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Superintendent's Message: March 9, 2021

JP Schools Family,

This month marks one year that our lives, schools and communities were affected by the pandemic. We have been creative, innovative and tenacious in our work to ensure student learning continues. We have continued to utilize 2024, our strategic plan, to stay focused on targets that will improve teaching and learning. Jefferson Parish Schools remain committed to providing the best outcomes for our students. 

While I never imagined that our community would still be feeling the effects of COVID-19 one year later, I also never imagined how much our school district would accomplish given these challenges. As we cover in this month’s feature story, I am also overwhelmed with a sense of optimism because more than 2,000 of our employees have received or scheduled their vaccination. This is a big step as we all journey towards the return to more normal times.

Speeding up progress

In many ways, our efforts to overcome the challenges of the pandemic hastened progress towards achieving our strategic goals. We improved our infrastructure to support clean, healthy and modern schools and doubled down on our investments in technology to provide access and equity for all students. Whether learning in the classroom or at home, all students in kindergarten through 12th grade have access to a computer and the internet. By closing the digital divide, we are providing equity and opportunity, leveling the playing field for all students.

Pushing forward despite challenges

Despite our best efforts, we recognize that there are challenges we must still overcome. With nearly a third of students still enrolled in Virtual Jefferson, teachers continue simultaneously teaching students via in-person at school and virtual at-home instruction. Learning loss from the pandemic is a new variable for us to contend with. In response, we have worked to secure additional funding for after-school tutoring and summer programs. We also continue to use aligned interventions that are embedded into our curriculum to address the unfinished learning caused by the 2020 school closures.

I am proud that we have kept our schools open since August 31 and that high quality teaching and learning is taking place. We refused to allow the pandemic to sacrifice education because we know that the generation we educate today will be the leaders of tomorrow. None of this would be possible without the support of our families, employees and the community. Thank you for continuing to support Jefferson Parish Schools and ensuring our students are given the access and opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Regards,

Dr. James Gray