Superintendent's Update: October 5
Dear JP Schools Family,
With the reopening of our tier 3 schools Friday, the vast majority of our children are now back on campus participating in face-to-face instruction. The sentiment at the schools I visited Friday was similar to the first day back for our tier 1 and tier 2 schools. Children happy to be back, educators excited to have them back, and everyone coming together to make the best of a challenging situation. The progress we have achieved together is remarkable - especially given the extensive damage to our aging facilities and Hurricane Ida’s impact on the lives of so many employees and families.
Condition of our Buildings
Recovering from a hurricane is a process. Reopening schools is a major step in that process for our system. Our schools are safe., but it’s important to understand our buildings will not be back to normal overnight. Where there are temporary repairs today, our operations team is working to make those permanent. This work will take place outside of school hours so it doesn’t disrupt instructional time. We’re following processes and protocols set by FEMA, similar in some ways to what you may experience when repairing your own home. A big difference for our school system is that we are going through this process for around 800 buildings across our nearly 80 campuses. Please continue to practice patience, grace, and flexibility as we move forward together.
Engaging and connecting with our stakeholders on a continuous basis is key to our success. That’s true whether or not we are in times of crisis. Strong schools build strong communities, and it is important that we put stakeholders at the forefront of our decisions, especially those impacting students. I’ve reopened the application window for my five Superintendent’s Councils involving parents, students, teachers, principals, and special education stakeholders. Applications are available at jpschools.org/councils until October 10.
With all schools soon to be reopened, this will be my final weekly Hurricane Ida update. I hope these weekly updates have been informative, helpful, and - at times - uplifting over the past month. Please continue to stay connected to our regular communications channels for new announcements and information.
Just like last school year, we cannot be content to simply “have” school. We have a collective opportunity to positively impact student learning. The adjustments to our calendar are far more than just a logistical necessity to meet a state mandate. They ensure our educators have the time needed to keep students on track. Every member of the Jefferson Parish Schools family is important to the recovery of our community and to the recovery of our students. Our kids need us.
Dr. James Gray