|Bartow Senior High School|
Bartow High School official mascot
1270 South Broadway Avenue
|School type||ESE High School|
|School district||Polk County Public Schools|
|Teaching staff||118.00 (FTE)|
|Student to teacher ratio||19.25|
|Rival||Kathleen High School|
|National ranking||Unranked (2013 Newsweek)|
|Feeder schools||Bartow Middle School, Union Academy|
Bartow Senior High School is the only high school in Bartow, Florida. It resulted from a merger of the whites-only Summerlin Institute and Union Academy, a school for African Americans, after desegregation. The school is also the location of the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High.
Summerlin Institute was founded in 1887 as the first public high school in Bartow, Florida. It was named after Jacob Summerlin who donated large amounts of land to the cities of Bartow and Orlando. This school was the first brick school in the United States located south of Jacksonville, Florida. It was also the only public military school in Florida.
Union Academy dates to 1897 when it opened as an elementary school for African Americans. In 1923, a secondary school curriculum was added and Union Academy became a high school for African-Americans.
Summerlin Institute was relocated to the corner of Broadway Avenue and Tharp Street, the current location of Bartow High School, in 1927.
In 1968 Polk County, Florida schools were integrated and all high school students living in Bartow and surrounding areas were, for the first time, going to the same school. The name of Summerlin Institute was changed to Bartow Senior High School, and Union Academy became an integrated middle school. The name change was (and still is) controversial because Summerlin Institute was considered one of the more prestigious public schools in the Southern United States, but because the school was named after Jacob Summerlin, who was a slaveholder, many felt the name change was appropriate. Many (but not all) Bartowians consider the history, traditions, alumni, of Bartow High School to include the pre-1970 histories of Summerlin Institutes and Union Academy as well as the history of Bartow High School (1970-present), thus making the 1970 integration a "merger" of two schools. Others consider Summerlin Institute/Bartow High School one school, and Union Academy a now defunct high school, but current middle school.
In 1996, Bartow High School earned approval from the IBO to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. The students pursuing this program are placed in the International Baccalaureate School, a school-within-a-school on the Bartow High campus. While IB students attend many IB specific classes they take regular Bartow High School electives and participate in the Bartow High School athletic program. Beginning with the Class of 2010, it was only composed of students from western Polk County, due to the opening of a second IB school at Haines City High School for students from eastern Polk County. The current principal of the IB school in Bartow is Brian Andrews.
In 2006, the Summerlin Academy was established as a military school originally located under the same roof as Bartow High School and International Baccalaureate School. In 2008, Summerlin moved to its own facility in Bartow.
The school's nickname is the yellow jackets, although the school colors and uniforms are blue and orange (a result of the merge between Summerlin Institute and Union Academy; Summerlin's colors were orange and white and Union's colors were blue and white).
The girls' softball team is the only school to have appeared in a FHSAA state championship game for 10 consecutive years (1997-2006), winning 7 of those matches. Two Bartow pitchers became the first and second players in FHSAA softball history to pitch in four state championship games. Melissa Parsons pitched from 1997-2000, winning the '97 and '00 titles. Lindsay Littlejohn won four state title games from 2002-2005. Bartow also became the first team to win five consecutive state softball championships (2002-2006). In 2003, the program earned a No. 1 national ranking by the USA Today Coaches' Poll.