Message from the Superintendent: January 2015

Woodland-West-bannerAs many of you know, I will retire from the Jefferson Parish Public School System effective January 31, 2015. In this last message to the community, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on my past three years as superintendent and to say thank you to all those of who have worked so hard to improve the educational outcomes of all students in Jefferson Parish. With the support of this community, including parents, business leaders, and other stakeholders, and with the leadership of our teachers, principals, staff, and board, we have accomplished so much in pursuit of an excellent education for our students.

I detailed many of our successes in my last message to you in December, but I want to reiterate this fact: in just three years, we’ve gone from a “D” district to a “B” district. This growth was made possible by the leaps made by our schools, especially those who have shown steady improvement throughout the past three years in their own letter grades. With 39 “A” and “B” schools in the district now, more than 50 percent of JPPSS schools are top rated schools.

I’m also proud to say that the financial strength of our district is excellent at this time. After closing a $25 million budget gap in fiscal year 2012-2013, we have been able to funnel more money into classrooms than ever before. Our financial reporting continues to be recognized for excellence by national and international industry officials.

I have great confidence that this trajectory of improvement will continue, because I believe our gains were a result of improved teaching and learning in the classroom, led by our talented and committed teachers. During these past few years, I have met with amazing teachers and incredible students – and these stories are the ones I will remember as I look back upon my time in Jefferson Parish. Every day, our students are learning and growing, and with guidance from their teachers and mentors, they are preparing for the opportunities presented by their futures in college or the workplace. With our teachers continuing their work in the system, we will continue to see academic progress.

As JPPSS kicks off 2015, I want to welcome and congratulate all of the Jefferson Parish School Board members, who were sworn in on January 5 to begin a new four-year term. I wish them and the leadership of the district my best for continuing this important, challenging work on behalf of our families and students.

And once again, to the Jefferson Parish community: thank you. It’s been an immense honor and privilege to serve you as superintendent.

Dr. James Meza, Jr.