U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Illinois > Chicago Suburbs
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-05-2015, 04:04 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,612,165 times
Reputation: 550

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I do like the "challenge index" that they incorporate at U.S. News. It seems to me that schools with a high "challenge index" have a critical mass of smart kids and great curriculum choices, along with highly-qualified teachers. But most of their other rating methodology seems demographics-based.
The challenge index is from WaPo. I love the methodology, but the numbers are self-reported from individual high schools. Wheaton is absent from the list because CUSD 200 decided not to send their figures to author Jay Mathews -- info I received via email from Mr. Mathews.

Other schools are similarly absent. So the list is far from comprehensive.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 05-05-2015 at 04:26 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-05-2015, 04:42 PM
 
11,972 posts, read 26,891,021 times
Reputation: 4548
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
The challenge index is from WaPo. I love the methodology, but the numbers are self-reported from individual high schools. Wheaton is absent from the list because CUSD 200 decided not to send their figures to author Jay Mathews -- info I received via email from Mr. Mathews.

Other schools are similarly absent. So the list is far from comprehensive.
I should say I like the IDEA of the Challenge Index, then.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2015, 05:27 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
Reputation: 18202
Default I've said before there will never be a perfect way to assess these things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I still think that even this measure is of limited usefulness in terms of predicting student outcomes, and it tends to over-rate schools that have homogenously well-off student populations with college educated parents. So an excellent school like Lyons Township High School, which takes kids from several different elementary districts and backgrounds, is under-rated compared to a school like Hinsdale Central, which is much more homogenous in terms of family income and background

To elaborate on this, lets say you have kids from Western Springs who have been in excellent elementary schools from K-8 mixed in with kids from Hodgkins, who have not received the same level of elementary-level preparedness. The Western Springs kids more likely take advantage of the full-range of AP courses available at LTHS and may do quite well on average. The kids from Hodgkins may have lower levels of AP participation, though a few will still shine given the excellent and challenging course offerings at LTHS. Even so, fewer Hodgkins kids will take and pass AP tests in terms of averages and percentages, and this would bring down the US News Rankings.

Now tell me, if you live in Western Springs and have your kids in the public school system, which outcome will best predict the future high school performance of your child? Are the children from Hodgkins and Western Springs still truly given equal opportunities to succeed from Kindergarten through 12th Grade, even though they roam the same high school hallways?
I largely agree that when you shift from making a generalized prediction of the likelihood of any kids from one school will be well prepared for college or careers after high school to the specifics of how your own kids will do in any school there are no good ways to find the groups of kids that most match up with your own.

The challenges a family that is relocating face are immense -- new job situation, whole different set of neighbors, an kind of weird immersion / isolation, the unpredictable process of "fitting in", and far more.

The main reason I would recommend HC over LT are not just the academics -- LT is MUCH larger student body, with a much wider range of family backgrounds.

Let me elaborate a little bit. As a former landlord I happen to have some experience with the families who live in the more modest parts of the areas served by LT and HC. Honestly if the kids do well in the Hodkins or D60 elementary schools (which given their relatively high mobility rarely means fewer kids spend all of k-8 in Hodkins than D60 so direct comparisons are a little strained...) and are raised to ignore / overcome the most obvious financial differences (which really is the key...) I have little doubt that they could have a really good experience in either school and go on to have a pretty good shot at a selective college. Of course, without getting into too many details, it rarely is just the finances that separate somebody living in even a rather unimpressive split level off of Ogden in Western Springs. The kid is WS is likely way better off than somebody living in trailer park in Hodkins. Odds are the breadwinner in WS has a white collar or at least semi-professional type job that involves technical skills while the background of the breadwinner in the trailer park is very likely spending a whole lot of time at a "strong back" kind of job. That means that unless there is some REALLY UNUSUAL motivation on the part of those parents the sorts of things that help make kids "fit in" (like the extracurriculars and the social cues) are going to be harder to come by. What that also means is that since fewer such kids are at HC, those kids from the most modest households are pretty likely to have more friends better off than they are. The research shows that those sorts of "pull up" friendship do help kids tremendously. I have even heard from the various teachers and coaches at HC that when the kids that might literally live right across the street from the athletic facilities do make it on a track team or basketball or soccer or whatever they have a kind of automatic "boost" in social status and it makes it that much easier for their academic teachers to expect the kind of diligence that will pay off with a nice shot at college. Of course this does not always work, but it is a factor that folks of very modest means should consider...

