ASCENSION EPISCOPAL SCHOOL

COVID-19/Distance Learning Updates

Please check this page regularly for school updates. We will continue to update this page as decisions are made and communicated with our families.  


Head of School Update

April 1, 2020

Dear Ascension Family,
These are truly unprecedented times for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic may well be the mightiest challenge we have faced in our lifetimes. And yet, amid all the uncertainty and unknowns we are facing, I feel a great sense of optimism and pride. Every day, I am inspired by the creative work and ideas being generated within our Ascension community. The positive attitude of our students, faculty, and staff, the willingness of everyone to do whatever it takes to move forward and get the job done, and the sense of compassion and responsibility across our broader community show our school’s true spirit. I am convinced we will deal with this challenge successfully, and the process will help us become better people and a better school.

Our priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety of our community. In keeping with the most recent recommendations and guidelines of our government and health officials, our three campuses will remain closed through Friday, May 1st. We will continue with our distance learning plan during this period. As a reminder, our Spring Break will run from Monday, April 6th - Monday, April 13th. Classes (via our distance learning program) will resume on Tuesday, April 14th.


Our administrative team has been discussing options for assessments and 4th quarter grading given the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. There has also been a collaborative effort with schools across the country as everyone is deciding how to best proceed with evaluations. At Ascension, we have considered many factors throughout this process. First, we fully acknowledge that this situation has been stressful for students, their families, and our faculty. We feel that students benefit from the accountability and feedback that assessments offer, but we also realize that assessments can and should look different in the distance learning setting, especially under these unique conditions. We do not want these unusual conditions in any way to reflect negatively on a student’s academic record, but we do want to provide an opportunity for continued learning and possible improvement in their grades as well. Obviously, this will look different across the three campuses and even divisions, so please look for an email from your campus director this afternoon for more details.


Given that distance learning will continue well beyond the initial term, we may be making adjustments to ensure our distance learning model is sustainable for our faculty and students, while also maintaining academic integrity and meeting the needs of all involved. To be completely honest, we expect glitches and issues along the way, but with the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students, learning will continue and academic progress will be made.


Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we continue to navigate this new landscape.
Jeff Plunk's Signature

Jeff Plunk
Head of School
Ascension Episcopal School
337-233-9748, ext. 208 

Updates on Events and Trips:*
All ERB testing for DT Campus - Canceled
3rd grade to state capitol, St. Martinville, and swamp tour  - Canceled
4th grade to Nature Station and Houston  - Canceled
6th grade to Dallas - Canceled
7th grade LA study tour - Canceled         
8th grade Boston - Canceled and rescheduled for next spring
9th, 10th, and 11th grade end of year trips - Canceled
Sweet Sixteen (not an Ascension event) Postponed
60th Anniversary Gala - Postponed
5th grade and MS Spring Dance - Canceled
Stations of the Cross - Canceled

*This list is not complete and will continue to be updated.  Decisions about events not listed here have not been made at this time. 

 School Communication


  • 4-1-20 / EMAIL / SMP Director's Message - Assessments

    Dear SMP Parents and Students,


    I hope you have had time to read Mr. Plunk’s email concerning the continuation of distance learning, assessments, and expectations. The Upper School teachers are working daily to provide the necessary content to ensure our students are prepared to move forward beyond this semester. We have been extremely pleased with the attentiveness and participation of most students. Now that we know distance learning will continue through May 1st, our goal as a school is to continue providing a high level of education with the understanding that assessing and evaluating the students’ progress will look different.

    The daily distance learning schedule will continue when we return from Spring Break on April 14th (see schedule attached). Students will be expected to continue course work as long as we continue distance learning. The end of the year grades will be calculated using one of the following two options:

    Option 1 - The 4th quarter grade is recorded as earned. This option would take effect if the grade improves the student’s final average. The 4th quarter grade is then averaged in with the 1st semester and 3rd quarter to calculate the final course grade.

    Option 2 - The 4th quarter grade is an average of semester 1 and quarter 3. The final average is calculated using the 1st semester and 3rd quarter only. This option is for the student who earns a 4th quarter grade that does not benefit the student’s final average.

    NOTE - IN ORDER TO RECEIVE OPTION 2, THE STUDENT MUST PASS THE COURSE WITH THE MINIMUM OF 60%. A 4TH QUARTER AVERAGE EARNED BELOW 60% WILL BE RECORDED AS THE 4TH QUARTER GRADE AND THEN AVERAGED WITH THE 1ST SEMESTER AND 3RD QUARTER. This is to ensure that students remain active and engaged in their education.

    Example - A student currently has a 1st-semester grade of an 80 and a 3rd quarter of a 76. Using a weighted calculation with the 1st-semester counting as ⅔ of the average and the 3rd quarter counting as ⅓ of the average, the student’s average prior to 4th quarter is currently a 79. Using a weighted calculation with the 1st semester counting as ½ of the average and the 3rd and 4th quarter each counting as ¼ of the average, a 4th quarter grade of 82 or above will raise the student’s end of the year average. Any grade below an 82 would not be factored into the student's final grade, as long as the student earned at least the required 60% in the course.

