Niche: Woodlands Academy repeats as Illinois' top all-girls high school
Once again, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart gets high marks when it comes to a faith-based education for young women. According to recently released 2019 rankings by Niche, an independent research company, the Lake Forest school repeats as the #1 Best All-girls High School in Illinois. Woodlands Academy also is ranked #3 Best Catholic High School in Illinois.
Niche, a website for researching K-12 schools, scored Woodlands Academy highly on a variety of factors. These include SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratios, the quality of colleges students consider, and reviews from students and parents.
"As Woodlands Academy continues to celebrate our 160th anniversary in 2018, along with the 200th anniversary of Sacred Heart education in North America, I am so proud to again be ranked the best all-girls high school in Illinois," Head of School Meg Steele said. "Our belief that empowered girls can change the world is an integral part of who we are and how we educate our students."
Steele believes the benefits of an all-girls' school do not come simply from separating girls from the boys, but from the ability of a girls' school to focus entirely on the education, development and well-being of girls.
"Research shows that girls' school graduates are more prepared for college, are more likely to pursue higher educational degrees, and have higher career aspirations," she adds. "A growing body of research during the past decade has documented what all-girls' school educators have long understood: All-girls' schools give young women the best education to succeed in college and the world beyond."
Dr. Richard A. Holmgren, of Allegheny College, is the author of Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools, in which he states: "87 percent of girls' school students agree to strongly agree that their opinions are respected at their school (compared to 58 percent of girls at coed schools), and 89 percent report they are comfortable to be themselves (compared to 72 percent of girls at coed schools)."
Barbara Keilwitz, who retired in June as director of finance & operations, saw such advantages first-hand during her 32 years at Woodlands Academy. "All-girls education allows girls to be the center of attention," she said. "Everything that is done is for and about them. They are free to imagine, explore, question and grow in a safe, yet challenging, environment. I have witnessed the transformational impact that all-girls education here at Woodlands has achieved."
Woodlands Academy is an independent, Catholic day-and-boarding, college-preparatory school for young women of all faiths grades nine through 12. It's part of a worldwide network of more than 150 Sacred Heart schools.
Statistical data used in the 2019 rankings was obtained from a variety of sources including the U.S. Department of Education and then analyzed by Niche. For the complete rankings, methodologies and data sources, visit https://k12.niche.com/rankings
Founded in 1858, Woodlands Academy is an independent Catholic college preparatory day and boarding high school for young women. It's part of a worldwide network of Sacred Heart Schools that spans the United States and 40 other countries. A nonprofit, Woodlands Academy's identity is rooted in Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat's desire to inspire young hearts and minds to excel, to lead lives of integrity and to serve. For more information about Woodlands Academy, please visit www.woodlandsacademy.org