U.S. News & World Report awarded East High School a bronze medal for the second consecutive year in its rankings of the Best High Schools. The organization released its list after evaluating more than 29,000 schools across the country for its 2015 rankings.
Schools can be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state-mandated assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Illinois has 677 high schools eligible for the organization’s rankings. Only 17 high schools received the gold distinction, while 69 received silver and 91 received bronze. Across the country, 500 schools received the gold medal; 2,027 schools received the silver medal; 3,990 high schools were awarded bronze medals.
The designation is based on data from the 2012-13 school year. At the time of the ranking, 74 percent of East students were considered economically disadvantaged. The minority enrollment was 60 percent.
To identify the top-performing high schools, U.S. News worked with global nonprofit social science research firm RTI International. Award criteria says, according to U.S. News, a great high school must “serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”
East staff, alumni, students and their families have a strong sense of ownership. “A lot of teachers have a personal stake in the building,” said English Department Chairman Chad Anderson. Anderson graduated from East in 1997. He will begin his 11th year teaching at East in August.
East will have a new principal for the 2015-16 school year. Dr. Peter J. Verona took over as East Principal July 1. The Rockford native has spent the past four years as Principal at Byron High School. Verona has nearly 20 years of education experience as a teacher, student support specialist and administrator. “East High School has a strong tradition of providing opportunities for every student,” he said. “This award provides evidence of the quality of instruction and our students’ commitment to success.”
Read more about the award from U.S. News & World Report.