Payton College Prep tops 2018 list of Illinois' best high schools

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Top-performing high schools receive gold, silver and bronze medal recognition from U.S. News, with gold medals indicating the greatest level of college readiness.

Three Northwest Arkansas high schools remained in Arkansas' top 10: Arkansas Arts Academy, Rogers High School and Fayetteville High School.

Prairie Grove High School moved up to fourth from last year's rank of seventh in the state.

North Hardin and LaRue County high schools once again made the state rankings and earned bronze medals.

One other Georgia school, Columbus High School in Columbus, placed just outside the top 100 at 105.

Robyn Ellis, director of Maeser, said the school is not focused on test scores.

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Ocean Springs, second place Lewisburg High School - which was the state's top-ranked school a year ago - and third place Petal High School were the only MS schools to earn silver medal status and given a national ranking. Bentonville High School stayed at No. 5. The next closest Coast school is Gautier at No. 12.

"They (school staff) also create a sense that you have to build those around you". It's No. 25 nationally (down from No. 22 in 2017).

No. 1,755 - Vail Academy and High School, Vail Unified School District.

Schools were ranked based on a four-step process. Instead, she said, the school takes a "holistic" approach, with a classical education style, that has the added benefit of preparing students for standardized assessments. They get extra help with tough topics during an advisory period, he said, and the school places a premium on parent involvement. About 11 percent of the schools ranked earned silver medals.

PMSA's student body is 47 percent low-income, 94 percent minority, 39 percent male and 61 percent female.

U.S. News based the rankings on data from the 2015-16 school year. "We selected schools that outperformed their state averages".

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