Naples Vineyards schools is located in North Naples Florida.
In the 1920s, students attending the wood frame schoolhouse on Fourth Street had more to contend with than learning the 3 R’s.
Sometimes the pipes from the potbellied stoves, used to warm the school on chilly days, would fall and dust students and teachers in soot., Another common stove mishap involved students getting their rubber-soled shoes or erasers melted and stuck on the stove, which created a terrible odor.
In the spring, horseflies were to blame for disrupted lessons.
“They’d buzz so. You would have to have a child go unlatch a window and shoo them out,” recalled Leila Canant, a teacher at the school who earned $25 a week.Vineyards Elementary School Address 6225 Arbor Blvd. Naples, Florida zip 34119
Vineyards Elementary School Real Estate
Today, the Naples area has 33 plus schools with more than 40,000 students and is fast moving into the technological era. In 1995, the five-member school board approved a $30 million technology plan that will put computers in every classroom and give students online access to the global Internet.
But in the early days, before booming growth and advanced technologies, county schools reflected the rustic nature of their small communities.
The school credited with being the first in the area was built in 1885 on a tiny island called Pig Key off Marco Island. Students from the villages of Caxambas, Old Marco and Goodland traveled to the uninhabited island by boat to attend class.
The Collier County Public School system became an official entity soon after Collier County separated from Lee County in July 1923. The first meeting of the three-member school board was held in Everglades City, then the county seat.
White and black students went to separate schools until 1967, when the board voted unanimously for desegregation.
Shortly before, in 1959, Herb Cambridge came to Naples to open a high school at the all-black George Washington Carver grammar school. The school’s auditorium is today the River Park Recreation Center.
Before Cambridge arrived, black high school students in Naples were bused 84 miles round-trip to Immokalee after school officials decided they wanted to keep them in the county and called off a program that sent black teens to school in Fort Myers.
When local schools were desegregated, Cambridge was reassigned to Naples High School, becoming the only black staff member.
Bringing together the two groups of people sometimes became a tense situation, but in the end, the desegregation plan was able to work, Cambridge said.
“I think we came out pretty good,” he recalled. “We have no identifiable all-white or all-black schools.”
Cambridge, who later earned a master’s degree in multicultural school administration and served for 20 years as district director of staff development until retiring in 1991, says the current administration is moving on the right track in furthering race relations.
In 1995, the district created a new administrative position that oversees diversity staffing, a move intended to encourage more minorities to apply for work with Collier County Public Schools.