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Our school

Every day, we’re seeing more students in classrooms, reuniting with their teachers, classmates and friends. The return to school certainly hasn’t been easy, but for the future success and development of our students - every step has been worth it.

When the pandemic hit, NOLA-PS laid out a comprehensive Roadmap to Reopening to guide us through these challenging times. That Roadmap has served us well - offering a foundation that we’ve built on to get our students access to the education they need, while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in our school community. Our measured approach is paying off and getting PreK through 12th grade students back into classrooms, while our COVID testing plan is helping the district keep track of the pandemic for the health and safety of our entire school community.

This past Monday, I was excited to host Louisiana State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley on a visit to schools across our district. Together, we stopped by Lake Forest Charter School, KIPP East, Benjamin Franklin Elementary, as well as Edna Karr High School to check in with students, teachers and school leaders.

Our visits were a reminder of just how innovative and forward-thinking each one of our schools really is. Together, we heard firsthand from our school community and discussed the challenges, lessons and successes of education today. We discussed the role of technology in 21st century education, and how it will play a greater role in how we teach going forward - pandemic or not. That’s why NOLA-PS along with our charter school leaders have prioritized closing the technology gap. Collectively, we’ve made a significant investment in providing thousands of laptops and internet connectivity devices to students that need it. And while we strongly believe that an in-person education is the best way to nurture the whole child, the realities of this pandemic mean that hybrid learning models will remain a critical part of how teachers teach and how students learn, something that we saw on full display at all of the schools we visited this week. Superintendent Brumley and I both walked away impressed by the ability of our teachers and students to adapt to and thrive in this new learning environment.

As a community, we’ve been doing an incredible job chipping in to do our part to keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and students safe. Let’s keep up the good work. Wear your mask with pride. Wash your hands. Remain socially distance whenever possible. And if you’re feeling sick, don’t forget to get tested and stay home.

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

For the first time since the spring, our schools are open for in-person learning for grades K-12. Watching students light up as they reunite with teachers and friends as they return to classrooms for the first time in months has filled me with incredible joy, and I am thrilled to welcome more students back each week. I had the honor to visit students and staff at Foundation Prep this week, where I could see smiles through the masks of students and teachers and was blown away by the efforts of our school community to get back to school in the safest way possible.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of our community members, teachers, students, staff and principals. And speaking of our terrific principals, did you know that October is National Principals Month? In honor of NOLA-PS principals, I welcome all members of our community to join me in thanking our amazing principals and school leaders for the work they do day in and day out to give our students the best education possible. A principal’s job is never easy, but especially in the midst of this pandemic, they’ve been putting in extra hours and burning the candle at both ends to provide students with a good education during an unprecedented time.

This week also happens to be National School Lunch Week - a time when we highlight the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life. But it’s not just about the importance of the meals themselves - but about the tireless efforts of our food service professionals, who have been working day in and day out to make sure healthy, nutritious meals are available to students. Throughout the pandemic, our food service staff kept working to ensure that even when learning was happening remotely, students could still access nutritious, packaged meals to fuel their learning. Many of these staff members have been with the district for decades, feeding our young learners and helping them achieve their dreams, one meal at a time. This week, let’s all send our heartfelt thanks to our food service professionals, and reflect on just how important nutrition is to the development of our children.

I’ve never been more proud of everyone in our schools for their contributions to our community. In the weeks and months ahead, let's all remember to continue to do our part to keep each other safe and healthy, and keep our students in their classrooms.

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

I had the good fortune to be there the day our youngest learners began to safely return to the classroom and reunite with their teachers and friends. It was an incredible moment and one I won’t soon forget. Since then, our community has continued to hold strong and take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone in our school community, it’s time to begin the next step in our return to in-person learning - and that means getting our older students back to the classroom. That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to announce that as long as health data remains steady, starting next Monday, the 12th, district schools will begin once again opening up their doors to students in 5th - 12th grade. This is a day that has been months in the making - made possible thanks to the tireless efforts of teachers, students, families and NOLA-PS staff.

Similarly to when we began allowing our younger learners back to school, we are taking a measured approach, with a hybrid model that will combine in-person and virtual learning. Individual schools have already begun reaching out to families to announce their specific reopening plans, and more will begin sending notices in the coming days with individualized reopening dates and schedules that vary based on school class size, and available facilities. As we’ve said all along, health and safety are our top priority, which is why we are taking this deliberate and measured approach to our return to the classroom. Our schools have done an exceptional job maintaining strong health and safety standards to date, and we will continue working together to ensure that these standards are maintained as we enter the next chapter of our Roadmap to Reopening.

Before embarking on the return to in-person learning, NOLA-PS launched an acute testing plan to increase the ease, accessibility and frequency of testing for our school community. Thanks to that program, our students and staff are being given front-line service to COVID-19 testing if they are experiencing symptoms - a crucial part of our efforts to track the virus and keep our community as safe and healthy as possible. Testing sites have recently become available directly at some of our schools, providing even more direct access to safe and effective testing. We’re working to expand our testing program even further in the coming weeks, while continuing to take additional steps to stop the spread of the virus, including requiring face coverings, performing temperature checks, and enhanced cleaning of our classrooms, facilities and buses.

