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Dufrocq Elementary School

Welcome to Dufrocq School!
The Dufrocq School offers three different instructional models including Montessori and an Academic Magnet through its “schools-within-a-school” approach but all 650 of its young people are united as citizens of their own MicroSocietyⓇ community called Crawfish Bayou. As the overarching theme, MicroSociety engages students from PK through 5th grade across five strands: Technology, Academy, Economy, Citizenship & Government, Humanities & Arts and HEART and key to their whole child developmental success is their collaboration with parents, business volunteers, and community leaders.
Using MicroSociety as the learning context for climbing Bloom’s taxonomy, these students utilize rigorous standards to nurture critical thinking skills, participate in creative arts, bridge an understanding to real life, and prepare students to successfully contribute to their community inside and outside their school.
Like any town, Crawfish Bayou is no stranger to challenges from protests over tax hikes to counterfeiters and even a bank robbery but at Dufrocq, staff and students embrace these setbacks-as-opportunities with excitement and as platforms to strengthen their skills in order to their right the wrongs of their society. Most recently, the state of Louisiana raised its academic standards for every grade level so of course, Dufrocq is partnering with Micro HQ for support and with an influx of new teachers who have never received MicroSociety training, we are excited too! “All students will succeed academically” indeed!! Nothing else is acceptable for Crawfish Bayou!

Leadership Team

Mary Robvais


Mrs. Mary Robvais has been touching the lives of young people for 42 years. Before entering administration, she worked as an elementary K-5 teacher, middle school reading teacher, Title 1 Reading and Math Specialist, and Teacher for Instructional Support. As principal of The Dufrocq School, she was determined to bring MicroSociety to her school in 2010 because she believes it is an essential tool for students to achieve academic success in all content areas. Her goal is to raise overall school performance and the school assessment index in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies; but more importantly, she wants students to be exposed to 21st century learning, college and career awareness and experience academic success beyond the elementary level.

Vachella Jones

Assistant Principal

Vachella Jones, assistant principal at The Dufrocq School, is a certified educator for the past 26 years, 12 years as a classroom teacher and 14 years as an administrator; however, her love for teaching began when she was a teen-ager at an early age working with 3-5 year old students during vacation bible school. It was at that time she discovered the joy of teaching and her love for children. She has had the privilege of working in diverse settings that include rural, suburban, and urban school settings and she will be the first to tell you that regardless of the setting, MicroSociety expands her professional growth and entrepreneurial spirit as an administrator and opens doors for a new innovative pathway of teaching and learning. It is the opportunity for students to be exposed to developing and personalizing their own community and learning about the business and governing aspects that make up a successful way of life.

Bernadine Simmons

Educational Consultant

Mrs. Simmons brings to Dufrocq 30 years of seasoning as a classroom teacher, Instructional Specialist, and Principal but these days she works closely with teachers in their professional learning communities as related to instructional planning, data review and goal setting. “MicroSociety provides the best opportunity for students to go beyond the classroom experiences to form partnerships with community leaders and business experts and receive guidance for their future endeavors, she states, “it is a privilege to be a part of an initiative where students are so enthusiastic about learning about the real world.”

Noi Mills

Magnet Coordinator

Mrs. Noi Mills is a wizard. As Magnet Site Coordinator of The Dufrocq School, she manages all three of the school’s models: Montessori, Academic Magnet programs and MicroSociety and she blends them all under the MicroSociety umbrella. As a member of the original team that brought MicroSociety to Dufrocq, Noi played a pivotal role in its initial planning stages. In those early days, she facilitated a venture but once she understood the magic of Micro, it did not take long for her to take over its management too and she never looked back. Every day she gets to see her students transform under its spell, connecting the classroom to real life situations, thriving with their newly discovered ability to think critically, problem solve, and take the lead in handling their own affairs. In 2017, Noi received the George Award for Outstanding MicroSociety Coordinator. Yes, MicroSociety is passion and students are the driving force behind all that she does.

Innovation- Combining Learning Philosophies

In a rare combination of learning philosophies, the Dufrocq School offers its community a combination of Montessori and MicroSociety programs for the
primary grades. According to Principal Robvais, the two models align perfectly through their hands-on approach. Together they create an academically challenging, peaceful atmosphere that nurtures a genuine love of learning, an internal sense of purpose and a motivation to excel. And for their older peers, MicroSociety provides the authentic learning context for the school’s academic magnet and its regular day program so that all students of the Dufrocq community develop character, an appreciation for their peers and are motivated to learn through inquiry, exploration, research and product creation.

Parent/Partner Salute

You might say that Bethany France is an education expert. She has served as Executive Director for Louisiana A+ Schools, a teacher training model that focuses on whole-school arts integration, since 2012. But that isn’t all. She has worked also in numerous positions that spearhead integrative approaches to learning at the state level.
At Dufrocq, this single Mom found a home for her two children in MicroSociety; they have been Dufrocq Ducks since the age of three. Lucas, now age 9, serves as the manager of Maria’s Cultural Corner, and Abby, age 11, now attends middle school, but served faithfully as a Crawfish Bayou Metro Council member.
“MicroSociety is important for so many reasons,” she says. “First of all, it creates a joy for learning that is rarely seen in most students. My son is excited to go to school every single day and never wants to check out early, especially since he is responsible for nearly 20 employees at the business he manages. He has learned important life skills that will help him as he gets older. Lucas can write a resume, participate in a job interview, write a business proposal and manage a staff all at 9 years old!”
Ms. France jumps at the first opportunity to volunteer at Dufrocq because she loves seeing shy children blossom into student leaders. “MicroSociety gives them a chance to play to their own strengths and interests while learning valuable work and real-life skills” proclaimed a very


Dufrocq is a National Merit Awards Winner.


Magnet Schools of America grant National merit awards annually to the most prominent magnet schools in the country. Nominees go through a rigorous review process including an application that is scored by a panel of educators and they must adhere to the five pillars of magnet school excellence. Schools are judged on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide specialized and innovative curricula and instruction, and leverage community partnerships to enhance the school’s theme-based program.

There are two categories of merit awards:

(1) Magnet Schools of Excellence, the top merit award given to a select group of magnet schools and (2) Magnet Schools of Distinction, the second highest award of recognition.In 2018, 389, magnet schools applied for national merit awards making it the most competitive year in the award program’s history.


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