How New Trier makes a big school feel small

From Winnetka's New Trier High School:

New Trier High School students in the Class of 2011 achieved an average composite score of 27.5 on the ACT, the highest score the school has ever posted and among the top average composite scores in the nation among public open-enrollment high schools.

Overall, New Trier students achieved average scores of 28.1 in English, 27.8 in Mathematics, 27.3 in Reading, and 26.4 in Science.

An analysis of the Class of 2011 data finds that approximately half of New Trier’s graduating class performed in the top 6 percent of the nation on the ACT. In addition, 90 percent of New Trier’s Class of 2011 scored above the state and national average.

Some parents are intimidated by New Trier on their children's behalf, and those numbers do nothing to dispel their concern. The numbers, however, don't help parents understand how exceedingly well New Trier meets the needs of children who don't fit the driven, high-achieving stereotype of the school's typical student.

New Trier's size is also a concern to many parents, who feel their child might get lost in such a large school.

The New Trier annual report just arrived in the mail. It contains a section titled “Making a Big School Feel Small.” The section leads with New Trier's adviser system.

The adviser system is one of the programs that make New Trier feel like a small– kids start every day for 4 years with the same group / teacher. The advisers also make home visits to get to know the kids and parents in their home environment.

In addition to the adviser system, the report mentions New Trier’s more than 160 student clubs, individual post-high school counseling that begins in sophomore year, participation in 35 interscholastic sports and dozens of intramural and no-cut sports and double-cast performing arts opportunities.

New Trier also offers an “Integrated Global Studies School” – a small school-within-a-school setting.

Three years ago this month I sat with Coldwell Banker's Mary Ellen Stalzer to chat about New Trier. Mary Ellen has a graduate degree in education and had three children who attended New Trier, where my two children also graduated.

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  • Joe ~ I taught there for 25 years. It's all the good things people say. BUT it owes most of its success to successful parents who send well educated and concerned students to the school in the first place

  • Jack,

    What you say is doubtless true in the broad picture, but ...

    David Goodspeed, John Thompson, Jim Warrick, Nick Drozdoff and a number of other teachers, both professionally and personally, made a huge, positive difference in my son's high school experience. Not many schools have people of such high distinction.

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