A Brief History of BCCHS 1943-2022

Darlene Fuentes-Catalan, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Birmingham Community Charter High School is a charter high school in Lake Balboa in the San Fernando Valley.  It was founded in 1953 as a 7th-12th grade secondary school before it became a traditional 9th-12th grade high school in 1963.

In its earliest form, the building that became Birmingham Community Charter High School was used as an army hospital from August 24, 1943, through March 31, 1946.  It was called Birmingham General Hospital, named after Brigadier General Henry Patrick Birmingham who lived from 1854 to 1932.

Birmingham was a World War II US Army Hospital that had 1777 beds in a 131-acre area. Because the hospital was only 13 miles away from Hollywood, actors from the area would often visit the serviceman. Some of the people who regularly visited the hospital included the likes of Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Clarence Nash, and Jimmy Stewart.

Birmingham used to be part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). School officials had argued for Birmingham to be its own independent school aside from LAUSD and for it to be sponsored by the teacher’s union that was on campus. Birmingham became a charter school on July 1, 2009 being called the name it is known by today. Once the change to a charter school was approved, 34 teachers left Birmingham to go work at other LAUSD schools, and 91 teachers decided to stay. It was reported that only about 66% of the faculty at the school agreed to the change to a charter school.

Birmingham has been featured in various music videos, TV commercials, and television shows. Such features include the music video for Gwen Stefani’s song “Hollaback Girl” and Missy Elliott’s song “Gossip Folks.”

Today, Birmingham Community Charter High School is a thriving high school with over 3100 students, many city championship sports teams, and an excellent faculty.