New Trier High School
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|New Trier High School|
To commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity.
|School type||Public Secondary|
|School district||New Trier Township High School District 203|
|Superintendent||Linda Lee Yonke, PhD|
|Principal||Denise Dubravec (Winnetka)
Paul Waechtler (Northfield)
|Average class size||22.7|
|Athletics conference||Central Suburban League|
|Average SAT scores||1962|
|Average ACT scores||27.5|
|Publication||Logos and Calliope|
|Newspaper||New Trier News
New Trier High School (/ /, also known as New Trier Township High School or NTHS) is a public four-year high school, with its main campus for sophomores through seniors located in Winnetka, Illinois, US, and a freshman campus in Northfield, Illinois, with freshman classes and district administration. Founded in 1901, the school is known for its large spending per student, academic excellence, and its athletic, drama, visual arts, and music programs. The school serves the Chicago North Shore suburbs of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, most of Northfield, and parts of Glenview. New Trier's logo depicts the Porta Nigra, a symbol of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The athletic teams are known as the Trevians, an archaic demonym for the city's people.
New Trier Township High School was founded in 1901 in Winnetka, Illinois, with seventy-six students and seven faculty members. Chicago's north shore communities had decided to build a school that would enable parents to educate their children without sending them to college preparatory schools on the Eastern seaboard.
The school has been marked by a series of firsts and other notable events. In 1912, New Trier became the first high school in America with an indoor swimming pool. During World War I, New Trier became a training ground for soldiers. A student fundraising drive at the time led to the purchase of a field ambulance. In 1928, New Trier began its advisory system, the first such in American public secondary education, in which each student meets with one faculty adviser and the same fellow advisory students every morning throughout his or her career. Students sold tax warrants door-to-door in the 1930s to keep the school operating as the flow of property tax funds dwindled in the Great Depression. During World War II, students sold bonds to finance both a B-17 (The Spirit of New Trier) and a B-29.
In the 1950s, New Trier became the first American high school with an educational, non-commercial FM broadcast license for a radiated station (WNTH, 88.1 FM). By 1970 New Trier was home to the nation's first public high school-based CCTV instructional station, ITV, which broadcast educational programming to township elementary schools via microwave signals. Students operated WNTH under a faculty adviser, ITV was operated by students under professional television technical and programming staff.
By 1962, student enrollment was more than 4,000. Some 20 "temporary" trailer classrooms lined the rear of the building, which had been designed for 3,000. To accommodate the growing baby boom student body, voters approved a referendum for New Trier to purchase forty-six acres in Northfield. Chicago architecture firm Perkins and Will was selected to design a campus of curricular buildings clustered around a central library and administration building. The resulting modernist design was widely noted in secondary education architecture literature and practice, and emulated by Winnetka's Carleton Washburne junior high school several years later.
"New Trier West" opened to freshmen and sophomores in 1965. What had been "New Trier," at 385 Winnetka Avenue in Winnetka, became "New Trier East." In 1967, New Trier West was dedicated as a separate four-year high school. U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare John Gardner keynoted the dedication, which was also attended by U.S. Senator Charles Percy ('37), and Congressman Donald Rumsfeld ('50).
Enrollment reached an all-time peak of 6,558 students in 1972. By 1981, enrollment had dropped significantly. As a result, the school board decided to combine the East and West schools and convert New Trier West into the freshman-only campus. The division of freshmen (at the former New Trier West) from upperclassmen (at the former New Trier East) lasted from September 1981 until June 1985. By then enrollment had declined enough for the board to bring all students under one roof, close the former New Trier West, and convert the Northfield campus into a community recreation space. The campus later housed a senior center, corporate dormitories, a public swimming pool, and an alternative high school program known as West Center Academy.
Jonathan Kozol wrote a book called Savage Inequalities in 1991 that discussed the harsh conditions in the poorest school districts in the United States, making a correlation between inequality and racial separation and segregation. In the book, Kozol contrasted New Trier High School's spending per student to impoverished schools within Chicago.