    These options will be available to students in every class.

    The seniors' last day of classes will be April 30th as originally scheduled. The only exams given to seniors will be AP and dual enrollment exams. All other courses will not be administering exams.

    As we move forward, the teachers will continue to be understanding and flexible, but assignments, assessments, and evaluations must be completed in a timely manner. If a student has not completed assignments that are now past due, he/she must turn them in as soon as possible. Teachers are beginning to give tests. There may be tests or assessments that require a student to be present in an online session. If students cannot be present for a particular test or assessment, they should be sure to communicate in advance with their teachers.

    We do understand that there will be adjustments that will have to be made as we move forward. Our hope is that our flexible schedule has helped the students develop a routine that works for them. Our teachers are working daily to provide the necessary content to ensure our students are prepared to move forward beyond this semester, while also seeking to strike a balance between striving for academic integrity/rigor and being sensitive to the potential stressors our students and families may be experiencing.

    I am confident that the lessons learned over the years as Ascension students have aided in their ability to adapt and be successful. If there are any questions or concerns about the courses or assignments, please reach out to the teacher. For any other concerns, please feel free to email myself or Ms. Fournet. Thank you for your effort, patience, and support during this uncertainty.

    --
    Chris Dardar
    SMP Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    1030 Johnston St.
    Lafayette, La. 70501
    (337) 254-0814
    www.ascensionbluegators.org

  • 4-1-20 / EMAIL / DT Director's Message - Assessments

    Dear Downtown Parents,

    I am reaching out to you today in my role as Interim Downtown Director. As I noted in my email earlier today, for now, distance learning will continue when we return from Spring Break on April 14th and run through May 1st. Our goal as a school is to continue to provide a high level of education, while maintaining relationships with students and encouraging their growth academically and developmentally, with the understanding that assessing and evaluating the students’ progress will look differently.

    Our teachers are working daily to provide the necessary content to ensure our students are prepared to move forward beyond this semester, while also seeking to strike a balance between striving for academic integrity/rigor and being sensitive to the potential stressors our students and families may be experiencing. With that in mind, we do not want this situation to negatively impact a student’s grade for the year. Here is how 4th quarter grade reporting will work for students on the downtown campus:

    1st - 2nd grade
    One-to-one interactions and face-to-face contact are needed to most reliably make growth assessments for this age level. Therefore, “grading” 4th quarter skills is not feasible as teachers and students have not had the opportunity to be together physically. Given that teachers do have three quarters of data and interactions, they will be able to make reliable recommendations and promotion decisions for each student. Our teachers will be reaching out to provide more details on how this will look going forward. We ask that you still encourage your child to participate in daily lessons and meet the weekly expectations that our teachers are working hard to provide. Maintaining structure and reinforcing concepts are important for our little ones as we strive to offer some sense of normalcy in our virtual classroom routines and in our homes.

    3rd - 7th grade
    In each core course, students will earn one of two grades for 4th quarter: either the 4th quarter grade earned via distance learning or the average of the grades they earned in their first three quarters, whichever is higher. Students will not receive a 4th quarter grade for their enrichment courses, but they are expected and encouraged to continue to stay engaged and participate through the enrichment choice board. Ongoing assessments will be entered into MyBackPack as usual.

    As we move forward, the teachers will continue to be understanding and flexible, but we do expect students to complete their assignments, assessments, and evaluations in a timely manner. We do understand that there will be adjustments that will have to be made. I have asked our teachers to use their professional judgment to make modifications to their distance learning plans as needed. Teachers will communicate any changes for their course as needed.

    Our hope is that our flexible schedule has helped the students develop a routine that works for them. If there are any questions or concerns about the courses or assignments, please reach out to the teacher. For any other concerns, please feel free to email me.

    Again, I could not be prouder of our faculty, staff, administrative team, and parents for ALL that has been done to support our students. They are our foremost concern. We are all getting through this, and we will come out the other side stronger, more courageous, and appreciative of all the things we have missed.

    Thank you for your effort, patience, and support during this time.
    Jeff Plunk's Signature

    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208

  • 4-1-20 / EMAIL / RR Director's Message - Assessments

    Dear River Ranch Parents,
    As distance learning will now be extended through May 1st, I want to communicate our next steps. In looking forward, we are thinking about assessments, promotions to the next grade level, as well as how we maintain distance learning for at least another three weeks. This is a wonderful article on Home Learning from Conscious Discipline, the Social-Emotional curriculum we practice, "Five Tips for Successful Home Learning". I have also added in some additional resources under the Home tab, General Resources, of our RR Distance Learning website to support you as you partner with us on this journey.

