|Birmingham City Schools|
|Location||2316 7th Avenue North, (map)|
Central City neighborhood
|Colors||crimson and white|
|Mascot||Crimsons / Red Raiders / Lions|
John Herbert Phillips Academy (JHPA) is a Birmingham City Schools K-8 school located in the former Phillips High School building on the full city block between 7th and 8th Avenue North and 23rd and 24th Streets in the Central City neighborhood.
The school is a centerpiece of the Park Place (Hope VI project), a redevelopment of the former Metropolitan Gardens public housing. After the construction of a new Carver High School in 2002, Phillips High School was converted into a professional development center and used on a temporary basis by other city schools being renovated. In 2005 the Birmingham Board of Education announced a $10.7 million plan to renovate the school as a flagship K-8 school for the Birmingham system, with a curriculum for student enrichment based on the work of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.
The proposal calls for a number of physical changes to the campus, mainly to enhance safety for bus riders and accessibility for disabled persons, which some feel would damage the historical integrity of the building and would, by all accounts, likely prevent its possible enshrinement as a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service has indicated that listing is unlikely in any event.
The Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation placed the school on its 2006 "Places in Peril" list. Civil Rights activist Fred Shuttlesworth, who had been beaten for trying to enroll his African-American daughters at Phillips in 1957, traveled from his home in Cincinnati to speak out against changes that would imperil landmark status. Nevertheless, in September 2006 the Birmingham Design Review Committee approved the landscaping plan submitted by Birmingham City Schools.
After $9 million in renovations, the school re-opened as a K-8 school in the Fall of 2007, occupying the lower floors of the building. The exterior and the auditorium were left unrestored pending additional funding. The school's painted murals were cleaned and preserved in 2009.
In addition to serving neighborhood students, the school serves as a magnet for applicants from across the city and a laboratory for advanced teaching methods. The middle-school grades are distinguished as the John Herbert Phillips Academy, partnering with the YMCA, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Birmingham Public Library to expand educational opportunities. Math and Science programs are assisted by faculty from the Tuskegee University School of Architecture and successful practices pioneered at Phillips are taught to other teachers through the system's professional development program.
- Jordan, Phillip (May 10, 2007) "Phillip's facelift opens school doors downtown." Birmingham Weekly.
- Ellaby, Liz (November 9, 2009) "Costly projects aim to keep Birmingham school murals from fading into history." The Birmingham News
- Photographs of the renovated building at Flickr.com