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Record High Number of CPS Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon School Recognition in 2020

25 September 2020

With Six Recipients, Chicago Public Schools has Second Highest Number of 2020 National Blue Ribbon School Recipients of any District in the Country; U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School Award Recognizes Best Schools in the Nation

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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson today recognized six CPS schools — Decatur Classical School, Hancock High School, Jones College Prep, Lenart Regional Gifted Center, Northside College Prep and Whitney Young High School—for being named 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools, a prestigious national recognition from the U.S. Department of Education. These six schools—the most ever for CPS in a single year—are among 13 public schools (21 public and non-public) in Illinois and 317 public schools (376 public and non-public) nationwide to be honored this year. 

“I am immensely proud of these six schools and their success, and I congratulate the entire CPS community on this tremendous achievement,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Not only do these National Blue Ribbon schools highlight the talent and excellence of our CPS educators, school leaders and students, but they also reflect our city's wonderful diversity with institutions throughout Chicago being represented.” 

“Six National Blue Ribbon schools in one year is an unprecedented accomplishment for our district and a testament to the hard work of educators, school leaders, families, and—above all else—students whose commitment to academic excellence is nothing short of inspiring,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Congratulations to each of these school communities on this incredible achievement and making us all so proud to be members of the CPS family.” 

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are leading the nation in student performance or student growth. Decatur, Jones, Lenart, Northside and Young are receiving the honor in the ‘Exemplary High Performing Schools’ category for testing in the top 15 percent of all schools in Illinois, achieving high performance among key subgroups and completing a rigorous application process that evaluated everything from social and emotional learning supports to professional development and quality classroom instruction. 

Hancock is receiving the honor in the ‘Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools’ category for ranking within the top 15 percent of Illinois schools with the largest academic improvements among at least one large subgroup, high performance on test scores and graduation rate among all major subgroups, and overall academic improvement, as compared to performance of all public school students in Illinois. In 2018, the district and City of Chicago announced that Hancock High School would receive a new state-of-the-art school building to support high-quality academics in the West Elsdon community. Hancock will also be receiving world-class sports facilities to support the school’s athletic program. 

“Our schools continue to set the standard for urban education through a focus on equity and providing students with the supports they need to reach their full potential,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “CPS has been recognized through the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program every year for over a decade, and we will continue this success by adhering to our core values of equity, student-centered instruction, and working directly with our parents and communities.” 

Six Diverse Schools Recognized 

The six National Blue Ribbon recipients represent both elementary and high schools and are located across the city. 

  • Decatur Classical School is located in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood. It offers a holistic approach to education that includes a culture of positive social, cognitive, and individualized development. Ir values academics and the arts equally, believing the two are inseparable in developing caring and empathetic human beings. Its accelerated programming includes visual arts, dance, music, Latin, and physical education.
  • Hancock High School is a selective enrollment high school in Chicago’s West Elsdon neighborhood, and almost all of its students come from the city’s Southwest Side. The school focuses on college preparation and encourages students to take college level classes through dual enrollment and dual credit classes in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago. It also offers more than 20 AP courses and pre-law and pre-engineering career and technical education programs.
  • Jones College Prep is a selective enrollment high school in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. It offers an honors-level curriculum and more than 125 courses, as well as a 99 percent college acceptance rate and 98 percent of students meeting college readiness benchmarks. It was previously recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2006 and 2012. 
  • Lenart Regional Gifted Center is located on Chicago's South Side. It strives to be an inclusive and collaborative school that is dedicated to high achievement driven by culturally responsive teaching and learning. This focus acknowledges cultural differences as assets, challenges racial and cultural stereotypes, creates caring learning communities, and builds relationships with students and their families.  
  • Northside College Prep is a selective enrollment high school in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood. The school is home to innovative educational programs such as its interdisciplinary experiential learning program, integrated math program, five world language programs, and over 100 clubs and activities that support student interest and service learning. It was previously recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2011. 
  • Whitney Young High School is a selective enrollment high school on Chicago's West Side. It has one of Illinois’ largest Advanced Placement programs, a high number of National Merit Finalists, and has received national recognition for academic decathlon and chess. It has also won many state athletic championships. It was previously recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2009. 

Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools.

National Blue Ribbon Schools from CPS include:

  • Decatur Classical School, 2020
  • Hancock High School, 2020
  • Lenart Regional Gifted Center, 2020
  • Jones College Prep, 2020, 2012 and 2006
  • Northside College Prep, 2020 and 2011
  • Whitney Young Magnet High School, 2020 and 2009
  • Prescott Elementary, 2019
  • Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, 2018
  • Edison Regional Gifted Center, 2018
  • Edgar Allan Poe Classical School, 2017
  • Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School, 2017
  • Skinner North Elementary, 2016
  • LaSalle Language Academy, 2015
  • Payton College Prep, 2014 and 2008
  • Frazier International Magnet School, 2013
  • Skinner West Elementary, 2013
  • Lane Tech College Prep, 2012
  • Audubon Elementary School, 2011
  • Jackson Language Academy, 2010
  • Robert A. Black Magnet Elementary, 2008
  • Horace Greeley Elementary, 2007
  • George Leland Elementary School, 2004

Chicago Public Schools serves 355,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.