By Thomas Vogel
US News & World Report named Proviso District 209's Math & Science Academy (PMSA) the 32nd best high school in Illinois in its annual rankings list, released April 25.
PMSA was 1,044th in the publication's national rankings, earning a "silver" designation, an improvement from its 2016 "bronze" award. D209's other two schools, Proviso West and Proviso East were listed as "unranked" in the US News national rankings.
PMSA, since its founding in 2005, has outperformed Proviso East and West. It is a selective magnet school for the district's "academically gifted and talented youth," according to its website. According to the Illinois Report Card, the state's official source, about 70 percent of PMSA students are "ready for next level." At Proviso East, the percentage is 2.7 percent. At Proviso West, the percentage is 5.3 percent.
"We value the results because they represent how well we prepare our students for post-secondary education and beyond," PMSA Principal Bessie Karvelas wrote in an email to the Review. "Rankings compare districts and they compare schools. Competition is a good thing and we definitely live in a competitive world. Why not strive to be the best of the best?"
US News & World Report, according to its website, partnered with RTI International, a North Carolina-based research firm, to develop the rankings and scored schools based on several factors, including school performance on proficiency tests compared to others in a given state, graduation rates, "disadvantaged" student performance and college-readiness.
US News and RTI used those metrics, along with some other requirements, to examine 28,496 schools across the United States, and gave gold, silver or bronze labels to the 6,041 top-performing schools. The top 500 schools received "gold" rankings.
"We are proud of our school community's commitment to academic excellence as it continues to demonstrate high levels of educational attainment," D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez said in an April 25 press release. "The designation shows, once again, the potential of PTHS D209. We are Proviso Proud."
Karvelas echoed Rodriguez's sentiments.
"We are elated with the 2017 ranking," Karvelas said in the press release. "These wonderful results would not have been possible without our teachers and students, who continue to be proud of their school and their accomplishments.
D209 spokesperson Cynthia Moreno called the award a "district-wide achievement" in an email to the Review.
"Through a focused approach, where programming aligns to our mission and vision, we will continue to develop, support and sustain effective programming where meaningful and excellent opportunities are provided for all students," Moreno wrote.