    After discussions with Administration, faculty, staff, and your feedback, we have landed on the following:

    • Distance learning will continue as it has with daily emails containing lessons, activities, and ideas for maintaining and learning concepts. We are conscious of screen time recommendations for our age children and are trying to balance this with the new platform of virtual learning. Play and reading to and with children at this age are so important to their education. Adding these into your day as much as possible to balance screen time is a wonderful way to support your child’s growth.
    • Moving forward, you may be asked to send pictures or videos of your child’s work to their teachers in order for the teacher to give feedback and make learning suggestions.
    • We are attempting to find the safest and easiest way to have live interactions with our young students. Stay tuned after the break for more information.
    • One to one assessments and face to face contact is needed to reliably make growth assessments for this age level. Therefore, “grading” third-trimester skills is not possible as we have not had the opportunity to be together physically. The end of year report cards will consist of a narrative providing growth of the student from the beginning of the year to mid-March, recommendations for promotion, and any areas that should be focused on during the summer.
    Again, I can not be more proud of our faculty, staff, administrative team, and parents for ALL that has been done to support our students. They are our foremost concern. We are all getting through this, and we will come out the other side stronger, more courageous, and appreciative of all the things we have missed.

    Julie Bourque
    Director, River Ranch Campus

  • 4-1-20 / Email / HOS Message: Distance Learning Extended

    April 1, 2020

    Dear Ascension Family,
    These are truly unprecedented times for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic may well be the mightiest challenge we have faced in our lifetimes. And yet, amid all the uncertainty and unknowns we are facing, I feel a great sense of optimism and pride. Every day, I am inspired by the creative work and ideas being generated within our Ascension community. The positive attitude of our students, faculty, and staff, the willingness of everyone to do whatever it takes to move forward and get the job done, and the sense of compassion and responsibility across our broader community show our school’s true spirit. I am convinced we will deal with this challenge successfully, and the process will help us become better people and a better school.

    Our priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety of our community. In keeping with the most recent recommendations and guidelines of our government and health officials, our three campuses will remain closed through Friday, May 1st. We will continue with our distance learning plan during this period. As a reminder, our Spring Break will run from Monday, April 6th - Monday, April 13th. Classes (via our distance learning program) will resume on Tuesday, April 14th.


    Our administrative team has been discussing options for assessments and 4th quarter grading given the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. There has also been a collaborative effort with schools across the country as everyone is deciding how to best proceed with evaluations. At Ascension, we have considered many factors throughout this process. First, we fully acknowledge that this situation has been stressful for students, their families, and our faculty. We feel that students benefit from the accountability and feedback that assessments offer, but we also realize that assessments can and should look different in the distance learning setting, especially under these unique conditions. We do not want these unusual conditions in any way to reflect negatively on a student’s academic record, but we do want to provide an opportunity for continued learning and possible improvement in their grades as well. Obviously, this will look different across the three campuses and even divisions, so please look for an email from your campus director this afternoon for more details.


    Given that distance learning will continue well beyond the initial term, we may be making adjustments to ensure our distance learning model is sustainable for our faculty and students, while also maintaining academic integrity and meeting the needs of all involved. To be completely honest, we expect glitches and issues along the way, but with the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students, learning will continue and academic progress will be made.


    Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we continue to navigate this new landscape.
    Jeff Plunk's Signature

  • 3-29-20 / EMAIL / HOS Sunday Message

    Click here for a video message from Jeff Plunk.

    Dear Ascension Family,

    I hope you are doing well and making the most of this opportunity to spend more time with your family.

    I continue to be encouraged by the success of our distance learning initiative. If you had asked me at the beginning of this semester if we could completely convert our teaching and learning to a remote format, I would have said it was not possible. I believed it was simply too much to ask of our people. But thanks to the amazing efforts of our faculty, the leadership of our administrative team, and the flexibility and grit of our students and families, we have found a way to not only make it happen but to be a leader among independent schools in this regard. Of course, there have been and will continue to be, some challenges with this dramatic shift, but we will work through them together.

    I am sure your biggest question is the same one we all are asking - When will we return to normal? Quite simply, I don’t know. Like the entire country, we will wait to see how things progress in the coming days and weeks. We will continue to communicate and update you as we learn more and make important decisions.
    I do want to provide an update on two specific non-academic events - prom and graduation. These events are of great significance to the Class of 2020, and they are important to our school. We will do everything possible to make these events happen - even if it means doing them in the summer. Again we will communicate and update you as we move forward.

    I do want to give you some details on a few other items:

    • Spring Break - As a reminder, our Spring Break will run from April 6th - 13th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, April 14th, whether this is online or in the classroom.
    • ERB Testing - Our administration has decided that our students will not be taking their ERB tests this year. Even if we do return to school, we do not feel our students will be set up to perform their best. If we do return to school, we also feel that standardized testing would not be our most efficient use of classroom time.
    • Trips - All off-campus Ascension trips for the remainder of this school year have been canceled. This includes the 3rd-grade trips to the state capitol, St. Martinville, and swamp tour, the 4th-grade trips to the nature station and Houston, 6th grade trip to Dallas, 7th grade trip to New Orleans. Along with these, the 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade trips have also been canceled. For each of these trips, we are holding any checks that were not deposited prior to the closing of campus. Per your wishes, we will return or destroy those checks. Please contact Morgan Landry in the business office (mlandry@ascensionbluegators.org) to communicate what you would like us to do. We will refund all other monies that have been deposited for these trips. We ask for your patience with this process. We are in the process of securing refunds for payments we previously paid businesses and vendors.
    • 8th grade Boston trip - I have spoken with Susan Christup at Acadiana travel. I told Susan we would be canceling the trip for this year, and we would reschedule it for next spring. Susan is working to secure refunds from those they have already paid, and Susan will be in touch once she has more details regarding issuing refund checks.
    • Costa Rica - The Spring Break house-building trip to Costa Rica has also been canceled. We are working with Joshua Expeditions to secure refunds for this trip.
    We will continue to communicate with you via email, but you can also visit https://www.ascensionbluegators.org/updatefor updates.

