Miami Northwestern Senior High School

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For schools of a similar name, see Northwestern High School.
Miami Northwestern Senior High School
1100 Northwest 71st Street
Miami, Florida, 33150
United States
Type Public
Established 1955
School district Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Principal Mr. Wallace Aristide
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,578
Average class size 30
Hours in school day 7:20 AM to 2:20 PM
Campus Urban
Color(s)      Old Gold
     Royal Blue
Nickname Bulls

Miami Northwestern Senior High School is a public high school located in Miami, Florida, United States, serving students in grades 9-12. It serves the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. The school colors are Old Gold and Royal Blue. The average annual enrollment is approximately 1,800 students.

Miami Northwestern was founded in 1955 in order to help educate the increasing population of northern Miami. Shortly after the school's inception, the Bull was chosen as the official school mascot from the former Dorsey High School. Miami Northwestern originally served as an all-black high school. Beginning in 1966, Dade County high schools stopped having segregated schools, and most of the students from Booker T. Washington transferred to Northwestern (and Miami Jackson Senior High School) in 1967- 1968 to complete the following years of school.

Miami Northwestern is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association and offers a variety of sports programs. Athletic teams compete in the 6A division and are known as the "Bulls". The school's football program has experienced significant success throughout its history, including winning a High School Football National Championship in 2007. Extracurricular activities are also offered in the form of performing arts, school publications, and clubs. Notable alumni of the school include Barrington Irving, the first black pilot to fly solo around the world, and Lavonte David, a starting linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 2011, the school received a "B" grade on the FCAT report card, the first time an inner-city school in Miami had ever achieved such a high mark.[1]


The original school construction as seen here in 1960. Initial construction started in 1954 and was completed in 1955. Pictured is the main entrance located on 12th avenue just south of 71st street.

Miami Northwestern Senior High School formally opened in September 1955 and was located off 12th Avenue and 71st street. The mascot BULL comes from Dorsey. Once the new school opened, the former graduates from Dorsey would call it the New Bull. There are several graduates still living today from Dorsey. With the explosion of the “baby boom” children needing higher education in the second largest school district in the U.S., Florida’s state officials deemed Miami, Florida as a major problem in secondary schools needed as early as 1953. Miami Northwestern was one of the schools in Dade County built to accommodate more students. At this time when Miami Northwestern opened, it served only the black residents of Dade County, along with some schools that had been turned into middle schools such as George Washington Carver, Mays and North Dade Middle Schools were all high schools for the black (negro) residents of Dade County, FL. The class of 1966 all over Dade County stopped having segregated schools, and most of the students from Booker T. Washington came over to Northwestern (and Miami Jackson Senior High School in 1967- 1968 to complete the following years of school. The original school boundaries were 71st Street on the north; 69th Street on the south; 12th Avenue on the west, and 10th Avenue on the east roughly where the new track and field area is today. Part of the new construction of Northwestern is located where some units of a public housing area (commonly called "The Village") used to be years ago.

The late Mr. John H. Peavy; assistant principal (from 1955–1988). Well loved by the students at Miami Northwestern during his tenure for his dedication and firmness to education. The street, on the west side of the school (12th Ave.), was renamed in his honor to John H. Peavy Boulevard.
Mrs. Ida Ratcliffe was appointed the first principal in August 1955.

In 1960, the real student crunch hit Dade County. Dade Junior College (later changed its name to Miami Dade Community College North, known today as Miami Dade College) was one of the higher learning 2-year institution experiencing an overload of college-bound high school graduates. Miami Northwestern was chosen to relieve that overage demand with the formulation of Dade Junior College Northwest branch. This branch was moved back to the main campus in 1962. Besides the academic studies for all high school students in place at Northwestern, a comprehensive trade division was also installed in 1955 where students could learn a trade to start work immediately after graduation, making Miami Northwestern a full service community school.


Northwestern has long been known for its academic challenges; however the school has shown an unprecedented turn-around over the last several years.

Since the implementation of the Florida School Accountability Report, Northwestern had received a “D’ or an “F” for 12 consecutive years between 1998 and 2010, with four “F” grades in the 2001-02, 2002–03, 2006–07, and 2008-09 school years.[2] During that time, Miami Northwestern was labeled one of the 163 “dropout factories” in the state of Florida by a Johns Hopkins University study of retentions rates of students from their freshman to senior year. Using data from the 2004, 2005, and 2006 school years the study found that during that period, 59% of the entering freshman had dropped-out or transferred before their senior year; only 41% on the entering classes had progressed to earn a diploma.[3] As of the 2010-11 school year, the graduation rate had doubled to 81%.[2]

In 2010-11, Miami Northwestern received a “B” on the School Accountability Report, the highest grade ever received by an inner-city school in Miami-Dade County.[1][4] This improvement has been attributed, in part, to a major overhaul in school staff, and to an increased focus on college-readiness and college-level courses.[1] To further these efforts, Florida International University has partnered with Northwestern to help foster a successful community school. The initiative, funded by $1 million from JPMorgan Chase, will focus on increased dual-enrollment offerings, financial literacy, service learning, and the construction of an aquaponics laboratory at the school.[5]


Miami Northwestern HS is 93% Black, 6% Hispanic, and 1% White non-Hispanic.[6]

Performing and Visual Arts Center (PAVAC) Magnet Program[edit]

The Performing and Visual Arts magnet program at Miami Northwestern was started in 1975 by Marcy Sarmiento. In 1982, the program was the starting point for PAVAC, the influential dual-enrollment program joint with Miami-Dade Community College,[7][8] which later became the New World School of the Arts. The Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) magnets within the Miami-Dade county school system are competitive entry programs requiring a portfolio or audition, and open to all students across the Miami-Dade school system.

