LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Park High School was named the most challenging high school in Chicago in a yearly Washington Post index.
It was the highest ranking by the high school in the Post's ranking history.
The index score is calculated by collecting the number of college-level tests given at a school divided by the number of graduates that year.
It also takes into account the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for free or reduced lunch.
According to the rankings 67.3 percent of graduates passed at least one college-level test, such as Advance Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, during their high school career.
Lincoln Park High School was No. 3 in the state behind College Prep School of America in Lombard and Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.
A big reason for the jump in the rankings is Lincoln Park's transition into a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate school, offering any student the opportunity to take IB courses as well as AP courses instead of a select few who tested into the program.
Last year 142 additional exams were taken by students outside the traditional full International Baccalaureate Diploma program, which is a selective enrollment portion of the high school.
"You don't do it for the rankings," Principal Michael Boraz said. "But to see that the effort that we've put in to offering more rigor and a higher level of challenge and making it accessible to all students is paying off, that's something that we feel very good about."
The school has also increased the number of students who take AP classes by about 30 percent over the last four years, Boraz said.
Years ago students had to have a teacher recommendation or certain grade point average to take AP courses.
Boraz has been working to have all students take at least one AP or IB class before they graduate to prepare them for college-level studies.
"As we continue to grow into the wall-to-wall IB, we feel like we can continue to increase the numbers of students that are taking advantage of the opportunities," Boraz said.
The next highest CPS schools in the city are Whitney Young Magnet (5) followed by Lindblom Math and Science Academy (7) and Lane Tech (8).
The full searchable list is available at washingtonpost.com.
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