    Finally, I know there are many within our Ascension community that work in healthcare. Many doctors, nurses, and others are fighting this pandemic on the frontline. On behalf of our community, I want to say thank you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

    Thank you for your ongoing support in these challenging days,

    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208
    jplunk@ascensionbluegators.org

     

  • 3-27-20 / EMAIL / RR Campus Director Update

    Dear River Ranch Parents,
    We have completed our first full week of distance learning. Pat yourselves on the back. EVERYONE involved has done a remarkable job! Thank you for everything you are doing to partner with us. Make sure you access the website to see some precious pictures of what our Distance Learning is looking like.

    RR Distance Learning Website


    I have enjoyed all the pictures you are sending as well as the kind, appreciative and supportive words. We are all holding each other up and I am so grateful. I had no doubts because that is what Ascension does so well.

    Attached are pictures of our school garden. Farmer Muggivan (Mrs. Muggivan) has been maintaining our garden while we have been gone. We have lettuce, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. We will sample them and the strawberries when we get back to school.

    You and your students remain in our prayers as we navigate through this. Have a wonderful weekend and please contact me with any concerns, overwhelms and of course the feel-goods as well.

    Julie Bourque
    Director, River Ranch Campus

  • 3-27-20 / EMAIL / DT Campus Director Update

    Downtown Parents,

    I hope you and your family are finding joy in the benefits of these unusual days. I continue to be impressed by the efforts of our faculty, students, and families. Everyone is pulling together for the good of our community. As we approach the end of the week, I wanted to provide a few updates relative to the Downtown Campus:
    • Spring Break - As a reminder, our Spring Break will be from Monday, April 6th through Monday, April 13th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, April 14th. A decision on if classes will be via a traditional setting or via distance learning has yet to be made.
    • We are evaluating options for assessments and grade reporting for the 4th quarter and will communicate a decision next week. Our goal is to balance academic integrity and student accountability with realistic expectations and student health and wellness.
    • We are learning so much throughout this process. Inevitably, there will be some bumps in the road. We sent the following message to some of our youngest Blue Gators and their families this week. We ask parents of 1st and 2nd-grade students to follow this guideline, and we encourage parents of 3rd and 4th-grade students to do the same. Please be aware when your child is on Google Meet. If it is outside regular class time, please be present in the room with them. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our children safe, productive, and kind to each other.
    Thank you for your ongoing support of Ascension - have a great weekend!
    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208
    jplunk@ascensionbluegators.org

  • 3-27-20 / EMAIL / SMP Campus Director Update

    Sugar Mill Pond Parents, 

    We have had a week to digest distance learning! I’m proud of our students for accepting this new medium and continuing to do their best work. Here are a few updates and reminders pertaining to our campus:
    • Spring break will be Monday, April 6th through Monday, April 13th.
    • We are evaluating options for assessments and grade reporting for the 4th quarter and will communicate a decision next week. Our goal is to balance academic integrity and student accountability with realistic expectations and student health and wellness.
    • We have heard some of the concerns about schedules being adjusted without ample notice. The issue has been addressed with faculty. Please reach out if you have any other concerns or comments about distance learning. This is a fluid system so adjustments will continue to be made.
    You can Click Here to see my message to students this week.

    Stay happy, healthy, and safe,
    Chris Dardar
    SMP Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    1030 Johnston St.
    Lafayette, La. 70501
    (337) 254-0814
    www.ascensionbluegators.org

    Ascension Episcopal School is committed to educational excellence in a Christian environment.

    Galatians 6:9-10

    And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • 3-25-20 / School Event Changes and Updates

    EVENT CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS AS OF 3/25

    • Distance Learning to start Wednesday, March 18th
    • School closure until 4/14
    • Tennis Tournament canceled
    • All school events and extracurricular activities postponed until April 14th
    • Heart for the Arts Gala postponed
    • Costa Rica Trip canceled
    • Cross-Over Day canceled
    • 8th and 9th-grade field trips canceled

  • 3-25-20 / RR Campus Director Message

     

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    Dear River Ranch Parents,
    I hope you are doing well. We are missing your families so much! We are so proud and appreciative of all the work you are doing with your children on our behalf. Keep up the good work, you’ve got this!

    We have developed a RR Google website for you to reference. The purpose of the site is to provide a place that holds frequently used information from your teachers such as their Morning Songs, books, and resources. I will update and add content daily.

