Top High Schools in Chicago

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Some of the top high schools in Chicago have made it on to all sorts of number one lists, including Newsweek's prestigious Top High Schools in the United States. These schools attract students who are both academic achievers, as well as young achievers in community involvement, the sciences, the arts, and technology.

Chicago's Northside College Preparatory High School

Chicago's Northside College Preparatory High School finished 14th out of 1,300 on the list of 2008's Newsweek's Top US High Schools. The Chicago Sun Times rated it as number one in 2008 on its list of The 50 Top Schools in Chicago, and parents and students consistently give it high ratings on sites across the Internet.

Northside is a Chicago Public Magnet School and has an extremely selective admissions process. Built in 1999, the school has built its reputation on demanding Honors and Advanced Placement Programs especially in the math and sciences. Academic excellence is the order of the day for Northside, and students have brought awards and trophies back to the school in numerous interscholastic challenges. In the 2003-2004 school year, students from Northside won the United States Academic Decathlon Division III National Championship.

Northside offers stellar programs in visual art, English, music, social sciences, and languages. The school's language program alone offers seven languages of study - Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Latin, and Spanish - and all of these offer study abroad options.

The school has an interactive mathematics program, Senior Project program, a Constitutional Law Program, and produces a school newspaper in an after school hours journalism class.

In fairness, the school has seen its times of controversy surrounding its application process, and parents and students have been critical of administrative changes.

Whitney Young Magnet School

Chicago's Whitney Young Magnet School is the high school that the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, graduated from in 1981. Number four on the 2008 Chicago Sun Time's list of 50 Top Schools in Chicago.

Whitney Young's school motto is "Where Academic Excellence is Standard'. The school population is divided into 30% Caucasian, 31% African American, 29% Latino and 18% Asian. It strives for opportunities for its students both academically and socially to stress the belief of diversity and working together.

The high school is for grades 9-12, and has 61 Honors courses, as well as 23 Advanced Placement courses. In 2008, 100% (420 students) were accepted into four-year colleges. Students may also access the Talented Seniors Program at the University of Chicago, and technology programs at DeVry Institute of Technology, as well as other college course programs.

The school has a four-year drafting program, including two years of architecture, and Honors Studio classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, and video. It also offers classes in Stage Performance Dance and has its own repertory theater, The Company. In athletics, the school's basketball team, The Dolphins, finished first in the 2009 State Championships.

Walter Payton College Preparatory High School

Chicago's Walter Payton College Preparatory High School is number 159 out of 1,300 schools, in 2008's Newsweek's Top US High Schools. It is number two in the Chicago Sun Time's list of the 50 top schools in Chicago.

About evenly divided between Caucasian, Africa American, Hispanic, and Asian students, the school is another one committed to ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity. The school's motto is, "We Nurture Leaders", and classes are all Advanced Placement and honors classes.

Walter Payton's curriculum is heavily concentrated in math, the sciences, and foreign languages. All their courses are inter-disciplinary and project based, and students have opportunities to take college level coursework in partnership with local universities. They have a recognized travel abroad program, an on-line program and their students have won numerous scholarships and academic achievement awards.

Top High Schools in Chicago - The Final Three

Rounding out the list of the top five, in the top high schools in Chicago list are the following:

  • Lincoln Park High School (also on the 2008 Newsweek's Top US High School's list)
  • Morgan Park High School
  • Jones College Preparatory

It seems Chicago, in the end, has more than cold air blowing through the streets of the Windy City. In some of the finest high schools in the country, academic achievement is blowing in the winds of change for the future of its students, the city, and the world.

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Top High Schools in Chicago