On March 10, 1960, Dean Dessenberger, Chair of the Broward County School Board, proposed the development of the South Florida Educational Park on Forman Field in Davie. Plans called for a complex of schools for students from elementary to university level to be constructed on land that had been used as an air naval training base during World War II. Former Superintendents Dr. Myron Ashmore and Dr. William T. McFatter along with members of the Forman family were instrumental in the project.
Nova High School, which graduated its first class in 1966, was the first school in the complex to open. It was followed by Nova Blanche Forman Elementary and Nova Eisenhower. When Nova Eisenhower Elementary first opened in 1967, it was temporarily housed in the old Fort Lauderdale High School on the corner of Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway. Nova Eisenhower's new facility opened in 1970. The school is now known as Nova Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School. There was no middle school initially. The two elementary schools served students in grades one through six, and the high school, grades seven through twelve. In 1977, Nova Middle School opened its doors to 7th and 8th grade students. Sixth grade students shifted to the middle school the following year.
Funded by the Ford Foundation and referred to as the Nova Educational Experiment, students needed to pass a test to gain acceptance. Nova schools operated on a longer school calendar than others in the District and offered a self-paced learning atmosphere for self-motivated students. The schools were considered very progressive. Students were given Learning Activity Packets and instructors served as guides. Today the Nova schools differ little from others in the district, but they continue to serve self-motivated students. In 2000, Nova High School was selected by Newsweek magazine as one of the top 100 high schools in the nation.