2016’s Best Schools in Chicagoland

by Karina Sanchez


Niche, a website that reviews and ranks schools of all levels across the country, recently released their rankings of the best schools in Chicagoland.

All schools ranked by Niche were graded on how well they serve students’ needs. The “Niche Grade” is based on a variety stats and factors, including student culture and diversity, matriculation rates, health and safety and quality of teachers, resources and facilities. The goal is create a ranking that clearly illustrates how schools measure up in giving students the best possible high school experience.

Take a look at 2016’s Top Schools in Chicagoland:

Private High Schools

  1. The Latin School of Chicago
  2. Lake Forest Academy
  3. University of Chicago Lab School
  4. North Shore Country Day School (Winnetka)
  5. Francis W. Parker School (Chicago)
  6. Chicagoland Jewish High School (Deerfield)
  7. Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart (Lake Forest)
  8. Benet Academy (Lisle)
  9. St. Ignatius College Preparatory School (Chicago)
  10. Morgan Park Academy (Chicago)

Public High Schools

  1. Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire)
  2. Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (Chicago)
  3. Northside College Preparatory High School
  4. Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago)
  5. Hinsdale Central High School
  6. Glenbrook South High School (Glenview)
  7. New Trier Township High School (Winnetka)
  8. Glenbrook North High School (Glenview)
  9. Libertyville High School
  10. Deerfield High School

Public Middle Schools

  1. Gordon Gregory Middle School (Naperville)
  2. Scullen Middle School (Naperville)
  3. Kennedy Junior High School (Lisle)
  4. Still Middle School (Aurora)
  5. Thayer J. Hill Middle School (Naperville)
  6. Clifford Crone Middle School (Naperville)
  7. Barrington Middle School – Prairie Campus
  8. Jefferson Junior High School (Naperville)
  9. Barrington Middle School – Station Campus (Barrington)
  10. Francis Granger Middle School (Aurora)

Public Elementary Schools

  1. May Watts Elementary School (Naperville)
  2. Fry Elementary School (Naperville)
  3. Danielle-Joy Peterson Elementary School (Naperville)
  4. White Eagle Elementary School (Aurora)
  5. Roslyn Road Elementary School (Barrington)
  6. Barbara B. Rose Elementary School (South Barrington)
  7. Highlands Elementary School (Naperville)
  8. Arlene Welch Elementary School (Naperville)
  9. Hough Street Elementary School (Barrington)
  10. Mary Lou Cowlishaw Elementary School (Naperville)

On a national level, three Chicagoland schools placed highly in Niche’s ranking of the school districts with the best teachers:

New Trier Township High School District No. 203 in Winnetka was ranked at No. 1. Serving about 4,200 students from Chicago’s North Shore suburban communities of Glencoe, Kenilworth, Northfield, Wilmette, Winnetka and portions of Glenview and Northbrook, New Trier’s framework of teaching is titled the “Characteristics of Professional Practice,” and the school offers a college preparatory curriculum that focuses on engaged learning, critical thinking and problem solving.

New Trier’s students have an average ACT score of 27.5, and approximately 98 percent of the graduating class of 2015 went on to college. Factoring into the success of the students at New Trier is the amount of money spent per student. New Trier spent $13,829 per student in 2014, which is well above the state average of $7,418, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. Notable alumni of New Trier include: John Donahoe, the CEO of eBay; Douglas Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup Company; James McNerney, the CEO of Boeing; and Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago.

Additionally, New Trier was ranked No. 5 out of 10 schools for having the best academics in the country, and was ranked as the No. 4 best overall school district in America.

Glenbrook High Schools District No. 225 in Northfield Township was ranked at No. 3. Featuring two high schools – Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South – the 225 district serves nearly 5,000 students, and boasts an average ACT score of between 25 and 26.3.

The Glenbrook North debate team is one of the most recognized in the country, and is the only team to win the “triple crown” of debate tournaments – the National Forensic, Tournament of Champions and National Christian Forensic leagues – in a single year. Both high schools participate in an Academy of International Studies, which features classes on Spanish, French, German and Mandarin Chinese. Notable alumni include Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump and film director John Hughes. District 225 was also rated as the 10th best district in the country.

Hinsdale Township High School District 86 in the Hinsdale suburb was ranked at No. 5. Operating two high schools – Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South – the district serves more than 4,500 students.

Hinsdale Central has a robust offering of clubs and activities, with more than 100 clubs in total. The school’s chess team is nationally recognized, having placed within the top 10 four times in the last six years, while the school news magazine, Devils’ Advocate, received the National Scholastic Press Association Newspaper Pacemaker Award for its 2012-2013 publication. Notable alumni include: Bob Dudley, the current CEO of BP; Kirk Dillard, an Illinois state senator; and John Kinsella, a gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer.

Our online coverage of Niche’s Top Schools in Chicagoland earlier this year was a popular article, and many of our readers shared their own experiences with local schools in the comments:

Now the world knows what we NT kids knew
all along.
-Joe Goldman

NTHS’72 prepared me for college and well beyond. Unquestionably, the extraordinary faculty is a large contributor to its student’s success.

My father, Jim Warrick, was an esteemed band band director at NTHS for 30-plus years. And I couldn’t agree more that this schools gave, at least for the musical students, such a wonderful education.

Rachel Popa also contributed reporting to this article

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