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Walter Payton College Preparatory High School is a selective enrollment public high school in Chicago, Illinoismarker.


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 notably one of the top 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 was opened. The school colors are blue and orange, the team colors of the Chicago Bears. The school's team was originally called the Navigators, but it was later changed by a student vote to the Grizzlies, an admittedly more "athletic" name that pays homage to their hometown football team. After principal Gail Ward left the school in 2006, Ellen Estrada became principal.

In May 2006 the Confucius Institute in Chicago[218850] was opened at Payton, and is the only Confucius Institute in the world to be housed in a high school. The Confucius Institute in Chicago is a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, the Office of Chinese Language Council International and Shanghai's East China Normal University.

The Payton Choir was chosen as one of only eight US choirs to travel to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Payton is the setting for the young adult novel ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool: a year in an American high school by Elisha Cooper.[218851]


It was rated the best high school in the state by the Chicago Sun Times this year, based on Prairie State Achievement Exam scores. In addition, Payton ranks as the 46th best high school in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. [218852]

Mission Statement, Motto, and Creed

The mission of Walter Payton College Prep is to offer our students the very best educational experience possible, one that challenges, that fosters creativity and the literacy skills with which to understand and express that creativity, that encourages integrity and the appreciation of diversity and one which uses the latest in educational technology. We will have our students ask 'why?' and 'why not?', write and act reflectively and not reflexively, and set and surpass their own standards. We will provide them with a global education that will nurture future leaders.

Current Motto: We Nurture Leaders.
Original Motto: We Build Future Leaders.
Creed: Character with Courage, Curiosity and Compassion

Selected Notable Classes Offered

The following is a non-exhaustive list of courses offered, but includes relatively unique course as well as a listing of AP courses offered.

AP World History

AP United States History

AP Art History

20th Century Global Conflicts

African Studies

AP English Literature and Composition

AP English Language and Composition

African American Literature

Latin American Literature

A.P. Statistics

A.P. Calculus AB and BC

Precalculus AB and BC

KAM I: Advanced Euclidean and Non- Euclidean Geometry

KAM II: Introduction to Number Theory and Analysis (comparable to a college-level calculus course)

A.P. Biology

A.P. Chemistry

A.P. Physics B and C (Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism)

Chinese I-IV, AP

Japanese I-IV, AP

Latin I-IV, AP

French I-IV, AP

AP Spanish Language

AP Spanish Literature


Math Team

In 2004, Payton's math team became the first Chicago Public School team in decades to win the Illinois Council of Mathematics Teachers (ICTM) state championship. Payton's then-four-year-old team topped the University of Chicago Laboratory Schoolmarker (the reigning private school in the division) in Division 2A. Since then it had also won the state title in 2005 and 2006, as well as the Chicago Public Schools city title in 2006 and 2007. Its seniors placed first in the North Suburban Math League in 2007.

In 2007, Payton scored in the top 60 schools in the country on the AMC-12, one of the American Mathematics Competitions.

In April 2007, the math team again won the ICTM state title for the ICTM contest despite having jumped a division ( from 2A to 3AA) since the state title in 2006.

After moving up to the highest division in the state, 4AA, Payton placed 4th overall in 2008 and then 6th overall in 2009, behind IMSA, Naperville Northmarker, and Stevenson.


Of three teams in CPS history to ever compete at the TOC (Tournament of Champions), two of the teams have come from Payton .

Model U.N.

The Walter Payton Model UN team was started in 2004. The team started with just 4 members in 2004 and has since grown to over 50. In 2006 the team won best delegation at the Global Classrooms conference, along with many other best delegate and honorable mention awards. In November, 2007 the team also received many awards for their superior representation of their assigned nations. On February 8th, 2008, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visited the school because of its prestigious team where he continued to stress the importance of reversing the global warming crisis.


Payton has done well in the Chicago Public League in golf, soccer, and track, as well as having a competitive basketball program.

In the 2007 season, the Payton Football team became Conference Champs.

In the 2008-09 school year Payton's women's volleyball team progressed to 4th in Illinois.

The women's soccer team is the only team to become city champions at every level of competition in 2008-09.

The men's tennis team has built a dynasty at Payton, with back-to-back city champs followed by a succession of sectional victories.

Notable Staff

Mr. Samuel Dyson, a physics teacher was honored with the prestigious Golden Apple Award in May 2007.

Mr. Scott Galson of the Math Department won the Illinois AP Teacher of the Year Award for his work as the AP Statistics teacher at Payton.

The Walter Payton Memorial Scholarship

The Walter Payton Scholarship Foundation, started by Payton's brother, Eddie, has set up an exclusive scholarship at Walter Payton C.P.H.S. The scholarship was originally based in Mississippi, the Paytons' home. However, Eddie Payton found such inspiration in the school that he decided to set up the scholarship there, as well. Every year since 2005, a recipient is chosen at Payton High School to receive the scholarship. Winners are chosen based on financial hardship, leadership ability, community outreach and general academic success.


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