The US Department of Education has named Chicago’s Jones College Prep a National Blue Ribbon School, one of only two high schools in Illinois to receive the honor in 2012. P. Joseph Powers, former principal of Ladue Horton Watkins High School and Affton High School in St. Louis County and current principal of Jones College Prep, received the award on behalf of the school in a recent ceremony in Washington, DC.
During Powers’ tenure as principal, Jones, a “selective enrollment” public school in downtown Chicago, serving a diverse population of students from across the entire city, has consistently ranked among the top high schools in Illinois. In 2011, state schools superintendent Christopher Koch recognized Jones as having received more Illinois “Honor Roll” awards for student achievement than any public school, elementary or secondary, in the state. The Jones Class of 2011 had the highest college enrollment rate of any Chicago public high school, due in large part to the school’s unique “College Knowledge” program that helps guide students and parents through the complex college search and application process. Recent graduating classes have received more that $20 million in scholarship offers. Jones College Prep has been recognized as one of “America’s Best High Schools” in US News and World Report, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. In 2013, the school will move into a new $100 million, state-of-the-art school on State Street in the Chicago Loop.
Prior to becoming principal of Jones College Prep in 2008, Powers served as principal of Ladue Horton Watkins High School and Affton High School, where he was instrumental in improving student performance on the ACT and state assessments, expanding Advanced Placement programs, and raising graduation rates. He also held administrative roles for the Rockwood School District, including assistant principal at Lafayette High School and district human resources director. Powers began his school leadership career as Dean of Faculty at the Stavanger American School in Norway. A native of St. Louis, Powers earned his doctoral degree in education administration from Saint Louis University.