Public schools open in a week
Public school in St. Mary Parish starts in one week with a major change in store as the state transitions to the Common Core Standards curriculum this year.
The first official day of school for students will be Aug. 7. Teachers, administrators and other school personnel will meet Tuesday for an in-service, during which they will receive information on new policies and legislative mandates.
St. Mary School Superintendent Donald Aguillard cautioned parents regarding the importance of opening day attendance as students will be marked absent and miss important information if they are not present.
According to state policy, elementary and junior high students are allowed 11 absences during the school year. Students in grades 9-12 are allowed six absences per semester. Students are also expected to arrive on the first day of school in full uniform.
LEAP test results from summer retesting will not be released by the state department until Aug. 7. If the summer retest score alters a student’s placement, parents will be contacted about the change on Aug. 7.
Aguillard said teachers have participated in workshops throughout the summer to prepare for full implementation of Common Core in mathematics and English language arts.
According to the state Department of Education website, Louisiana defines academic standards for core subjects.
“The Common Core State Standards define what students need to learn in reading, writing and math in each grade to stay on track for college and careers. The Common Core State Standards are more rigorous, more focused and more relevant to the long-term success of students,” the website states.
Aguillard said students will be presented with content and activities that increasingly adhere to the standards’ more rigorous academic expectations throughout the coming year as schools transition to the new curriculum.
Shifts in administration resulted in several leadership changes across the parish.
Additional assistant principal positions were approved for Bayou Vista Elementary, Berwick Elementary and Patterson Junior High schools due to increasing enrollment. Those positions were accepted by Carol St. Germain at Bayou Vista Elementary, Shantell Toups at Berwick Elementary and Steve Russo at Patterson Junior High.
Additionally, retirements and medical leave caused more changes at the administrative level.
The retirements of Elaine Cureton and Ronald Hawkins at Norman and LaGrange elementary schools, respectively, led to the appointment of Shannon Hoffpauir, moving from assistant principal at Hattie Watts Elementary, and Paul Godfrey, changing from assistant principal at Raintree Elementary, to serve in the principal positions at those schools. Replacing Hoffpauir and Godfrey are Brandy Breaux at Hattie Watts and Markita Grant at Raintree.
Berwick Junior High School principal Tommy Bourgeois will be on an extended medical leave. That led to the transfer of instructional program manager Teresa Bagwell to serve as the school’s acting principal.
The non-renewal of two assistant principal contracts created openings at both Morgan City High, filled by Carmen LaGarde, and Franklin Junior High, which adds Kiante Gunner.
The St. Mary Parish School Board renewed an annual allotment for school supplies and science materials, which has been in place the last six years. The allocation of $22.50 per student to each school is a means of offsetting the cost of supplies, fees and science materials.
Other guidelines of note include cell phone use, immunization requirements and school lunch prices.
The parish cell phone policy for students has been in place since 2011. St. Mary Parish allows students in grades 6-12 to bring cell phones on school premises with the understanding that phones must be turned off, completely powered down and kept in a car or school locker during regular school hours.
Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade are not permitted to have cell phones on school grounds, during school hours, for any reason.
Documented proof of up-to-date immunizations is mandated by state law. Immunizations are required for students entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, daycare and Head Start programs. State law also requires that any student who is age 11 in any grade, or as a condition of entry into sixth grade, must provide evidence of current immunization against meningococcal disease along with any other age-appropriate vaccine.
Today’s edition of The Daily Review includes the district’s bus transportation routes. Bus routes can additionally be found on the Parents/Students page of the parish website.
School lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year will reflect an increase. Lunch costs for students in grades pre-kindergarten through 5 will be $1.55, and students in grades 6-12 will pay $1.80. All breakfast prices will remain at the current level of 75 cents. Students may pay for meals daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
All students will receive free and reduced meal applications, but parents are reminded that only one application should be completed for all children in the household.
For more information on Common Core, visit www.louisianabelieves.com/academics/common-core-state-standards.