A letter from Superintendent Dr. Pujol

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Parents, guardians and community members:

Ascension Parish Public Schools began administering the state’s standardized tests this week, with students in grades 3-8 sitting for the PARCC examination that is associated with the state’s standards.  We are very proud to say that more than 99 percent of all our students who are eligible to take the tests are doing so this week.

We have received positive reports from every campus that students are engaged and working hard.  At the same time, our schools have been in direct contact with the parents of students who are out sick, and make ups are being provided at the end of the week.        

The items on the tests that are being administered have been developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, of which Louisiana is a founding member state, and they are associated with the Common Core State Standards.  The PARCC tests have replaced the LEAP and iLEAP tests in Louisiana for math and English Language Arts for students in grades 3-8.

We are very confident that the work done by our teachers, school level administrators and district level instructional staff has prepared our students to achieve success on this year’s tests.  Our educators have been steadfastly committed to preparing our students to succeed at a high level of expectation.  Rigorous academic standards are the hallmark of our district’s vision and philosophy as we prepare our students to compete in a global society.  Simply put, we strive to live our mission, to make “every child successful in an ever-changing world.”

I want to thank our parents for supporting our teachers and principals during this week of testing, and for supporting their children at home with positive environments, proper nutrition and sleep, and words of encouragement to take on any challenges these tests may pose for them.

It is important to note that unlike the LEAP assessment, PARCC is currently not a “high stakes” test, meaning that students will not be passed or failed based on the results.  In fact, the assessment will not impact a student’s classroom grade or placement in school at all.  Rather, the test is intended to be a tool that is used by individual teachers, this district and the state department of education to gauge how Louisiana students are performing on a set of standards.  PARCC is a criterion-referenced test that is designed to assess what concepts and skills a student has learned through the course of the school year.  Comparisons are made based on the student’s mastery of a learning standard rather than his or her comparison to another student.  Nonetheless, the state will compare the district’s overall scores to those across Louisiana and across the nation with those states that are using the same exam to determine how we might compare to our peers.

Please do not hesitate to contact your school if you have any questions about this week’s testing process.  We look forward to our Ascension Parish students’ continued success in demonstrating their ability to learn at high levels on the path toward college and career readiness.

With kind regards,

Patrice Pujol, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Ascension Parish Public Schools