Miami Central opened its doors in 1959. Its school mascot and colors were chosen in honor of NASA and the inception of its space program, which was an event at the time of the school's opening.
In the early 1990s, the school acquired a computer science magnet program, placed as part of the district's initiative to devote school space to certain magnet programs so as to attract minority students to less diverse schools.
Kathleen McGrory wrote in 2009 that Miami Central was "historically beset by chronic truancy, declining enrollment, dispirited staff and general disrepair". That year the school was under threat of being closed and/or having special programs taken away under federal mandates that would penalize the school for a sixth failure on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT); for the five previous consecutive years it had received "F" grades.
In 2010 the school was chosen to receive an American Recovery and Investment Act School Improvement Grant, because it had mostly ethnic minority children and had a low academic performance. PresidentBarack Obama visited the school when he presented the SIG program to the American people.
The demographic breakdown of the 1,926 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 school year was:
Male - 55.3%
Female - 44.7%
Native American/Alaskan - 0.1%
Asian/Pacific islanders - 0.3%
Black - 79.4%
Hispanic - 19.7%
White - 0.5%
multiracial - >0.1%
80.7% of students were eligible for free or reduced lunch.
As of 2009 there were 1,600 students, with 14% in special education and over 50% from low-income families.
Warren Bailey, Class of 1990, Photographer, Miami Dade College North Campus Alumni (1991-1994), Currently South Florida artist having participated in many local
and national art exhibits.
William Cordova, Class of 1988, Contemporary Visual Artist. Studied Studio Arts at Miami Dade Community College, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, 1996)
and Yale University (MFA, 2004). "Cordova is an internationally accomplished visual artist having exhibited in major Museums all over the world." William Cordova'a a Miami Central Alumni Association member and lives between Miami Gardens and New York City.
The school's main rival is Miami Northwestern High School. In 2009 McGrory stated that the football games, especially those against Northwestern, are well-attended, and that the students at Central "take pride in their marching band".
^Saunders, Theresa. "The Opportunity for Equity: School Improvement Grants" (Racism in American Institutions). In: Drakeford, Lillian Dowdell Ph.D. The Race Controversy in American Education. ABC-CLIO, July 28, 2015. ISBN1440832641, 9781440832642. start: p. 283. cited: p. 286.