Illinois Honor Roll

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2009 Illinois Spotlight Schools

The Illinois State Board of Education recognizes Spotlight Schools—high-poverty schools where high academic performance is closing the "achievement gap." Located throughout the state in urban, suburban, and rural locations, 425 Spotlight Schools earned honors in this year. These schools exhibit achievements that are contrary to the conventional wisdom that test scores will reflect demographics despite local efforts.

Criteria for selecting Spotlight Schools are rigorous. All schools must be making Adequate Yearly Progress. At least half the students are from low-income families and in 2009, at least 70% must be passing the state achievement tests in both reading and mathematics.

The Spotlight Schools demonstrate that low-income students and schools with limited resources can show impressive academic performance. These schools know how to help all students succeed. See Billman's study of Spotlight Schools Award winners, Mission Possible, for Illinois principals' stories on how they do it.


Total Number by Year

Chart showing types of schools receiving awards

ISBE requires that 70% of students in 2009 meet or exceed standards in reading and in mathematics, based on the building-wide scores. Schools may qualify for this award if at least 50% of students passed the state tests in the prior year. A third criterion is that 50% of students are low income; that is, they qualify for free or reduced lunch. This requirement applies only to the award year, not to prior years. All schools must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the two most recent school years.

School Types

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Chart showing types of schools receiving awards


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

  • Low income ranges from 50% to 100% among all 425 schools.
  • In 183 schools (43%), more than 2/3 of students qualify as low income.


Geographic Distribution of 425 Spotlight Schools

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Chart showing geographic distribution of schools


School Size

  • The enrollment in 49% of the Spotlight Schools is below 300 students.
  • The four largest elementary schools enroll 1011 to 1444 students.
    • Beasley Elementary Magnet Academic Center (1444), Chicago
    • Baldwin Intermediate (1367), Quincy
    • lincoln Elementary (1117), Calumet City
    • East Richmond Elementary (1011), Olney

Repeat Winners

  • 9 schools have earned the Spotlight Schools award every year since the Honor Roll began in 2003 — seven times.
    • Berrian, Quincy
    • Blackhawk, Freeport
    • Dewey, Quincy
    • Franklin, Belleville
    • Jones College Prep, Chicago
    • Leland, Chicago
    • lincoln Center Montessori, Kankakee
    • Washington, Quincy
    • Whittier, Peoria
  • 27 schools are designated as Spotlight Schools for the sixth time.

Double Winners

  • 30 schools earned both Spotlight Schools and Academic Improvement Awards.
  • 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 Spotlight Awards in 2009

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Chart showing school districts with 4 or more awards