Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School
2111 W. 47th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60609
School typePublic Secondary
School districtChicago Public Schools
CEEB code140940
PrincipalPatricia Barrera Brekke
Enrollment1,061 (2019-20)
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)  Maroon
Team nameBobcats
NewspaperThe Maroon
Last updated: 2 May 2020

Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School, commonly known as Back of the Yards College Prep or BOYCP, is a public 4–year international baccalaureate high school located in the New City community area on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Back of the Yards is operated by the Chicago Public Schools district and has a general education program in addition to an International Baccalaureate program. Back of the Yards College Prep was named after the neighborhood it is located in, Back of the Yards. Back of the Yards College Prep is accessible via the Chicago L's nearby Western Orange Line station.[1]


Back of the Yards College Prep's initial construction began on 4 October 2010.[2] Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley and Alderman George Cardenas attended the school's ceremonial groundbreaking the following spring, on 26 April 2011, and actual construction of the school structure was scheduled to begin that summer.[3] By May 2013, the school was "substantially" complete.[4] On 8 August 2013, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett attended the opening of Back of the Yards College Prep.[5] Emanuel stated that the school was "the most incredible school that [he had] seen in probably [his] entire career." Alderman Cardenas stated that the school was ten years in the making.[6]

On 13 February 2015, during a forum among candidates running to become the next Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel erroneously stated that Back of the Yards College Prep had "one of the best graduation rates of any high school in the city", despite the fact that no students had graduated from the school at that point since the inaugural class was barely in its sophomore year.[7]

On 10 June 2017, the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class took place.[8]


Back of the Yards serves over 1,000 students in a 212,285 square foot building, constructed mainly from brick, glass and steel.[4] The structure consists of a lower basement level, a ground level, and two upper floors, as well as an art wing to house art and music classes. The complex includes outdoor facilities like a softball field, tennis courts, and a combination soccer & football field that includes electronic scoreboards. Two reading gardens including cast concrete benches as well as cube seats and shade trees provide a quiet study space, and a native plant area contains signage with information on the featured fauna.[9]

During construction, designers aimed to achieve LEED for Schools minimum “Silver” level certification for Back of the Yards, and the requirement for 25% of the roof space to be vegetated was exceeded. The green areas on the roofs, visible from classroom windows, were created with a sedum meadow mat system.[9]

Alderman George Cardenas estimated an initial budget of $50 million,[2] but Back of the Yards College Prep ended up costing approximately $95 million to construct - almost twice the expected budget. Previously, the Back of the Yards Branch of the Chicago Public Library was located in a strip mall on the north side of 47th street near the intersection of 47th and Damen (i.e. across the street from Back of the Yard's current location).[10] The library's new location, constructed as a part of the school complex, is accessible via a ramp that is one block south of the school's entrance.[11] The 9,000 square foot library includes a computer lab, a media lab, and a meeting room. Specific areas within the library that are intended for Back of the Yards students were also created.[10]


Back of the Yards College Prep has been an International Baccalaureate school since 18 February 2015, when it was authorized to offer the Diploma Programme. Forty-eight days later, the school became authorized to offer the Middle Years Programme on 7 April 2015, and forty-five days after that, on 22 May 2015, the school was authorized to offer the Career-related Programme.[12] The following fall, juniors at Back of the Yards started taking DP and CP classes.[13]


  1. ^ "CPS : Schools : School". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  2. ^ a b "47th Street: Residents Support Back of the Yards High School". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  3. ^ "Chicago Hispanic Newspaper, Lawndale News, Hispanic Bilingual Newspapers, Su Noticiero Bilingue » Mayor Daley Breaks Ground on New Back-of-the-Yards High School". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  4. ^ a b "Back of the Yards High School". The George Sollitt Construction Company. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  5. ^ "Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Attend Opening of Back of the Yards Wall-to-Wall IB High School". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  6. ^ "New city high school belies budget realities". WBEZ Chicago. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  7. ^ "Mayoral hopefuls discuss Latino issues | THE GATE Newspaper". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  8. ^ "BOYCP celebrates first graduating class | THE GATE Newspaper". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  9. ^ a b "Back of the Yards High School | Jacobs/Ryan Associates". Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  10. ^ a b "Back of the Yards Library to Open in New High School". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on 2017-11-12. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  11. ^ kaitlincimini2018 (2017-12-07). "Back of the Yards Public Library: When a library can't serve its community". Medill Reports Chicago. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  12. ^ "Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  13. ^ "A promising future in store for Back of the Yards College Prep | THE GATE Newspaper". Retrieved 2020-05-03.

Coordinates: 41°48′27″N 87°40′39″W / 41.8075°N 87.6776°W / 41.8075; -87.6776