Riverside-Brookfield High SchoolFile 2009

Riverside-Brookfield High School was ranked as the 15th best public high school in the state of Illinois by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s annual rankings of high schools, which was published last week.

The magazine analyzed data from 21,035 high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Nebraska chose not to participate. The rankings are based on data from the 2010-11 school year.

RBHS was ranked as the 427th best high school in the nation and received gold-medal recognition as one of the nation’s top 500 public high schools.

“RB is consistently recognized by colleges as a top school for recruiting outstanding students,” said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis in a press release. “This ranking from U.S. News & World Report will help us continue to place our students in the colleges of their choice, as well as retain and attract the best educators.”

Lyons Township High School was not among the 69 Illinois schools receiving a numerical ranking by the magazine.

U.S. News uses a three-step process to rank high schools. The first step is a statistical analysis that measures how a school’s students are performing in reading and math compared to average student in the state.

The second step in the process measures how black, Hispanic and low-income students are doing at a school compared to their counterparts throughout the state. The final step looks at college readiness measured by participation in and performance in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes and tests.

At RBHS, 62 percent of students took an AP test, and 44 percent passed an AP test. Seventy-five percent of RBHS students met reading and math proficiency standards and the school achieved a 48.5 score on the magazine’s college-readiness index.

RBHS achieved its high ranking despite having the highest student-to-teacher ratio, 22 to 1, of the top 69 public high schools in the state. The school’s student-to-teacher ratio has increased in the two years since the data used in this study was gathered.

LTHS’ student to teacher ratio was 16 to 1. Despite not being ranked, LTHS had some scores that were close to RBHS.

Seventy-three percent of LTHS students were rated proficient in reading and math, but school’s college-readiness index score was only 38 — 10.5 points fewer than RBHS.

The AP participation rate at LTHS was 40 percent, significantly lower than the 62 percent at RBHS. For the last 10 years, RBHS has had one of the highest AP participation rates among non-selective enrollment high schools in the state, under a policy pushing a wide range of students to take at least one AP class. The policy was created and implemented by former Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann and has been continued, with minor modifications, under his successors.

U.S. News ranked a selective enrollment school, Chicago’s Northside College Prep, as the top high school in the state of Illinois. Deerfield High School, which was ranked fifth in the state, was the highest-ranked non-selective enrollment school.

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