income students.


Geographic Distribution of 438 Academic Excellence Awards

Return to Top return to top

Chart showing geographic distribution of schools


School Size

  • New Trier Township High School in Lake County is the largest Academic Excellence school with 3110 students. The six high schools enroll from 750 to 3110 students.
  • Elementary enrollments range from 21 in Nelson Elementary School in Lee County to 1103 students in Milburn Central in Old Mill Creek.
  • 58% of the 198 elementary schools enroll 400 or more students.

Repeat Winners

44 Schools
6th time (2004–2009)
41 Schools
5th time (2005–2009)
23 Schools
4th time (2006–2009)
43 Schools
3rd time (2007–2009)
198 Schools
2nd time (2008–2009)
89 Schools
First time (2009)

Double Winners

  • 5 Schools earned both Spotlight Schools and Academic Excellence Awards.
    • Arcadia Elementary, Olympia Fields
    • Belle Rive Attendance Center, Belle Rive
    • Chatsworth Grade School, Chatsworth
    • Jones College Preparatory High School, Chicago
    • Sheridan Elementary Math and Science Academy, Chicago

Districts with 4 or More Excellence Awards in 2009

Return to Top return to top

Chart showing school districts with 4 or more awards