Top High Schools in the Chicago, IL Metro (page 4)

Top High Schools in the Chicago, IL Metro

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Updated on Aug 23, 2011

Payton College Preparatory High School

City of Chicago School District 299


Payton College Preparatory High School has a diverse student body and high academic standards. While many area schools are somewhat segregated, the school breaks down a lot of stereotypes and provides a learning environment in which students from different backgrounds can come together.


The faculty members are leaders in their field and in addition to teaching students every day, many have work published and lead national conferences. The community and parents provide fundraising and support to the school through booster groups and a school endowment.


The school provides an academically challenging environment by only offering AP and honors-level courses. The math program has received national recommendation. Global connections are integrated throughout the school and all core areas, including a strong foreign language department and opportunities to travel overseas. Student leadership is also focus with students designing and leading the seminar program on campus.


A variety of sports teams, including football, baseball, and basketball, are offered on campus. Students can also participate in a variety of clubs with interest, service, and academic focuses.


“Our students come from a variety of public, private, independent and home schools, but all have in common support at home and incredible motivation,” said Naomi Nakayama, Assistant Principal at Peyton College Preparatory School.



Prospect High School

Township High School District 214


The staff at Prospect High School works to provide opportunities for each student to be successful, whether that be in the classroom, on a sports field or playing an instrument. Due to staff encouragement, the AP course enrollment has doubled in the past several years while the pass rate has stayed consisted.


The music programs on campus have earned a reputation throughout Illinois and even the nation. The school has been identified as a Grammy signature school for several recent years. The marching band has taken home top honors at state competitions and the dance program is also ranked in the top programs in Illinois. The drama and speech teams have also taken home their share of awards. Athletic teams have earned many titles and the school has been recognized for the past four years as having the top overall athletic program in the conference.


“I think that the focus is that as a school we are trying to provide opportunities for individual to be highly successful in all aspects of their social, emotional and intellectual and athletic development,” said Kurt Laakso, Principal. “We work to provide opportunities for excellence in all.”



Riverside Brookfield Township High School

Riverside-Brookfield Township School District 208


New students at Riverside Brookfield Township High School often tell the administration how they feel that the teachers really care about their success and go the extra mile to help them. In a recent survey by an accreditation team, 100 percent of the students said that there was an adult on campus that they would go to for help.


The facilities are impressive and include an on-campus television station, modern woodworking lab, and computerized automotive lab. The school offers 24 Advanced Placement courses and 19 honors level classes. To encourage giving back, community service hours are tracked and noted on student transcripts. The Best Buddies Club, where special needs students work with students in regular classes, has received national recognition and is popular among students.


The arts are important on campus and each student is required to take a Fine Arts Survey class such as introduction to visual arts, drama, voice, and dance. The arts program has also received state-wide recognition and taken home honors in many competitions. The school is active after classes are done for the day, with 45 clubs and 25 sports, including Special Olympics teams.


“We stress that our relationships are what matter here. All learning connects to students through these relationships. It is what we hire for and what we nurture in the environment,” said Pam Bylsma, Principal.




St Charles East High School

St Charles Chicago Unified School District 303


The administration at St. Charles credits the success of the school to supportive parents, dedicated staff, and motivated students. The school works to maintain a family atmosphere and many alumni return to the campus often for visits. Parental involvement is high and many parent groups help support the programs on campus. The school is diverse and provides students with many opportunities to learn about other cultures.


The school offers a rigorous academic program which includes many AP courses. Students who need extra help attend the Applied Study Skills program during their study hall each day to receive one-on-one help from an adult. To help students pursue their interests, the school has many athletic teams and a very active fine and performing arts program.


Community service is a priority at the school. The students send boxes of goodies to soldiers serving overseas and adopt local needy families for the holidays. Students also interact with residents of a nearby nursing home by bringing them to school events and hosting ice cream socials for the seniors.


“Our kids are great kids. We have a phenomenal high school and I am so proud of our kids. This is a great place and I am proud to be the principal of this school and a member of the community,” said Robert Miller.




St Charles North High School

St Charles Chicago Unified School District 303


If you walk through the halls at St Charles North High School, you might notice many of the kids wearing a host of different t-shirts – for homecoming, interest clubs such as Calculus Club, and even a social studies class celebrating the Year in European History. T-shirts are just one of the many ways that students show their high level of school spirit. Students pursue an academically challenging selection of courses, including a number of AP courses, and can also take vocational courses at Fox Valley Career Center and Elgin Community College.


The staff is very dedicated to the students and often come in early to tutor, stay after school to help students, and sponsor clubs. The students focus on helping others, from opening doors for each other to raising money when disaster strikes another community. The H.O.P.E. club, which spreads a message an anti-suicide and safe driving through peer mediation, is very active. Parents are very involved and administrators say that if they need something for the school, a single call to a parent often yields results.


“High test scores don’t just happen because you have smart kids or good teachers, but because of the heart and soul of the school behind the schools. And that’s what people in these buildings – heart and soul,” said Kim Zupec, Principal.




Vernon Hills High School

Chicago High School District 128


The students at Vernon Hills High School often comment to the administration how much they like their teachers and how much their teachers really care about them. The staff goes the extra mile, coming in early and staying late, to give students the attention and help they need.