    This site is also where you will go for Enrichments. Music, Motor Development, Innovation Lab and Christian Ed all have tabs with their weekly lessons. I will also be posting our weekly Chapel here. It will be available to view on Wednesdays. This makes my heart happy!

    This is the link to the site:
    RR Distance Learning Website

    Teachers will also include it at the end of their in their daily emails for easy access. Please reach out with any questions, concerns or “happies”. Praying for health, perseverance, strength, and peace for you all.

    Julie Bourque
    Director, River Ranch Campus
  • 3-22-20 / EMAIL / HOS Sunday Message

    Dear Ascension Family,

    I hope each of you has found time to enjoy the weekend in the midst of these challenging circumstances. Despite the uncertainty associated with these times, I continue to be encouraged by the amazing things taking place within our community. Our first week of distance learning is behind us, and I've seen and heard so many wonderful accounts from teachers, students, and parents. I want to thank each member of our community for the work that is being done so we can continue to fulfill our mission.

    So much of what happens in a school is unseen, and all the more so right now. For example, the one on one's with kids, the work of our teachers to support and challenge our kids, the thought and strategy constructing lessons to balance where kids are with where they can be, and the work of our business office, technology team, advancement team, and facilities staff. All of this work is continuing, but everyone is being asked to quickly "pivot" as we adjust to working remotely with new tools and platforms.

    In speaking with my administrative team, we have decided that in lieu of our weekly Blue Gator Bulletin, I will be sending a Sunday communication to update our community. Obviously, this situation is rapidly evolving, and I will send additional updates as needed. No decisions have been made at this time in regards to calendar events other than marking everything as postponed. We hope to have answers for our community soon.

    Thank you for the work, seen and unseen. Thank you for the way you're locking arms with all of us to ensure our students learn and stay connected. We understand that there will be unforeseen twists and turns in this journey. We appreciate your ongoing patience and open communication as we continue to adjust and move forward on this unprecedented journey.

    I'm grateful, amazed, and hopeful - Geaux Blue Gators!
    Jeff Plunk's Signature
    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208

    Timestamp: 3/22/20 at 4:05 pm

  • 3-20-20 / EMAIL / SMP Campus Director Update

    Dear Parents,

    Thank you for your patience this week as we all learned to navigate this new learning format. Overall, it has been a great week for both students and teachers. You will find that 3rd Quarter report cards for students are now visible in MyBackpack. We are still in talks about upcoming events but will be communicating updates when we have more information.

    I have a special message for your child. This was also emailed to each of them.

    Dardar's Message to Students


    Thank you and have a nice weekend,
    Chris Dardar
    SMP Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    1030 Johnston St.
    Lafayette, La. 70501
    (337) 254-0814
    www.ascensionbluegators.org

  • 3-20-20 / EMAIL/ DT Campus Director Update

    Good afternoon,

    This week has proven to me, once again, what a special place Ascension is. I have been in awe of our faculty, students, and families, and I am humbled to see how we are pulling together to not just survive this time but find a way to thrive. Given the unprecedented nature of this week, I thought it would be helpful to send an email update to address a few pressing items. Please note the following:
    • Conferences - All lower school conferences that were scheduled for Monday will be postponed. We are discussing how we will reschedule these and will be in touch.
    • Report Cards - 3rd Quarter report cards for students in grades 3-7 are now visible in MyBackpack. Report cards for grades 1 and 2 were mailed out today.
    • ERB Testing - The middle school ERB testing that was scheduled for next week has been postponed. We will be in touch when we have more information.
    • Communication Plan - As Campus Director, my current plan is to communicate via a weekly email each Friday afternoon. Of course, I’m available to you should you have any immediate questions or concerns.
    • Assignments - These should be completed to your child's best ability but should not cause added stress or tears. Please remember, at this time, the goal of distance learning is to give our students structure, to provide educational material to nurture their minds, and to stay connected as an Ascension family.
    I continue to pray for the safety and well-being of our community and your families. Thanks again for your continued support and patience as we all find our way through these uncharted waters.

    Proud to be a Blue Gator!
    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208
    jplunk@ascensionbluegators.org
  • 3-20-20 / EMAIL / RR Campus Director Update

    Dear River Ranch Parents,

    We are doing it! I am incredibly proud of our whole Ascension family (you parents, students, teachers, staff). The grace and flexibility you all have shown is so encouraging and appreciated.

    We have experienced a few bumps on the road but have been quickly and effectively navigate them. Most of our RR issues are with getting the teacher videos to you for daily learning. Thank you for your patience. I think we have found a solution.

    Keep doing what you are doing, breathe, and know that we will all get through this. I am stepping up my gratitude journaling because that keeps me grounded. Yesterday's entry was: Jeff Plunk, our Ascension team, the quiet of no workers at my house (although I want them here to hurry up and finish our building), that my husband loves to cook.

    I miss seeing everyone on campus, especially the children. Here is a video for them. I have attached the Juan Pablo pictures I promised.


