September 25, 2020 Update

Dear Ascension Public Schools Families,

This week, we have enjoyed a successful transition from an alternate day hybrid approach to daily in-person learning for all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. As of Wednesday this week, we are serving students in Pre-K through 8th grade in-person each day. In addition, Donaldsonville High School has completed the transition from hybrid learning to daily in-person services for students. Not only are our schools committed to transitioning students to in-person instruction, but we also remain committed to continued instructional services to 100% online learners in the Home Based Virtual Learning and Blended Learning programs during the second 9 weeks period.  

We want to give a special shout-out to the school leaders, teachers, and staff who made this past week’s transitions go smoothly. We also continue to be grateful for our primary school leaders, teachers, and staff who have been successfully conducting daily services for in-person learners since the beginning of this school year while still working to serve students online synchronously through Home Based Virtual Learning. As always, we are very fortunate to have dedicated leaders, teachers, and support staff at all of our schools at every grade level who continue to provide opportunities for students so that they can experience successful academic progress in these very challenging times.

Our larger high schools that remain in hybrid learning for the remainder of this first 9 weeks are preparing plans for a similar transition that will take place after Fall Break. Dutchtown High, East Ascension High, and St. Amant High each have student populations at or above 2,000, which creates challenges that require additional planning to ensure logistics for safety protocols are consistently followed. We are very grateful to the high school leaders, teachers, and staff for their measured approach to carefully plan a safe and effective transition for daily services to all in-person learners. Each of these high schools will release details about their transition in the very near future, which may vary by school. However, the general timeline will be the same: they will begin on Oct. 14th and will work to complete this transition by Oct. 26th. 

We must also acknowledge the hard work and commitment of our leaders and staff at APPLe Digital Academy who are serving 100% online learners enrolled in our Blended Learning Program, which is our asynchronous learning platform. Students enrolled in both online programs will have the choice to either stay in their current program or transition back to a school building.

REQUESTS TO CHANGE LEARNING PLANS
We are providing an opportunity for 100% online learners, Blended or Home Base Virtual, to return to in-person learning in the second 9 weeks. The application process for requesting that your child return to in-person learning will begin on Sept 28th  and closes on Oct. 7th. Parents of 100% Home Base Virtual Learners will receive information from their home base school about the process of moving to daily in-person learning. Parents of 100% Blended Learning students will receive information from APPLe Digital Academy about the process to return to their home base school for daily in-person learning. Once the window to request to move from in-person to online or online to in-person closes, additional requests will be handled on a case by case basis with required approval and timeline to be determined by the extenuating circumstances. 

A final note about online learning. We will assess the effectiveness of these online programs, as well as our state’s status relative to COVID-19 to determine whether we will continue to offer Home Based Virtual Learning during the Spring Semester. Should we transition back to a single full-time online platform in the Spring, it would be our traditional Blended Learning program that we have offered since 2013. Any decision to offer only one online platform would be made and communicated out to you by early December. 

FREE MEALS
Ascension Public Schools is offering Grab & Go meals for all Ascension Parish residents age 0 - 18 years for FREE. The cost of these meals is being covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during COVID-19. In addition, ALL students in Ascension Public Schools receive one free breakfast and one free lunch every school day. This is for in-person learning and virtual learners.

Reasons why you should take advantage of free meals include:

  • It extends your food budget & saves you time prepping lunches;
  • It's comforting & familiar to your kids to have food from school;
  • It's confidential & not just for low-income families;
  • You're helping the local food service program stay financially afloat; and

You're helping the food program use up food inventory = less waste.
As always, we are grateful for your support, patience, and partnership to work through the many challenges that we have encountered in order to have a successful school year. We look forward to continued successes, continued quality educational services, and continued academic progress of our students as we move into the second 9 weeks. We are excited about opening up extra-curricular activities and athletics that are so vital to our students and community! We are eager to share with you our path forward as we initiate the next steps in school construction projects that you all so generously agreed to fund in the last bond election. Finally, I know we all cannot wait for some cooler days and the holidays that are embedded in this next 9-week period.  

We are proud of our partnership and presence in this great community as YOUR public school system. Excellence. Ascending Together!

Respectfully,
 
David Alexander
Superintendent
Ascension Public Schools