— School Superintendent Patrice Pujol commended the district’s educators this week, praising the Ascension Parish school system for once again earning top marks when the state released school performance scores.

The system received an overall A grade and increased the number of A-rated schools.

“This growth doesn’t happen by accident,” Pujol said at the School Board’s meeting Tuesday night.

“I really want to commend the educators for all that they do,” she said. “They shape the lives of these students.”

It is the third year in a row that the school district has earned an A grade from the state Department of Education, which bases the ratings largely on test scores, although other factors are included for high school ratings.

Sixteen of the 27 Ascension Parish public schools were rated A’s this year, up from 12 last year.

The grades were released Tuesday.

Pujol noted that four years ago the district had 13 C, D and F schools. The new scores show five C and D schools and no F schools.

The meeting on Tuesday also recognized a number of other achievements:

The school district and its business office, headed by Diane Allison, received a “Distinguished Budget Award” from the national Government Finance Association, presented by Joy Irwin with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office.

The St. Amant High School FFA has been named the best overall chapter in the state.

Kathleen Guedry, physical education teacher at Dutchtown Primary, received the “Teacher of the Year” award from the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Also recognized were the more than 50 students who volunteered this past summer as part of Volunteer Ascension’s ConnecTeens program, in which students collectively volunteered more than 1,000 hours.

On Monday, the Ascension Council of Realtors presented three schools — Gonzales Primary, Pecan Grove Primary and G.W. Carver Primary — each with a $300 donation.

Two new assistant principals also were introduced at the board meeting this week: Chazz Watson, at Gonzales Middle School, and Karen Daigle, at Lowery Elementary School.