Miami Northwestern High School

Miami Northwestern Senior High School
Liberty City, Miami, Florida,  United States
Type Public
Established 1951
School district Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Principal Mr. Wallace Aristide

assistant principal: Mr. Jorge Bulnes

Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,796
Campus Urban
Color(s) Old Gold & Royal Blue
Mascot Bulls
School hours 7:20 AM to 2:20 PM
Average class size 30

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 Jacory Harris, the current starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes.



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 of 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) 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 struggled academically, notably since the implementation of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The school is one of 13 F-rated schools in Miami-Dade.

  • According to the Florida Department of Education, Miami Northwestern has received the grade of "F" on the School Accountability Reports for the school years 2001-02, 2002–03, and 2007-2008.[1] The school has seen a decline in the percentage of students making gains in reading and "Percentage of Lowest 25% Making Learning Gains in Reading" but the school has made gains in "Percentage Meeting High Standards in Math."[2]
  • Miami Northwestern High School was labeled a "dropout factory" in a Johns Hopkins University study of retention rates of students from their freshman to senior year. MNHS has a retention rate of just 41%, meaning that only 41 out of every 100 entering freshman will complete all four years of high school and obtain a diploma.[3]
  • As of 2011, only 19% of the students at Miami Northwestern Senior High School is reading on grade-level. The school's new administration, headed by Mr. Wallace Aristide, is setting Big Goals for this upcoming year. Big Goal setting and data-driven instruction have become part of the mindset shift going on at Miami Northwestern. The school and its students have a goal: increase the literacy percentage from 19% to 30% of students reading on grade-level by the school year's end.


Miami Northwestern HS is 93% Black, 6% Hispanic, and 1% White non-Hispanic.[4]

Performing and Visual Arts Center (PAVAC)

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.[5]


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 three class 6A state championships.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] The Bulls went to the 6A State Championship again in 2008, but were defeated by Seminole High School of Sanford.


On December 7, 2006 senior star running back of the football team Antwain Easterling was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a minor for having sex with a fourteen year-old girl in a bathroom at Miami Northwestern High School three months earlier. The girl's mother had reported the incident to three faculty members at the school in October 2006 and one of them reportedly informed the principal Dwight Bernard. The proper authorities were not notified and it did not come to the attention of Miami-Dade school police until the mother of the fourteen year-old asked an unknowing member of the police staff how the investigation was proceeding. Also arrested in the incident and charged with the same offense were Dante Maurice Jefferson and Vincent Shannon Jefferson.[9]

After it was revealed that several members of the schools administration, faculty, and the football teams coaching staff knew about the incident and failed to report it, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew fired a total of twenty-one people including Miami Northwestern Principal Dwight Bernard, Head Football Coach Roland Smith and his entire staff, and many other school employees. In addition, athletics director Gregory Killings resigned. The football team was also placed on probation for one-year instead of having the entire 2007 season canceled. Bernard was indicted by a grand jury in March 2007 with official misconduct for covering up the incident. The grand jury report said school officials "allowed for the glory of football to trump the needs and safety" of the victim and that "priorities were chosen and the little girl lost." [10][11][12] It was later reported that the mother of the young girl made contact with members of the school administration over 30 times but the incident was never reported to Miami-Dade police as required by state and federal law.[13]

Easterling was allowed to enroll in a pretrial diversionary program which included 26 weeks of counseling sessions that would allow him to avoid prosecution and have the charges against him dismissed upon the completion of the program. Though he had been heavily recruited by schools like the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and Notre Dame these schools lost interest and walked away. He was finally recruited by The University of Southern Mississippi.[14]

On April 20, 2010, a Miami-Dade jury found former Miami Northwestern Principal Dwight Bernard not guilty after the trial on the sex scandal coverup. During the trial, Bernard took the stand in his own defense and told the jury that he was ordered by school board members not to suspend Easterling.[15] After his acquittal, Bernard sued the Miami Dade school board for $329,000.[16]

Track and field

Miami Northwestern High School State Champions – 1962-63
Miami Northwestern High School State Champions – 1964-65

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.[17] In 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2007, the girls won the Florida High School Athletic Association's, 4A track and field championship..[18] In 2007-2008, in the 400 meter event, the girls swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with two freshman sprinters.[19] The boys team came in second to Miami Central.

Notable alumni

Law and Politics

Recording and Film







  • Barrington Irving- first Black pilot to fly solo around the world
  • Antwain Robinson- US Army
  • Rigaud JulienC/O 2000-SFC US Army
  • Les Brown - Motivational speaker
  • Desmond Parker- US Army
  • Torrence HicksC/O 1992-US ARMY


  1. ^ "School Accountability Reports". Florida Department of Education. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  2. ^ "School Accountability Reports". Florida Department of Education. 
  3. ^ "Dropout Factories". Johns Hopkins University. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Miami Northwestern High School Students Honored with Awards and Film Festival Appearance". Florida Film Institute. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  6. ^ "Prep Rally: Miami Northwestern wins 6A title". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-22. [dead link]
  7. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff (2007-09-16). "Miami Northwestern sinks Southlake Carroll's streak". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  8. ^ "ESPN High Elite 25". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Doherty, Tim; Clarion-Ledger, Miss.) (2007-07-27). "Easterling ready for scrutiny after high school sex arrest". USA Today. 
  12. ^ Brady, Erik (2007-09-14). "Carroll-Northwestern match shaped by contrasts". USA Today. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Doherty, Tim; Clarion-Ledger, Miss.) (2007-07-27). "Easterling ready for scrutiny after high school sex arrest". USA Today. 
  15. ^ Wright, Todd (30). "Ex-Principal Not Guilty in Sex Scandal Cover-Up Trial". NBC Miami. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  16. ^ Ovalle, David (April 2010). "Ex-Miami Northwestern High principal suing school board". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  17. ^ "Boys Track and Field". Florida High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Championship History". Florida High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  19. ^ "Miami Northwestern". DirectAthletics, Inc.. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 

External links

See also

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

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