ASCENSION PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) – There’s a lot that goes into preparing for school. Ascension Parish school leaders say they are ready for the new semester, but are you?

They are more than two weeks until these hallways are filled with students ready to go to class. But before you send your child to the classroom, here’s what you need to know.

“Every year we are adding ways to improve,” explained Carli Francois, Chief Instructional Director, Ascension Parish Schools.

This year is going to look a little different in the Ascension Parish school system. A new leader, new rules and deeper focus. New superintendent Edith Walker said making sure every child has the tools to succeed is her main focus this upcoming school year.

“Literacy, I think within the next two to three years, if we could really use the science of reading to intervene for students who are not on grade level, then we really have an opportunity to change the life of a student that is going to be number one. I think number two is going to be the scholarships. I think if we could really push our community to join us in making sure that our students have those post-secondary opportunities,” said Walker.

If you check the student handbook, you will realize there are a few changes. One of the newest policies states that students are no longer allowed to decline a search without disciplinary action. Chief Instructional Director Carli Francois said this is for good reason. He said the new policy “prohibits a student from denying us the right to search them or their property when they’re on our campuses. Obviously, for safety and security purposes,” she said.

Another change is about the dress code. All high schools have banned wearing of hoodies or hooded garments.

And some improvements, students on reduced lunch last year will now be able to eat for free. Thanks to a recent bill passed during the legislative session.

“If you think you may qualify, if you’re not sure, go ahead and fill out the application, because we want our students to all be able to have breakfast and lunch when they’re on campus,” said Francois.

While there are still some teacher vacancies to fill, Ascension Parish Schools is very excited to start the new school year on Aug. 10.

“We’ll have that night before school starts. Sleepless night, just like the kids. But it’s going to be a great school year and we look so forward to it,” said Francois.

“I am open. You can email me. You can walk up to me and ask a question. I am here for the students, the teachers and the community of Ascension Parish,” said Walker.

Ascension Parish school leaders recommend checking the website or downloading the Ascension Parish Schools app to have all school-related information at your fingertips. Any questions you may have about the upcoming school year can be answered here. You must go under your child’s school for more details.