District 128 schools make Sun-Times Top 50 list
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:57AM
LIBERTYVILLE — Both high schools in District 128 rank high on the Sun-Times Media Top 50 Chicago-area high schools list, which was recently charted based on results from last year’s Prairie State Achievement Exam.
“I think our success begins with our parents,” said Al Fleming, an associate superintendent at District 128. “They put a high value on education and the students show up prepared to learn. The quality of our staff takes a close second, but support at home is truly irreplaceable.”
Libertyville High School placed ninth on both the Chicago-area high school and state high school listings and was the fifth highest public school on the list. LHS scores were higher than 80 percent of all others in the study.
Average scores in reading, math and science all increased by a few points compared to last year.
Approximately 79 percent of students met or exceeded state-dictated expectations in reading – holding par with last year’s figure.
More than 85 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in science (up 4 percent from last year), while more than 87 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in math (up six points).
Vernon Hills High School ranked 12th on both the Chicago-area high school and state high school listings and was the eighth highest public school. VHHS scores were higher than 76 percent of all others in the study.
Average scores in reading, math and science all decreased by one or two points compared to last year.
Though the average scores dropped, the overall number of students meeting or exceeding expectations increased.
More than 76 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in reading (up half a point from last year), while more than 81 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in science (up nearly 2 percent) and more than 84 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in math (up more than 5 percent).
“A few points up or a few points down doesn’t really concern us because what’s really present here is consistency,” Fleming said. “The fact that we maintain a high ranking shows that our students continue to achieve.”
Another sign of that is their advanced placement testing at both schools. AP classes are higher-level courses that count for college credit if students pass a final, cumulative exam.
Of the 924 district students who took an AP exam last academic year, nearly 91 percent passed and earned college credit. That was the most students and the highest passing rate District 128 has ever experienced, Fleming said.
“Usually, the more students taking the exam means the passing rate gets diluted,” Fleming said. “That was a remarkable achievement.”
Both schools also earned their highest average ACT score – 25.4 at VHHS and 25.3 at LHS.
Despite the successes, both teams failed to make annual yearly progress toward No Child Left Behind standards. This year marks LHS’s first year on probation and VHHS’s second year on probation.
“As the standards rise, fewer and fewer schools meet AYP,” Fleming said. “Deerfield High School is the only school I can think of that’s meeting AYP right now.”