In April 1952, two local school districts, Orland District 221 and Palos District 222 were consolidated into Consolidated High School District 230, for the express purpose of constructing a new high school. This new high school would replace an older high school which had been run by the Orland district at one of its grammar schools, along with rented space around the town for history, English, home economics, and science classes. The new school was designed to serve 450 students. The site of the school was an old corn field, which at the time was surrounded by a forest preserve, a lake, and a golf course.
A school board resolution called for the new school to be named for Carl Sandburg, out of "a desire for historic significance transcending purely local associations of the former school districts". In April 1953, it was announced that the new high school building would be named for the poet, after Sandburg "consented and expressed his pleasure" in a letter to the school board. At least until 1960, Sandburg visited the school every other year.
Ground breaking took place on the US$930,000 structure on 17 May 1953. The school was designed to be a one-story structure with a central gymnasium/auditorium capable of holding 1,200 people. A smaller two story section was to house agriculture, science, high! and business education classes as well as the school's library. The school was built with the specific intent to build additions on to the building as the student population grew. The school opened for classes in September 1954. The school was formally dedicated on October 10, 1954, with the school's namesake in attendance.
The district saw enormous growth, growing from 186 high school students just prior to the construction of the new school, to a projected population of over 900 for the 1956–57 school year. In the summer of 1956, construction began on the first major addition to the school; an addition that more than doubled the school's size. The 1956–57 school year also saw students attend in split shifts to alleviate the overcrowding that was already occurring. A second gym, primarily for use by girls, was opened ahead of the rest of the addition in January 1958. The remainder of the new addition was ready in May 1958, expanding the school's capacity to 1,700 students. The original administration offices became the new book store, while the addition itself contained new classrooms and administrative offices, as well as expanded room for the music and industrial technology classes.
No sooner was the new addition occupied, when, in the autumn of 1958, the school board issued a bond referendum to raise over US $1 million to further expand the school, and to purchase property for the site of a future high school. This second addition, finished for the 1960–61 school year, included ten new classrooms, a new library (the old library was subdivided to make new classrooms) and the school's first swimming pool.
The next bond issue came in 1966; this time a US$3.5 million request from the electorate to finance additions at Sandburg and its now sister school, Stagg High School. As a result, Sandburg saw more science laboratories as well as rooms for art, music, and industrial arts training.
The first time Carl Sandburg visited Carl Sandburg High School in his home state of Illinois he was mistaken for a bum off the street and promptly ordered to leave the premises. School officials quickly learned their mistake. Sandburg, it is said, was gracious and extremely considerate through the whole thing. When Carl Sandburg died in 1967, the school's choir performed at the official memorial tribute, held at the Chicago Public Library.
In 2005, Sandburg had an average composite ACT score of 22.3 and graduated 98.1% of its senior class. The average class size is 19.2. Sandburg has made Adequate Yearly Progress on the Prairie State Achievements Examination, a state test part of the No Child Left Behind Act. Additionally, it has scored a 90.3 on the State Test Performance Index.
Sandburg has been named one of Newsweek's top 1,000 schools on several occasions.2003, Sandburg was ranked 607 
2005, Sandburg was ranked 744 
2006, Sandburg was ranked 967 
The school has a 38% Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate and boasts a 79% pass rate. The average test taker takes 3.8 exams. Students can choose from more than a dozen different AP courses to take during high school. Options include Calculus, Chemistry, U.S. History, Spanish Language, and others.
Carl Sandburg High School is home to numerous different co-curricular activities. The debate team has won four state championships and ranked nationally in the Public Forum style of debate. The team has also qualified teams for the prestigious Tournament of Champions hosted annually at the University of Kentucky. The debate team joins hand-in hand with the likewise successful speech team to represent the Carl Sandburg Forensics Team, which ranks, "27 out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide" with the combined skills of two groups. The speech team has won three state championships in the past three years alone. Both the Carl Sandburg High School debate team and speech team are recognized by the National Speech and Debate Association (formerly the National Forensics League). The Model United Nations club hosts an annual conference and competes at conferences across the country.
