History of Fayetteville Public Schools

Celebrating 150 Years

Founded in 1871, Fayetteville School District #1 was the first school district granted a charter by the State of Arkansas. The Fayetteville Board of Education held its first meeting on March 20, 1871, at the Washington County Courthouse.

1871-03-20 00:00:00

First Public School District in Arkansas

FPS chartered as the first public school district in Arkansas. The first meeting of the Fayetteville school board was held on March 20 in the Washington County Courthouse.

1872-08-01 00:00:00

Henry Crawford First African American FPS School Board Member

In 1872, Henry Crawford was the first African American to serve on the Fayetteville Board of Education. He was appointed to the school board in 1872 and served until 1874. The records note that he was well respected by the other board members, who appointed him to the teacher committee of the school board.

1881-08-01 00:00:00

Land for Washington School is Purchased

The district purchases land for a new school at the corner of Lafayette and Highland.

1886-12-19 04:54:42

Washington School Opens

A three-story school opens in 1886 with six classrooms and two large rooms. It is formally named Washington School in 1889.

1890-06-01 01:20:36

View of Fayetteville in 1890

View of Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1890.

1890-07-01 13:18:23

N.P. Gates First Superintendent

N.P. Gates is named first Superintendent of Schools.

1891-09-01 08:28:01

Jefferson School Opens

Jefferson School opens at the corner of Church St. and Block Ave.

1900-07-01 13:18:23

J.C. Mitchell Named Superintendent

J.C. Mitchell is named Superintendent of Schools.

1900-09-04 11:59:03

Leverett School Opens

Leverett School opens at the corner of Maple & Garland. It is named for University of Arkansas professor Charles Leverett.

1904-07-01 13:48:59

F.S. Root Named Superintendent

F.S. Root is named Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Root is the longest serving superintendent of schools in Fayetteville Public Schools history.

1907-05-31 00:39:51

Washington School Graduating Class of 1907

Miss Beulah Whitcomb stated she was a teacher in 1924 – she reported that she had 50 pupils in her third grade class. In 1907 – pictured here she said the entire graduating class of 50 were served by one teacher.

1908-08-01 11:59:03

Fayetteville High School Opens

Fayetteville High School opens at West Avenue and Center Street.

1911-06-02 01:23:29

First FHS Graduating Class

First FHS Graduating Class

1913-08-01 01:23:29

1913 Faculty

1913 Faculty

1915-05-28 15:27:05

FHS Class of 1915

Fayetteville High School graduation class of 1915. Forty-seven students graduated in 1915.

1918-03-01 00:39:51

1918 Epidemic

Scarlet Fever hit Fayetteville hard. School closed for two weeks in March and all children had to be vaccinated before returning to school.

1921-08-01 01:23:29

Leverett School - First PTA in Arkansas

Leverett School becomes the first school in Arkansas to become a member of the National Congress of Mothers, later known as the PTA.

1921-09-01 01:23:29

Westside Elementary School Opens

Westside Elementary School opens.

1921-09-01 01:23:29

Annex Added to FHS

Because of overcrowding, a six-room annex is added to FHS. The total enrollment is 668.

1921-09-01 01:23:29

Harmon Field Groundbreaking Ceremony

A groundbreaking ceremony is held at Harmon Field for an athletic field.

1927-10-01 01:23:29

First Football Game at Harmon Field

FHS plays its first football games at Harmon Field.

1931-08-20 19:35:07

Washington Elementary Students

Washington Elementary School students, about 1931.

1932-06-01 01:23:29

Jefferson School Moves

Jefferson School moves to South College & Third St. in a new WPA building.

1938-09-01 00:39:51

Washington Elementary Students

Ada Lee Smith and friends at Washington Elementary School, about 1938. William Carl Smith, photographer.

1939-06-01 01:23:29

Leverett School Moves

Leverett School moves to its current location at Garland & Cleveland.

1940-09-03 00:39:51

Fayetteville 1940s

Bird’s-eye view of Fayetteville, looking west from Mt. Sequoyah, 1940s. William Carl Smith, photographer.

