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Ascension schools connect with students through technology

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The usual routine for local students has changed.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, school administrators and teachers turned to technology to reach students and their families.

Ascension Catholic Diocesean Regional School, a pre-K through 12th grade school in Donaldsonville, has maintained instruction through remote methods, according to Principal Sandy Pizzolato.

Our teachers and students have been adjusting well considering the circumstances,” Pizzolato said.

Every Ascension Catholic 5th through 12th grade student has been using the 1:1 Chromebook program. 

This made the adjustment much easier for teachers, students, and parents,” she said. “Our students and teachers were familiar with using Google Classroom and all the great resources it has to offer such as Google Meet that allows our teachers and students to have live interaction for instruction and support.”

Pizzolato credited the school’s faculty for their efforts throughout the unprecedented time.

I am so proud of their dedication to our students,” she said.

Students in primary grades were sent packets to complete. Also, they have been reading books to continue the ongoing accelerated reading program.

They are taking reading comprehension tests at home and participation is impressive,” Pizzolato said.

Though the younger students do not use Chromebooks, teachers have sent videos to parents to teach lessons and passed along greetings.

Teachers have sent messages to let the students know how much they are missed.

Our students have been wonderful throughout this ordeal. They really haven’t missed a beat. I can see how hard they are working every day and my heart is filled with pride for them,” Pizzolato said. “I miss seeing them and hearing the joy and laughter that once filled our campus.”

Meanwhile, Ascension Parish’s public schools have been leveraging Google Classroom, among other platforms, to connect with students while at home.

Our promise to you: we won’t quit,” said David Alexander, Superintendent of Ascension Parish Schools, in a correspondence to families. “And, to quote the state’s Acting Superintendent Beth Scioneaux, ‘Schools may have closed their classroom doors, but our work continues.’ We agree!”

The regularly scheduled Easter/Spring Break remains set for April 6 through 13. 

Ascension Parish Schools moved to one day of food distribution for an entire week. Each student can receive five breakfasts and five lunches, along with instructions for preparation and storage of the meals. 

The meals have been distributed at Donaldsonville High on the westbank, and East Ascension High on the east side, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Maintenance workers have cleaned all schools and buildings throughout the parish. Additionally, the district contracted a vendor to treat every school building with disinfectant.

I continue to be grateful to be part of a great team in Ascension Public Schools and for the privilege of serving a community that encourages, supports, and cares for each other during tough times,” Alexander said.