A Letter from Superintendent Pujol

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Parents, guardians and community members:

The end of another school year is upon us.  Graduations, year-end projects, finals and class celebrations tell us that the summer is indeed here. As we finish the 2013-2014 school term, I want to thank you for your continuing support of our schools and students, and to update you on a few of our achievements.

First, our district continues to be an educational leader in this state and in our nation, thanks to the professionalism and tireless efforts of our capable staff. We rank third in the state and our student and district scores continue to move forward each year.

Specifically, we have seen many successes in our new pre-kindergarten program.  Our district received a grant award to coordinate our pre-kindergarten efforts and work with private childcare centers to expand early learning to more 4-year-olds, better preparing them for kindergarten and primary school. At the same time, we have begun building strong regional leadership efforts in career development for our high schoolers, including partnerships with the River Parishes Community College, Baton Rouge Community College and Associated Builders and Contractors.

We have continued to improve our learning environments by completing a second phase of facility and technology improvements on many of our older campuses, and by opening a new G. W. Carver Primary and doing an extreme makeover of Prairieville Middle, Dutchtown Middle and of Gonzales Primary.  At the same time, we have finalized our strategic plans for our Freshman Academies, and we will begin constructing those facilities in the coming months.

As stakeholders you trust that the school board not only provides a high-quality education for the children of the parish but that we are also responsible stewards with your tax dollars. Your continued support of tax renewal propositions over the last several years and of our strategic planning initiatives confirms your belief in us.

We pledge to continue our efforts of financial transparency and accountability to you and are extremely proud of our recent Financial Presentation Citation award. To be a recipient of such an award the school board must meet nationally recognized guidelines for an effective budget presentation. Of the 87,000 government entities in the United States and Canada only 0.2% of those entities, which included only two school districts in Louisiana, earned the award. This award is a testament to our continued efforts in strong fiscal management.

Recently, the “Center of American Progress,” a national educational research group, cited our school district for effectively distributing our qualified teachers across the district for the greatest impact on our students, especially our at-risk and impoverished students. Again these findings provide proof that our excellent teachers impact student achievement no matter the school or setting.

On behalf of the board, the administration, the faculty, and our support staff, we thank you for your continued interest in our efforts. Parental and community support are hallmarks of a healthy and growing school system. Thank you!

With kind regards,

Patrice Pujol, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Ascension Parish Public Schools