Ryan Banks Academy is an independent and coeducational college-preparatory, residential, tuition-free middle and high school that 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.
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Niazi (Ryan) Banks

Our Story

Niazi "Ryan" Banks was a happy-go-lucky 12-year-old boy who was always seen with a big smile on his face. Ryan was enthusiastic, full of life, always curious and loved to make others laugh. He was one of the happiest seventh graders to ever walk the hallways of New Sullivan Elementary School, on Chicago's far east side. But on May 19, 2012 Ryan Banks was killed by gunfire just outside his home.

Years later his social worker wanted desperately to build a community of learners who might be insulated from the violence Ryan faced, while providing the kind of 24/7 stimulating and rigorous environment academic environment and social/emotional support that is reserved for the very wealthy and privileged.

The idea for a Chicago-based boarding school was born.  Welcome to The Ryan Banks Academy Initiative.


Our Purpose

Ryan Banks Academy was founded as a coeducational boarding school in 2014 and seeks to impact the lives of students through a rigorous college and career preparatory education, a supportive boarding program, and a focus on personal development in a positive environment.

We teach our students not only the value of education, but also encourage our students to focus on cultivating their own unique strengths, interests, and passions so that they may lead a purpose-filled life. We take a holistic view of the student as a whole person, and our curriculum focuses not just on their academic pursuits but also on developing their relationships, core values, mindset, and our students learn how to set goals and to plan for their future.

We encourage our students to take on leadership positions in their community and we also teach the importance of giving back to others. Our students are not just encouraged to think critically, but also to expand their idea of what is possible by pushing the boundaries of their own comfort zone and to look at the world as being full of limitless possibilities.

We take a strengths-based approach to learning and building confidence, and we believe that each and every one of our students has a legacy within them to change the world.

RBA will be Chicago's first boarding school. However, a handful of lucky Chicago students have had the honor of attending boarding schools through scholarship programs. Watch this video to learn why these students believe in the boarding school model, and why they strongly think that there needs to be one in Chicago.

Media Kit

Please feel free to 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!