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Benjamin Banneker Academic
High School


Benjamin Banneker Academic High School is named for the man who was the first black presidential appointee, made the first wooden clock ever produced in the United States and helped design the city where the school resides—Washington, D.C. Banneker is a selective-admission magnet school serving a predominantly black student population. In 2007, it was named a National Blue Ribbon School. In 2009, Newsweek ranked it as one of America’s Best High Schools, and that same year Business Week named it one of the Best Public High Schools by Region. Recently, Banneker students have been named AXA Scholars, Dell Scholars and Gates Millennium Scholars. The graduating class of 2009 received more than $8.5 million in scholarships.

The school offers a rigorous curriculum in a highly structured college preparatory environment. All students selected for admission go through a highly-selective vetting process and incoming freshmen attend a five-week bridge program, designed to ease the transition to Banneker. Students are required to take certain Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses as well as follow an established regimen of courses. The school also requires students to donate at least 270 hours of service to their community in a four-year period.

Banneker’s close relationship with nearby Howard University benefits the school. Students participate in mentoring and internship programs, gain work experience and receive invitations to special Howard events. Teachers also receive student teacher assistance from Howard. Besides its relationship with the university, Banneker partners with the Adams Morgan Animal Clinic, the Theatre Lab School of the Arts, the D.C. Superior Court, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office, Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital and the White House After School Program. The school clearly benefits from its location in the nation’s capital. For instance, in May 2010, an expert from the White House Office of Science and Technology spoke to students about crater formation in honor of National Lab Day. In addition to these community and organizational relationships, Banneker offers an extended-day program where students can participate in numerous activities that range from SAT preparation to working with advocacy organizations like Men Can Stop Rape. These activities often tie in with their academic study or enrich their social and emotional development.

In June 2010, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the commencement address at Banneker, urging students to aspire to success not only themselves, but also for their country: “When you succeed in school, it is not just your victory—but ours as well. It says that we, as a nation, have done right by you—offering you a quality education and setting you on a path to success.” Banneker indeed offers students a high-quality education that sets them on a path to success.

 

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