Moore Haven Junior-Senior High School is located in Moore Haven, Florida, a small, rural town on the southwestern shore of Lake Okeechobee, the second largest fresh water lake in the United States. Nearly half of our students are bussed in from the outlying communities of Muse, Ortona, Palmdale, Crescent Acres, Horseshoe Acres, Hendry Isles, North LaBelle, Lakeport, Buckhead Ridge, and the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation. We have a culturally diverse population that includes Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians.
The school has been in existence since 1968. Before that time it shared the same campus with the elementary school and housed grades 1-12. It was known as Moore Haven School. In 1967 a new school was built for the elementary grades, including the addition of kindergarten classes. Booker T. Washington School in Washington Park was closed and Moore Haven Junior-Senior High School became the only secondary school in the county. Today, it houses grades 7-12. In addition, to classrooms and office buildings, the campus includes an auditorium which seats the entire student body, a gymnasium, and a football field with a six-lane track. Baseball and softball field complexes are within walking distance of the campus.
A multifaceted curriculum that addresses the needs of the students has been developed. The school’s curriculum is aligned with district goals and objectives, as well as Sunshine State Standards. A disciplined faculty is well-trained with its respective curriculum and implements the requisite standards and objectives. ELL strategies are incorporated across the curriculum, and support facilitators of ESE students assist faculty in modifying curriculum and assessments. Reading is stressed across the curriculum.
Moore Haven student class presidents and vice presidents from grades sixth through 12th grade officially opened their new Moore Haven Junior/Senior High School with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Feb. 17,2015. During the ceremony, the builder Manhattan Construction turned over the facility on time, in front of the student body, to the Glades County School District. The 109,564-square-foot facility, designed by Schenkel Shultz Architecture, includes a two-story 24 classroom wing, an interactive media center, cafeteria with interior and exterior dining, gymnasium and state of the art 512-seat auditorium.
The new building plan to replace the 65-year-old school building has been in works for more than eight years. Initially, the District, which is supported by a small rural community, was unable to bond a project of this size. They had to qualify for special facility funding from the state after it was determined the school fell within a “critical need” classification. The District was spending between $5,000 to $10,000 annually to keep the fire alarm within code, the gymnasium was not air conditioned, and many other parts of the half-century-old school building were in dire need of updating. With the District’s hard work, multiple visits from the Department of Education, and support from local government representatives, the funding was approved in 2013.
Because of the unique opportunity, the District knew they had to get it right while also planning for the future. “The design is really innovative, we wanted to make sure something was built that would stand the test of time with all the changes in education,” Mr. Bass.