New Trier was featured in the December 9, 1996, issue of Time in an article entitled "High Times at New Trier High." Among other claims, the article stated that "New Trier kids who smoke pot" were "by all accounts more than three-fifths of the student body," compared with national averages at the time closer to 33%. However, on the school's WNTH's radio program, the writer acknowledged that the "three-fifths" claim had been inadvertently rewritten during the editing process in such a way that seemed to imply that more than 60% of New Trier students may be regular users of marijuana, whereas that figure should have been clearly labeled as the portion of students who had ever used marijuana, including many who had used it only once or twice.
In 2001, due to increasing enrollment, the Northfield campus reopened. The decision to make it a freshman-only campus was a compromise from a stalemate between plans to either increase capacity at the Winnetka campus or reopen the Northfield campus as a separate school. The Northfield campus also houses the administrative offices of the New Trier Township High School District.
In February 2008, a student, Jonah Greenthal  broke into the school computer database, using his personal computer to obtain unauthorized access to the network. He took a faculty member's password and gained access to the student information system, obtaining grades for the then-current and last three graduating classes. The student also obtained ACT test scores for the class of 2008. The administration took disciplinary action against the student and he was later arrested by Winnetka police.
In the summer of 2008, Illinois state senator James Meeks made a public plea for parents of Chicago public school students to assist their children in skipping the first day of school (September 2), and instead attend a protest at New Trier that involved attempting to mass enroll students there. The protest was over inequities in school funding between schools in Chicago and New Trier. New Trier administrators were supportive of the protest. Students were greeted by cheerful parent volunteers to register at the Northfield Campus. After a relatively quick and peaceful registration, the buses left.
Master planning process
New Trier High School recently invested in an extensive campus expansion and modification plan for its two campuses, called the "Master Planning Process". The process took input, in roughly equal shares, from (1) faculty, (2) staff and administration, (3) students and (4) community at large when formulating the plan (though only the Board of Education made the final decision). The proposed project has cost of over $174M, paid by a massive bond issue that is set to increase township property taxes for the next 20+ years. A referendum to authorize the issuance of $174 million in bonds to finance the Winnetka campus renovation was placed on the February 2, 2010 ballot; it was defeated 63% to 37%.
The School Board reviewed a Long Range Facility Plan for the district, including a recommendation for a Project One that will demolish and rebuild portions of the campus on its west and east sides on April 6, 2009. After their decision, the school's administration began a campaign in support of the re-construction plan for the Winnetka Campus.
The New Trier High School Board of Education's members are mostly from Glencoe, Illinois and from Wilmette, Illinois. This Board has retained the current executive administration, led by Linda L. Yonke, who has significant experience in executing new school construction. Linda L Yonke's compensation in 2010 was $266,420, excluding fringe benefits and pensions, ranking her in the top 25 highest paid primary school employees in the state of Illinois.
New Trier spends more than $15,000 yearly per student, well above the state average of $8,786. It has been included in the "Top Hundred" and "Most Successful" lists of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Parademagazine. The school was also identified as "quite possibly the best public school in America" by Town & Country, in a six-page article on New Trier that cited the "rich" and "demanding" curriculum, extensive arts and activities, strong participation in athletics, and faculty of the caliber typically found teaching at good colleges. Life also recognized New Trier as one of the best high schools in America with cover stories in 1950 and 1998.
Approximately 98% of the class of 2013 went on to college. Of these students, 37 were National Merit Semifinalists, 31 were National Merit Finalists, and 67 received letters of commendation. For the class of 2006, the mean SAT verbal score was 620 and the mean SAT math score was 650. For the class of 2013, the mean ACT composite score was 27.5, the highest in Illinois for an open enrollment public school and among the top school scores in the United States. According to an article by the University of Michigan Department of Psychology, "New Trier students outperform their Illinois classmates on every conceivable measure." The article also points out that 92% of the school's funding comes from the high property taxes of its affluent surroundings. The degree to which the school's performance is actually high given its resources is not addressed.
New Trier ensembles or individuals have received 39 awards in the Downbeat Student Music Awards program. A record-setting 7 of these were achieved in 2007 alone. More than 1,100 students participate in the music department. All presented by the student run Soundtraks Club which produces all 24 concerts a year webcast live on the internet at ntjazz.com, live on local cable television, and in stereo on WNTH radio.
