Superintendent's Message: April 16, 2021
JP Schools Family,
Spring is always a busy time of year in our schools, and this year is no different. I am proud of the incredible efforts by our teachers, administrators, support staff, and families to ensure students finish the year strong. We are hard at work planning for the 2021-22 school year and look forward to a return to more normal times.
Addressing learning loss through summer program
With the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSR) funds we have received, we are committed to providing additional programs and support to students impacted by disruptions due to the pandemic. We are finalizing plans for an enhanced in-person summer program that will provide targeted students with opportunities for accelerated learning and enrichment to address learning loss. The 2021 summer program will be expanded in duration, attendance and content from past summer schools. Program goals include:
- Prepare students for the next school year and accelerate any learning gaps in Math and ELA
- Partner with local and national organizations to offer enrichment activities that foster joy and engagement and develop the whole child
- Safely interact with peers in-person and build a sense of community
Continuing to prioritize health and safety for all
Throughout the year, we have prioritized the health and safety of everyone on campus. Our students and educators have done an incredible job following our Start Strong Jefferson health and safety protocols. We worked with four partners to host six exclusive events to vaccinate approximately 2,000 employees. Because of these mitigation strategies, we have seen the rate of COVID-19 in our schools steadily decrease. Just last week, only 10 new positive cases were reported for the entire district.
Welcoming more students back to campus
As numerous studies have shown, we know the majority of students, particularly our youngest learners, benefit the most from in-person teaching and learning. We’ve gradually seen more students back on campus as we’ve transitioned from a hybrid learning model. With our hybrid high school students the last to transition, we now have all students in grades PK-12 learning in-person five days a week. Additionally, enrollment in Virtual Jefferson has decreased from 47% to 29% of our student population since the start of the school year. Contingent upon guidance from health officials and diminishing rates of COVID-19, we hope to return to a more traditional school experience next year.
As I said in one of our Superintendent Council meetings this week, we would not be where we are today without the support of our families, employees and community stakeholders. We will continue to push for positive outcomes for our students while keeping priorities from our strategic plan, 2024: The Future Our Kids Deserve, in sight. Thank you for your support and for believing in the students of Jefferson Parish Schools. When our students succeed, our entire community will benefit.
Dr. James Gray