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September Jefferson Journal Superintendent's Message

JP Schools Family,

When students graduate career ready, the entire community benefits from a more skilled, better educated workforce. In Jefferson Parish Schools, our goal is to ensure that all students graduate prepared for a career or college. Meeting this collective goal is only possible with the help of our students, teachers, support staff, administrators, families, School Board, and community members. Our strategic and collaborative efforts have led to improved outcomes for students two years in a row. Another area where our district is leading the state is through our Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. 

I’m proud to share that our Class of 2022 attained 9,435 Industry Based Certifications (IBCs). A key indicator of our district’s success, this achievement surpasses the previous district record set in 2020-21 and exceeds the district’s strategic plan goal of 9,156 IBCs by 2024. Our students almost doubled the number of advanced IBCs from the previous year, earning 1,183 certifications. 

Regardless of their path after high school, CTE is for all students. When our students attain an IBC, they have proven that they have the basic skills and knowledge necessary for their target career field. Not only are more of our students earning credentials, they are earning them in high-demand, high-wage fields like engineering, medical, automotive, computer technology, and digital media. Last school year, we expanded the Jump Start After Hours and Jump Start Summers programs. Through Jump Start, students were given the opportunity to attain IBCs, gain job shadowing experience, and earn a stipend while working with certified instructors. Our strong ties with local businesses and industries have led to paid apprenticeships and internships for our students. Alongside our partners, we’re continuously reviewing our programs to make sure we’re focused on the most in-demand career fields for our region.

In addition to better preparing our students for career-readiness, we also led the state in the percentage of students as a graduating class who are semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. Among Louisiana public schools, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies was second in the state with 20 students named semifinalists this year. Additionally, Patrick F. Taylor Academy for Advanced Studies had the sixth highest number of students awarded in the state with 10 semifinalists. We are proud of these remarkable students for their continued commitment to academic excellence. 


Our momentum is proof that the systems we’re putting in place are working for kids. Everything we do in Jefferson Parish Schools is aimed at moving the children of this parish forward for years to come, and we appreciate the continued support of our families, employees, and community to make that happen.

Dr. James Gray