New Trier was named a Grammy Signature School Gold recipient by the Grammy Foundation in 2000 for its commitment to music education, as well as being named the National Signature School in 2007 as the nation's top high school music program. In April 2006, the school's Concert Choir and Symphony Orchestra performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall. In the summer of 2000, the school's Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Bluegrass Band enjoyed a successful two-week concert tour of China.
According to official state of Illinois reports retrieved by the Family Taxpayers Network, 2005 salaries of more than $100,000 were received by 127 administrators, teachers and other staffers, all but 11 of whom were listed as working for 10 months of the year.
New Trier has practiced subject-level grouping for over fifty years. In this system, up to four different levels of difficulty are offered for each academic subject. Level 2E is considered a general level. Levels 2, 3 and 4 are college preparatory, honors, and high honors levels, respectively. Level 5 was reserved for Advanced Placement classes and other college-level classes, such as multivariable calculus and linear algebra, but the level was phased out beginning with the class of 2011. (All 5-level courses are currently counted as 4-level.) Students may work at different levels in different subjects. Other levels include 8 and 9. Level 8 classes are counted for elective credit and level 9 classes, generally a combination of a level 3 and 4, are graded as level 3 classes.
New Trier offers both unweighted and weighted grade point averages (GPA), and plus and minus grades are reported on transcripts. In calculating a weighted GPA, grades in a student's coursework are given different values depending on the level in which the grade is earned. For example, an A in a 2-level course is weighted at 4.00, while in levels 3 and 4 the values are 4.67 and 5.33, respectively (an "A" in a 5-level AP class is worth 5.67). In 2009, New Trier announced that for the 2010-2011 school year the "5 level" will be eliminated. A.P. classes will be weighted to level 4 
Since the late 1990s, the Board of Education has been examining how to encourage students to pursue a strong academic career without having them focus too much on their class rank. The first step taken by the administration was to eliminate the process of reporting class rank and to switch to decile ranking. Around the same time, the scale for weighted GPA calculations was modified and plus and minus grades were implemented. In 2008, New Trier eliminated the reporting of ranks in a class entirely.
New Trier's mascot is the Trevian, named after soldiers from the city of Trier, Germany during the Roman Empire. The Trevian mascot was chosen in recognition that the Grosse Pointe area of Wilmette was largely settled by immigrants from Trier, Germany. From 1901 to 1948, the school's sports teams were known as the "Terriers" and "Green Wave." During the 1948-49 school year they were renamed "Indians", reflecting the school's location in the Indian Hill section of Winnetka. When the new campus in the western part of the district opened in 1965, the new school's sports team was known as the "Cowboys". The year before the two schools merged in 1981, a number of student forums were held on both the East and West campuses, giving students the opportunity to provide feedback on potential school colors and nicknames. After a series of votes of the student body, the school adopted "Trevians" as a team name and green, blue, and gray as the school colors (East having previously been green and gray, while West was blue, gray, and white). During the 2004–2005 school year the mascot was named "Trevius Maximus" after conducting a poll among the students.
New Trier's biggest conference rival is Evanston Township High School. The rivalry between their football teams is one of the oldest uninterrupted sports rivalries in the history of high school sports, dating back over 100 years. Both schools compete in the Central Suburban League conference. The two annual basketball games New Trier plays against Evanston draw so many people that since 2001 they have been held at Northwestern University's larger Welsh-Ryan Arena. New Trier's biggest non-conference rival is Loyola Academy, which is located in Wilmette, just down the road from the Northfield campus.
With more than 120 state championships, New Trier High School currently has more than any other high school in Illinois. New Trier also leads the state in both boys' and girls' state titles. The sports in which New Trier has the most IHSA-sponsored state titles are boys' swimming and diving (23), boys' tennis (19), girls' swimming and diving (13), boys' golf (9), girls' tennis (9), and girls' badminton (8). New Trier has been strong in the sport of baseball, twice as state champions, winning in 2000 and 2009. New Trier has also historically been strong at non-IHSA sponsored sports, including 18 Great Lakes High School Fencing Conference (formerly Midwest High School Fencing) championships in men's fencing and 10 in women's fencing, eleven state titles (Blackhawk Cup) in boys' ice hockey, eleven state championships in boys' lacrosse, 1995, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 six state titles in girls' ice hockey, 2 national championships in boys rowing, 7 national championships in girls rowing, five state championships in girls' lacrosse, and one state championship in girls cross country. The top varsity ice hockey team for boys, New Trier Green, won the first ever USA Hockey High School National Championship title in 2010. In May 2005, New Trier was ranked #12 in Sports Illustrated's list of the "Top 25 High School Sports Programs in America," and first in Illinois.
