SARASOTA, Sept. 28, 2016 – The students, staff and families of Bay
Haven School of Basics Plus are throwing a week-long birthday party from Sept.
26-Oct. 1. The celebration is including special lessons, activities and events
every day to involve the school family and the surrounding community in
commemorating the school’s opening day in 1926. One of the highlights of the week
was burying a time capsule to be opened at the 100th anniversary
party in 2026.
At a Sept. 28 ceremony to bury the time capsule, Principal Chad Erickson
said Bay Haven was celebrating 90 years of outstanding instruction, excellent
students and dedicated volunteers. He said that when Bay Haven School opened in
the 1920s, Yo-yos, puzzles, Lincoln logs, jump ropes and teddy bears were the
most popular toys. The most popular form of family entertainment was gathering
around the radio after dinner (if the family was lucky enough to have electricity).
A dollar could buy a pair of jeans or six gallons of gasoline.
Among the firsts that occurred in that decade were Charles Lindbergh’s
first solo flight across the Atlantic, the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the
first Winter Olympics, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the first Sears store opening,
the beginning of work on Mt. Rushmore and the first Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Shifting focus from the past to the future, Mr. Erickson noted that most
of the students at the ceremony will be enrolled or have graduated from college
when the capsule is opened. Sue Gordon’s fourth-grade class created the
capsule. The reminders of life in 2016 they included were toys, video games,
CDs, a flash drive, two phones and letters from current students to those who
will be at Bay Haven in 10 years.
Bay Haven Birthday Bash photos; clockwise from top left
With encouragement from classmates, fourth-grader Nolan
Welch, center, models the flapper dress she made from newspaper.
Principal Chad Erickson, teacher Rolf Hanson and Assistant
Principal Sean Cheeseman pose with school volunteer Brian Post and
second-grader Ripley Post in front of the rainbow eucalyptus tree that Post and
Hanson planted. The tree is a gift to the future dedicated at the birthday celebration Sept.
28. Post said the tree may reach a height of more than 100 feet.
Mr. Cheeseman leads the Bay Haven
student body in singing “Happy Birthday” to their school.
Mr. Erickson hosts the ceremony for burying a
Bay Haven and Southside elementary schools were built from identical
plans in the Mediterranean Revival style. The schools were designed to accommodate
600 students each and cost $72,000 apiece to build.
The schools’ locations north and south of the city center were
recommended by nationally renowned city planner John Nolen, who planned the
city of Cambridge, Mass. Some city leaders were skeptical about building new
schools so far from downtown.
Mrs. Mason H. Rose was the first principal of Bay Haven. The school
received strong support from parents from the first year it opened.
The Great Depression closed Sarasota's public schools for lack of funds
in February 1933. The Bay Haven PTA kept the doors open by charging tuition to
families who could afford to pay and sponsoring fundraisers for those who could
Parents worked in the kitchen and provided vegetables, canned fruits
and milk for free lunches for needy students. In 1934 the Florida PTA
convention honored the Bay Haven PTA for its welfare work and membership
In 1937, Bay Haven established the first in-house elementary school
library in Sarasota County. In 1962, Bay Haven became the first Sarasota County
elementary school to be integrated, enrolling 29 African-American students. Bay
Haven became the site of the first kindergarten in a Sarasota County public
school in 1964. The school building was listed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 1982.
In 1983, Bay Haven was designated a magnet school that students from
any neighborhood north of Gulf Gate could attend. The name was changed to the
School of New Basics to reflect a back-to-basics curriculum created in response
to a rising national concern about school quality and the need to improve
student’s fundamental academic skills.
The key features of the curriculum were Spanish language instruction,
more computers, smaller classes and increased parent involvement. For their
children attend the new school, parents and guardians were required to sign contracts
that committed them to enforce academic and behavioral standards, to attend PTA
meetings and to volunteer time at the school.
In 1990, Bay Haven received the
National Elementary School Recognition Program Award.
Today the Bay Haven
School of Basics Plus retains its popularity, its tradition of parent
involvement and its high academic standards.
The birthday celebration will continue with birthday cake being served
at Friday’s lunch and students performing historical sketches and songs. On
Saturday, Oct. 1, the community is invited to a special celebration that will
include an Anniversary Day proclamation, hallway exhibits and an antique car
Mr. Erickson said bringing the history of the
school to life is helping students appreciate the strong academic tradition of
their school and how it was involved in the vast social and economic changes
the city of Sarasota has experienced in the nine decades since the school