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Superintendent's Update: September 23

Dear JP Schools Family,

We’re beginning to see a sense of normalcy in the school year, and I hope that is also true of your own personal recovery from Hurricane Ida. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced that Airline Park Academy and Gretna No. 2 Academy are two of just 325 schools in the US recognized as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Both are among Louisiana’s highest performing schools. This is a testament to the levels of excellence made possible in JP Schools by educators, support staff, administrators, and board members driven by a student-first mindset. Even in the most challenging of times, we find a way for children.

Reopening Progress
Students return to our 21 tier 2 schools Friday morning. I’m looking forward to visiting some of these schools tomorrow. Not only is it a great way to close the week, but it’s important for me to be onsite so I can better understand concerns and answer questions from employees and families. Students at our 42 tier 3 schools are scheduled to return October 1. Remember that you can find the most updated list of our tiers at jpschools.org/IdaReturn.

Lafitte and Grand Isle Reopening Plans
Our three schools in Lafitte and Grand Isle received the most severe damage from Hurricane Ida. The Kerner Elementary, Fisher Middle-High and Grand Isle School buildings will be closed until further notice. Over the past week, we’ve shared return plans with employees and families at these schools. I’d like to share these now with you.

Our nearly 130 K-12 students at Grand Isle School will participate in remote learning. With many Grand Isle employees and families still displaced, this temporary solution allows us to resume teaching and learning as soon as possible. We are working on a plan for students and employees to pick up technology. Our hope is that we can begin remote learning on October 1 along with the rest of the tier 3 schools.

Both Lafitte schools will operate on shared campuses. Kerner Elementary is being welcomed by Truman School, and Fisher Middle-High is being welcomed by John Ehret High. This provides the greatest sense of normalcy, as it allows Lafitte students to remain with their siblings, classmates, teachers, counselors, support staff, and administrators. Temporarily housing Kerner and Fisher at these specific campuses also allow all four schools to continue to operate independently. Each will have their own school time, campus location, classes, lunch, and extracurricular activities. Our hope is that Kerner and Fisher students can begin classes in early October, and we will continue to update those employees and families about a start date.

Thank you to the employees, families, and students of Truman School and John Ehret High for demonstrating love and support for those in JP Schools most severely impacted by this natural disaster. As Louisianans, we know how to take care of each other in times of crisis.

I hope these weekly updates have been informative and useful. Starting next week, I will provide one weekly update on Tuesdays as we resume more normal operations. Keeping you informed and maintaining an open line of communications are pivotal to our continued success moving forward.

Dr. James Gray