Throughout its long and storied history, Maine East High School has earned honors, awards, and recognition as natural extension of always striving to improve student learning and opportunities and to do so in innovative ways. Sometimes the recognition is national.
Several times in recent years, Maine East has earn a spot on the Washington Post list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” which annually consists of about 10 percent of U.S. public high schools, according to the Post.
Maine East also has won a spot in recent years on US News’ list of “America’s Best High Schools,” a designation that reflects graduation rates, college readiness, students’ exam performance compared to statistical expectations, and the relative test performance of disadvantaged students.
In 2017, Maine East was included by Newsweek among “500 High Schools that Beat the Odds”, a list recognizing the exemplary work of some schools in providing opportunities for low-income students.
Occasionally the recognition has come in the form of visits by education leaders who see that Maine East is quietly breaking ground in important ways, in 2016, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education (IACTE) selected Maine East to host one segment of a three-day media tour to promote awareness of career and technical education, showcase exemplary programs, share data and success stories with the media.
That same year, Maine East High School hosted the first-ever Student Technology Leadership Summit. Jaime Casap, Google’s Chief Education Evangelist, presented the keynote address. Only 54 of the more than 800 high schools in Illinois have been designated by the Robert McCormick Foundation as Democracy Schools, for immersing students in authentic civic engagement experiences preparing them for the responsibilities of citizenship. Three of these schools, including Maine East, are in Maine District 207.
Similarly, only a relative few schools have earned Blue Ribbon designation from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Maine East is one an even smaller group of high schools that has earned Blue Ribbon status for both its Health and Physical Education programs.
All of Maine 207’s schools are on the leading edge of professional development, with coaching plans in place for every teacher and a premium placed on collaboration among teaching peers. This approach yields not only outstanding learning opportunities for students, but also leads, on occasion, to individual honors for teachers. In recent years for instance, Maine East Health and Physical Education Chair Scott Chovanec was named Administrator of the Year by Illinois Association for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Dr. David Schultz was named outstanding High School Physics Teacher of the Year from the Illinois section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Such recognition is not limited to recent years; Maine 207 schools have established a long tradition of excellence. In 1959, Maine East was listed among the nation’s 44 best high schools based on a survey of 120 colleges and universities. In 1985, the U.S. Department of Education named Maine East a Secondary School of Excellence.
The nation’s first high school music honor society was created almost a century ago at Maine Township High School (now known as Maine East), and the school has excelled in all of the Fine Arts through the ensuing decades. Four times throughout the 1990s, Maine East won the state video competition.
There have also been athletic championships along the way; as early as the 1930s Maine Township High School was winning national swimming championships. In 1958 and 1959, Maine captured back-to-back state IHSA baseball championships, winning 42 games against only 5 losses over the two seasons. Maine East won the IHSA coed cheerleading competition in 1996 and again in 2002, capping a 6-year period in which they ranked in the state’s top 5 annually.
Open since 1930, Maine East has earned more than its share of accolades and honors. But this is only the beginning. With a knack for innovation and administrators and staff committed to improvement, Maine East’s list of awards and honors will only continue to grow.