General Information

School Information:

Union Academy
1795 E. Wabash St.
Bartow, FL 33830
863-534-7435
Fax: 863-534-7487

School Hours: 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Our History

Initial Development

Union Academy was the outgrowth of earlier schools dating back to J. A. Wiley’s Colored Institute in 1887, and the First Providence Missionary Baptist Church School, later known as the Brittsville School, dating to the same period. In 1893, leading African-American citizens petitioned the City of Bartow for a new school. The Odd Fellows Hall was rented as the school site, until a new building was completed in 1897. The school consisted of four large classrooms, and by August, boasted an enrollment of 120 students. Union Academy’s first day of construction was on September 14, 1897. This day marked a new era for the African-American community in Bartow. The first principal was Professor A. N. Ritchie. Union Academy in Bartow was named for the fourth African-American school in Florida, founded in 1867 by the Freedmen’s Bureau in Gainesville.

Front entrance of Union Academy school with school sign.

Enrollment continued to climb through the 1920’s forcing the addition of satellite classrooms at the Knights of Pythias Hall. In 1923, a longtime dream was fulfilled when the school added a secondary department bringing it to high school status. The first high school graduate was Lela Burkett. She became Polk County’s first graduating African-American Senior on June 4th, 1928. The old 1897 school was razed and in 1929 the high school moved to a new facility on East Wabash Street. Union Academy became a centralized elementary & high school keeping pace with the growing population.

In 1938, James E. Stephens became the principal. During the next thirty-one years he was the guiding light through growth, expansion, desegregation, and consolidation with the Summerlin Institute. In 1955, the high school and primary buildings were upgraded making Union Academy one of the leading schools in the state. The 1964 Civil Rights Act mandated desegregation public schools and. in the fall of 1969, all high school students from Union Academy were transferred to the Summerlin Institute site and later became known as Bartow High School. During the 1970’s Union Academy was renamed Golfview Junior High School serving grade 7.

Recent History

Union Academy Magnet School was established as a Magnet School in 1991. In 2010, Union Academy started the process to become an IB-MYP, International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, school. Union Academy was designated an IB-MYP school and renamed Union Academy Middle Magnet in 2013. In the fall of 2018, Union Academy successfully completed our five-year evaluation.

Young girl playing string instrument in music class.
Two young boys playing a game of chess in a classroom.
Young boy works on a robotic project inside a classroom.
Three students take picture on an tablet device while standing beside a white board in a classroom.

What Makes Us Different?

UA has a reputation for extraordinary academic achievement.  All students enrolled in advanced-level academic courses.  All students experience 3 years of Spanish language instruction. Students are prepared to participate in the International Baccalaureate Pre-IB and Diploma Programmes at Bartow High School. Courses are impeded with Apple and Microsoft technology. Courses are offered in the Pre-Academy in Legal Studies which includes Microsoft Certifications.

Students have opportunities to earn high school credit in 7th and 8th grade. The class structure has a small learning environment with  less than 400 students. Plus, students experience a structured school environment.