GONZALES — Leaders at Ascension Parish’s alternative school are working to change the school’s culture, ushering in more emphasis on digital learning, officials said
The Ascension Parish School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the alternative school The APPLe Digital Academy, and Superintendent Patrice Pujol said she is pleased with the direction the school is headed.
Pujol said the digital academy is “more inclusive” to students who need their educational needs met differently than in a traditional classroom setting.
The school — whose formal name is The Ascension Parish Programs for Learning and eInstruction, a Digital Academy, serves about 130 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, Principal Jerry Elie said.
Elie said he and his faculty members are working to change the school’s image and culture, moving away from a place where troubled students are sent to become more focused on offering an alternative, digital education.
“We’re working hard making sure that all our kids learn,” Elie said.
He said students, teachers and parents have been pleased so far with the change and are motivated about the school’s new focus.
“It reaches out to more people in need in the community,” Elie said.
The school will offer students several different learning paths, ranging from a completely online experience to one allowing students to spend a half-day at the school’s campus on La. 22 in Darrow, taking advantage of the teachers and counselors available there.
Pujol said she believes the district has settled on the proper learning philosophy at the school, but will need to continue adjusting it to meet all of its students’ needs.
She added she thinks more students, some of whom are more suited to a digital learning environment because of their social and life circumstances, will be attracted to the APPLe Digital Academy in the future.
“We have all the pieces built in to give support to students but at the same time give them flexibility,” Pujol said.