    Please reach out with any questions, problems, re-assurance or whatever you need. Miss you!
    Wishing you well,
    Julie Bourque, River Ranch Campus Director
  • 3-16-20 / EMAIL / SMP Campus Director Update

    Dear SMP Campus Parents and Students,

    I want to assure you that our SMP campus faculty and staff are hard at work on plans to begin our distance learning process with the students on Wednesday. I wanted to give you some specific information on how we are planning on our distance learning working.
    • An email from the teachers will be sent tomorrow with more specific information about their distance learning classes and schedules.
    • Our main SMP office will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am-2pm if you need to retrieve anything from the campus. If you are not comfortable with coming to school, a member of our administration team will help deliver materials to students throughout the week.
    • Google Meet will be used as our online connection tool across all classes. More information will be sent to you on this resource from our Tech team tomorrow.
    • Attendance will not be recorded at a certain time each day. Completing assignments, participation in Google Meets, watching recorded videos, posting questions on discussion boards, email communication, and other forms of connecting will be considered as attendance in a class as developmentally appropriate.
    • Assessment options are being discussed with this new format of learning. Grading is a focus, but not a priority at this point.
    I have expressed the following expectations to the SMP teachers
    • Remember this is a stressful time for our families and students.
    • Understand that some students will not be as engaged as they are in regular classroom situations.
    • Curate content based on the most important concepts that need to be taught before the end of the year. Distance learning is not simply doing what we normally do in class.
    • Check in virtually with students periodically. Connection is very important for our students as we move forward.
    • Communicate clearly with students on what is expected of them each day/week.
    • Remain flexible and give grace as we are all learning and growing together.

    Expectations for Students

    • Establish a quiet work space for live classes that includes a table - no bedrooms, please.
    • Dress appropriately during class time. No pajamas or clothing that does not meet Ascension’s free dress expectations.
    • Check Google Classroom for your daily schedule and assignment
    • Be attentive, on task, and actively engaged during synchronous classes.
    • Complete assignments on time with integrity and academic honesty, always doing your best work.
    • Communicate proactively with your teachers if you are unable to meet deadlines or require additional support.
    • Participate respectfully and appropriately in Google Meet or other video communications, collaborating with your peers while supporting them in their learning.
    • Proactively seek out and communicate with other adults at Ascension as different needs arise.

    Upper School Distance Learning Schedule March 18th - April 3rd

    Daily Blocks
    Time
    1st
    9-9:35
    2nd
    9:45-10:20
    3rd
    10:30-11:05
    Break
    11:05-11:30
    4th
    11:30-12:05
    5th
    12:15-12:50
    6th
    1:00-1:35

    Date
    3/18
    3/19
    3/20
    3/23
    3/24
    3/25
    3/26
    3/27
    3/30
    3/31
    4/1
    4/2
    4/3
    Letter Day
    B
    C
    D
    E
    F
    G
    A
    B
    C
    D
    E
    F
    G
    1st Block
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    2nd Block
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    3rd Block
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    4th Block
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    5th Block
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    6th Block
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    7


    --
    Chris Dardar
    SMP Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    1030 Johnston St.
    Lafayette, La. 70501
    (337) 254-0814
    www.ascensionbluegators.org
  • 3-16-20 / EMAIL / RR Campus Director Update

    Dear River Ranch Parents,

    Our faculty and staff have been hard at work planning distance learning for your children. The plan is to begin on Wednesday. As we are planning, our goal is to balance what is important for your children to learn in the next few weeks with the many scenarios that you, as parents are facing. It is a time to offer grace upon grace to everyone.

    I want to give you some information on what distance learning from River Ranch looks like:
    • An email from your child’s teacher will be sent tomorrow with more specific information about their grade level distance learning classes and schedules.
    • Our RR office will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am-2:00pm if your child’s teacher indicates that resources need to be picked up from school.
      If you are not comfortable with coming to school, a member of our administration team will help deliver materials to students throughout the week. Please do not give the resources to your child until you receive an email from your child’s teacher on how to implement these resources.
    • Email and Google Meet will be used as our online connection tool across all grade levels. More information will be sent to you on the Google Meet resource from our Tech team tomorrow.
    I have expressed the following expectations to our teachers across all grade levels:
    • Remember this is a stressful time for our families and students.
    • Understand that parents will be facilitating most of their child’s learning because of their development age.
    • Curate content based on the most important concepts that need to be taught before the end of the year. Distance learning is not simply doing what we normally do in class
    • Clearly communicate virtually (email, videos or Google Meet) with parents on what is expected of their students each day. Connection is very important for our students as we move forward.
    • Remain flexible and give grace as we are all learning and growing together.
    As parents, I ask that you help set these expectations for your child each day:
    • Establish a quiet workspace for classwork.
    • Set up a Calming Space to identify and process feelings as well as practice self-regulation.
    • Please check your email for your child’s daily lessons and assignments. The email will contain a daily checklist that should be completed.
    • Breathe (your child can help you) and relax! We know that we are all doing the best we can and we will get through this together.
    • Put all of your child’s coursework into perspective and possibly use this distance learning structure as a temporary way to escape the uncertainty of our current situation.
    I am so proud of this team, their resiliency and flexibility as we come together (virtually) to move forward in this 4th quarter of school.

