The local school was the No. 3-ranked Illinois high school. Only Northside College Prep in Chicago (No. 24 nationwide) and Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora (No. 37 nationwide) placed ahead of Hinsdale Central.
The list compiled the top 500 schools from more than 1,100 that participated.
"Obviously we’re really honored and excited about the recognition," Hinsdale Central Principal Michael McGrory said.
McGrory said he was especially pleased in light of the modified criteria Newsweek used to judge the schools. He said it used to rely heavily on AP scores.
This year, the magazine scored schools based on graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), AP tests taken per graduate (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and AP courses offered (5 percent).
According to Newsweek, Hinsdale Central students have a graduation rate of 98 percent, a college matriculation rate of 97 percent, a 2.9 average AP-test score and an 1853 average SAT score.
"It's more reflective of what very good schools should be like as far as their methodology," McGrory said.
When asked why he thinks Hinsdale Central is a top school in the U.S., McGrory said it has a "dynamic" that makes for good students.
"We put such a high value on hiring the best teachers out there," the principal said. "The community puts such a high value on education and they’re willing to support it, and then the expectation that the community has and the school has for the children really creates an environment that allows the students to succeed."
Newsweek preceded this year's list with an introduction that gave a sobering take on the state of the American education system.
"These are challenging times for secondary education. Cash-strapped school districts are cutting back; No Child Left Behind mandates test results; parents and students stress unabated," the article read. "NEWSWEEK, which has been ranking the top public high schools in America for more than a decade, revamped its methodology this year in hopes of highlighting solutions."
Other Chicagoland area schools that were ranked in the top 100 nationwide were Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire (No. 82) and Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook (No. 97).
Prospect (No. 114), New Trier (No. 139), Riverside-Brookfield (No. 194), and Maine South (No. 197) all cracked the top 200.