Walter Payton College Prep
|Walter Payton College Prep|
1034 N. Wells Street
|Type||Public Secondary Magnet|
|Oversight||Chicago Public Schools|
|Principal||Timothy Patrick Devine|
|Number of students||1,076 (2017)|
|Color(s)||Navy Blue |
|Newspaper||The Paw Print|
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School (commonly known as Payton College Prep, W.P.C.P, or simply Payton) is a public 4-year selective enrollment magnet high school located in the Old Town neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Walter Payton College Prep, founded in 2000, is part of the Chicago Public Schools system. The school, which is located on Chicago's near north side, is one of the city's nine selective enrollment high schools. It was named after football legend Walter Payton, a former member of the Chicago Bears who died shortly before the school opened. The school colors are blue and orange, the colors of the Chicago Bears. After principal Gail Ward left the school in 2006, Ellen Estrada became principal. In 2011, a new administration was formed under Timothy Devine with D'Andre Weaver and Michelle Washington as Assistant Principals. In May 2006 the Confucius Institute in Chicago was opened at Payton, as a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, the Office of Chinese Language Council International and Shanghai's East China Normal University it is the only Confucius Institute in the world housed in a high school. On January 21, 2011, President Hu Jintao of China visited the school, where he saw the KAM and AP Chinese classes, and invited 20 faculty and students to China for the upcoming summer. The Payton Choir was one of eight US choirs to travel to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
In September 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to build a new annex behind the original building to house more students. The annex was completed and opened by the beginning of the 2016 school year. The annex features a new gym and a black box theater. It cost $17 million to build.
In May 2019, Principal Timothy Devine announced plans to reprint all of the yearbooks for the 2018-2019 school year due to its contents showing students displaying the "ok" sign with their fingers below the waist, with the intention of getting others to look. This is known as the "circle game". Reprinting of all of the yearbooks cost the administration exactly $22,485. The website 4chan associated the "ok" hand gesture as being a symbol of white supremacy, and the usage of this symbol has been reported many times throughout popular media. 
According to an October 2019 news article published by WBEZ, a Chicago-area news station, the school has dealt with a number of racial incidents, including black students being called the N-word and bananas being thrown at them. In the same article, Principal Tim Devine claimed that the incidents were a natural product of students from different backgrounds being brought together. The school’s black enrollment has dropped by 14% between the 2008-09 and 2018-19 school years.
Walter Payton College Prep is 43.4% White, 22.3% Hispanic, 16.6% Asian, 12.2% Black, and 5.5% other. 33.0% of students are from low-income households.
Walter Payton was ranked first in the state, for the academic year 2008-2009, by The Chicago Tribune based on the percentage of students who met or exceeded state expectations on the Prairie State Achievement Exam. It was rated the second best high school in the state, following Northside College Preparatory High School, by the Chicago Sun Times in 2009, based on average Prairie State Achievement Exam scores. In 2013, Walter Payton ranked ahead of Northside College Prep as the best school in the state. In 2017, Payton was ranked the best public high school in the US by Niche.com.
Walter Payton was the winner in two categories for the 2010 Intel Schools of Distinction awards. It won the high school award for Excellence in Mathematics and the Star Innovator Award for incorporating technology into classes, collaborative lesson and course planning, and for the use of Japanese Lesson Study. In total the awards should net Payton approximately $175,000 in cash and prizes.
- Payton. cps.edu. Retrieved on August 26, 2011.
- CPS: Payton College Prep
- China’s President Hu Tours Walter Payton Prep « CBS Chicago
- Walter Payton College Prep
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-06-15. Retrieved 2017-05-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Racial Issues Flare at Chicago's Elite Payton College Prep | WBEZ". www.wbez.org. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- Top 100 high schools in Illinois
- Golab, Art. "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". School Report Card: Payton scores No. 1 spot statewide; Hinsdale Central tops in suburbs. Chicago Suntimes. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in CHICAGO, IL | Best High Schools | US News
- "2018 Best Public High Schools in America". Niche. Retrieved 2018-02-15.