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Niles North, West Unranked by U.S. News

U.S. News and World Report's annual high school rankings are out and School District 219 is unranked.

District 219's Niles North and Niles West high school were unranked in U.S. News and World Report's annual high school rankings. The magazine released their data on Monday. 

The number one high school in Illinois is Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. The best suburban school: Adlai E. Stevenson in Lincolnshire, coming in at number five.

Despite , Niles North and Niles West remained unranked by the magazine for the second straight year. 

According to the data, Niles North has a "college readiness" rating of 29.6 out of a possible 100. Its neighbor, Niles West, has a 28.1. In contrast, the number one ranked school has a 92.1 college readiness rating, the magazine said.

In regards to arithmetic and reading, both schools shared the same score with 2.7 for math and 2.6 for reading, according to ranking data. The information suggests that about  60 percent of D219 students are proficient in both subjects while 40 percent are not.

Meanwhile, numerous media outlets have pointed out flaws in the magazine's rankings. The New Republic reports that the rankings are "corrupting" the school system. In 2007, Niles North was awarded with having the best fine arts program in the country. In 2011, the school's science team won ISTA's Excellence in Science award.

Skokie youth not ready for high school -

District 219's class of 2016 will start high school behind, at least according to data from the Explore test. The test was given to all eighth graders in November. Those students are expected to start high school at Niles West or Niles North next year. 

The data is in line with the number of students who have been entering the district without meeting benchmarks for high-school readiness in recent years, said Anne Roloff, assistant superintendent if curriculum and instruction.

Roloff reported on the test results at a recent school board meeting.

The benchmarks are set by ACT, which produces a series of tests given by District 219. The series starts with the Explore test, given to incoming eighth-graders, and culminates with the ACT college entrance exam, which is given to all juniors as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam.

Among next year’s freshman, 79 percent met the benchmark for English and 60 percent met the benchmark for reading.

Only 29 percent of incoming freshmen met the high-school readiness benchmark for science, but Roloff said she and other curriculum directors think ACT’s process for creating the science benchmark is flawed because it only looks at college freshmen who take biology – a group that includes mostly science majors.

Roloff said she was more concerned about students’ math scores, where 44 percent did not meet the benchmark for high school readiness.

District 219 Superintendent Nanciann Gatta said helping those students achieve college readiness – defined as a 22 or higher on the ACT college entrance exam – was the main reason the district eliminated basic-level math classes for freshmen this year.

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Michele Martin contributed to this article ~

JC May 11, 2012 at 01:47 AM
There is a little problem with your evaluation of the top five schools: The top 4 are selective enrollment, so the demographics of the area in which they are located have no bearing on the student population. Stevenson is not selective enrollment, that is true, but look at that district's demographics. All white and asian with a few token members of other ethnicities. Stevenson's population is less than 5% low income, whereas Niles West is currently about 25% low income. If you think these rankings take this into account fairly, then you should educate yourself, LWResident.
LWResident May 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Yes the rankings are fair. Don't assume someone doesn’t know or have the facts or is not "educated" as you say. The data is available out there for everyone to "educate" themselves. First let's take a look at what is defined as Low Income. Low-income students are pupils age 3 to 17, inclusive, from families receiving public aid, living in institutions for neglected or delinquent children, being supported in foster homes with public funds, or eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches. You’ve mentioned Niles West/North has high low income 30.1% West and 31.0% North (48% White, 6% Black, 13% Hispanic, 29% Asian; 11.4% with disabilities) However North side College Prep which was number 1 has 34.8% Low Income (40% White. 23% Hispanic, 5% Black & 27% Asian) Jones Commercial which was number 3 has 53.2% Low Income and a pretty diverse student demographics. Stevenson which was number 5 has 4.2% Low Income and 72% White & 18% Asian. Take a look at Evanston High School which was ranked 17 - has 28.4% Low Income 42% White and 33% Black. They also have a 16.2% population with students with disabilities Niles West/North has not always had a high percentage of low income in fact in 1999 9.5% and 2003 4.1%, 2007 and up the numbers have increased about 5% year over year% . If you take a look at overall scores back then even when low income was lower - the overall test scores and overall college readiness are low. In fact 28.1% College Ready.
LWResident May 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
So I really don’t think this has anything to do with having a "high" low income vs. a diverse population of students. Other schools have higher low-income and even more diverse and are doing quite well in educating the students and preparing them for college. The Students at D219 are not prepared well academically yet the teachers are the second highest paid?! Something doesn’t seem right here. What are your thoughts?
It takes a parent not a village May 11, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Whether or not it is politically correct , or even nice the fact of the matter is that low income children consisieny fall through the cracks. They come from families where the parents must work two to three jobs just to provide for their children. Therefore their children are either being baby sat, baby sitting, or left alone, resting in a lack of cultural and life experiences that prepare them for the rigor in the classroom. Our teachers are not just planting the seeds of knowledge, they are having to till the land and prepare the soil, even before they teach. Our district teachers do a fine job. Parents need to step up their game. It takes a parent., not a village.
Dedicated Parent May 11, 2012 at 05:50 PM
As a parent of a student in the Class of 2012, I just wanted to say that D219 has done an OUTSTANDING JOB educating my son! 219 provides students with the opportunity to take rigorous AP and Honors courses and also provides the additional support for all students. While D219 schools did not make the U.S. News Ranking, I'm here to say that our students are among some of the brightest in the country. D219 students attend top colleges including Cornell, University of Chicago, Northwestern to name a few. Educating children though begins at home. Parents must take an active role in their childrens education right from day one and stay involved until they graduate. We must encourage and support our children and recognize that every child is unique. We must find the right balance for all students in order for them to achieve success. This is true regardless of socio-economic status. All parents have the ability to talk to their children to ask how they are doing in school and open the lines of communication. Life passes by very quickly and we only have one chance as parents to make a difference in our childrens lives. They grow up fast and before you know it their leaving the nest. There are no second chances here so parents please open the dialogue with your students about school. Get involved as your time permits but do get involved. Our children are our future so invest in them now while we can!

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