New Trier named #17 high school in U.S., top Ill. open enrollment school on Newsweek list

New Trier is the 17th best high school in the country and the top open enrollment high school in Illinois, according to Newsweek magazine.

"America's Best High Schools 2016" takes a number of factors into account in ranking the top 500 high schools in the U.S., including college enrollment rate, graduation rate, enrollment in AP courses, weighted SAT and ACT composite scores, student retention, and the ratio of counselors to students.

New Trier was one of only three schools in the top 20 with open enrollment - meaning it is a school that accepts all students within its district boundaries. The other seventeen schools in the top 20 were selective enrollment, magnet, or charter schools, in which students must meet criteria to attend.

"I am so proud that New Trier High School is recognized each year as one of the country's lighthouse schools for academics and for our range of individualized services for students," said Dr. Linda Yonke, Superintendent of New Trier Township High School District 203. "The ranking is a testament to our commitment to serving every single student with the appropriate curriculum and supports."

New Trier also earned the #68 spot on Newsweek's "Beating the Odds" list, which ranks U.S. high schools by how well they prepare their low-income students for college.

While Yonke said she was pleased that New Trier received such a high ranking on the Newsweek list, she cautioned that no list can capture all of the unique qualities that make the school so special, such as its extraordinary faculty and expansive extracurricular program.

New Trier has objected to the trend of magazine rankings, particularly those with a "one size fits all" approach. Schools must decide how best to serve their own student populations, and rankings that consider only one criterion, such as enrollment in AP courses, ignore the fact that schools can offer a world-class curriculum created by their own teachers. However, since magazines continue to offer these rankings - often without the participation of schools -- New Trier analyzed Newsweek's methodology and determined the magazine did a better job than others in trying to assess the overall student experience in each high school.

Unlike other publications, Newsweek requested not just AP course enrollment, but also information on student retention, college enrollment, test scores, and the student-to-counselor ratio. New Trier's nationally recognized adviser program offers a home-school link in which students start their day with an adult mentor and the same group of 25 students for all four years of high school; the advisers serve as students' guidance counselors. The school also provides every student with a post-high school counselor who offers individual guidance on college applications and other post-high school decisions.

Yonke said that while New Trier's philosophy matches the criteria that go into Newsweek's rankings, the school will continue to resist the urge to change its core values simply to climb on this or any other publication's list.

The entire list can be found here: http://www.newsweek.com/high-schools/americas-top-high-schools-2016