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Superintendent's Message: April 23, 2021

JP Schools Family,

One thing this year has taught us is the vital role schools play in the success and well-being of our students and community. Our teachers, support staff and administrators have done an incredible job rising to the challenges of this pandemic. We are excited to announce our plans for a broader return to in-person instruction and normal operations next year.

Virtual learning served a necessary and important role this school year, and we learned a lot through the experience. Our intention for next school year is that students in grades PK-12 will attend school in-person. As numerous studies have shown, there are great benefits to in-person learning. We know from our experience over the last year that the majority of our students perform best academically, socially and emotionally when they are learning in-person with their peers. There is no substitute for a warm and caring teacher in the classroom to support positive growth.

At the same time, we know a small segment of our high school students may benefit from a virtual school program that offers flexibility and increased responsibility for their coursework. The decision to offer a virtual school delivers on our priority to provide access, equity and opportunity to all students. Regardless of the pandemic, this program is the right move to meet our students where they are and provide opportunity for all.

On April 26, parents of students who are currently in grades 8th-11th will have the opportunity to complete a survey to determine interest in a virtual school option. This survey is for informational purposes only. Responses from this survey will be used to gauge interest in a standalone virtual high school program. Based on the level of interest, Jefferson Parish Schools may offer a virtual school for a limited number of high school students. For more information on the plans for Jefferson Virtual High School, please visit jpschools.org/virtualschool.

We will continue to follow our Start Strong Jefferson guidance for the remainder of this school year. We will share more updates about additional health and safety measures for next year based on guidance from federal, state and local officials and the public health situation. We may make adjustments as necessary.

I am proud of the work we’ve collectively done this year to give our students every opportunity to succeed. We hope this return to in-person instruction lessens the strains caused from teaching virtual and in-person students simultaneously. We look forward to a broader return to in-person instruction and normal operations next year, and we appreciate the trust, support and patience you’ve shown us this year. Together, we have made and will continue to make the best of these trying times.

Regards,

Dr. James Gray