I suppose one could make a counter argument that making a choice to put oneself in a community where the fit the fattest part of the bell curve financially would result in the greatest likelihood of fitting in, but the data about success, especially when it comes to admissions to selective colleges, is far less about 'fitting in' and far more about 'standing out'.


I do not know just how well off the OP considers themselves and with a budget of $350K they clearly can find some habitable homes in the area served by HC and I do recommend that they strongly consider that as a viable option as the general statistics strongly suggest it will give most kids the greatest chance of success.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2015, 07:59 PM
 
1,231 posts, read 1,328,993 times
Reputation: 369
Check out the areas served by Hinsdale South HS (Majority of Darien, Willowbrook, and a big portion of Burr Ridge). Good HS, yet you csn still get a nice house for your budget. Buying a home in need of rehab, foreclosure, etc. is a good idea for getting inti a school distrivt without really have to downsize just don't buy at or near the top end of your budget because you will need some money to fix up and/or possibly expand a home.

In general, it's going to be very hard to fimd a home $350k or under with your criteria unless you look further out or look in the Southwest suburbs. The main reason why St Charles/Geneva/Batavia are more affordable than the west suburbs in Dupage County is because they're far out. But, that doesn't necessarily mean that the closer you are to the city, the more expensive a suburb is. For example, Riverside is close to Chicago and great schools, but is less expensive than many of suburbs that also have great schools but are further away from Chicago, though not as far as St Charles/Geneva/Batavia.

What's the biggest you would want an HS to be? In some parts of the country, 2,500 students can seem huge, but in another state, it's typical. Imo, schools around here seem to be bigger compared to a lot of places.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 01:19 AM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
Reputation: 18202
Default See the thing is...

If one truly wants the best high school in the western suburbs there really is not much reason to consider Hinsdale South. It is not as large as LT but is has as wide a range of students from both affluent and more modest backgrounds. There are more kids coming from the not as affluent groups and that largely explains the performance.

Houses are not as much "bang for the buck" as Oswego.

There are lots of different sized schools. Westmont and Lisle are both quite small, though neither is as desirable as HC. Downers North is a little smaller than HC but not as desirable, though a little more highly rated than Hinsdale South...

Riverside-Brookfield is a on the small side, not quite as desirable as Downers North, but housing stock is older, with less demand for teardowns...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities
500 posts, read 574,629 times
Reputation: 229
I don't think the OP said "best." And they said "not that big." Isn't Hinsdale Central pretty big? LT is big too, I know.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 10:01 AM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
Reputation: 18202
Default The request was pretty clear...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aga412 View Post
I don't think the OP said "best." And they said "not that big." Isn't Hinsdale Central pretty big? LT is big too, I know.
[quote=Trodgers;39486755]We are moving to the Western suburbs of Chicago in a few months and I need some help. We have two boys one will be a junior and the other a freshman in the fall. I would like to know what are the best high schools and I am hoping not too large.[/QUOTE]


The most well regarded high schools in the west suburbs are not the smallest. If they are willing to compromise on their desire for a house that is newer / larger they can find something under their ceiling of $350K in the area served by one of the top rated schools. There are other schools that are smaller as well some that are larger...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities
500 posts, read 574,629 times
Reputation: 229
I think h-worth's post encapsulated the best high schools without saying "Hinsdale or bust."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 01:35 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,612,165 times
Reputation: 550
Here are the twelve west suburban high schools that I'd be happy with my children attending, sorted by total enrollment:



There are other excellent high schools in Indian Prairie 204 and St. Charles 303, but I personally dislike the lack of connectivity of the towns they serve and don't have faith in the medium term prospects of the areas.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 05-06-2015 at 01:43 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-06-2015, 01:56 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
Reputation: 18202
Here is the list to the US News list of top Illinois high schools -- Search Illinois High Schools | US News

The only other west suburban school that makes the cut for the "Gold" Tier is OPRF, which is about 500 kids larger than HC. That is an extra 125 kids per grade level, or about an additional five "home room" teachers per grade level, about a 20% increase...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Illinois > Chicago Suburbs
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top