Avoyelles public, parochial schools begin this week

APSD schools open Tuesday; Diocesan schools open Monday

There are some significant differences in this year’s “first day of school,” but overall it still boils down to students, teachers and school support personnel working together to prepare children for life after high school.

The Avoyelles Parish School District (APSD) will start its 4-day school week Tuesday (Aug. 13). The Catholic parochial schools welcome students back to the classrooms today (Aug. 12).

“Our main two goals are: (1) make the 4-day week work, meaning keep making progress with test scores while adjusting instruction to longer days and shorter weeks,” APSD Superintendent Blaine Dauzat said, “and (2) try to survive financially with the opening of a new charter school in Avoyelles.”

The new charter school, Red River Charter Academy (RRCA), will begin classes on Aug. 20 in the former Mansura Middle/High School with an enrollment of almost 200 students in grades 6-8.

Dauzat said the School Board faces major decisions this school year, “such as which school(s) to close” due to the effect of RRCA on the enrollment in grades 6-8.

The four parochial schools in Avoyelles -- St. Joseph in Plaucheville, Sacred Heart in Moreauville, St. Mary’s Assumption in Cottonport and St. Anthony of Padua in Bunkie have opted to retain the traditional 5-day school week. That decision means the few parochial students who used public school buses to get to and from school will now have to use other transportation options.

Diocese of Alexandria Superintendent Thomas Roque said he is “excited about the new year. We will continue to work on our instructional programs and great academic pursuits of our students.”

Roque said he expects enrollment in grades 6-8 to be down slightly “due to the new charter school.”

“It’s like I told my teachers and administrators,” Roque continued, “we will teach the students who come to us.”

Roque and Dauzat both commented on the valuable, interesting and informative inservice sessions teachers had in the week leading up to opening day. Both superintendents also noted they are expecting “a great year.”

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