The History of Emile School
What’s in a name? Was it by chance you were given a name? We were all given names as well as sizes, kinds and colors. This identifies each of us and makes us all unique.
A Swiss philosopher, Rousseau (1712-1778), wrote a book and gave it the title, “Emile.” This influential writer explored the nature of education and the nature of man. His story follows the life of a fictional character named Emile, and details an educational method for each stage of life. During the French Revolution, Emile served as the inspiration for what became a new national system of education.
During the late 1800s, some early Black educators from the North came to the South seeking employment. Professor Buchanan came from Tennessee with his family to Bastrop and was hired as principal of the school. It is assumed that Professor Buchanan, the father of Mrs. Maymie McPhaul, would have possessed the knowledge and background in such literature writings as Emile. And so it is believed the school received its name from Professor Buchanan. The school was built in 1892 on East Marion Street on a four acre spot in the Negro community of Bastrop. The original school was described as a two-story sealed building, four rooms on the first floor divided by spacious hallways, facing the West front with a divided double stairway and the East back, both entrances were closed with double doors that were approximately 8 feet high. Advanced students were housed on the second floor in two large classrooms and a spacious assembly classroom. The faculty was composed of the principal and approximately five assistants (women). The curriculum was basic for elementary and high school grades. The mascot for the school was the Lions.
Over the years the original school underwent many changes; both physically and socially. A new, larger building continued to house grades 1 -12 in the late 1940s. In the late 1950s, brick buildings added additional classrooms to the campus. The last high school class to graduate from Emile School was in May 1969. In September of that year, the Bastrop Independent School District was fully integrated. During this time Emile School closed and underwent renovations to house the fourth and fifth grade students. The name Emile was no longer used.
In 1988, BISD restored the name of Emile Elementary School to this historic institution, and served students from Pre-K through fifth grade.
Today Emile Elementary proudly continues the legacy in teaching and learning by providing educational experiences that will lead to the development of 21st century learners accepting of change, skilled in problem solving, and prepared to make positive contributions to society. Enrollment for 2014-15 was 570 students. With over 55% of students qualifying for free/reduced lunches, Emile is classified as a Title I / Rural Campus. Our students and their families face many economic hardships.
The boundaries for Emile Elementary include the eastern portion of Bastrop County. Many homes in our campus boundary were destroyed or damaged during the massive Wildfires of 2011. Students, teachers and families continue to rebuild their homes and their lives from this devastating event.