1942-07-01 19:50:47

Virgil Blossom Named Superintendent

Virgil Blossom is named Superintendent of Schools.

1950-08-01 19:35:07

1950-51 Students & Teachers

Eighth grade students and teachers in 1950-51. Teachers pictured are Mrs Gwaltney and Mrs Crittenden

1951-08-15 01:23:29

T.L. Bates Elementary School Opens

T. L. Bates Elementary School opens. Westside Elementary School closes, is renovated, and becomes the Central Administration Office.

1952-06-01 01:23:29

FHS Moves & Hillcrest Junior High Opens

Fayetteville High School moves to 1001 Stone Street. The former FHS becomes Hillcrest Jr. High.

1953-07-01 15:27:05

Wayne White Named Superintendent

Wayne White is named Superintendent of Schools.

1954-05-17 01:23:29

FPS Voluntarily Integrates

Fayetteville Board of Education votes to voluntarily integrate Fayetteville High School just days after the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court becoming the first Arkansas school distirict to voluntarily integrate.

1954-10-01 12:56:05

FHS Cheerleaders

FHS Cheerleaders in 1954.

1955-08-01 01:23:29

Root Elementary School Opens

Root Elementary School opens. It is named for Dr. F.S. Root, who served as FPS Superintendent from 1904-1942.

1957-11-15 01:23:29

FHS Football Team Undefeated Season

The 1957 FHS football team completes an undefeated season, the only undefeated season in FHS football history.

1959-08-01 01:23:29

Woodland Junior High School Opens

Woodland Jr. High School opens.

1960-08-01 01:23:29

Clark McClinton Named to State Board of Education

Fayetteville resident and former school board member Clark McClinton is named to the State Board of Education, where he will serve until 1970.

1962-08-01 01:23:29

Asbell Elementary School Opens

Asbell Elementary School opens. It is named for John Asbell, a prominent preacher in Fayetteville in the early 20th century, and is on the site of the former Asbell family home.

1965-08-01 01:23:29

West Campus Technical Center Opens

West Campus Technical Center opens.

1965-08-15 01:23:29

Lincoln School Closes

Lincoln School closes, and black elementary students are moved to Washington, Jefferson, and Bates Elementary Schools.

1966-08-01 16:32:29

Ramay Junior High School Opens

Ramay Jr. High, named for long-time FPS educator M.O. Ramay, opens.

1968-08-01 16:32:29

Butterfield Trail Elementary & Happy Hollow Elementary Open

Butterfield Trail Elementary and Happy Hollow Elementary Schools open. Both were built in the "school without walls" design.

1969-02-08 03:25:42

Jefferson School

Jefferson School in the late 60s or early 70s.

1969-06-01 16:32:29

Harry Vandergriff Named Superintendent

Superintendent Wayne White resigns to take a position in Florida. Assistant Superintendent Harry Vandergriff is named the new superintendent of schools.

1972-08-01 16:32:29

Uptown School Opens

Uptown School opens to serve students who are in danger of dropping out of school.

1972-08-01 16:32:29

Fayetteville Leads the Fight to Bring Kindergarten to Arkansas Public Schools

FPS associate superintendent Henrietta Holcomb and state representative Hugh Kincaid lead the fight in the Arkansas General Assembly in 1975 to bring kindergarten to Arkansas public schools.

1979-10-06 13:06:29

FHS Homecoming Parade Moves from Fayetteville Square

FHS 26 Club votes to not hold the Homecoming Parade at the Fayetteville Square, citing the condition of the buildings around the Square. This becomes the catalyst for the renovation of the Square.

1980-06-01 13:06:29

FPS First African American Principal

John L Colbert is named as the new principal of Jefferson Elementary. He is the first African American to serve as a building principal for FPS.

1982-07-01 13:06:29

Dr. Winston Simpson Named Superintendent

Superintendent Harry Vandergriff retires. Dr. Winston Simpson is named the new Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 1982.

1983-08-01 22:16:35

FPS Gifted & Talented Program Begins

FPS starts a gifted & talented education program. Barbara Prichard is named the first director of the program.

History of Fayetteville Public Schools

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