Barton Academy For Advanced World Studies

Rich with History

Barton Timeline  



1826 – Led by Willoughby Barton, a state legislator from Mobile, the state establishes the Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, the state’s first public school system.


1830 – School commission buys an entire city block on Government Street as a site for its future school.


1830-1836 – The commissioners have difficulty raising money to construct the school. Eventually the state legislature allows the commission to raise funds through a lottery. By early 1836, they have $50,000 in lottery funds, a $15,000 municipal loan and some private donations, including a large private donation from local millionaire Henry Hitchcock.


1836 – James Gallier Sr. and brothers James and Charles Dakin are selected as the architects. They work simultaneously on Barton and Government Street Presbyterian Church.


1836 – Construction begins on Barton.


1839 – Barton is ready for students, but the school commission has accumulated too much debt to offer free classes. Classrooms are rented to private and denominational schools, with the school commission contributing support funds.


1852 – After more than a decade on a semi-public plan, the commission reorganizes and reopens Barton as a true public school. Barton becomes the model for Alabama’s public school system.


1860 – Barton is closed during the Civil War.


1865 – Barton reopens after the war.


1899 – Barton is expanded with wings on the east and west sides.


1904 – J.D. Yerby School is added to the north side of Barton campus.


1926 – Murphy High School opens and Barton becomes a middle school.


1934-1937 – Barton is surveyed by the Historic American Buildings Survey, resulting in a large collection of photos and drawings maintained at the Library of Congress.


1960s – Barton closes to classes and becomes the central office for Mobile County Public School System.


1970 – Barton is added to the National Register of Historic Places.


2005 – Barton Academy is named to Alabama’s "Places in Peril" by the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation.


2007 – The school board relocates its central office to West Mobile.


2009 – Barton Academy is re-named to Alabama’s “Places in Peril.”


2009 – Local preservation groups – including Mobile Historic Development Commission, Historic Mobile Preservation Society and Downtown Mobile Alliance – rally support for preserving Barton and form the Barton Academy Historic Preservation and Restoration Committee to explore a new life for the historic complex.


2012 – Barton Academy Foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The foundation’s mission is to assist the school system in raising awareness and funds to create Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies as an innovative educational institution and an engine for growing Mobile’s economy.


2013 – The Mobile County Public Schools allocates $3.5 million from its $100 million construction bond for repairs to the exterior of Barton Academy.

2015 – Mobile County Public Schools completes a $4.2 million exterior
renovation – renewing every surface from the fence to the top of the dome.

2020 – Barton Foundation reaches $14 million goal to renovate Barton interior and construction begins.


2021- Barton reopens to students as Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies

Prepared for the Future

Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies

Opening Date:  August 2021

School Mascot:  Barton Explorers  

Grades Served:  6th - 9th

School District:  Mobile County Public School System

Superintendent:  Mr. Chresal D. Threadgill

Deputy Superintendent of Academics:  Dr. Lakesha Brackins

Deputy Superintendent of Operations:  Mr. Ernest Scarbrough

Principal: Dr. Amanda C. Jones

School Board Commissioner:  Mrs. Sherry Dillihay-McDade, District 4

Eligibility Requirements:  Must reside within Mobile County Public Schools' attendance zone.  Admittance will be based on an application and lottery process within the MCPSS Magnet Program. 

How do I apply for my child to attend?  The magnet application period will be communicated by MCPSS through various communication platforms.  Once the application period opens, apply online at  

Applications typically open in the fall and spring for the following school year enrollment. 


Advantages of Attending Barton Academy:

  • Project-Based Learning Experiences at all Grade Levels
  • Strong Emphasis on Global Studies, World Languages, Fine Arts, and STEAM
  • Entrepreneurial and 21st Century Skills Integration at all Grade Levels (i.e., communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking)
  • Experiential, Hands-On, "Real-World" Learning
  • High School Credit Course Options in Middle Grades
  • Accelerated, Honors, and Advanced Classes in Grades 6-9 Core Subjects
  • Relevant and Real-World Technology and 21st century skills integration as a platform for instruction and learning (i.e., blended learning, online course options, robotics, coding, 3D design, virtual and augmented reality, research and inquiry, design-thinking)
  • Flexible scheduling options to provide various course opportunities and unique learning experiences for students
  • Tight-Knit School Family (max 320 students)
  • Strong community and business partnerships
  • Authentic Assessments to Show Standards Mastery
  • Unique Courses And Learning Opportunities Developed Specifically For Barton Academy
  • Engaging, High Caliber Instructors Who Facilitate Student Learning 
  • Students will leave prepared to excel in one of MCPSS' high-caliber Signature Academies 
  • The Most Historic Campus In The State Of Alabama - Built In 1836, Renovated Into A State Of The Art 21st Century Learning Environment 
Serving Grades 6 through 9