Butler operates on a 7 period schedule with students attending seven classes a day from August through May. Butler made dramatic academic improvements during the 2013-2014 school year (which has not happened as of this date), having the highest Student Growth in reading of any Huntsville City Schools High School. Its students also outperformed several other high schools on the ACT Quality Core End of Course Exams this year. Butler continues to be on the "failing schools" list for the state of Alabama.
S. R. Butler started Butler Training School in 1908 and operated it until 1914. From 1914 until 1929 this building served as the Wills-Taylor School for boys and girls. The city then bought it and made it the Huntsville Junior High School. Now it is a parking lot for the Annie Merts Center for school administration. The first Butler High School was built in 1954 and was originally intended to also serve as a fallout shelter for the surrounding area in the case of a nuclear attack. Its proximity to Redstone Arsenal Army Base made the area a likely target during the Cold War.The current S.R. Butler High School was built in the late 1960s with the first graduating class in 1968. The old Butler was renamed Stone Middle School and is located at the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Governors Drive and was remodled after a suspicious fire destroyed much of the old school. The current Butler H.S. is located on Holmes Ave.
Butler's basketball team, coached by Jack Doss, won the 2011 4A State Championship on Friday, March 4, defeating Anniston High School 44-39 at the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC). Butler has won 6 State Championships in boys basketball. The most of all Huntsville City Schools. These championships occurred in 1966 under coach Cotton Rogers and in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011 under Jack Doss.