Carl Sandburg High School currently has five bands, all co-curricular. Directed by Stewart Bailey and Brian Hillhouse, they include the entry level Varsity Band, intermediate Symphonic Band II, and the top Symphonic Band I, in addition to Percussion Band II and Percussion Band I. Sandburg also has a marching band with the typical high-school band brass, woodwind and percussion sections, in addition to color guard, a group that is included with the marching Eagles, but perform with flags, rifles, and sabers.
In early December 2008, the Sandburg Marching Eagles were selected to perform in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. and the color guard was also displayed with a performance. The Carl Sandburg Marching Eagles were also chosen to perform during half-time in the 2016 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana as well as the Sugar Bowl New Year's Eve Parade.
Carl Sandburg High School also has three levels of orchestras directed by Dr. Linda Nussbaum. In order from most to least advanced, they are Symphony, Philharmonic, and Concert Orchestra.
Carl Sandburg High School currently has 8 different choirs that can be an after school activity or taken as a class. Directed by Mrs. Amanda Sirtvaka, they include: Treble Choir, Mixed Chorus, Concert Women's Choir, Bel Canto, Eloquence, Accidentals, Chamber Singers, and Varsity Singers.
These choirs have had numerous opportunities to sing all over Europe and they have mostly traveled to England and performed in many churches within England. However they are planning to travel further to places such as Germany
The District also has a Relay For Life event that donates money towards the American Cancer Society. In 2011, the Relay For Life of District 230 raised nearly $413,000. This placed them first in the state of youth events and boosted the event to the second largest all-youth event in the country. This second in the nation was only behind one large university, Virginia Tech. The Relay has been going on for the past 14 years and was the first event of its kind in the country.
Sandburg competes in the Southwest Suburban Conference (SWSC) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs most sports and competitive activities in the state of Illinois. School teams are stylized as the "Eagles".
The school sponsors interscholastic teams for young men and women in basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. Young men may compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while young women may compete in badminton, cheerleading, and softball. While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school's athletic department also sponsors a poms team.
Sandburg's cross country and track teams have been extremely successful and was home to world champion athlete Lukas Verzbicas. Verzbicas won the Gatorade Boys' Cross Country Runner of the Year award his junior and senior seasons. In addition, Verzbicas won the Nike and Foot Locker national championship and went on to run at the University of Oregon. Another member of the cross country team, Pat McMahon, was awarded the prestigious $20,000 Foot Locker scholarship in the Spring of 2013.
The following teams have placed in the top four of their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament or meet.Badminton (girls): State Champions (2010–11)
Baseball: State Champions (2001–02)
Basketball (girls): 4th place (1997–98)
Cheerleading: 3rd place (2007–08); State Champions (2005–06, 08–09, 11-12)
Cross Country (boys): 4th place (1981–82, 2006–07) 2nd place (2014–15) 1st Place (2015–16)
Cross Country (girls): 4th place (2001–02); 3rd place (2002–03); 2nd place (1997–98)
Football: semifinals (1993–94)
Gymnastics (girls): 4th place (1996–97, 2000–01); 3rd place (1994–95); 2nd place (2008–09)
Soccer (boys): 3rd place (1994–95, 2012–13); State Champions (1993–94, 2001–02, 02–03)
Soccer (girls): 3rd place (2008–09); 2nd place (1995–96, 2000–01)
Softball: State Champions (2009–2010); 4th place (1993–94, 98–99, 2001–02); 3rd place (1992–93, 99–2000, 05–06); 2nd place (2000–01)
Swimming and Diving (boys): 4th place (2011–12)
Track & Field (boys): 3rd place (1976–77) 3rd place (2015-16)
Volleyball (boys): 2nd place (1996–97, 2000–01); State Champions (1995–96, 98–99, 99–2000,10-11)
Volleyball (girls): 3rd place (1980–81); 2nd place (1981–82, 2001–02); State Champions (1998–99)
Water Polo (boys): 4th place (2007–08, 10-11); 2nd place (2008–09)
Wrestling: 2nd place (1966–67,2009–10); State Champions (2004–05, 05–06, 06–07, 11-12, 12-13)
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