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New private school with a recognizable name opens more school choice for Birmingham students

Local leaders and school administrators celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new Banks Academy
Local leaders and school administrators celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new Banks Academy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — This fall, underserved students in the East Lake and Roebuck communities of Birmingham will have another option for their education, and it comes with a familiar name.

Banks Academy, Inc. established by alumni of the former Banks High School, held a ribbon cutting Friday, opening their doors for 9th graders this school year.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell was in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony alongside several Birmingham City Council members, former Banks High School and University of Alabama football coach George “Shorty” White, Congressman Gary Palmer, and others.

“We were thrilled to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony for Banks Academy,” said Dr. Kathy King, who serves as principal of the new school. “Parents in East Lake and the surrounding communities now have another choice when deciding where to send their high school age children to school. It has been very encouraging to watch former Banks High School alums and other community leaders come alongside us and support us as we have been planning to launch this new school.”

Because many of the students who live in the area Banks Academy will serve currently attend failing public schools, they may be eligible for scholarships under the Alabama Accountability Act. The state’s first school choice law, passed in 2013, gives students at failing schools the opportunity to attend a non-failing public or private school by offsetting some of the associated costs.

The original Banks High School, established in 1957 and closed for good in 1989, won acclaim for its athletic and academic programs. The school will be portrayed in the upcoming film “Woodlawn,” which features a football battle between Banks and Woodlawn high schools, whose fierce rivalry was a welcome distraction during the tumultuous 1960s.

“It is a pleasure to support the team launching Banks Academy,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell. “I look forward to seeing the school make a positive impact to those living in the Eastern section of Birmingham.”

The first day of school will be held Monday, August 10th, beginning with 9th graders this year and adding a class each year until 9th through 12th grades are established.

Banks Academy is calling on alumni of Banks High School to help provide some of the services and scholarships needed to educate students.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the school visit their website.


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