Shades Valley High School

Shades Valley High School (SVHS) is a four-year public secondary school in the Birmingham, Alabama suburb of Irondale. The school was established in 1948 near Homewood and moved to its present location in 1996. SVHS is the largest of 14 high schools in the Jefferson County School District. School colors are red and black, and the athletic teams are called the Mounties. SVHS competes in AHSAA Class 6A athletics.[2]

Shades Valley High School
6100 Old Leeds Road

PrincipalTaki Sarhaan
Faculty71.50 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment1,338 (2017-18)[1]
Student to teacher ratio18.71[1]
Education systemJefferson County Board of Education
Color(s)Red and Black         
AthleticsAHSAA Class 6A
Feeder schoolsIrondale Middle School/ Jefferson County Schools

SVHS shares its campus with the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School (JCIB). The Shades Valley Technical Academies (SVTA) are situated on a separate campus two miles away. Both JCIB and SVTA students participate in SVHS student activities and take some elective courses with SVHS students.


In the mid-1940s, the city of Homewood petitioned the county school board to construct a new high school as a replacement for the aging Shades Cahaba High School to serve Birmingham's fast-growing Over the Mountain suburbs. In 1947 Homewood and Mountain Brook residents approved a five-mill property tax to support development of a new school, which opened in the Fall of 1949. The building was dedicated on May 25, 1950 and had an initial enrollment of 870 students, which more than doubled by 1956 before Mountain Brook formed its own school system.[3]

When it was established, SVHS was designed to serve students from across Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, and Hoover. Over the years, each of these suburbs formed their own school systems, shifting the SVHS student population away from the campus and leading to the need for SVHS to relocate. In 1994, the Jefferson County School Board voted to acquire land for a new site for Shades Valley High School. The new, 42-acre site was located in Irondale, almost eight miles from the school's original location. A groundbreaking ceremony was held October 18, 1994 at the new site and the new school building opened to students on August 14, 1996. It contains 78 classrooms, three science laboratories, a teaching kitchen, nine computer labs, two gymnasiums, a weight room, a large state-of-the-art auditorium, and band and choral suites. The original building was then demolished for construction of the Colonial Bank Building.

Student profileEdit

Enrollment in grades 9-12 for the 2013-14 school year was approximately 1,348 students.[4]

SVHS has a graduation rate of 93%.[5] Approximately 89% of its students meet or exceed state proficiency standards in reading, and about 90% do so in mathematics.[6] The average ACT score for SVHS students is 22 and the average SAT composite is 1560.[7]


SVHS offers a variety of courses at all levels of academic rigor. Approximately 29% of students take one or more of the following Advanced Placement courses:[8]

  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English Language & Composition
  • English Literature & Composition
  • Environmental Science
  • French
  • German
  • Human Geography
  • Modern European History
  • Music Theory
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art
  • US Government & Politics
  • US History

Students can also take advantage of four different career-focused academies:

  • Academy of Business & Finance, which partners with local businesses to prepare students for success in college and industry
  • Jefferson County Academy of Theatre and Dance
  • Jefferson County School of Visual Art
  • Pre-Engineering Academy, which introduces high school students to concepts of engineering modeling and design using the nationally-recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum


Current SportsEdit

SVHS fields teams in the following competitive sports:[9]

Girls' Sports Boys' Sports
Basketball Baseball
Bowling Basketball
Cheerleading (Varsity and Junior Varsity) Bowling
Cross Country Track Cross Country Track
Golf Football (Varsity & Junior Varsity)
Indoor Track Golf
Outdoor Track & Field Indoor Track
Soccer Outdoor Track & Field
Softball Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Volleyball Wrestling


SVHS athletic teams have won six state championships:

  • Boys' golf (1957)
  • Boys' soccer (2001, 2004, 2006)
  • Boys' track and field (1966)
  • Girls' basketball (2014)

SVHS teams have also accomplished the following:

  • The baseball team played for the state 4A championship in 1980, finishing runner-up to Davidson High of Mobile.
  • The boys' basketball team played in the state final four in 1954, 1962, 1971, 1980 & 1984, finishing second in 1971.
  • The girls' basketball team played in the state final four in 1997, 2014 & 2015.
  • In addition to the three state championships noted above, the boys' soccer finished runner-up in the 2000 state championship.
  • The football team has won over 500 games all-time, which is the second most all-time wins for any team in Jefferson County. SVHS has also accumulated a total of 13 region & area championships, three undefeated regular seasons, and finished runner-up in the state in 1987 & 1994.

Student activitiesEdit

SVHS sponsors a variety of student activities, including many nationally-affiliated clubs and organizations. The following is a list of many of these:[10]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Shades Valley High School".
  2. ^ "AHSAA 2014-16 Classification" (PDF).
  3. ^ "ABOUT US - Shades Valley Class of 1963". Retrieved 2015-09-14.
  4. ^ "Shades Valley High School". SchoolDigger. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  5. ^ "How has your school's graduation rate changed since 2010?". Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  6. ^ "Shades Valley High School in IRONDALE, AL | Best High Schools | US News". Retrieved 2015-09-13.
  7. ^ "Shades Valley High School - Niche".
  8. ^ LaFleur, Jennifer. "The Opportunity Gap: Shades Valley High School". ProPublica. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
  9. ^ "Shades Valley High -". Shades Valley High. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
  10. ^ "Shades Valley High -". Shades Valley High. Retrieved 2015-09-14.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°32′31″N 86°40′03″W / 33.54193°N 86.66745°W / 33.54193; -86.66745