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Central and South Earn High Marks from ISBE

Dear District 86 Families and Staff,

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced the designations for all public schools in conjunction with the release of the 2019 Illinois Report Card. As was the case last year, these designations fall into four categories (Exemplary, Commendable, Underperforming and Lowest-Performing) and are based on 10 indicators of student success. You can access information about the designation categories by visiting and the indicators of success by visiting

We are incredibly pleased and proud to announce that Hinsdale Central earned a designation of Exemplary and Hinsdale South earned a designation of Commendable. A designation of Exemplary signifies that the school has performed in the top 10% of all schools in the state, has a graduation rate above 67% and had no underperforming student groups. A designation of Commendable also signifies that the school has a graduation rate above 67% and had no underperforming student groups. However, the performance of schools in this category was not rated in the top 10% in the state.

The designations that Central and South received reflect the strong commitment to academic excellence that exists at both schools. They are also a testament to the exceptional quality and dedication of our staff, the strong and steadfast support of our families and community, and, most importantly, the hard work and passion for learning that our students exhibit on a daily basis.

Below is additional information about several key data points from our report card that we want to highlight, as well as details about the conversations we are having with ISBE regarding our graduation rates. If you are interested in reviewing the report cards for our schools, you can access the one for Central by visiting and the one for South by visiting You can access additional information about ISBE’s support and accountability system by visiting You can also access the annual academic report on student performance and achievement measures that the District 86 Board of Education received during its meeting on Oct. 23 by visiting

Thank you very much for your time and attention to this message, and for all that you do to help our students advance down the path of their ideal futures.


Tammy Prentiss

Graduation Rate
Last year, Hinsdale Central’s four-year graduation rate was 96%, while Hinsdale South’s was 87%. Although both rates were above the state average (86%), we contend that they were lower than they should have been because the state penalizes us for providing critical transition services to students following their four years of high school, even though those students meet the graduation requirements. ISBE calculated the rates, in part, based on a federal law that states that students who receive their diploma cannot attend transition services. If the state did not include this factor among the criteria it uses to determine the rates for schools, Central’s rate on the 2019 report card would have been 99.14%, while South’s would have been 96.10%. Since the graduation rate counts for 50% of the designation score, we believe the state’s practice negatively impacts how other external organizations may rank or rate South.

We have had and will continue to have conversations with ISBE about this issue, and will keep our students, staff, families and community members updated regarding the status of these discussions.

The enrollment numbers that the administration shared with the board during its meeting on Oct. 23 (2,734 for Central and 1,488 for South) differ from what was listed on the report card (2,728 for Central and 1,420 for South) because ISBE uses a specific set of rules for determining these figures and organizing its data that does not align with the opportunities we provide or services we deliver to our students. For example, for students with multiple enrollments (e.g., they attend the Transition Center or take classes at both high schools), ISBE bases its calculations on the highest percent time of day, the enrollment where the home school is the same as the serving school or the most recent enrollment. As a result, the enrollment figures featured on the report card do not accurately reflect the total number of students we serve.

The percentage of students from District 86 who scored at the performance levels that ISBE set for the SAT was higher than the state average. On the English language arts portion of the test, 66% of our students met or exceeded the performance level compared to 37% for the state. On the math portion of the test, 68% of our students met or exceeded the performance level compared to 35% for the state.

Illinois Science Assessment
The percentage of students from District 86 who were proficient on the Illinois Science Assessment was higher than the state average. Sixty-eight percent of our students were proficient on the assessment compared to 49% for the state.

Ninth Grade on Track
The percentage of ninth grade students in District 86 who are on track to graduate was higher than the average for the state. Nearly 97% of our ninth graders were on track to graduate compared to 86.6% for the state.

AP Exams
Below is cumulative district-level data for AP exams taken over the last two years across all four grade levels.

  • Students taking one or more AP exams – 1,344 in 2019 compared to 1,487 in 2018
  • Students earning college credit for one or more AP exams – 1,221 in 2019 compared to 1,327 in 2018
  • Total AP exams taken – 7,295 in 2019 compared to 5,735 in 2018
  • Total AP exams resulting in college credit – 6,345 in 2019 compared to 4,819 in 2018

In 2019, 90.8% of our students who took one or more AP exams earned college credit compared to 89.2% in 2018. In addition, 86.9% of the total AP exams taken in 2019 resulted in college credit compared to 84% in 2018.