The community supports the school and attends school events, including athletic events and arts performances. The school opened in 1999 and the initial excitement in the community around finally having its own high school has translated into long term support of the school.


Students can be a member of over 30 different clubs, including the Cycling Club, Book Club, Outdoor Adventure, and Guitar Club. Academic teams and clubs are also available, including the Math Team which has won two state championships. The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering club is also active on campus and has taken home top state honors, both individually and as a team. Athletics teams are also on campus in addition to an active arts department, which includes the band, choir, orchestra, and theater.


“I am most proud of how the kids get along with each other. We have a diverse population and kids are accepting of each other,” said Dr. Ellen Cwick, Principal.



WM Fremd High School Township

High School District 211


WM Fremd High School offers a wide variety of academic, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities for students. Challenging academic courses are offered in addition to a variety of electives.


A wide range of clubs are available, including Auto Club, Fashion Club, and Writer’s Forum. Academic teams are also active, such as Robotics Club, Scholastic Bowl, Speech Team, and Math Team. Students can also participate in National Honor Society.


WM Fremd hosts a number of athletic teams, such as water polo and lacrosse, in addition to traditional sports. Gymnastics, softball, and badminton have all won recent championships. Students can also participate in a number of intramural sports, such as ping pong and weight training.


The mission statement on the website details, “William Fremd High School, in partnership with the community, dedicates itself to challenge and inspire all students toward academic excellence, positive social development and mutual respect. Our goal is for all students to meet their highest level of achievement as determined by appropriate and meaningful evaluation. We commit ourselves to a comprehensive system of support to ensure student growth.”



Wheaton North High School

Chicago Unified School District 200


If you visit Wheaton North High School, you will notice that students will probably hold the door for you or say “excuse me” if they bump into you. The school has reputation for being welcoming and having a strong sense of community. You will also notice a sea of the school colors – blue and gold – throughout the halls and on students' clothing, as students proudly support the school.


Students have access to state of the art technology including seven on campus computer labs. Wheaton offers 15 AP and 43 different advanced level courses, which demonstrates their focus on achievement. A point of pride on campus is the Recognition Garden, which pays tribute to former students who have lost their lives serving our country.


The music program has an excellent reputation and the band having been invited to play around the country. Students can also play in the orchestra or sing in the choir. Students can be a member of interest clubs or academic teams, such as the Scholastic Bowl or Speech Team. Many athletic teams are offered and teams are competitive at both a local and state level.


“The community is whole heartedly supports the school. Wheaton North High School is highly successfully academically and athletically,” said Dr. Robert Rammer, Assistant Superintendent of CUSD 200.




Wheaton Warrenville South High School

Chicago Unified School District 200


If you show up to Wheaton Warrenville South High School on a Friday, don't be surprised if you see students wearing only orange and black. Every Friday is Spirit Day at Wheaton, where there is no shortage of school pride. The school has been educating kids in the community for over 100 years, and the community supports the school through a strong booster club that provides significant financial support. The school provides a wide array of AP and honors courses to prepare students for college.


Athletics are important to school culture. The football team is the reining state champion and the volleyball team often competes on the state level. Sports facilities are high quality, and the school has also been recognized at the state level for their sportsmanship throughout the athletic program.


The drama program and nationally-ranked choir are popular on campus, where many students participate in performance arts. Other active clubs on campus include the Book Club, Gaming Club, and S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions)


“Wheaton Warrenville South High School is highly competitive and high achieving. We compete at the highest level both academically and athletically,” said Dr. Robert Rammer, Assistant Superintendent of CUSD 200.




York Community High School

Elmhurst School District 205


York Community High School is all about getting its students college-ready. Over 75 percent of the staff hold advanced degrees, and 12 percent of the staff have more than 20 years of classroom experience. The AP program is popular on campus with 422 students taking 884 exams in a recent school year. Students did well on the tests with over 87 percent passing the exam. And finally, over 97 percent of the kids head to university after graduation.


Each fall upperclassmen have leadership opportunities through the Freshmen Mentoring Leadership program, which helps students transition from middle to high school. Freshmen meet weekly with their mentors during the first semester to ease any stress.


Over 84 percent of students are a member of at least one team, club, or performing art program. Athletic teams, such as boy's cross country, have winning reputations. Student can also play on a variety of intramural teams, including Dodge ball, Ping Pong, and Ultimate Frisbee.




Young Magnet High School

City of Chicago School District 299


When you walk into Young Magnet High School, you might see students reading textbooks in the lunchroom or doing homework in corners of the school. Academics are the focus at Young Magnet, where 75 percent of all students are enrolled in at least one AP course, and the goal is soon to have 100 percent enrolled. Admission to the magnet high school is based on seventh grade test scores and an entrance exam.


The school’s philosophy is that participation in extracurricular activities helps students feel involved in the school, which translates back into more success in the classroom. Over 75 percent of the student body is involved in a club, activity, or sport. Academic teams have had a lot of success in competitions, including the Academic Decathlon, Math Team, Chess Team, and Bio diesel team. The school has many sports teams, and the Pom Squad and Track Team recently had winning seasons.


“The fabric of our school is academic excellence. Students walk in the school for the first time knowing the agenda – which is to get them to college and to the college of their choice,” said Dr. Joyce Kenner, Principal.


Please note that only schools in the following Illinois counties were considered for this article: Kenosha, Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter.

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