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Willard and Orrington, two District 65 K-5 schools, were ranked seventh and 95th, respectively, out of more than 2,100 elementary schools in the state by the Chicago Sun Times. The Sun Times ranked Bessie Rhodes, Haven and Nichols middle schools 49th, 54th and 65th, respectively, out of more than 1,300 Illinois middle schools.

The Sun Time ranked schools using students’ scale scores on the 2009 Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) rather than by the percentage of students meeting/exceeding standards.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Willard has made the Sun Times list of the top 100 schools. This year it was the top elementary school in the state among those without a selective admissions policy.

Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School returns to the list of Illinois’ top middle schools. In 2007 Rhodes, which attracts students from across the entire District, was ranked among the top 50 suburban middle schools.

“Our District has a lot to celebrate. Our District and our schools continue to be at the very top of the school rankings in the State of Illinois, and our student achievement compares favorably at the national level,” Superintendent Hardy Murphy said in a prepared statement. “High percentages of District 65 students are exceeding state standards, most students achieve at or above grade level, and our District has shown an accelerated trend in reducing the achievement gap between students who traditionally excel and those who historically have struggled.