Compiled by: Jewell Lemon
Titusville and the surrounding areas have seen many changes in the schools since home teaching and one-room schools. The first public school building was a log house in the neighborhood of LaGrange, between what is now Mims and Titusville. It served as the first school where 17 students began classes under the direction of Miss Narcissa Feaster. The community worshiped in the same building.
It seems that the old saying, "What goes around, comes around" fits the schools as well as other parts of life. Home-teaching, then one-room schools or schools in churches were the beginning, but in modern day we are finding a return to the same.
As the population grew in North Brevard, one-room schools in an area were consolidated into larger buildings, mainly with one teacher for each of two grades. This was the norm during the nineteen thirties and forties.
Where it was too distant for the students to walk, buses supplied transportation. About this time, there was a need for cafeterias, to give students hot lunches. Those within walking distance went home for lunch. That hour gave the children a much needed respite from classes. Those that remained at school, had extra recreation time. Ball games such as basketball, softball, keep-away, dodge ball, jacks, and tag games were played.
Teachers taught all subjects in elementary school. In addition P.E. and music were taught. The teacher also took the children to the library to check out books. Great was the day that special teachers were hired to teach these subjects and relieve the self-contained classroom teacher of those responsibilities. These were the days of segregation.
In 1883 there were two schools on Washington Avenue in Titusville, one for the negroes and one for the whites. The one for negroes was moved to Dummitt Ave. and South St. in 1886. The two-story building for the white students was on the site of the present City Hall.
In 1915 four classrooms of the white school were moved to Wager St. for the blacks. The school had two classrooms upstairs and two downstairs, which were used for all grades. On the site of the Washington Ave. school a new and larger school was built. This was called Titusville Elementary and High School.
The last three years that some of the Titusville Primary students remained at the original school on Washington Ave., the building was renamed Bayview. The building was demolished in 1967 and students went to Riverview and Whispering Hills.
Riverview Elementary School has had quite an interesting past. It was built on the site of the present Titusville High School as a elementary school to relieve over crowding at Titusville Elementary School. With a growing enrollment these students were moved to Apollo Elementary School. When Riverview became an empty building with a good location, it became an annex of T.H.S. for the language arts and social studies programs.
In 1970 a new Riverview Elem. School was built at Jolly St. near Harrison St. and closer to the town population. Since then the old Riverview has been used as a T.H.S. annex.
In Mims, early in the 1900's Mr. Mims donated land for a school across the street from the Methodist church, where students were being taught. In 1916 a two-story poured concrete building was built on the site where the present school is located. Many improvements and additions were made over the years. In 1978 a new wing was built for classrooms and an administrative suite.
In 1948 there were five schools in North Brevard: Titusville High School, Titusville Elementary School, Mims Negro Elementary School, Titusville Elementary and High School for Negroes, and Mims Elementary School.
In the fifties, this area began to increase in population and new buildings were needed. Gibson Elementary and High School for Negroes was built on Sycamore St. in Titusville. This school was named for Andrew Gibson, who came to Titusville before 1900 and was a persistent champion for the betterment of education for his race.
In the late fifties school designs took a big change and several finger-like buildings were constructed, The original Riverview Elementary, Whispering Hills Elementary and Parkway Junior High School were built by this plan. The schools on Washington Ave. were over crowded and schools were built nearer the populated areas of the town, which was westward. Students were moved out of the Titusville Elementary School and the 7th-9th were moved from Titusville High School to Parkway Junior High, which was the only two-story finger-like structure. This school was built at the corner of South St. and Park Ave. Whispering Hills Elem. School near by and Mr. Murry Swann went with grades one through six from Titusville Elem. School as principal.
Some primary grade students remained at the old school, which was called Titusville Primary. With the coming of the Space program and a close proximity to Titusville, the town grew rapidly. In 1963 Coquina Elementary School was built to take care of the students from the south end of town. This was a different plan, having free-standing pods for grade levels. When team-teaching and the open-space concept of teaching were introduced, the walls in the pods were removed to give more freedom to team teaching. This was the first school to have air conditioning and an assistant principal.
In 1965, as the town moved farther west, South Lake Elementary School was built on Garden St. This building was more compact than the finger-type buildings. It had pods for classrooms, a cafetorium, and a multi-purpose room for music, video, indoor P.E. classes, etc. All were built around an open courtyard. Team teaching was utilized.
In 1976 the 6th grade was moved to Parkway Middle School for two years to satisfy the middle school concept.
The North area Materials Center moved into the classrooms vacated, but in two years the 6th grade was moved back to South Lake and the Materials Center was moved to Coquina where the North Area Superintendent's offices had been moved.l At this time Gibson School was no longer used by the county school system. It became a community center for the black population.
A new concept of school buildings was adopted when Oak Park Elem., Apollo Elem., Jackson Middle School and Madison Middle School were built with one building that encompassed all classrooms in a box-like structure. These were all air conditioned with no windows, built around an enclosed courtyard.
In 1966 Jackson Middle School was started with double sessions at Parkway, with students from the south part of town. Madison Middle School was built of Dairy Road to relieve over-crowded Parkway with students from the north part of town. As the dwindling enrollment at Parkway was taken over by these two new schools, Parkway was closed in 1978.
Imperial Estates Elem. School in the south part of Titusville and Old Dixie Elem. in the north part of town were built during the late 60's. They were built with classroom pods for gr. 1-6. Neither had a cafetorium. Their food was prepared and delivered by neighboring schools. The complexes, which included an administrative and library suite were all built around an open court, used for at times sheltered P.E. classes, and other uses.
Due to a decrease in enrollment, Old Dixie was closed in 1977. Whereas, Imperial Estates was growing and had greater needs. Kindergartens were started at all of the elementary schools. Portable classrooms were brought in and finally recently a new wing was built to house a cafetorium, 14 classrooms, music and library. They now have a very sophisticated program called "Smart Technology" which gives them an enlarged computer system.
Oak Park Elem. School has made improvements by adding a therapy pool, a new wing for handicapped students and five portables. Most of the elementary schools have teachers for special education classes. Team teaching has been replaced by the traditional one teacher for one class. Home-schooling is growing in all sections of the area. Many special ed. students have been returned to regular classes at least part of the day as part of the inclusion process.
In 1968 Pinewood Elem. School was built to serve the most northern part of the county. It was built by a plan similar to the new Riverview school. Few changes have been made there, but some are due in the near future. A pavilion and 10 portable classrooms have been added. In 1971 Astronaut High School was built in the northwestern part of town to relieve Titusville High School of some of its nearly 3000 students. Many students are bussed to A.H.S. and T.H.S. now transports many students from Port St. John. Astronaut High School is a one-building structure, which includes all classrooms, a gym, a library, auditorium, cafeteria, and administrative suite.
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