Acceptance means quite a bit in schooling
In a year-long mission last week, a goal was met that many thought would never happen, especially in Alabama.
The Magic City Acceptance Academy opened its doors to over 200 students on their Homewood campus on Bagby Drive. That’s because the public charter school mission statement says pretty much it all: “The Magic City Acceptance Academy fosters a community in which all learners are empowered to accept education, achieve individual success and take their future into their own hands in a safe, LGBTQ-positive learning environment.”
The planning for the school was so controversial that Birmingham City Schools would have nothing to do with it. Instead, Homewood City opened its arms and, in a unanimous vote, welcomed MCAA in his realm.
“All is well up on the hill,” said Headmaster Michael Wilson, Ph.D. “We are happy that our students feel safe about themselves. In a few days, I have no idea how much they’ll open. ”
The school welcomed its first students on August 31st. And while an LGBTQ-affirming learning environment is part of their mission statement, MCAA of course welcomes all students in grades 6-12.
“It’s not just about sex and gender,” said Wilson. “We have children who were bullied for other reasons and who just wanted a fresh start, and that’s why they’re here. We have some children whose parents felt their special needs were not being met and they brought them to us. We work with our special education teacher and review their educational plans to make sure we meet all of their needs. ”
That first day was pretty special, Wilson said.
“They came in smiling on day 1,” said Wilson. “I had a couple of parents who cried because it was the first time they felt like they were leaving their children in a safe place. It’s fun to see how (the students) get talkative, get to know each other. ”
Wilson said his faculty was among the best in the state. The students are even from Gadsden, and the student body is roughly evenly distributed among middle school (6th grade)NS till 8NS Class) and high school (9NS until 12NS Degree).
Yes, of course there is security at the school. Nowadays it is hard to say who is out there of the opinion that such an advanced middle school and high school have no right to exist.
“We will be very careful to protect our space and our building,” said Wilson. “It has cost us a lot to earn the right to be here, and we’re not giving that to someone with an agenda that is exactly the opposite of us. We have as much raison d’être as they do, especially when it comes to meeting children’s needs. From students. They deserve the right to feel safe in a learning space that they treasure as children and as a student, and that is what we offer with all the resources other students have at their disposal. ”
And … the Homewood Police Department is right across the street.
Eventually, Wilson says the school will grow to 450 to 500 students in the current building.
“I assume it will happen,” said Wilson. “It’s not so much a school called LGBTQ children, but a school for all children.”
Wilson said they are now offering tours to show prospective parents and students what they have to offer and to provide any information parents might need. There will also be a heavy recruiting effort.
“Whenever people decide they want to try us out, we’re here,” said Wilson.
There is no doubt the Magic City Acceptance Academy will stay.
Pulitzer Prize winner Joey Kennedy writes a weekly column for Alabama Political Reporter. E-mail: [email protected]