In January 2007, twenty students from Miami Northwestern High School’s Performing and Visual Arts Center drama class were awarded the “Best Florida Film,” at the 2006 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: High School Film Competition for their short film, directed by Jabari Payne, entitled “A New Love.” Additionally, Marcus Isaac, producer and editor of “A New Love,” was awarded the 2006 Miami Dade Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment: Student Filmmaker Award, for his outstanding contributions on the film.

The students, members of the in-school CINEMA program of the Florida Film Institute (FFI), a non-profit organization mentoring more than 4,200 aspiring young filmmakers throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, screened their film at the “Romance in a Can Film Festival” in February 2007 at the Byron Carlyle Theatre on Miami Beach.[9]


The extracurricular activities offered at Miami Northwestern High School are numerous and varied due to the school's large size. The Bulls compete in the Greater Miami Athletic Conference and are classified as a 6A school, the largest classification in Florida according to the Florida High School Athletic Association. Throughout its history, Miami Northwestern has won several state championships in various sports, as well as a National Championship in football in 2007. Many graduates have gone on to participate in Division I, Division II, and Division III athletics. Miami Northwestern's athletic rival is Miami Central High School.


Prior to the 2007 season, the Miami Northwestern Bulls had won five class 6A state championships.[10] In its third game of the 2007 football season, the Bulls—ranked No. 1 by USA Today—traveled to Dallas, Texas to take on the #2 nationally ranked Southlake Dragons.[11] A crowd of 31,896 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium watched as Miami Northwestern won the contest 29-21, thereby ending Southlake's 49-game win streak (tied Abilene for the longest in Texas high school football history). The Bulls then completed an undefeated season capping it off with a 41-0 win in the Florida 6A state championship game and being declared the mythical national champions by ESPN and USA Today.[12] The Bulls went to the 6A State Championship again in 2008, but were defeated by Seminole High School of Sanford.

2007 season[edit]

Date Time Opponent Home/Away W/L Score Site City
09/01/07 7:30pm Carol City Away W 42-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
09/07/07 7:30pm Homestead Home W 28-18 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
09/15/07 6:00pm Carroll (Southlake, TX) Away W 29-21 SMU Dallas,TX
09/28/07 7:30pm Miami Southridge Away W 48-21 Harris Field Miami
10/04/07 7:00pm Goleman Home W 57-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/13/07 7:30pm Hialeah-Miami Lakes Home W 63-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/19/07 7:30pm American Home W 36-12 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/27/07 7:30pm Miami Central Away W 24-12 Orange Bowl Miami
11/02/07 7:30pm Hialeah Away W 47-7 Milander Park Hialeah
11/09/07 7:30pm Jackson Home (Soul Bowl) W 46-0 Orange Bowl Miami
11/16/07 7:30pm Coral Gables play-off W 53-10 Miami Dade North CC Miami
11/23/07 7:30pm Columbus High 6A regional semifinal W 40-14 Orange Bowl Miami
11/30/07 7:30pm South Dade 6A-regional final W 55-14 Miami Dade North CC Miami
12/07/07 7:30pm Deerfield Beach 6A-state semifinal W 19-14 Orange Bowl Miami
12/15/07 7:00pm Boone 6A-state championship W 41-0 Citrus Bowl Orlando

Track and field[edit]

Miami Northwestern High School State Champions – 1962-63.

The Bulls have also excelled in track and field, with the boys finishing in the top of the Florida state 4A track and field championships for the past 10 years.[13] In 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2007, the girls won the Florida High School Athletic Association's, 4A track and field championship.[14] In 2007-2008, in the 400 meter event, the girls swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with two freshman sprinters.[15] The boys team came in second to Miami Central.

Notable alumni[edit]

Law, politics, and public service[edit]

Recording and film[edit]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Miami Northwestern Celebrates First Ever "B" FCAT Score". CBS Miami. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "School Accountability Report". Florida Department of Education. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Dropout Factories". Johns Hopkins University. 
  4. ^ "More South Florida high schools get top marks". The Miami Herald. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Education Effect". FIU Magazine. January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Miami Herald, July 25, 1982, Talented Youth May Find Outlet in New Performing Arts Program.
  8. ^ Katharine Muller, New world school of the arts: Beyond dual enrollment, New Directions for Community Colleges, No.63, pp 85-93, 1988.
  9. ^ "Miami Northwestern High School Students Honored with Awards and Film Festival Appearance". Florida Film Institute. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  10. ^ "Prep Rally: Miami Northwestern wins 6A title". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-22. [dead link]
  11. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff (2007-09-16). "Miami Northwestern sinks Southlake Carroll's streak". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  12. ^ "ESPN High Elite 25". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "Boys Track and Field". Florida High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  14. ^ "Championship History". Florida High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  15. ^ "Miami Northwestern". DirectAthletics, Inc. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°50′15″N 80°12′58″W / 25.8375968°N 80.2161594°W / 25.8375968; -80.2161594