In September 2018, Ryan Banks Academy will open its doors with our first class of 7th grade students. We will prepare motivated students from Chicago neighborhoods to graduate from college, enter into meaningful careers, and be the catalyst to bring positive change into their communities. Join us as we transform urban education!
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We are on a mission to build Chicago's first urban boarding school for 7-12th grade students.

RBA's team of experts have spent over three years researching successful educational strategies, visiting schools around the country, and molding RBA's vision, mission, and curriculum. Now, the academy is officially ready to open Fall 2018 but we need your help!

RBA recognizes the village that it will take to raise our children and we will be celebrating all contributions to RBA through the rewards listed on our GoFundMe page. We hope to raise $100,000 through our GoFundMe which will help support current operational expenses that will allow for us to open this fall.

Will you take a step for Ryan? Every dollar makes a difference! To help me get the word out, you can share this link to your Facebook Timeline, Twitter or Instagram account, or by emailing to your friends, family, and colleagues! RBA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and thus all donations to this campaign are tax deductible.

Check out our GoFundMe page to hear from actor/comedian Jeff Garlin (also an RBA board member) about why you should consider making a contribution today!

Hello, and welcome to Ryan Banks Academy!  Since 2014, our Board members and volunteers - plus hundreds of supporters both locally, and across the planet - have worked tirelessly in the pursuit of our mission to build Chicago’s first residential school for urban youth which we plan to open in time for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Ryan Banks Academy mission is to build Chicago’s first residential school for urban youth, and in September 2018 we will open its doors and transform urban education.  In our first 1-2 years, we will begin as a day school/boarding school hybrid model, where our students attend day school at RBA, plus our school year will include multiple extended field trips which will allow our students to explore new environments and cultures.  During this time, we will be constructing our permanent campus which will include dormitories for our students and residential housing for our staff.  Our first class will launch with 7th grade students Fall 2018.

Ryan Banks Academy will combine a high-quality, future-facing curriculum with an integrated social emotional education in order to provide the launching pad for students out of poverty and into the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and world-changers. Ryan Banks Academy takes a strengths-based approach to learning and building confidence, and believes that each and every one of our students has a legacy within them to change the world.

Please take a look around our website, there's lots to see and do here!  You can learn about our team (and even join us!), donate to our great cause, and even take a sneak peek into the behind the scenes of our journey to build Ryan Banks Academy by following our blog, watching our videos, or by checking out our social media channels.

Feel free to contact us on our contact page, or send us an email at info(at)ryanbanksacademy(dot)org if you have any questions.  Thank you so much for support!


The Ryan Banks Academy Team

The Ryan Banks Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Valerie Groth's book, "The Power of the Possible: The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It"

"The time is now for a revolution in education that embraces and upholds the highest ideals and delivers them to the youth of inner city America."

Jeff Garlin Event

Actor/comedian Jeff Garlin's movie screening of the film "Handsome" to benefit RBA took place April 13th.

View video and photos from the event.

Steve Cochran Full Show

Steve Cochran Full Show 03.24.17:

Ryan Banks Academy founder Valerie Groth was in-studio discussing The Ryan Banks Academy. The segment with Valerie starts at 1:25:30.


Please consider supporting us by ordering an RBA yoga style tank top.

Tanks are $20 and can be customized with four different font color options.

The back of the tank includes our hashtag, #TakeAStepForRyan.

Ryan Banks Academy in the Media

Chronicle of Social Change
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Reader
Chicago Woman

Help Bring a Great School to Chicago!

Please lend your support - take a moment to sign our petition to help change the lives of Chicago students!

Take a Step for Ryan!

Will you take a step for Ryan? Please donate - every dollar makes a difference for our Chicago-based boarding school!

  Please donate now!
Arne Duncan

"I believe that in communities with high youth violence, 24/7 urban boarding schools can provide a safe environment and give kids a chance to be successful. Our schools should be community centers with a wide variety of after school and social/emotional programming. I believe initiatives like Ryan Banks Academy can be game changers in addressing the issue of youth violence, which is a public health crisis."

Jeff Garlin on Ryan Banks Academy
Jeff Garlin Interview
Media Kit
Download the Ryan Banks Academy media kit to learn more about us, and feel free to share with anyone who may be interested in our mission!
Reality in Chicago.
Overview of Academic Curriculum and Social Emotional Learning.