History of North

Download (2)North High started as the Forest Home School with four rooms, three departments (primary, intermediate, and higher grades), and three teachers. In 1885, Dr. John A. Nash gave North Des Moines The Forest Home School. it was located on Forest Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets.

By 1889, two rooms had been added to the school, which was established as a high school during that year. The first high school curriculum was made up of college entrance subjects: English, Latin, Greek, German, mathematics, science, history, and some art and music.

In 1892, the school colors were chosen. During this year, a parade was held in Des Moines, and the schools marched wearing their school colors. Miss Louise Patterson, principal of North, suggested that pink and green be used (North had previously been without colors).

Later in 1894, a committee was appointed to select school colors. After several combinations had been considered, one boy looked out the window and saw pink blossoms set against the green leaves of a crab apple tree. “Why not pick the colors which we have already used,” he said. The committee then chose pink and green as the official colors of North High School.

In 1896, North moved into a new $30,000 building located at Eighth Street and College Avenue. That building is Moulton Elementary School today.

In 1957, North High was moved from Eight and College to the present site at Sixth and Holcomb Streets. The new building cost $3,335,397: total area of the school grounds including the athletic field is 34.5 acres.

In 1989, North High celebrated 100 years of serving this community. Examine the pictures of some of the outstanding graduates in the Athletic or Alumni Hall of Fame. You will soon recognize the important role North has played in helping develop local and national leadership.

In 2010, the school started a multimillion dollar renovation which includes new offices, internet wiring, bio-thermal heating and cooling, new windows, paint, new ceilings and flooring and countless other improvements.

In addition to the countless improvements in the school‘s outside skeleton, North has transformed academic expectations over the past ten years. North was ranked in the top 10 in AP schools in the state of Iowa in 2016 and currently offers more than a dozen Advanced Placement courses.

North is now venturing into it’s newest transformative initiative by becoming a Demonstration School for Achieving Rigor, partnering with Dr. Marzano & Learning Sciences International.  The expectations on Teaching and Learning have sky rocketed and we are asking every individual to think in new cognitively complex ways.

We are in an unprecedented time of Polar Bear pride where we are tackling every challenge with our courageous, passionate and relentless mindset.  Our goal is to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of every student so they can be successful at whatever they choose to do after high school.  As always, it is a great day to be a Polar Bear.