Ascension Parish Schools ask voters for support

PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Students and teachers in Ascension Parish will have their eyes on the polls this weekend. Three taxes that directly impact them are up for renewal on Saturday.

They support teachers' salaries, technology and school maintenance.

On Thursday, the sixth graders in Jennifer Dixon's English and Language Arts class put down their pencils and picked up their smart tablets for a lesson in writing commercials.

"Today they are writing scripts. They are working together to plan props, materials," Dixon said.

Johnathan Lagattuta and Ethan Stutzman have created their own weather forecast using WAFB's model as a guide.

"It's tremendous what they can do on a daily basis. Some of the things they are doing are the same type of activities I did in graduate level courses," Dixon said.

Dixon credited Ascension Parish voters for supporting her students' advanced development. The technology at their fingertips is made possible through a millage tax which helps supply teachers and students with the latest and greatest innovations. It is the same tax that has also paid for high tech surveillance security systems in nearly every school in the parish.

"When you look around my classroom what you're going to see is motivation and engagement every single day, at much higher levels," Dixon said.

Superintendent Patrice Pujol said the system's one-to-one learning initiative, which allows students to take home computers or Ipads, has set them apart from their peers.

"We know that technology is the wave of the future, that all jobs will require technology and it is critical that our students are able to solve problems using technology as they learn in our classrooms," Pujol said.

While electronics are important, Pujol said the teachers are responsible for the school system's solid standing. She said when voters vote "yes" it helps Ascension Parish Schools stay on top.

"These mills help us to pay a competitive salary to our teachers so that we can attract and retain the best and brightest teachers for our students," Pujol said.

The school system currently has approximately 3,000 computer devices in its classrooms. Next school year administrators plan to increase that to 7,800.

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