Red Mountain School
The Red Mountain School was a private alternative high school that operated from 1972 to 1978. It was founded by a group of parents and community leaders including Jim Fletcher, Billie James and Joyce Sachs. It enrolled gifted students from around the Birmingham area and provided an alternative to the conservative pedagogy of the area's public high schools.
Red Mountain School's philosophy was inspired by the Spring Hill School in Mobile. The first board was formed with Manny Goldstein as chair. Once enough funds were raised, the Sterling Foster residence at 2728 Niazuma Avenue was purchased to serve as schoolhouse. Numerous community volunteers were recruited to fill gaps and serve as mentors. Sachs headed a work study program in which students completed self-directed explorations.
The school adopted the mission statement: "We believe the goal of education is to foster the development of autonomous, inquiring, involved and creative learners, whose sense of self worth allows them to care about their fellow men and to help in the solution of the problems facing us as individuals and society." Students were not divided into grade levels, but were evaluated regularly for educational progress.
Before 1978 the number of new enrollees had dropped; in part because other schools were beginning to offer the kinds of enrichment for which Red Mountain School had been created. James and Robbin McInturff served as co-directors during that final academic year, with some students transferring into the Resource Learning Center which had been established by the Jefferson County School System at Shades Valley High School.
|Sterling Foster residence
(2728 Niazuma Avenue)
- Greenberg, Alan (August 2008) "The Big Bang Lives On" RedMountainSchool.com