Bryan Adams High School opened in 1957 and was named after William Jennings Bryan Adams, a DISD Board of Education secretary from 1929 until his death in 1955. The building was constructed at a cost of US$2.4 million and was designed by the architectural firm of Goodwin & Cavitt using the same pattern as their building for Thomas Jefferson High School, which opened in 1955. Students and alumni almost always refer to the school as 'Bryan Adams,' or simply by the acronym 'B.A.'
While 'Adams High School' is the name of several high schools throughout the United States, there is only one 'Bryan Adams High School.' It has no connection to Canadian singer Bryan Adams.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Bryan Adams was one of the largest high schools in Texas, graduating more than 1,000 students in each of the years from 1968 to 1972. Most of its students were middle class and white. Since the opening of Conrad High School in 2006, B.A. has seen a noticeable decline in enrollment, dropping from the UIL largest classification for the first time in the 2008 realignment.
On October 6, 2010, the Dallas Independent School District announced that Bryan Adams would be reorganized after receiving the state's lowest rating for two straight years. The reorganization would take place for the 2011-2012 school year in a process known as "reconstitution," according to DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. State law requires the academic shakeup for campuses that consistently are rated "academically unacceptable." Campus review teams at the schools, consisting of an internal and external member, will review students' performance on the state exam to determine which teachers should leave the schools, Dahlander said. Bryan Adams high school is on the low-performing list for its graduation rate, he said.
In the 2014-2015 school year, STAAR scores were raised up by 30% showing improvements of previous STAAR scores.
In 2015, DISD started a school of choice program for many schools in Dallas and Bryan Adams will begin to phase in a school-wide leadership model in a three- to five-year plan. Bryan Adams is among seven Dallas ISD choice schools that are planned to launch in the next couple of years. Unlike magnet schools, choice schools will not have any academic entry requirements. Enrollment is open to students district-wide, but priority is given to students in the school’s attendance zone.
The school competes in UIL district 11-5A with 5 other DISD schools and 2 schools in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. The BA Cougars compete in the following sports:Baseball
Swimming and Diving
Track and Field
The most consistently successful team at BA has been the men's swimming team which won regional and district championships throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, finishing in the top 10 in the state on several occasions. From 1999 to 2006 the men's swim team won eight consecutive district titles. Caleb Veazey was an individual State Champion for the Cougars in 2009, winning both the 200 and 500 yard freestyle.
Bryan Adams is annually considered a district title contender in baseball. In 1972, the Cougars reached the Texas State Baseball Quarterfinals. They were defeated (2-1) by a Houston Westchester pitcher named David Clyde. One month later, Clyde received national notoriety by pitching for the Texas Rangers as an eighteen-year-old phenom. In 2007 BA was District Baseball Champion.
In 2006, the football team made a playoff appearance for the first time since 1985.
In 2008, the Bryan Adams football team made another playoff appearance, losing 55–14 to Carter. During the 2013-2014 athletic seasons, all programs besides one qualified for the playoffs.
The school's lone team to win a Texas state championship was the 1967 golf team. There have been many individual state champions and many notable state-level teams, including the Kenyon Martin-led basketball team of 1996.
The Belles are a dance/drill team that originated when the school was inaugurated in 1957. The team has undergone many changes since then, but still holds on to many traditions. The military-style uniform of kelly green satin has remained the same through the years with only slight changes and additions to it, such as the addition of a belt and a smaller flower on the glittery head band. The Belles also perform the traditional BA Kick routine with ten head-high kicks at every performance. Ms. Amy Solorio is the current director of the Belles. The group is active throughout the entire year, including football season, pep rallies, and other extra-curricular activities.
Bryan Adams requires school uniforms for its students. The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.
If students who are frequently truant are ordered by a court to go to school, they will wear ankle monitoring bracelets.
Bryan Adams has the (ASP) which informs students of tertiary educational options.
W. H. Gaston and Robert T. Hill Middle Schools feed into Bryan Adams.
Bayles, Edwin J. Kiest, Reinhardt, Alex Sanger, and Larry Smith Elementary Schools feed into Gaston Middle School.
Casa View, Charles A. Gill, Victor H. Hexter, and Martha Turner Reilly Elementary Schools feed into Hill Middle School,.
As of 2014, 87.2% of the students at Bryan Adams are economically disadvantaged, 10.2% enroll in special education, 8.3% enroll in gifted and talent programs, and 27.6% are considered "limited English proficient."
Also as of 2014, the ethnic makeup of the school is 77.3% Hispanic American, 15% Black American, 4.5% White American, non-Hispanic, 2.5% Asian American/Pacific Islander American, and less than 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native.
The average class sizes at Bryan Adams are 22 students for English, 24 for foreign language, 23 for math, 22 for science, and 22 for social studies.
Teachers at the school carry, on average, 13 years of teaching experience and 7% of the teachers on staff are first-year teachers.
Bryan Adams High School was rated Academically Acceptable by the Texas Education Agency in 2007, though by 2011 the school has rated Academically Unacceptable for three consecutive years. "Gary Blair, head women's basketball coach for Texas A&M University. Class of 1963.
Karen Brooks, American country music singer who is best known for a series of Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country Chart in the early 1980s, including "Faking Love," a duet with T. G. Sheppard that topped the country chart in February 1983. Class of 1972.
John Carona, Texas State Senator. Class of 1974.
Neil Cohen, professional soccer player. Class of 1973.
Lincoln Coleman, former NFL running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Class of 1987.
Jim Dauterive, executive producer of Bob's Burgers, executive producer and writer for King of the Hill; namesake of KotH character Bill Dauterive. Class of 1975.
Doug English, former All-Pro NFL defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. Class of 1971.
A. Joe Fish, U.S. District Judge, Class of 1961.
James Helwig - Boxer
Ken Jolly, former NFL linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. Class of 1979.
Darren Loy, catcher for the University of Texas 1983 National Championship Baseball Team, played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers organizations. Class of 1980.
Kenyon Martin, power forward in the NBA. Class of 1996.
Bob Phillips, Host of long-running television series Texas Country Reporter. Class of 1969.
Susan Yoachum, 1969 National Spelling Bee champion; later a political writer and editor for the San Jose Mercury-News and San Francisco Chronicle. Class of 1973.