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JPPSS and the Departments of Justice and Education Reach a Voluntary Agreement That Ensures Equal Access

The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS), and the U. S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ) and the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) have executed an agreement whereby the school district will voluntarily implement policies and procedures to ensure that all students and families have equal educational opportunities in Jefferson Parish Public Schools, regardless of citizenship, immigration status or English language proficiency.  The comprehensive agreement with the Departments of Justice and Education puts policies and practices into place for communicating with parents who have limited English proficiency (LEP).

“Equality and access has been and remains a priority for the district,’ said Michelle Blouin-Williams, Chief Academic Officer with the Jefferson Parish Public School System. “We are very optimistic that our joint efforts from this collaborative agreement with the Departments of Justice and Education will yield positive outcomes.  JPPSS remains committed to working with our stakeholders as we continue to provide all students with equal access to education.”

In a written statement, the Departments of Justice and Education recognized JPPSS for its role in reaching the comprehensive agreement.

“We commend the school district for working collaboratively to resolve this matter and for its commitment to making sure that its schools are welcoming and accessible to all students and parents,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“We applaud Jefferson Parish for ensuring that all students will have access to their public schools and that all parents, regardless of the language they speak, are equipped with the information necessary for their children to fully participate and benefit from their educational programs,” said Assistant Secretary Catherine E. Lhamon for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. “We look forward to working with the Department of Justice and the school district to address these crucial civil rights issues.”

JPPSS continues to proactively set policies and practices in placethat have improved communications with families and students of limited English proficiency. The district has appointed Karina Castillo as the school system’s new executive director of English language learners (ELL), a position that will be responsible for overseeing programs and strategies that serve the district’s growing population of English language learners.