Local students heading back to school

Published 12:06 am Sunday, August 7, 2016

NATCHEZ — Back to school started last week for Cathedral School students, and the weeks to follow will see summer’s end for other area children.

Students at the Natchez-Adams and Concordia Parish school districts report for class Monday. On Thursday, Trinity students will return to campus, and Adams County Christian School and Delta Charter School students will return the following week, on Aug. 15 and Aug. 18, respectively.

Cathedral High School Principal Pat Sanguinetti joked the additional length of time must be why his school is the best. Cathedral started classes on Thursday.

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“We’re all looking forward to the year,” he said.

NASD Interim Superintendent Fred Butcher said the district would return with the theme of “Focused with NO EXCUSES.”

“This year, NASD is focused on impacting student achievement positively,” he said. “We have a goal to see an increase in each school’s accountability rating.

“In order for that to happen, our students will need the support of all stakeholders — administrators, teachers and especially parents.”

NASD staff has worked hard this summer to set realistic goals, Butcher said, but to truly achieve them, Butcher said he needed all parents of district children to step up and become actively involved in their children’s education.

“We must have parent support to make a difference,” he said. “Students always respond positively when the adults in their lives are present, active and supportive,

“We are not perfect but we have a goal to meet the needs of our students.”

Butcher said a new teacher orientation was Monday and Tuesday, while principals worked Thursday and Friday to outline game plans to staff and get classrooms ready for students on Monday, Butcher said. Convocation was on Wednesday.

“Convocation is a time to celebrate our employees and set a focus for the new school year,” Butcher said. “This year, we were excited to celebrate the NASD maintenance department who posted the best attendance rate for the district despite the challenging conditions under which they work.

“We also celebrated more than 30 employees who have served the students of Natchez-Adams School District for more than 25 years.”

Concordia Parish Interim Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein said the district will be ready come Monday.

“One of the things I’ve talked to administrators and teachers about is, ‘It’s not OK to be average,’” she said. “We want to keep focused as a district on students.

“If our primary goal is to help students learn, and we focus on that, all of the other goals — like improved test scores — will fall into place.”

While the district doesn’t have a convocation, new teacher meetings were hosted this past week and a back-to-school event that included motivational speaker Steve Morgan of New Orleans.

“He was a really good speaker,” Blankenstein said. “His main message was basically that we all make a difference in life. It’s up to us if that difference is positive or negative.”

Blankenstein said an open house for parents and students was on Friday to help them prepare for the new school year.

“We hope for a wonderful year,” she said. “We are ready to go.”