The athletic facilities include the Leslie Gates Gymnasium for basketball; two natatoriums for swimming, diving, and water polo; Phelps Field for lacrosse, encircled by the Doug Chase Track; the Robert Naughton Field at New Trier Stadium for football, soccer, and lacrosse; the Duke Childs Fields for baseball and softball; gyms for volleyball; courts for tennis; a wrestling room with four mats, and an indoor field house.
There are over 150 different extracurricular activities at New Trier, including the student-loved "Cereal Club". Although some date back decades (to the founding of the school) and have strong traditions, others are much newer and consist of only a few members.
One noted club is the New Trier chess club. They participate in tournaments all over the country.
New Trier's Lagniappe-Potpourri is an annual student-written, student-choreography, student-composed, student-directed, student-managed, student-built and student-performed musical/comedy production with original content performed every fall. The comedy sketches and songs all include New Trier-related humor. This is one of three annual musicals and is an extracurricular opportunity open to all students. Performers in the show (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) must audition in the early fall and board members apply for positions each spring for the following year. There are also song and music writing, management, stage crew, and pit band opportunities.
New Trier's debate program has flourished in recent years with two students receiving the top speaker award at the Tournament of Champions, http://ukdebate.wikispaces.com/file/view/PF_spkrs.pdf a tournament that only allows the top 72 teams in the nation to compete through a system of qualification, and also placed teams in the top 16 in the past two years. New Trier has also had students either final or win in the Illinois High School Association's state debate tournament in all 4 divisions, most recently winning the 2010 championship in Lincoln-Douglas debate and the 2011 and 2013 championship in Public Forum.
Each of the four official class governments (Sophomore and Junior Steering Committees and the Freshman and Senior Senates) makes significant annual donations to various philanthropic causes throughout the community, state, country, and world. Every year since 2001, the Senior Senate has fully funded the construction of a house in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of Lake County, Illinois, a non-profit organization that fights homelessness and substandard housing. Recently the campaign was 10 houses in 10 years and the class of 2010 fulfilled that goal. New Trier is the only school so far to build 10 houses with Habitat. Many fund raisers contribute to this and various other causes over the course of the academic year. The New Trier Tsunami Relief Committee donated more than $18,000 to relief organizations to save people that were affected by the tsunami and also helped victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004.
Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival
The jazz festival began in 1983 and takes place on the first Saturday of February. Each year, the event brings in around fifty high school and junior high jazz ensembles from all over the Great Lakes region and Canada to perform during the day. The high school groups attend clinics with respected jazz educators and composers from around the country. Seminars are also held throughout the day on improvisation, transcription, and music business, as well as instrument masterclasses. A featured jazz combo and college big band perform in the afternoon, while the evening concert features a renowned professional big band. Past groups have included the Buddy Rich Big Band (led by Dave Weckl), the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Jazz Orchestra, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (led by Jon Faddis), the Bob Mintzer Big Band, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, the Mingus Big Band, Maynard Ferguson, and Dizzy Gillespie. The festival was renamed in 2005 after Frank Mantooth when the legendary jazz musician, educator, and composer died just days before the 2004 festival.
In the movies
Scenes from Home Alone, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Uncle Buck were shot at the high school's west campus in Northfield, and scenes from Sixteen Candles were shot outside the high school's east campus in Winnetka. The Breakfast Club's title comes from the nickname invented by students and staff for morning detention at New Trier High School, the school attended by the son of one of John Hughes' friends. Thus, those who were sent to detention before school starting time were designated members of "The Breakfast Club".  Also, the movie Mean Girls was based on New Trier.
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