The Naperville community places a high value on education. Consequently, the community is rife with top-notch educational options for individuals from pre-school to graduate school, including excellent school districts and a community college that is known state-wide for the quality of its programming.
Naperville Community Unit School District 203
Naperville’s District 203 schools are on the cutting edge of technology and educational trends, but also rely on old-fashioned student-teacher interaction in the classroom to educate students who excel after graduation. In fact, the two high schools boasted a total of 32 National Merit Finalists in 2016 and Kennedy Junior High School was named a 2016 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last year the district launched a Digital Learning Initiative at both high schools, providing Chromebooks with Google Apps for Education to every student. This academic year they have expanded that program to their junior high schools and next year will expand it to the elementary schools, according to Michelle Fregoso, Director of Communications.
Additionally, new this school year is the renovated Learning Commons at Naperville North High School. Over the summer the District replaced the old, outdated library with a learning space with a 21st century learning space in which students can create, collaborate and communicate. It includes open groupings of comfortable couches, as well as conference-style tables, a student-run café, small glass-walled “huddle” rooms where a few students can gather and one large glass-walled, collaborative conference room. A pared down collection of books, as well as plenty of electrical outlets, complete the new Learning Commons, which has received rave reviews from students and faculty alike.
“In addition to performing academically, our students take the skills they gain in the classroom, and apply them to the real world. Adarsh Mattu and Prateek Dullur from Naperville Central and Aditya Ramachandran from Naperville North were honored guests at the 2016 White House Science Fair. As eighth graders, they placed first in the 2015 eCybermission national championship for creating an electricity-free device to prevent basement flooding even during power outages,” Fregoso said.
Naperville 203 also partnered recently with the City of Naperville and the Naperville Development Partnership to allow architecture students from both high schools to gain real world experience by re-envisioning the Iroquois Shopping Center on Ogden Avenue. The project provided hands-on experience for students to understand what it takes to develop a city.
“Naperville 203 is proud of the many achievements of our students, teachers, administrators and community supporters. We look forward to continuing to be a District where students excel both in and out of the classroom,” said Superintendent Dan Bridges.
Naperville School District 203 boasts a total enrollment of 16,500 students in preschool through grade 12 whom they educate in 22 schools across the area. The district covers 32 square miles including portions of Naperville, Bolingbrook, Lisle and Woodridge and offers connections/transition services for students who need them.
Indian Prairie School District 204
The fourth largest school district in the state of Illinois, Indian Prairie School District 204 is currently educating 28,200 students in 33 schools covering portions of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.
District 204 is one of only two Illinois school districts to be a part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, which is a coalition of 73 forward-thinking school districts in 33 states. In fact, this year the district launched its 1:1 Technology Plan that provided 7,000 middle school students with Chromebooks and next year all high school students will receive a laptop, according to Jason Altenbern, Community Relations Coordinator.
All three high schools have been listed by Newsweek as being among America’s Top High Schools over the past two years. In addition, a total of 59 students across the three high schools were named 2017 National Merit Honor Semifinalists and Hill 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.
Metea Valley High School was identified as a 2016 Grammy Signature School, winning a Gold Award as one of the top three music education programs in the entire country. All three high schools in the District have been awarded a Grammy. In fact, the District has been presented with 16 Grammys since the Grammy Foundation started rewarding high school music programs.
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.
In fact, a Metea Valley junior was presented with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award recently and a Neuqua Valley sophomore was featured on television’s Shark Tank. The sharks awarded her with $100,000 for her cyberbullying awareness app called ReThink.
“We are grateful to our 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.
College of DuPage
Upon completion of high school, residents of DuPage County, as well as parts of Cook and Will Counties, have the option of enrolling in the largest community college in the state – the College of DuPage (COD) which is located on 273 acres in Glen Ellyn. There are also four COD centers, one of which is located in Naperville at 1223 Rickert Dr. The college was established 50 years ago in 1967.
“The mission of the college is to be a center for excellence in teaching, learning and cultural experiences by providing accessible, affordable and comprehensive education,” said Joseph Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “We are determined that the College of DuPage will be the primary college that district residents choose to get a high-quality education. That was the intention of the founders and it is still our intention today.”
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the college boasts an enrollment of 27,000 students, making it one of the largest institutions of higher learning in all of Illinois. Students are offered the opportunity to earn associate degrees in nine different areas of study. They may also earn certificates in 178 different fields ranging from accounting to welding.
COD is well known for its signature programs which include nursing, dental hygiene, nuclear medicine, culinary arts, horticulture, fire science, criminal justice, construction, paralegal studies, photography and fashion design. COD’s Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, which many suburban departments use to train new officers and offer continuing education to experienced officers, is also acclaimed.
Those over 50 years old who wish to change careers or return to the workforce may enroll in the College’s Plus 50 Program which offers computer skills classes, career search assistance and even volunteerism courses.
The college also offers a vast variety of adult enrichment classes, Moore said. They range from arts and computer studies, to languages, photography, health and wellness, business and finance, home and garden and hobbies and recreation. Those enrichment seekers 50 and over may enroll through the Lifelong Learning Institute.
COD also offers classes which cater to those seeking their GED, adult basic education or English as-a Second-Language.
Moore estimates that approximately 1,000 students per year study at the Naperville Center, which was established in 1991 and renovated in 2014. It boasts a learning commons and 12 classrooms including two computer labs, one of which is open to the public.
“Many students take their general education classes in the regional centers. In fact, students may completely earn associate degrees in the arts, sciences and general studies at the Naperville Center,” Moore said. “Classes there are offered in both a traditional format and in a fast track format. Fast-track classes are condensed to eight weeks in order to accommodate adults over 21 who have busy lifestyles.”