Naperville Community Unit School District 203
Naperville 203 is proud to build a passion for lifelong learning by educating students to be self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers and community contributors. There is a strong belief that an exemplary school district is the result of a successful collaboration among students, staff, parents and community.
The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce was recognized as 2018 Exemplary Business Partner for their thought leadership and deliberate advancement of business partnership programming such as the new Business INCubator entrepreneurship course, Job Shadow Day and other authentic workplace experiences like internships.
In addition to business partnerships, Naperville 203 continues to make progress on the Focus 2020 Blueprint Commitments including leading across the country as a model for integrating Social Emotional Learning into curriculum. With a strategic goal of closing the achievement gaps, Naperville 203 recently hired an executive director of Diversity and Inclusion to ensure culturally responsive practices are employed in all learning environments. Furthermore, the district has expanded its early childhood offerings and summer school to maximize opportunities to advance student learning. Also noteworthy are the curricular and facility transformations to prepare students for success in a global economy.
Naperville 203 continues to earn national rankings including Naperville North High School receiving the U.S. Department of Education 2018 Blue Ribbon School distinction. The district was also named the Best School District in America by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, and ranked overall third in the state, the highest rated large unit district, by Niche.com. It is also notable that Niche.com’s top 10 elementary rankings had nine schools from Naperville 203. In addition, 34 Naperville Central and Naperville North High School seniors were named 2017 National Merit Scholarship finalists, and five seniors received the 2017-2018 National Hispanic Recognition Program Award. The high schools also provide robust athletics and activities for students to engage and develop the talents and interests of all students.
“Our students and staff inspire me as compassionate community contributors,” said Superintendent Dan Bridges. “I look forward to an empowering school year ahead of us where students own their education with our dedicated teachers and staff supporting them along the way.”
Naperville 203 keeps high-quality public education a top priority and remains a draw for families moving to the area. Enrollment in the district includes 16,800 students in early childhood through grade 12 whom they educate in 22 schools across the area, as well as the Connections transition program. The district covers 32 square miles including portions of Naperville, Bolingbrook, Lisle and Woodridge.
Indian Prairie School District 204
The fourth-largest school district in the state of Illinois, Indian Prairie School District 204 is currently educating 28,000 students in 33 schools covering portions of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.
District 204 is one of only three Illinois school districts to be a part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, which is a coalition of 102 forward–thinking school districts in 33 states. The district’s technology plan provides Chromebooks or tablets to students in elementary, middle and high school. The focus is on assisting students in becoming future-ready.
All three of the district’s high schools have been ranked by Newsweek as being among America’s Top High Schools. In addition, a total of 45 students across the three high schools were named 2017 National Merit Honor Semifinalists and Granger Middle School was once again designated as an Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch. Only 24 middle schools in Illinois carry this distinction and there are four District 204 schools that have been awarded the honor over the years.
The District 204 Fine Arts Program is also nationally recognized for excellence in music education. All three high schools have earned Grammy awards and were named in the top three music programs in the country. Neuqua Valley has twice been named the top music program in the nation. In total, the district has been presented with 16 Grammys by the Grammy Foundation.
District 204 is also proud to actively engage the business and civic communities by cultivating partnerships to enhance and support academic achievement, prepare students for college and career-readiness and engage volunteer participation in school activities. These partnerships have provided thousands of students with back-to-school supplies and other academic enhancements to prepare students for careers after high school and have encouraged them to think outside the school walls.
Parents are also viewed as valued partners in providing the best educational opportunities to students. Many parents are actively engaged as school volunteers. In an annual survey conducted by the state, parents consistently give the district high marks when asked to grade the district. In the most recent survey, 94 percent of parents gave the district a grade of A or B.
“We are grateful to our entire network of volunteers who are willing to work alongside our teachers and administrators to advance the mission of our district, which is to inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential,” said Superintendent Karen Sullivan.
Benedictine University, a Catholic institution founded 133 years ago in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago for immigrants from Slovakia and Czechoslovakia, has been a fixture in Lisle since 1901. But it has seen many changes over the years, including adding women in 1967; changing its name four times over the years; and becoming a full-fledged university that offers graduate degrees in 1995.
Today it has an enrollment of approximately 6,000 students including undergraduates, international students, graduate students, online enrollees and approximately 500 attending its Mesa, Arizona, location and other programs offered in Vietnam, China and elsewhere. Approximately 750 students reside on the 108-acre campus in Lisle, while others live in nearby apartments or commute from homes. The majority live within an 80-mile radius.
Among undergraduates, the majority can be found studying the sciences, business administration and liberal arts, said President Charles Gregory.
“We have many first-generation college students enrolled here which means that they are the first members of their families to attend college,” he said. “And besides educating them and giving them a sense of community, we seek to instill in them both Catholic and Benedictine values.”
“Benedictine University is open and diverse. We welcome all, giving them exceptional academic training, both inside and outside of the classroom,” Gregory added. “What sets us apart is the values they take away when they graduate. We have found no religious denomination whose teachings don’t fit with Benedictine values.”
Benedictine is known for ground-breaking programs. For instance, this is the first year of their dual credit program which currently includes 70 students from five Catholic and public schools in Chicago and DuPage County. It is designed to prepare students for success in college and lower their costs.
The Benedictine faculty is also actively collaborating with high school faculties to build success among underserved populations, Gregory said. “Our core values anchor everything at Benedictine and we seek to contribute to the community by helping first generation students succeed.”
North Central College
North Central College has been at the center of Naperville, both physically and psychologically, since 1870 when it moved here from Plainfield.
Today the independent college of liberal arts and sciences boasts 2,770 undergraduate and 200 graduate students pursuing degrees in 65 majors and six graduate programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks it 13th among America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest. North Central is also highly touted by the Princeton Review, Forbes and Money Magazine. It was also honored in 2015 with a Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.
In addition, North Central sports teams have won 35 national championships in 26 intercollegiate Division III and College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin sports.
The institution is constantly working to stay on the cutting edge of education, said Megan Lynch, director of corporate relations. They recently completed construction of the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center, a $60 million STEM center with abundant laboratories and gathering spaces and have added three undergraduate engineering majors and a graduate program in occupational therapy.
North Central values a rigorous, student-centered education grounded in the liberal arts tradition while also integrating professional studies and civic engagement. While, at its core, it is a residential undergraduate institution, North Central also values distinctive programs for graduate and non-traditional students and considers itself a diverse, inclusive and global community.
College President Troy D. Hammond recently wrote, “Since the founding of this great college in 1861, the vision of first president Augustine A. Smith has been at the core of our values: ‘A college should be a great moral lighthouse, sending out a clear and steady light upon all subjects that pertain to the well-being of [humanity] in this world and the world to come.’ While our context has evolved dramatically, it’s hard to imagine a time when this vision for higher education is more important than today.”
An active member of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce since 1965, North Central offers a tuition discount for Chamber members and employees who wish to pursue a graduate degree.
The Educational Alliance Discount is awarded to Chamber affiliates enrolled in five of the College’s six graduate degrees – all except the Master of Occupational Therapy. The discount can be applied to blended, face-to-face, evening or online masters level courses in business administration, education, liberal studies, leadership studies, nonprofit management and leadership.