Richmond-Burton Community High School has been ranked 47 out of 670 Illinois high schools, according to a U.S. News and World Report list of the best high schools in the state. Richmond-Burton is the only McHenry County high school to be ranked, of the 94 with top honors, and has earned a silver medal for it.
Schools are ranked based on students’ performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college, according to the U.S. News and World Report website. These categories are based on students’ overall proficiency in math, reading and placement in Advanced Placement courses.
According to Richmond Burton’s scorecard, 76 percent of students who took AP exams received a passing score of 3 or above. 59 percent of students were reading proficiently, while 33 percent were proficient in mathematics, according to scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam.
The school also earned a college readiness index score of 34.7. Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Superintendent Thomas Lind said most college-bound students are leaving Richmond-Burton with a semester or a full school year’s worth of college credits under their belts.
Students took 175 AP exams this past year, Lind said. He attributes this to the district’s conscious effort to “expand AP class participation past just the top students taking them.”
“Our goal is to get everyone college ready,” Lind said. “We feel that if we get students to that point, they’ll be successful whether they end up going to college or not.”
In addition to promoting AP classes, the school has implemented a system in which teachers analyze data from test scores and then meet about twice a month to discuss their students’ performances. These groups of teachers, called Content Teams, are a huge part of student success, Principal Patrick Enright said.
“The hard work these teachers and their students put in is very clear,” Enright said.
French teacher Lenee Soto believes the ranking truly recognizes that hard work. Soto, who has taught at the high school for three years, is proud of how far the school has come, despite being in a rural suburb of Chicago.
“The school is always trying to do things that’ll make the learning experience better,” Soto said. “It’s also nice to have a smaller school represented where you have these bigger schools getting the headlines.”
Both Enright and Lind agree that Nippersink School District 2, the elementary school district that serves the Spring Grove and Richmond areas, played a huge role in Richmond-Burton’s ranking as well. Enright credits a “lot of success at Richmond-Burton to the teachers at District 2.”
“Up to third grade you learn to read, and after that, you read to learn,” Lind said. “It’s very clear that students are prepared very well from grade school.”