John H. Vanderpoel Humanities Academy

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Vanderpoel Humanities Academy is a nut free school.

Meet the Principal

Greetings VHA Tigers,

Our mission at Vanderpoel is to Value all Voices, align all resources to sustain the school’s focus on global humanity and pursue academic excellence for all who are committed to learning.  As you are making your decision about your child’s academic future, we want to remind you of why YOUR child(ren) are special to us!

Every teacher is committed to helping each child achieve their maximum potential.  We want Vanderpoel students to leave us for High School with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that equip them to be competent contributors to our global society.

This year we’ve increased students’ test scores, maintained almost 70% of our students being “on-track” for success over the past 3 marking periods and improved our climate and culture with the addition of our proactive and restorative redirection room.  Most recently, 13 of our young artists’ work have been displayed in area hospitals across the state of Illinois.

Vanderpoel students go on to be important contributors to our community. Many of our students make a point to return and give back by writing grants, sponsoring programs and volunteering their time.  One shining example is Ms. Dejah Powell, Vanderpoel Alum and recipient of over $30,000.00 in a grant to establish our community garden.

As we look forward to next year, I would like to share with you some of our new programming and partnerships.

  • Algebra 1 (HS Credit Option)
  • Advanced Literature, Drama and Speech (Middle School)
  • Focused Humanities programing including multi-cultural and African American Studies
  • Service-based alternatives to discipline
  • Expanded Arts and Music programming and partnerships with Studio One Dance Studio, Beverly Arts Center and Play in a Book
  • Partnership with Black & Well to promote physical and mental health and wellness yoga classes

At Vanderpoel, we see our small class sizes and highly talented team of educators as our greatest asset. We strive to make the learning process a positive and rewarding experience, while maintaining  a desire to develop the next generation of inquisitive and socially conscience citizens who will value lifelong learning and the pursuit of excellence.

Educationally Yours,

Kia Banks



Dear VHA Family and Friends,


We are honored and excited to begin this great school year together with you.  I am honored to return this year as your principal and I look forward each day to strengthening the relationships that we have begun building with all of our students, families, teachers, and talented staff.  While we have always eagerly anticipated the beginning of the school year, this September is particularly meaningful because we will welcome many opportunities to celebrate our many successes. This year at Vanderpoel we are #betterthanever.


Our mission is to value all stakeholder’s voices, align all resources to sustain the school’s focus on global humanity, and pursue academic excellence for all committed to life-long learning.


We will provide an environment where all students can achieve to their maximum potential. We want Vanderpoel students to leave us with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that equip them with the tools necessary to compete and be successful within the global society. Beyond the rigors of their academic program, it is our aim to instill within each student the essential principles of life, learning, and leadership.


High expectations will be maintained while also providing a safe and nurturing student-centered community that fosters respect for individual differences.  At Vanderpoel, we will strive to make the learning process a positive and rewarding experience while maintaining a desire to develop a generation of inquisitive young people who will become lifelong learners in their various pursuits of excellence. 


We are also very excited about working with the active and involved parents and partners that help to make VHA a wonderful place for our students to learn and grow.  We hope you will visit or website often and provide feedback on how we can continue to grow and achieve the Standards of Excellence.


Please know that we are always available to discuss any questions or concerns related to serving you.



Educationally yours, 


Kia Banks