Illinois Honor Roll

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2010 Academic Excellence Awards

Academic Excellence Awards recognize 459 schools that have sustained very high academic performance over at least three years. The number of schools receiving the award has continued to rise each year since 2004. Some of these schools receive national recognitions, placing them among the nation's most outstanding.

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 2008-2010. All Academic Excellence schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the past two years.

As AYP standards rose in recent years, the number of high schools receiving this award declined. At a number of high schools that received Excellence Awards in prior years, 80% or more of all students continue to meet or exceed standards on the Prairie State, but these school failed to achieve AYP due to rising standards for subgroups.

Schools that receive Academic Excellence Awards tend to remain on the Honor Roll year after year, and many of them raise their level of performance.

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 consecutive annual awards.

Deerfield High School, Deerfield (7) Northside College Prep, Chicago (7)
Jones College Prep, Chicago (6) Payton College Prep, Chicago (6)
Young Magnet, Chicago (6) Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale (1)


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 20 Academic Excellence schools in Chicago enroll 6.8 to 60% low-income students.
  • Of the 459 Academic Excellence schools, 299 (65%) enroll fewer than 15% low-income students.


Geographic Distribution of 459 Academic Excellence Awards

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Chart showing geographic distribution of schools


School Size

  • Hinsdale Central High School in DuPage County is the largest Academic Excellence school with 2755 students. The six high schools enroll from 827 to 2755 students.
  • Elementary enrollments range from 31 in Nelson Elementary School in Lee County to 988 students in Oak Grove Elementary, libertyville.
  • 196 of the 363 (54%) elementary schools enroll 400 or more students.

Repeat Winners

43 Schools
7th time (2003–2010)
40 Schools
6th time (2004–2010)
21 Schools
5th time (2005–2010)
38 Schools
4th time (2006–2010)
159 Schools
3rd time (2007–2010)
74 Schools
2nd time (2008–2010)
90 Schools
First time (2010)

Double Winners

  • 5 Schools earned both Spotlight Schools and Academic Excellence Awards.
    • Jones College Preparatory High School, Chicago
    • Vanderpoel Elementary Magnet School, Chicago
    • Tilden Attendance Center, Tilden
    • Willow Elementary School, Pekin
    • Armstrong-Ellis Elementary School, Armstrong

Districts with 4 or More Excellence Awards in 2010

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Chart showing school districts with 4 or more awards