Superintendent’s Message: February 2013

Dear JPPSS Colleagues and Community Members: 

We were honored this month to host State Superintendent John White at Chateau Estates Elementary School as he presented his statewide address on the LDOE’s plans for 2013-14. I want to thank the Chateau Estates community for being such welcoming hosts for Superintendent White, and for being great representatives of the Jefferson Parish Public School System.

In the beginning of his speech, Superintendent White praised the work of both Chateau Estates and JPPSS as he referred to the “renaissance of public education in Jefferson Parish,” and he recognized the Board for their courage and unwavering commitment to students. Superintendent White then highlighted several key initiaties as part of the state’s “mission” for the next year, including a focus on early childhood education and special education, empowering and supporting teachers, improving the college and career readiness of students, and putting an end to F rated schools. You can read more about his speech and the goals that he outlined in this article in the Advocate.

I want to reiterate our commitment in Jefferson Parish to these very same issues, as they are indeed critical to the future of our students, and the future of our parish. To ensure that JPPSS is aligning its spending and its budget to the academic success of our students at all levels and to our reform priorities, the School Board recently approved the district’s participation in the “Smarter School Spending” initiative, a project that is partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. JPPSS is just one of a several districts chosen by the foundation to participate in this initiative, which will provide JPPSS with specific tools and support to help align existing resources to strategies that maximize student outcomes.

We are operating in tough financial times, but we have so many opportunities to continue improving the way we serve our students. Through this initiative, we’ll be able to show clearly how our dollars are being spent and prioritize budgeting to support work that is happening directly in the classrooms to improve student learning. You may find more information on the initiative in the February eNewsletter or in this editorial recently published in the Times Picayune.

Finally, I want to mention the district’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our schools, students, and staff. In December, the Board approved a plan to install security cameras in our schools as one part of a comprehensive safety plan for the district. In the coming weeks, we will also be sharing more information on additional initiatives, including a single entry proposal, to ensure that our schools continue to be equipped with the most up-do-date security measures.

I’m grateful for your support as we continue on this journey. Thank you, as always, to our teachers, our staff, our families, and our community members for your hard work on behalf of our students.

Dr. James Meza, Jr.

Click here to read the rest of the stories from the February eNewsletter.