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Chicago Magazine releases list of best Chicago public schools Niko Apostal 08/22/16


For the first time since 2012, Chicago Magazine examined all of the Chicago public schools and evaluated them on a variety of criteria in order to rank the city’s top public schools. While this can always be a controversial task (many schools have individual strengths that make them hard to compare), the magazine says it “plunged deeper into the data than ever before, using smarter, fairer, and more reliable new ways of measuring performance.”

So what did they find in 2016? Here are a few highlights:

  • Walter Patyon College Preparatory High School took the top spot for public, non-charter high schools. (This is perhaps unsurprising — the school, which is located in Old Town, has made US News And World Report’s list of the top 100 schools in the country for the past 10 years running.)
  • Eleven of the top 15 public, non-charter high schools are selective enrollment schools, meaning that students must apply for admission. Payton Prep is one of them. The rest round out the top 6 spots: they are Northside College Preparatory High School (#2), Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (#3), William Jones College Preparatory High School (#4), Albert G. Lane Technical High School (#5), Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy (#6), Friedrich W. Von Steuben Metro Science Center (#7), Phoenix Military Academy (#8), Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences (#11), Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy (#14) and Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy (#15).
  • Three of the top 15 public high schools are on the city’s South Side, three are on the city’s West Side, nine are on the North side, and one (Jones Prep) is in the Loop.
  • The largest public high school on the list (Lane Tech) has a student population of almost 4,000 students.
  • The smallest public high school on the list (Phoenix Military Academy) has just over 500 students.
  • Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School, a selective enrollment school in the West Loop, took the top spot for public, non-charter elementary schools.
  • Only four of the top 15 public, non-charter elementary schools are selective enrollment schools. In addition to Skinner, they are Skinner North Classical School (#6), James E. McDade Classical School (#7) and John C. Coonley Elementary School  (#15).
  • Six of the top 15 elementary schools are on the city’s South Side, seven are on the city’s North Side, and two are on the city’s West Side.
  • The largest public elementary school on the list, Robert Healy Elementary School in Bridgeport, has a student population of almost 1,400 students.
  • The smallest public elementary school on the list, James E. McDade Classical School in Chatham, has just 182 students.
  • Chicago Magazine ranked charter schools separately. The top charter high school in Chicago is Noble-Butler College Preparatory High School in Pullman. The top charter elementary school is UCSN–Esmeralda Santiago School in West Town.

For more information on Chicago Magazine’s 2016 rankings of Chicago public schools and how they developed the lists, check out the article in the September issue of Chicago Magazine.

*Photo courtesy of Flickr user Alex Cheek.

File: Chicago public schools