Award Year: 2021

Walter Payton College Preparatory High School

1034 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL, 60610-2513

(773) 534-0034

Ms. Melissa E Resh, Principal at time of Nomination

Ms Fareeda Shabazz, Current Principal

Magnet School

City of Chicago School District 299

School Website

School Social Media


Every student feels a sense of belonging; feels their identity centered and celebrated in the curriculum and culture; academic outcomes are consistent across all groups.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 10%
  • White: 44%
  • Hispanic: 22%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%
  • Asian: 19%
  • Two or more races: 4%
Organizing donations on Sweetness Day for the Re-Write It Project

Organizing donations on Sweetness Day for the Re-Write It Project

Walter Payton College Prep is the top-ranked public high school in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). As such, it attracts high-performing students from all walks of life across the City of Chicago. This diversity in experience, background, culture, home language, ethnicity, and race creates a rich learning environment for our students. Our core values of Curiosity, Character, Courage, and Compassion engage students beyond the standard curriculum and represent what is best about our community. Our excellence is rooted in the brilliance and tenacity of our students, for it is their dedication to achieving at the highest levels that makes Payton the school of choice in CPS. Furthermore, we strive also to support students in their social-emotional development. Opportunities to explore passion projects, engage in extracurricular activities, pursue leadership opportunities, contribute to schoolwide initiatives, participate in athletics, and compete in academic competitions round out the student experience at Payton.

Payton offers a varied and wide assortment of AP, STEM, humanities, arts, world language, and electives courses. Student choice and voice are at the heart of programming at Payton. We have removed all barriers to our highest-rigor classes, and actively recruit and support students of color to excel in these classes to ensure representation and achievement by all students. Our belief is that students should engage in a highly rigorous program that approaches curriculum through a culturally responsive lens to support students in seeing themselves in the curriculum and culture of the school.