Illinois Honor Roll

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2011 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 receive national recognitions, placing them among the nation's most outstanding.

In elementary and middle schools, at least 90% of the students met or exceeded state standards in both reading and mathematics for at least 3 consecutive years. In high schools, at least 85% of the students met or exceeded standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam in 2009-2011. All Academic Excellence schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) 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, 85% 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 total times the award was received.

Northside College Prep, Chicago (8) Jones College Prep, Chicago (7)
Payton College Prep, Chicago (7) Young Magnet, Chicago (7)
Lane Technical High School, Chicago (2)


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 24 Academic Excellence schools in Chicago enroll 9% to 65% low-income students.
  • Of the 438 Academic Excellence schools, 265 (61%) enroll fewer than 15% low-income students.


Geographic Distribution of 438 Academic Excellence Awards

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Chart showing geographic distribution of schools


School Size

  • Lane Technical High School in Chicago is the largest Academic Excellence school with 4161 students. The five high schools enroll from 844 to 4161 students.
  • Elementary enrollments range from 52 in Cherry Grad School in Bureau County to 962 students in Oak Grove Elementary, Libertyville.
  • 198 of the 438 (45%) 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

  • 10 Schools earned both Spotlight Schools and Academic Excellence Awards.
    • Arcadia Elementary, Olympia Fields
    • Brown Elementary, East Saint Louis
    • Irvington Elementary, Irvington
    • Jones College Preparatory High School, Chicago
    • Lane Technical High School, Chicago
    • Norwood Primary, Peoria
    • Tefft Middle, Streamwood
    • Vanderpoel Elementary Magnet, Chicago
    • William F. Murphy Elementary, Woodridge
    • Willow Elementary, Pekin

Districts with 4 or More Excellence Awards in 2011

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Chart showing school districts with 4 or more awards