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Sycamore Trails, Wayne Elementary win Summer Reading Challenge; BHS Ranked Among Top 100 Public High Schools in Illinois

Sept. 9, 2019

The School District U-46 Board of Education Monday will honor Bartlett High School for being recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 100 public high schools in the state of Illinois. Sycamore Trails Elementary School and Wayne Elementary School will also be honored for winning the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge.

U.S. News said its “Best High Schools” rankings seek to identify the country’s top-performing high schools and to “provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students - from the highest to lowest achieving - in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills as well as readiness for college-level work.”

BHS was ranked 86th among Illinois public high schools, and 2,303 in national rankings among more than 17,000 schools U.S. News ranked nationwide.

The magazine uses statewide math and reading level assessment tests, high school graduation rates, Advanced Placement exam results, and the U.S. Department of Education to develop its rankings. Schools were rated on six measures including college readiness, college curriculum breadth, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, graduation rate, and underserved student performance.

With nearly 2,500 students, the graduation rate at BHS is 94 percent, and 39 percent of its students took at least one AP exam during the period studied.

“We have an amazing community. It is a true team collaboration of staff, students, and families,” said BHS Principal Mike Demovsky. “Every student has the opportunity to convert their dreams into realities.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is a friendly District-wide competition among elementary schools designed to inspire reading during summer vacation and avoid what is known as the “Summer Slide” when students can lose up to two months in academic gains made during the school year.

U-46 and four public library districts that serve U-46 students lead the challenge each year. The Gail Borden Public Library (with branches in Elgin and South Elgin), the Bartlett Public Library, the Carol Stream Public Library, and the Poplar Creek Public Library (with branches in Streamwood and Hanover Park) work closely with U-46 on crafting and tabulating the Summer Reading Challenge.

For 2019, Sycamore Trails had the highest percentage of finishers based on school enrollment, with 164 students completing the challenge, nearly 30 percent of its student population. Wayne Elementary was most improved, with 77 students finishing the challenge in 2019, more than twice that of 2018. Both schools are served by the Bartlett Public Library.

Ruth Anne Mielke, the Youth & Teen Services Manager at the Bartlett Public Library, said it’s important to encourage children to continue to read for pleasure and information during the summer months. More than 900 children, through 6th grade, completed the summer reading goals at the Bartlett Public Library this summer, Mielke said.

“We know that research shows that students who participate in library summer reading programs often become life-long learners and readers,” she said. “It is very satisfying that the elementary school principals support the library’s efforts to be a resource for reading for their students. We congratulate all of the children who participated in the Summer Reading Challenge!”

Across all four public libraries, a total of 2,884 U-46 students completed the summer reading programs.

In addition to receiving certificates and trophies, the two winning schools will be treated to a special prize. For the past several years, they have chosen a visit from the Jesse White Tumblers.

At Sycamore Trails, Principal Lisa Cardenas said the challenge is a wonderful partnership between the school and community to inspire students to cultivate their love of reading over the summer break.

“The vision of Sycamore Trails is to foster lifelong learning through a supportive learning community,” Cardenas said. “We use this as an opportunity to invite all partners to help us uphold our vision for our students, and we encourage them to participate in this wonderful program.”

Wayne Elementary Principal Adam Zurko, who took leadership of the school to start the 2019-20 school year, said he was  proud of Wayne’s students and families and felt the accomplishment was due to the “love for reading that our entire Wayne Elementary School community emphasizes on a daily basis.”

Zurko said next summer he will challenge his students to win the other award - for the highest percentage of students who complete the summer reading program.

The Board of Education will recognize Bartlett High School, Sycamore Trails Elementary, and Wayne Elementary with “Accent on Achievement” certificates at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9 in room 140 of the Educational Services Center, 355 E. Chicago St., Elgin.