Crawford Elementary School

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Crawford Elementary
Crawford Elementary 2.jpg
Established 1923
School type Public
Principal Mr. Oswald Townsend
Grades PK-6
Location 935 Daniel St.
Arcadia, Louisiana 71001
Phone (318) 263-8757
Enrollment apx. 415
Colors Black and Gold
Mascot Eagle
Homepage Crawford Elementary website

Crawford Elementary School is a public school located in Arcadia, Louisiana. It serves grades PK-6, and is part of the Bienville Parish school district.

Mission statement[edit]

The mission of Crawford Elementary School is to create a learning environment that educates and prepares students for the future. The goal is to provide educational experiences that will help ensure a better life for all students and achievement of their greatest potential.


Crawford Elementary, August 2007.

As of 2007, there are approximately 415 students, evenly divided between male and female. Crawford employs 26 teachers, with a teacher to student ratio of about 1:14; class size is slightly smaller than the state average. Student attendance rate is 96.4% (as of 2006), an improvement over the state average of 93.7%. Students are required to wear school uniforms following fairly standard uniform guidelines.


Classes last from 7:50am – 3:20pm, with a minimum of 385 instructional minutes, per day.
89% of core courses are taught by teachers meeting the No Child Left Behind “Highly Qualified” definition.
Crawford Elementary is currently labeled as a school having displayed “Exemplary Academic Growth” by the Louisiana Department of Education.


The Crawford Elementary school grew out of an urgent need for a place to provide education for students who had completed the eighth grade at the St. Duty Rosenwald School, which had been built by Byrd Theron Crawford in 1916.

Crawford came to Louisiana after graduating from Tuskegee Institute under such illustrious men as Dr. Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. Crawford was invited to Grambling to help his classmate and brother-in-law, Charles P. Adams, who had started a school in Grambling, Louisiana.

After the Rosenwald School had been built, Crawford was assigned to do extension work in Desoto Parish during 1917 and 1920.

The Negro citizens of Arcadia who were members of the St. Duty C.M.E. Church invited Crawford to return to Arcadia to build another school. These citizens were: Rev. M.R. Ivey, Rev. J.D. Hodge, Mr. Richard Duty and Mr. Ike Wilson. Crawford returned in 1921 to begin making plans for a new school.

During the pre-Bienville Parish Training School era, teachers who taught at the Rosenwald School were: B.T. Crawford, Mrs. Holland Crawford, Miss Clara McGuire, Mrs. Edna Heath, Mrs. Lily Rochelle, Mrs. Willa Hawk and Mrs. Lula Henderson.

With help from the Arcadia community, the Rosenwald Foundation, the Slater Foundation and other philanthropic agencies, the school was built and opened in the fall of 1923, offering ten grades with courses in English, Social Studies, Math, Agriculture, Shop, Home Economics, and Teacher-training.

Crawford later encouraged the community to help build a dormitory so that students throughout Bienville and adjoining parishes could get an education beyond the elementary grades.

The first graduating class (1924) consisted of five young ladies, each receiving a teaching certificate and accepting teaching positions in Bienville and Claiborne Parish. The faculty of the new school was as follows: Crawford, Principal and teacher; Miss Iva White, Home Economics; Miss Ozenia Simmons, Primary grades and Miss Clara McGuire, middle grades.

Other teachers of the young school included: Mr. and Mrs. B.D. Augustine, Mrs. Marie Holland, Miss Claudie Gipson, Mr. and Mrs. B.T. Crawford. These teachers represented such schools as Tuskegee Institute, New Orleans University, Homer College, Spelman College, and Louisiana Negro Normal (now Grambling State University).

Future graduating classes would produce many teachers who made history by starting schools in the parishes of Louisiana. Some became principals, assistant principals, counselors, supervisors, and master of elementary and secondary teachers.

The school continued to progress under the leadership of B.T. Crawford through the decade of the thirties. During these developmental years, students not only received basic education, but also received training in the fine arts. All students were required to take a test administered by supervisors from the State Department of Education in Baton Rouge in order to graduate from high school.

There was no graduating class in 1928. The eleventh grade was added in 1928-29. The students were issued teaching certificates. The class of 1935 was the last class to be issued teaching certificates from this school.

The 1940s were lean and hard years for the Bienville Parish Training School. Professor Crawford put forth tremendous effort, just to keep the school alive and running. With meager funding available, he relied upon the wisdom and guidance of God to provide educational opportunities for the black children of Bienville Parish. This struggle eventually took its toll on his physical strength, and in May 1948 B.T. Crawford passed from labor to reward.

In August 1948 A. R. Rollins was selected by the Bienville Parish School Board to the position of Principal of B.P.T.S. Principal Crawford left a well-experienced faculty; thus, giving the new principal a springboard for forward progress. The session of 1948-49 was a challenge for the new principal. He found the school with three classroom buildings: an administrative-classroom complex, agriculture shop, home economics building, lunchroom, combination office and bookroom, and a principal’s home. The faculty consisted of 14 teachers, 478 students, and 3 lunchroom workers, serving grades 1-12 with curriculum meeting the minimum standards for approval.

During the 1950-51 session, the Bienville Parish Training School became known as the Arcadia Colored High School and faculty was he increased to 16 members. Free hot lunches were provided to all children for that session. In 1950, music was added to the curriculum and the first band was organized. A shop building was added to the plant. A high school choir was organized in 1951. Band and choir music was performed both in the school and in local churches. The student body increased and another classroom building was added. In 1951 the school joined the LIALO (Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Association), which presented a problem for the school because of the lack of adequate transportation.

The name of the school was changed in 1959 to B.T. Crawford High School. 1954 brought the addition of a gymnasium. Public school music, trade, and industrial education were also added to the curriculum. In 1957 the school was placed on the approved list of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, which served as the regional accreditation agency.

In 1969 Principal Rollins took a supervisory job in the Bienville Parish School Board office; James Crawley was selected to succeed him. Crawley served as principal for the 1969-1970 sessions. At this point, the effects of desegregation relegated the school to Junior High status, with Crawley continuing as principal. Crawford Junior High was reduced to a K-6 elementary school in 1976 with James Crawley as principal until 1981 at which point he moved to a position in the central office of the school board.

In October 1981 Edward Mason, Sr., a 1948 graduate (the last graduating class under the founder B.T. Crawford) was selected to succeed James Crawley. Mason served the school and continued its long and rich heritage of providing educational opportunities for children of the Arcadia and Bienville Parish District 1 and 2 areas.

Former principals of Crawford Elementary include: Ray Robinson, Rosiland Russell, Flynn Ludley, and Bill Collinsworth. The current principal is Oswald Townsend, a 1974 graduate of Arcadia High School.

Crawford Elementary School, August 2007.

External links[edit]