Being on this list is not a complement to the school administrators or something to be proud of by the teaching staff. Inclusion on the High Priority School List means that the school is under performing and usually in the lowest 5% in achievements over the last three years (2007-2009) based on the Prairie State Exam. Along with making the list of 181 lowest achieving schools, all received a notice from the State that they need to make improvements.
Round Lake Senior High School is currently the only Lake County high school making the list of suburban schools along with four other schools in Elgin and Dundee including Elgin High School, Larkin High School, Streamwood High School, and Dundee-Crown High School. Although it is certainly nothing to be proud of, it does give greater access to Federal stimulus funds available through the U.S. Secretary of Education’s office.
With approximately $200 to $400 million in federal funding available from the federal Race To The Top funds, the 181 schools could possibly wind up receiving half of it. The goal of the funds is to improve schools through educational reforms and improve student achievements. The schools on the recent list would need to opt-in to receive the funds but many school officials who just learned that they made the list wonder what strings are attached. Chief Executive Officer, Ben Martindale from Round Lake Area School District 116, feels that getting the funding would be beneficial but is one of those looking cautiously at what additional work may be involved. Previous stimulus money has yet to be received to pay for new programs.
January 19th is when all applications must be received for the Illinois Race To The Top and those who are awarded funds will be announced in April.