Three Evanston schools have won “honor roll” status from the state board of education for their academic performance, down from four last year.

Willard Elementary School and Bessie Rhodes Magnet School won academic excellence awards  for the second year in a row.

Those winners had at least 90 percent of their students meet or exceed state standards in reading and math for at least three consecutive years.

But the number of district schools receiving spotlight awards — for having a high percentage of students pass those tests, despite having a majority of students from low-income families — dropped from two to one.

This year and last Dawes Elementary School won a spotlight award. Oakton Elementary, which won a spotlight award in 2009, did not make the list this year.

Statewide the number of academic excellence awards increased slightly this year, while the number of spotlight schools dropped substantially, a result of an increase in the passing rate required to qualify for the spotlight award from 70 percent to 77.5 percent.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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