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Taft Earns High CPS Rating For 2nd Year — But Remains Most Crowded H.S.

 Taft High School
Taft High School
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

NORWOOD PARK — For the second year in a row, Taft High School was named one of the city's best high schools.

Taft High School, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., achieved a Level 1 quality rating from Chicago Public Schools — the second-highest CPS academic ranking — district officials said.

Level 1 schools are just a notch below Level 1+, the highest rating within CPS. Level 1 schools are "high performing" institutions and are "a good school choice," according to CPS guidelines.

Taft missed the district's top rating by .025 points, Principal Mark Grishaber said.

"We are doing some really special stuff," Grishaber said, crediting his staff's hard work with the school's students, which includes a large population of students who learned English as a second language or are enrolled in special education programs, for the school's high rating.

"Next year," he said.

But Taft is again the most crowded public high school in Chicago, with 3,297 students attending class in a building meant for 2,184 pupils, according to CPS data.

Level 1+ is defined by district officials as a "nationally competitive school with opportunity to share best practices with others." It is typically attained at the high school level only by the district's selective-enrollment high schools, according to CPS data.

The ratings are based on a number of factors, including standardized test scores, attendance rates and graduation rates, according to CPS.

Chicago Academy High School, which is run by the nonprofit Academy for Urban School Leadership, is also rated Level 1.

Schurz High School in Old Irving Park earned a Level 2+ rating, which means district officials consider it to be in good standing, one notch higher than its rating last year.

Steinmetz High School in Belmont Cragin and Foreman High School in Portage Park were both rated Level 2 — actually the fourth out of five CPS academic rankings — for the second year in a row, which means that district officials believe the schools need "intensive support."

Elementary schools on the Far Northwest Side are rated among the city's best, with all schools considered to be in good standing.

Portage Park Elementary was the only Far Northwest Side grade school to be rated higher this year than last, jumping from Level 2+ to Level 1.

But Edison Park, Farnsworth, Gray, Smyser and Dever elementary schools dropped from Level 1+ in 2015 to Level 1, according to district records.

Reinberg Elementary in Portage Park dropped from Level 1 to Level 2+, according to district records.

To check the rating of a specific school, go to cps.edu.

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