    Wishing you well,
    Julie C. Bourque
    River Ranch Campus Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    (337) 984-6060
    www.ascensionbluegators.org

    Ascension Episcopal School is committed to educational excellence in a Christian environment.
  • 3-16-20 / EMAIL / DT Campus Director Update

    3/16    3:45pm
    Dear Downtown Campus Families,

    I want to assure you that our Downtown campus faculty and staff are hard at work on plans to begin our distance learning process with your children on Wednesday. I wanted to give you some specific information on how we are planning on our distance learning working.

    • An email from your child’s teacher will be sent tomorrow with more specific information about their grade level distance learning classes and schedules.
    • Our main DT office will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am-2pm if your child’s teacher indicates that resources need to be picked up from school. If you are not comfortable with coming to school, a member of our administration team will help deliver materials to students throughout the week.
    • Google Meet will be used as our online connection tool across all grade levels. More information will be sent to you on this resource from our Tech team tomorrow.
    • Attendance will not be recorded at a certain time each day. Completing assignments, participation in Google Meets, watching recorded videos, posting questions on discussion boards, email communication, and other forms of connecting will be considered as attendance in a class as developmentally appropriate.
    • Assessment options are being discussed at each grade level with this new format of learning. Grading is a focus, but not a priority at this point. Please do not worry about grading or points in the coming weeks.
    I have expressed the following expectations to our teachers across all grade levels:
    • Remember this is a stressful time for our families and students.
    • Understand that some students will not be as engaged as they are in regular classroom situations.
    • Curate content based on the most important concepts that need to be taught before the end of the year. Distance learning is not simply doing what we normally do in class
    • Check-in virtually with students periodically (this will look different across each grade level). Connection is very important for our students as we move forward.
    • Communicate clearly with students and parents on what is expected of them each day/week.
    • Remain flexible and give grace as we are all learning and growing together.
    As parents, I ask that you help set these expectations for your child each day:
    • Establish a quiet work space for classwork.
    • Please dress appropriately during any live classes.
    • Please check email, class website and/or Google Classroom for your daily schedule and assignments. Your child’s teacher will let you know where you need to go to find information.
    • Breathe and relax! We know that we are all doing the best we can and we will get through this together.
    • Put all of your coursework into perspective and possibly use this distance learning structure as a temporary way to escape the uncertainty of our current situation.
    I am so proud of this team, their resiliency and flexibility as we come together (virtually) to move forward in this 4th quarter of school.

    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208


    jplunk@ascensionbluegators.org

  • 3-15-20 / EMAIL / All School Update

    March 15, 2020 at 4pm


    Good afternoon,
    I hope this email finds you and your family doing well. In lieu of our weekly “Blue Gator Bulletin,” I thought it would be more appropriate to update you on our plans for the near future as we embark on this uncharted territory.

    Following Governor Edward’s announcement on Friday, our administration met with faculty and staff on all three campuses to announce the plan to move to distance learning. I’ve since been in contact with our faculty over the weekend, and I will meet with all teachers tomorrow to communicate our coordinated expectations and guidelines for distance learning.

    To help us all through this process, I thought it might be best to share a few key points with you:
    • Our teachers are working Monday and Tuesday in preparation for this transition.
    • All students will begin distance learning on Wednesday in a way that is developmentally appropriate for their grade level.
    • Based on research, we highly recommend setting up a dedicated study/work space at home for each student.
    • Please be assured that the purpose of distance learning is not to replicate exactly what would happen in the classroom. We have instructed our teachers to modify content for their classes to streamline topics and instruction.
    • You should hear from your Campus Director tomorrow with more specifics regarding what distance learning will look like for your child.
    • All extracurricular activities, including practices, are temporarily suspended (we will re-evaluate each week).
    • As of now, we plan on 3rd Quarter grades going live on Friday, as the primary focus for our faculty right now is to get distance learning up and running.
    As you look to establish new routines at home, we recognize that challenges will arise, from childcare to responsibilities for family and friends, to parents juggling work, home, and school balance. Please ask for help from us as needs arise; we can lock arms and do this best together. We recommend establishing routines, giving yourself time for physical activity as well as connecting with your family, and taking breaks from the news and social media.

    As we work through these unusual circumstances together, in many ways, community and school are more important than ever. “Having school” is as much, or more, about maintaining connections between students and teachers as it is about academic learning. Our children identify as students - and our faculty identify as teachers - and gathering remotely to “do school” can provide a space of comfort and routine in uncertain times.

    Finally, please understand that the situation is fluid, and all of this is subject to change based on recommendations and mandates from our government agencies. We will continue to update you frequently, as the need arises.

    I have the utmost confidence in our Blue Gator family - we can, and will, get through this together!

    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208
    jplunk@ascensionbluegators.org
  • 3-13-20 / EMAIL / Head of School Update - School Closure

    March 13, 2020
    2:30pm

    Dear Parents,

    Following the mandate put in place statewide this afternoon, Ascension students will not report to school starting Monday, March 16, as we begin transitioning to a distance learning (online) format for all grade levels. Our administration and lead teachers have been in planning stages for this situation, and we feel adequately prepared to make this transition.

