OFHS Ranked on US News Best in Nation List

OFHS Ranked on US News Best in Nation List
By: Tim Moran, Patch

 A Bremen Township High School District 228 school has made the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of best high schools for the first time ever. Oak Forest High School is ranked 211th in Illinois, 6,199 in the national rankings and 177th in the Chicago metro area. The ranking puts OFHS in the top 40 percent of high schools nationwide ranked in the list, which includes about 18,000 schools.

Dr. Brad Sikora, in his ninth year as principal at OFHS, said the school has "really made a push to introduce or offer AP (Advanced Placement) courses for all our students."

"We've made a a lot of attempts to get our students to push themselves and have limited the barriers to open the door to do so," Sikora said.

Among those lifted barriers include not only looking at a standardized test score in determining whether a student can place in the course.

"We let the test be one indicator, but not the only indicator," he said. "They (the tests) do give an idea of where a student is, but we're also looking at teacher recommendations and grades, as well as talking to the students to see if they are interested in trying to push themselves."

The numbers shared by U.S. News & World Report show in that assertion. Statistics shared in the report indicate 47 percent of OFHS students took at least one AP exam and 33 percent of students passed at least one AP exam.

They also show a 94 percent graduation rate, 33 percent reading proficiency and 32 percent mathematics proficiency. The school had an overall score of 65.16 out of 100.

In all, U.S. News used a number of weighted criteria to come up with the rankings. The most important being college readiness. You can see the full methodology here.

Five Illinois schools, all in Chicago, were ranked by U.S. News in the top 100 nationally: Payton Collge Prep, Northside College Prep, Jones College Prep, Young Magnet High School and Lane Technical High School.

Sikora said he initially had not realized this was the first time a D228 school was ranked in the report.

"There are a lot of very good high schools in the area, so this is a nice accomplishment for the district and for Oak Forest High School," he said.

At OFHS, there's "a great amount of pride" in the teaching staff, he said.

"We have to give credit where credit is due," he said. "We take pride in getting good people and make it one of those jobs you look back on and realize how good of a thing we have going."