U.S. News & World Report has awarded Rockford East High School a bronze medal for the second consecutive year in its rankings of Best High Schools.

The organization released its list after evaluating more than 29,000 schools across the country for its 2015 rankings.

According to a press release, schools can be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state-mandated assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Illinois has 677 high schools eligible for the organization’s rankings. Only 17 high schools received the gold distinction, while 69 received silver and 91 received bronze.

The Rockford School District says the designation is based on data from the 2012-13 school year. According to officials, at the time of the ranking 74 percent of East students were considered economically disadvantaged. The minority enrollment was 60 percent.

The U.S. News criteria for the award explains that a great high school must “serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

East will have a new principal for the 2015-16 school year, as Dr. Peter J. Verona took over July 1. The Rockford native has spent the past four years as Principal at Byron High School.

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