Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA) garnered the top spot in Chicago Magazine’s recent ranking of the top 20 high schools in suburban Cook County, beating out institutions like New Trier (ranked #2), Hinsdale Central (#4) and nearby Oak Park and River Forest High School (#14).

The rankings appear in the magazine’s September 2016 issue and are presented as that month’s cover story.

The publication listed PMSA’s 100 percent graduate rate over the last three years and its low per-pupil spending. At $7,661, PMSA maintained the lowest per-pupil spending on the list of top high schools and more than $3,000 less than the high school with the second-lowest per-pupil spending. New Trier’s per-pupil funding level, for instance, is nearly $14,000.

District 209 Superintendent Jesse RodrĂ­guez said the news is “a great honor for our district,” before expressing appreciation to Chicago Magazine for the recognition.

PMSA Principal Bessie Karvelas said she and her faculty are “elated” by the honor.

“To be ranked number one by Chicago Magazine is a dream come true. Our hard work and perseverance continues to be recognized. What a wonderful way to start the new year,” she said.

“I would like to publicly thank my teachers for allowing me to lead them. They are leaders in their own right and I am honored and blessed to work with such a collaborative team of teacher leaders. Kudos to all my PMSA staff and to my wonderful assistant principal, Mr. Bill Breisch.”

This year, the authors of the rankings gave much less weight to standardized test scores and tried to take into account “hard-to-quantify factors for which test results can give only a vague indication, such as classroom environment, teacher-principal collaboration, and parent engagement.”

The nonprofit research firm RTI International calculated the rankings, which were based on Illinois State Board of Education data.

According to a statement D209 released on Aug. 19, the Chicago Magazine honor follows a spate of other recognitions and rankings for PMSA, including a Bronze ranking by U.S. News and World Report magazine for the 2014-15 school year. PMSA was one of fewer than 2,700 schools in the country to receive the recognition.

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