DASH was founded in 1990 by former principal Jacqueline Hinchey-Sipes, who coined the famous school motto “Education by Design”. Over the past 15 years DASH has earned a reputation as one of Florida’s strongest public high schools, with the school often making Miami-Dade county’s highest marks on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) exam and consistently receiving an assessment grade of A by the state. DASH has been featured in Dwell magazine, Teen People Magazine (Cool School of the Month, May 2000), and the Miami Herald. Newsweek Magazine ranked DASH as the 33rd best public high school in the US in 2005 and the 60th best in 2006. Over 95% of DASH graduates continue on to college, with most students receiving scholarships from many of the nation’s top art and design programs. The school was twice named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, in 1994 and 1995. Recently, DASH graduates have also been admitted to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cooper Union, Harvard University, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins University.
The school features programs in Architecture/Interior Design, Entertainment Technology, Fashion Design, Industrial Design, and Visual Communications/Web Design. The curriculum includes a strong, four-year foundation in the fine arts, internships with local design firms, and dual-enrollment college-level design courses, such as performance art, taught by professors from local colleges as well as field professionals. Students take 8 courses a year (4 core classes, 2-3 art classes, and 1-2 electives) as opposed to the regular 6-course curriculum in most other Florida high schools.