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Superintendent's Update: September 21

Dear JP Schools Family,

Monday we were able to open our nine tier 1 schools to kids, and you have been a huge part of that process. Whether it’s our operations team braving the elements since day one to set the foundation for getting our schools back, educators and staff selflessly recreating welcoming environments for students, or the countless employees, families, and community members whose words and actions uplifted colleagues during their time of need, there is not enough time in the day to talk about the work you did. Thank you.

Adjusted Calendar Approved
Last night, the school board approved revisions to our 2021-22 academic calendar. These adjustments allow us to meet the state’s requirement of instructional minutes following closures due to Hurricane Ida. Board members approved the calendar that received the most votes in last week’s public survey, which is option B. You can download the full calendar by tier at jpschools.org/calendar.

The new calendar adjustments reduce two days each from fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break, and Mardi Gras break. Three days are reduced from spring break. In addition, September 24, January 4, and February 18 are now student report days. The last day of school for students is May 26 for tier 1, June 2 for tier 2, and June 9 for tier 3.

Reopening Update
Board members, district leaders, and I each visited our tier 1 schools Monday. Based on my personal experience and feedback from our team, kids were happy to be back and our teachers, support staff, and administrators created positive environments. Seeing educators at school welcoming kids back with open arms was a great sight. Although some of our buildings are still in need of minor aesthetic repairs, the fact that they are safe and we are able to receive kids is a step in the right direction.

Our 21 tier 2 schools are scheduled to welcome students back this Friday. You can find a list of all our tiers and more reopening information at jpschools.org/idareopen. The recent inclement weather caused issues at some schools, but as of now our contractor has not issued any delays on when we expect to gain access to our remaining schools. If that happens, we will notify staff and families as soon as possible. We want to make sure final details are completed before you return.

Remember, this is a process that has to continuously account for circumstances that are out of our control. The goal is not perfection and plans may change. Those are moments to learn, adjust, and move ahead. It took a collective effort from all of us to get this point, and that continued collaboration is critical as we move forward together.

Dr. James Gray