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. Our vision is to provide our students with a state-of-the-art facility that is fully equipped with current technology and equipment to create an optimal learning environment.
We will serve Chicago students who are in 7th-12th grade. During our first year, Ryan Banks Academy will launch with a class of ten seventh grade students. Ryan Banks Academy will have the capacity to serve a total of 240 students between 7th-12th grades.
Ryan Banks Academy students will expand their horizons through a student-driven, peer-assisted learning curriculum model. Ryan Banks Academy will have a rigorous academic program that will focus on preparing all of our students for college or for a vocation that will enable them to attain the same level of financial freedom that a college education would provide. We recognize that as a residential school, we will benefit from a 24/7 accountability advantage, embedded in which we will have an expectation for dramatic academic gains and personal growth. Our goals for high school graduation rates, college graduation rates, student retention rates, successful internship placement rates, and proficiency rates are mission-driven and benchmarked with the schools with whom we share certain practices
Ryan Banks Academy plans to differentiate itself from competitor schools because we are the first boarding school to provide services to underserved children in Chicago. Boarding schools have historically been a privilege and luxury that are reserved for the wealthy, and we believe that a successful boarding school education should also be easily accessible for disadvantaged youth.
Ryan Banks Academy will accelerate and reinforce student learning outside of traditional school hours, ensuring that students graduate from high school with both the academic and life skills to excel in college and in their professional career. Through receiving a breadth of holistic services, students will also be equipped with the social and emotional skills that will allow them to pursue meaningful relationships and to positively contribute back to society. Students will be surrounded by supportive and positive adult role models and mentors that will help them to develop the habits necessary to succeed academically, socially, and professionally.
Students cite social and emotional learning as the primary area in which they need more from CPS (according to a Chicago Public Schools district-wide student survey). Ryan Banks Academy recognizes that many of the events that a society considers traumatic and disturbing, many of our students endure on a regular basis. This reality, compounded by the fact that most social workers serve multiple schools and are only able to reach the neediest students, means that many students who need regular, preventative counseling go without and their academics often suffer greatly as a result. In addition to providing world-class academic instruction, we believe in taking a holistic view of the child. If one area of a child’s life is neglected, all other areas will suffer. As such, Ryan Banks Academy will have a strong focus on social/emotional health. Attending to children’s social/emotional needs is crucial in order for them to achieve their highest potential. Therefore, treating individual students’ emotional health will be crucial in order for them to achieve academic success.
As a residential school serving a small student body, we will reverse this damaging trend by embedding into our daily schedule:
Although our students will board with us seven days a week, their families will still be an important part of their lives. Ryan Banks Academy believes that parents and teachers are co-educators and co-collaborators in the effort to equip our students with the tools needed to succeed in the future. Through its personalized and results-oriented focus, Ryan Banks Academy aims to help parents partake in, nurture, and celebrate the success of their children. Listed below are the key components of our parental engagement strategy as well as examples of how we will actualize our philosophy:
Awareness: Parents will be regularly notified of student performance, so that parental input can consistently shape student achievement. Ryan Banks Academy will host regular family dinners where parents and guardians can review interim assessment results as a community and enjoy dinner with their families.
Engagement: Parents will be afforded as many opportunities as possible to engage in and celebrate their child’s academic achievement.
Partnership: School staff and parents will be partners in securing the students’ success.
Parent-focused programming: These programs will vary based on the needs of current family members, and will include parenting classes, financial literacy classes, and career counseling.
Fundraising support: > Ryan Banks Academy parents will engage in activities that support our financial solvency.
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!