Message from School Superintendent David Alexander

Dear Ascension Public Schools Family,

Happy New Year! We hope that the holiday season was special and that you each are left with many great memories of a wonderful time with family and friends. Now that we are back to business, we look forward to the spring semester and all that is ahead for our students. We are grateful for the work of everyone that made the first semester of this unusual year not only manageable but also successful, and we are confident that the same commitment to teamwork will result in a successful spring semester.

Our teachers will be asking students for their continued commitment and dedication to making academic progress so that we all celebrate the successful completion of semester two, and ALL students are properly prepared for their next step in life. We are especially excited about the graduates of 2021, and we look forward to celebrating this special moment on May 12th, 13th, and 14th with graduates and their families. Again, there is so much to look forward to but yet, lots of work to do in the weeks and months ahead so that we finish out the 2020-21 school year with the success that our community, students, teachers, and schools are accustomed to. Below are a few reminders and information to ensure we remain on a successful path:

COVID-19:

On Dec. 22nd, Governor John Bel Edwards extended the modified Phase 2 Executive Order until Jan. 13, 2021. That means our schools continue to operate under Phase 3 guidelines, the same as before the holiday break. Those guidelines, when properly followed, allow us to minimize and even eliminate the infectious spread in our schools. We will continue to ask all employees and students to avoid attending work and school when experiencing ANY symptoms that may be an indication of an illness (cough, fever of 100.4 or higher, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell). This commitment to staying home when symptoms exist may be the most important preventive measure of infectious spread and minimizes the inconvenience of quarantining for others who are healthy.

In addition, schools and the workplace will continue the commitment to an initial screening each day. Face coverings continue to be required, frequent hand sanitizing will be encouraged, and we will continue to socially distance to the greatest extent possible. As we have always mentioned, in most classrooms we are not able to achieve the 6-foot distancing resulting in students being close contacts when positive cases exist, but as mentioned above, if individuals self-monitor properly and stay home when ill, this will reduce some of the close contact quarantining. We will continue to implement the CDC guidelines recommended by LDH regarding quarantine periods where quarantined individuals may return earlier than 14 days given compliance with certain criteria. We have also received additional guidance from LDH and LDOE that recommends Kindergarten through 2nd-grade students remain quarantined for the entire 14 days instead of returning early. Finally, athletic activities also require that the 14 days be completed prior to returning to competition, although athletes may return to in-person instruction early as prescribed by the early return guidelines.

UPCOMING ACCREDITATION:

Ascension Public Schools, along with each of its schools, engages in a continuous improvement process, of which all stakeholders are an integral component. This process is audited every 5 years and is known as the accreditation process. Cognia is the accrediting agency, formally known as AdvancEd and prior to that, known as SACS. As part of our preparation for the accreditation visit, each of the district’s school campuses will use the Cognia e-Prove Parent Survey as a means of gathering parent opinions on areas of strength and areas in need of growth. The six sections on the survey represent areas of quality for schools and school systems and provide a means for learning about parent opinions within these areas. We value your feedback and ask that you please take the time to complete this survey by January 15, 2021. To access the survey for your child’s school, please see the email sent by your principal. If you have children at more than one school, please fill out each school’s survey as the information will go directly to the individual school.

NEW ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEMS:

Starting today, the district launched two new online payment systems: My School Bucks for cafeteria payments and School Cash Online for all other payments. Click on the links for registration instructions, which can be found in Peachjar.

SPRING HOLIDAYS & STAFF DEVELOPMENT:

For your information, the following is a list of either holidays or staff development days when students will not have school this spring:

*Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, Staff Development
*Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
*Monday, Feb. 15 – Wed. Feb. 17, 2021, Mardi Gras Holidays
*Monday, Mar. 22, 2021, Parent-Teacher Conference (primary schools only)
*Friday, Apr. 2 – Friday, Apr. 9, 2021, Easter Holidays
This information can be found in the district calendar.
As always, thank you for your partnership, cooperation, and support of our mission to provide high-quality educational services to the children of this community. We continue to be grateful that we can pursue this mission in a community that agrees that educating children is essential and urgent. We look forward to celebrating all the accomplishments of students this spring as they enjoy continued growth academically, as well as the development of skills around their talents and interests in preparation to pursue the dreams of THEIR choice after graduation. #Excellence #AscendingTogether
Respectfully,
Superintendent David Alexander

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