New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Magic City Acceptance Academy

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Newly opening this fall: Magic City Acceptance Academy, Birmingham, AL

This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 Back to School Month campaign.

Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA) near Birmingham, Alabama will open its doors at the end of the month to more than 240 students in grades 6-12. The school’s mission encourages students to facilitate a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.

“This is an opportunity…to be our genuine selves for the first time ever in the workspace. We can genuinely be who we are and still educate students…in an ethical manner in a space that is designed to be inclusive and diverse.”
– Dr. Mike Wilson, founding principal

Dr. Mike Wilson is MCAA’s founding principal and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Wilson’s vision was to create a safe space for students where they can gain a strong sense of self and take ownership of their learning without being discriminated against for any reason.



The school is an extension of the Magic City Acceptance Center, an inclusive space for youth ages 13-24. Early in the Center’s existence, staff noticed high levels of anxiety in students, many of whom were being bullied throughout the school day. Dr. Wilson and others saw a need to establish an environment where students can fully embrace who they are.

“We are a school for all students who are feeling marginalized in their current learning space in any way.”
– Dr. Mike Wilson, founding principal

MCAA is a trauma-informed space. The school helps families and students who have experienced trauma while providing resources on how to cope and navigate through their experiences. The school also places emphasis on restorative practices. Students learn that it’s okay to make mistakes, how to turn challenges into learning experiences, focus on growth, and move forward on a better path.

Dr. Mike Wilson, founding principal of Magic City Acceptance Academy

Project-based learning is at the center of MCAA where students have an opportunity to apply their knowledge from different content areas to different projects, where they would like to evoke change. Each student will have an individual learning plan and will have input in weekly goal setting. In addition, the school has partnered with Jeff State Community College which will allow students to earn college credit.

Dr. Wilson and his team have already met with several families and continue to build upon their relationships with their parents. Some of the parents with students enrolled even started a Facebook group for themselves. During the first few weeks of school, there will be an emphasis on building relationships with the students and establishing an inclusive school culture. Dr. Wilson hopes that students, as a part of the MCAA, will know their value.

“They (students) do have a role that they can speak up and speak out and be representative of themselves and their authentic selves in our greater society.”
– Dr. Mike Wilson, founding principal

MCAA is a free public charter school and is open to all students. For more information on how to enroll, visit their website.

Magic City Acceptance Academy school building

Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.