    Teachers are being asked to report to school at the beginning of next week to continue preparing lessons. You should expect to hear from the administration early next week with more details regarding how this will look per grade level. At this time, our plan is for online learning to begin for all students by midweek.

    In order to maximize academic instructional time in our classrooms, we have decided to move our spring break up by one week. It will now be April 6-13, and no online classes will be held during that week. At this time, we plan to return to school and resume in-person classes on Tuesday, April 14.

    Please note that all school extracurricular activities, games, practices, and other school events will also be put on hold during this time. We are assessing other upcoming school events, however, please understand that maintaining a strong academic plan is our priority. We will make decisions regarding other school activities for the remainder of the school year in the coming weeks.

    A page on our school website has been designated to keep a record of all communication and updates in one location.You can visit the website by going to ascensionbluegators.org/update We will continue to communicate with you via email, this website, and the Blue Gator Parent group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bluegatorparents/).

    Although cancellations and closures can cause us anxiety, it is important for us to remember that this act of social solidarity is a small sacrifice that will hopefully give our healthcare system some relief. We thank you for your patience and trust as we navigate this uncharted territory.


    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School

  • 3-12-20 / EMAIL / Update from Head of School

    Dear Ascension Families,
    Following the precautions put in place by our Mayor-President this evening, Ascension administration has decided to cancel all extracurricular activities through Sunday, March 15. This includes:

    • The Friday evening Heart for the Arts Senior Showcase and Gala will be postponed until further notice.
    • Athletic games, meets, and practices, Middle School through varsity, will be canceled. We are uncertain at this time whether games will be rescheduled, but will let you know as soon as those decisions are made.
    • The SMP Athletics Award ceremony will be rescheduled for a later date.
    Please note that the Heart for the Arts silent auction will remain open online until further notice. Also, as long as the Acadiana Center for the Arts remains open, you can still visit the AcA to view your child’s work through this weekend.

    As you know, we are dealing with a fluid situation that is changing by the day and, in some cases, by the hour. We appreciate your patience and trust as we navigate this time of uncertainty while keeping the safety and wellbeing of our school family the highest priority. We will continue to update you as any changes occur.

    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6-7


  • 3-11-20 / EMAIL / All School COVID-19 Update

    Dear Ascension Family,

    As you know, our country and the world are currently facing a severe health crisis with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic. As a global community, we are truly facing a unique time. Clearly, this situation impacts our school community, and we will have to be vigilant in monitoring a rapidly evolving landscape with a largely unknown threat. I write to you to outline where Ascension is today and to share our plans going forward.

    First and foremost, Ascension has no reported or confirmed cases of students, faculty, staff, or administration with COVID-19. Our housekeeping and facilities staff continue to follow appropriate protocols to minimize our risk and to keep our community as safe as possible. When appropriate, our teachers are speaking to students about coronavirus and reminding them of good habits that will help keep us safe (frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding close contact with others, avoiding touching their faces).

    With regard to school-related events, we have made a couple of decisions and will continue to evaluate numerous others.

    • We have canceled our spring break trip to Costa Rica. We made this decision independently, but it is consistent with the recommendations of the US State Department.
    • We have also decided to cancel the Crossover Day scheduled for Monday, March 16th. Students on all three campuses will have a typical day on Monday. We feel that maximizing academic time is a high priority for us right now.
    • All other school events are scheduled to proceed as planned, but we will continue to monitor the situation as more details become available.
    At a school like Ascension, there are numerous events taking place on our campuses each day. We also have multiple off-campus grade-level trips scheduled in the coming weeks and months that we will be evaluating day-by-day. We will communicate any changes to future events as quickly as possible via email.

    Although we don’t anticipate a disruption to our school days at this time, our faculty and administration are making sure we have a plan, and the tools necessary, to proceed with remote/distance learning should the need arise. We hope this will not be necessary, but we feel it is best to be prepared in advance.

    I often speak about evaluating decisions through the lens of what is best for our students and the Ascension community. While that perspective remains true, I think we also need to think about what is best for our local and global community. We will continue to listen to government agencies and health professionals regarding best practices and recommendations. My hope is that Ascension will do its best to be part of the solution and not contribute to the problem.

    These are difficult and uncertain times for our city, our state, our nation, and the world. But in the midst of all these challenges, I am grateful to be a part of the Ascension family. I'm grateful for the many ways you're taking care of each other and working to strengthen our community. It is important that we consciously work to strengthen the bonds in our communities, and that we take care of each other.

    Finally, I hope by communicating often, we can alleviate some of the anxiety related to the coronavirus. We know that God does not call us to live a life of fear or panic, but rather a life of peace as we trust in His promises and faithfulness.

    As always, please reach out to me with any questions,
    Jeff Plunk's Signature
    Jeff Plunk
    Head of School
    Interim Downtown Director
    Ascension Episcopal School
    337-233-9748, ext. 208




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