Ascension educators huddle in 7-hour leadership session

School administrators from across Ascension Parish gathered Wednesday for a leadership team discussion, unofficially kicking off the 2013-14 school year.

Principals, assistant/associate principals and master/mentor teachers from the school system’s 29 campuses met at the Clarion Inn for a seven-hour session focused on each school’s leadership strategy.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to clearly refine the school improvement strategy that we use in our district,” Superintendent Patrice Pujol said. “We are focused on step one of that strategy, which is the principal and leadership team.”

The school officials listened to speakers, watched videos and worked in small groups, all focusing on how to build a leadership team model at their respective schools.

Pujol said the annual meeting is important because it helps set the tone for the start of the school year. Teachers return to schools on Aug. 5, while students report for their first day on Aug. 7.

More than 100 administrators, both from the central office and every school in the district, attended Wednesday’s session.

Laura Roussel, the school district’s executive master teacher who doubles as an instructional leadership partner at Pecan Grove Primary School, said the chief objective of Wednesday’s exercises was to find additional ways to increase student achievement at each campus in the district.

“We’re not just talking about the principal, the administrator,” she said of necessary voices for school leadership strategy sessions. “We’re talking about all of the leaders on campus.”

Jennifer Tuttleton, the district’s director of school improvement, challenged everyone in the room to visualize ways they can improve each school’s leadership strategy. She emphasized the importance of weekly leadership team meetings, and instituting the strategies planned in those meetings into daily activities.

“Our work is measured in student results,” she said.

Pujol said the exercises were important and that she hoped each administrator in attendance would be able to take something back to his or her individual campus.

“What I hope everyone takes away is the process through which the leadership team should operate in order to assure we are doing the right things in our professional development on each campus,” Pujol said.