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January Jefferson Journal Message from Dr. Gray

JP Schools Family,

These last two months, we celebrated our students and the people who move our kids forward. Board members and I surprised our district Students, Teachers, New Teachers, Support Staff, and Principals of the Year at their schools. These visits are some of my favorite parts of my job. We’re proud to have our students represent what’s possible in Jefferson Parish Schools and wish them the best of luck in the state competition. For our employees, their passion for our children truly enriches our school communities as a whole. These employees are critical to our district's success, and I’m grateful for the important contributions they make in our students’ lives.

In my 27 years in education, I’ve always valued honesty and transparency. Earlier this month, the School Board did a first reading to have our administration put together a revised Infrastructure and Efficiency Plan. The plan would reduce operational costs, increase efficiencies, and expand opportunities at our schools. The decisions we make would be centered on doing what’s best for our kids. While we have made significant gains these past two years, we still face staffing shortages, outdated facilities, the need for additional support for students’ wellbeing, potential budget gaps due to Hurricane Ida repairs, the loss of one-time ESSER funds, and shifts in our parish and district’s demographics. Our hope is that this plan would help us increase efficiencies while also securing the system’s long-term future. 

As we are gathering information about our facilities, there are multiple opportunities for stakeholders to provide us with feedback and insight. The first was through our School Facilities Survey, which was open January 17-29 to all stakeholders. In addition to presentations with various organizations, we’re also hosting Listen & Learn Town Halls, which you can find out more about here. Our next Town Hall is February 7 at 6 p.m. at Matas Elementary, and I would encourage you to attend.

In Jefferson Parish Schools, we have great kids, teachers, support staff, and administrators. We have the support of our families, School Board, and community. People are talking about the momentum in JP Schools, which is proof that what we are doing is working. With students as our overall focus and with your continued support, I know we will continue to see great things happen for our students, schools, district, and parish. 

Dr. James Gray