The Capitol School: A Multiple Intelligence School
The Capitol School

The world today is more connected than ever; courtesy of technology and globalization. People are not confined to just their homeland but have an opportunity to go globetrotting physically as well as virtually. High school students’ families can choose a world class school in the southern United States for an opportunity to showcasing their culture and practice understanding and respecting other cultures.  Graduating from an accredited high school will open doors to universities across the U.S.

Educating responsible citizens of the world is the mission of The Capitol School. The six buildings on the campus of Alabama’s International School resonate with the voices of some of the 87 nationalities of students enrolled from across the world. The campus is located in historic Tuscaloosa around Capitol Park. One of the school’s buildings dates to 1818 – the year Alabama was granted statehood on Dec. 14 by the U.S. Congress.

The Founders

When Dr. Barbara Rountree was a Professor at the University of Alabama, she dreamed of a school where faculty could put into practice the latest research on the best ways to help students learn. Meanwhile, a teacher in a local public school, Margaret Brown Hill, created a model classroom for her students using best practices from research.  She was recognized as ‘Teacher of the Year’ for her innovative and engaging teaching and serving as a mentor to interns from The University of Alabama. Together, the two realized their dreams in 1993 and founded The Capitol School as a private school with 46 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Today, the school enrolls 175 students, from pre-kindergarten through high school graduation and continues to incorporate the newest and most effective means of teaching students.

Since then, Dr. Rountree has been serving as the school’s Director. Her remarkable team of faculty members is led by Mrs. Hill who has created a supportive and successful learning environment. The Capitol School has made a mark in academic circles, garnering accolades as a model school for 27 years. For her out-of-the-box thinking, Dr. Rountree was named one of Edutopia magazines’ ‘Daring Dozen’, an honor given to those who are reshaping the future of education. In 2018, Dr. Rountree was inducted into the Alabama Education Hall of Fame.  Mrs. Hill has been named “Teacher of the Year” twice in her career.

Distinctive Feature

The Capitol School is a multiple ability school. Faculty believe that each student has multiple intelligence and should have opportunities to learn in all of these areas. The school bases its philosophy of learning on the Multiple Intelligences Theory developed by Harvard professor, Dr. Howard Gardner. At The Capitol School, teaching is tailored to meet individualized needs and the teachers ask, ‘How is this child smart?’ instead of ‘How smart is this child?’  Teachers use various methods to assess a student’s progress and to report the progress to their parents. These may include progress reports, narratives, checklists, portfolios, and video portfolios. Quarterly reports are provided to parents in October, December, March and May.

A typical school day for High School students starts at 8:30 a.m. with a 7 period day of core and elective classes ending at 3:30 p.m. Music, Violin, Piano and Art classes are offered. The study of world languages is key at The Capitol School. Students study Spanish, German and Mandarin from ages 3 – 18 through daily lessons with native-speaking teachers. After-school sports include cross country, volleyball, bowling, tennis, golf, and a new soccer team forming. Clubs such as Math Club, Key Club, National Honor Society Club and Robotics Club meet weekly. Spanish, German, Spelling and Geography competitions are held annually.  Students participate in weekly meetings with the school’s counselor and Scholar Support Meetings take place in small groups for peer interactions and encouragement.

High school students age 15 and older participate in Alabama’s Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit Program, which allows students to take college courses while in high school. Students with a 3.0 GPA may begin college classes at 10th grade with EARLY COLLEGE at The University of Alabama, a top 50 public university in the U.S.   To learn more about Dual Enrollment, visit

English support is provided for students who have just moved to Alabama. Students participate in German and Spanish state competitions with public and private schools from across the state. ‘Linguists around the world concur that the earlier you learn a language, the better,’  Dr. Rountree says. It is the only PK-12 World Language program in Alabama.

Celebrating Diversity

Through the years, students from 87 countries have attended Capitol School classes, and the faculty recruited from across the globe. That diversity is celebrated annually with an International Festival where families host booths to share their heritage. They display flags, maps, artifacts, toys and favorite foods from their home country. Students of all ages learn about the cultures of fellow students in the school. One of five Capitol School students or their parents were born outside the U.S.

Preparing for the Future

The school is a fully accredited school and all credits earned by students can be transferred to any other accredited school in the world. AdvancED, a non-profit, non-partisan organization serving the largest community of educational professionals in the world, in its 2018 review recommended that Capitol School earn the distinction of accreditation for a five-year term until June 2023.

AdvancED provides the Index of Education Quality™ (IEQ™) as a holistic measure of overall performance based on a comprehensive set of standards and review criteria and reported on a scale of 100 to 400. The Capitol School earned an institutional IEQ of 371 total points in this comprehensive review.

Capitol School’s “School to Career” program alignes students with a Mentor in the community selected for the student to interview and “shadow” in a field of interest to each student. Weekly speakers about careers help students learn more about careers in a variety of fields. Summer job placements are available for those students who complete course and safety requirements.

Words of Trust

The Capitol School has made a mark in academic circles, garnering accolades as a Model School for 27 years. Some of these have come in the form of testimonials by happy parents. Read on.

One parent from Austria enrolled her son and said. ‘We wanted a school where our child would be really known by the teachers. We wanted a school that placed as much value on a student who is a gifted artist or musician as the value placed by most schools on a gifted reader, writer or athlete. After all, those attributes are all gifts.’

Another parent who enrolled her daughter said, ‘We wanted our daughter to have the highest academic opportunities for college after attending Capitol School.’

Words of Trust:

“My time at The Capitol School allowed me to develop both academically and personally. My teachers gave me individual attention, exposed me to new ideas, and challenged me to be the best I could be.

The diverse student body, with students from all around the world, provided me with a sense of community and gave me new perspectives on issues both domestic and international. I could not have asked for a better high school experience.”


Sophomore, Boston College

2018 graduate of The Capitol School

“I was fortunate to attend the Capitol School from 5th to 12th grade. I came in 2004 speaking very limited English and the school helped me learn.  My parents were born in Croatia.   I met a lot of people from many different countries and learned about their customs and culture. I was also very fortunate to attend Shelton State Community College while still attending high school at The Capitol School and earned 45 college credit hours before graduation from high school. They also helped me receive a 2 year full scholarship at Jacksonville State University. I am very thankful for all that Capitol School has done for me.”


2012 graduate of Capitol School

Graduate of Jacksonville State University

Currently in Graduate School at University of West Alabama

“My name is Ye and I am from Hubei, China.  I still remember I was so excited and nervous when I took the first step on the plane that I didn’t get any sleep at all. Arriving in Alabama, everything was new for me.  Now,  I think I made the right choice to study abroad at The Capitol School. High school life was made easy for me as an international student, especially thanks to the people around me who gave me a lot of help, and I feel lucky to be here. Also, my host family was amazing, and I enjoyed every trip with them. They helped me a lot with my Early College courses. I am especially fortunate that Dr. Rountree can give me this opportunity. When my high school grades reached 3.0 GPA, I was able to enroll in college classes through Early College.     Capitol School’s high school program provides a way for international students to prove they can be successful in college and not have to take the SAT or ACT exam.  Early Collage is a system that helps students who are about to enter college, advance to university courses before you graduate from high school. My parents were thrilled when I was accepted to one of the top 50 public universities in the U.S. Now I am a student at the University of Alabama, I am proud of myself and feel thankful. I love this big family here.”


2019 Graduate of The Capitol School

Currently enrolled at The University of Alabama

To know more about Capitol School, visit

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