Let’s all continue to do our part to keep this momentum going, and stay on the path reuniting students, teachers, peers, teammates and mentors across all of our NOLA Public Schools. To our older students - I hope to see you in class starting next week!

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

With thousands of our youngest learners back in the classroom and the month of September in the rear view mirror, we have a lot to be thankful for as we look at the road ahead. First, our reopening plans are moving forward, as we plan to welcome students back to in-person learning in grades five through twelve later this month. And, a new month gives us all an opportunity to start fresh and plan for the future, while reflecting on what makes our community stronger and more vibrant each and every day.

For NOLA-PS, that strength and vibrance comes directly from our talented, caring and diverse staff that reflects the warm and welcoming NOLA community.

Today marks the halfway point of Hispanic Heritage Month, a period from September 15 - October 15 when we can all take time to celebrate and recognize the incredible contributions of Hispanic Americans to our communities, our history, our culture and our schools. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m encouraging all members of our school community to celebrate our Hispanic and Latinx students, teachers and staff, and learn more about their unique stories, cultures and history.

To help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, NOLA-PS sat down with some of our tremendous Hispanic and Latinx staff to highlight their stories and amazing contributions to our school community. Here’s what they had to say:

“Being able to utilize my resources to connect and help the Hispanic community, to me it’s just completely priceless” - Norma Martinez, a bilingual school choice advisor.

“Everything about being a Latina makes me proud. I grew up in a house raised by a single Honduran mother and seven siblings. Our food, music and our language are just a few things that I love about my culture...When my mother came to the United States back in the 1980’s she had to overcome many obstacles such as learning the English language. I’m proud to be able to bridge the language barrier that many Spanish-speaking families face each day,” - Shirley Hernandez, a Student Services Coordinator

“Being born and raised in Puerto Rico, I always dreamed of coming to the United States...Since I’ve been working with NOLA-PS, I feel my dreams have been coming true. I’ve been able to help many parents that are non-English-speaking. And the minute they hear me talk Spanish, I can hear a sigh of relief in their voice, because they know that they’re going to be helped.” Doran Nieto, Front Desk Receptionist

You can hear more from our amazing staff members by watching this video, HERE.

As we take a moment together to honor these incredible individuals in our community, I’d like to remind everyone to honor our students, teachers, faculty and staff by continuing to take precautions to keep our community safe.

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

Dear Members of the NOLA-PS Community,

This week, it was my sincere pleasure to help welcome thousands of our PreK - 4th grade students back to school. The fact that this was possible is a testament to the strength and determination of everyone in our community - from our teachers, to our students, to families, staff and their neighbors. We look forward to continuing our progress together and working to get our older students back into classrooms in October.

While our high schoolers aren’t back in their in-person classrooms yet, we refuse to let that keep them from learning about the importance of community and civic responsibility. This week, I was incredibly proud to announce that all 26 NOLA-PS high schools will be partnering with a number of local organizations to encourage students to register and vote. Many of these organizations are working in partnership with When We All Vote - a non-profit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to increase participation in every election, while closing the race and age voting gap. Instilling the importance of civic engagement in students is critical to their continuous growth and development into young adults; this is just one of the many ways that we’re working to help foster that growth.

Another is through the hard work of our educators. NOLA-PS is blessed with some of the hardest-working and talented teachers out there - and that’s never been more apparent than it is today. That’s why earlier this week, in partnership with the Allstate Sugar Bowl & the College Playoff Foundation, it was my great honor to announce this year’s New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Award finalists and grand winners. Thanks to generous donations from our partners, NOLA-PS was able to reward 12 outstanding teachers from across the district with grants totaling $20,000. Please join me in celebrating these amazing teachers who truly went above and beyond to help students learn and grow in these challenging times!

Finally, I’d like to address our families directly. We know that these times continue to be trying, but NOLA-PS along with all of our district schools are here to help and school is in session. Every day of learning- online or in person- counts and we need to make sure our children are actively participating in school. If you, your family or a family you know is feeling disconnected from school, please call 504-527-KIDS and our team will help get that student re-engaged with their school.

We are a stronger community when our kids and families are connected to schools and each other. Through pandemics and hurricanes, or any challenge that comes our way, NOLA-PS is committed to ensuring that students get the education they deserve.

We’re in this together, and together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

I hope this message finds you safe, healthy and in good spirits. While the worst of Hurricane Sally has luckily passed over our community, I’d like to begin by sending my warmest thoughts to all of our friends and neighbors that may be impacted by this powerful storm. From the COVID-19 pandemic to an active hurricane season, 2020 has certainly been a year full of challenges that have tested the strength of our community. But through it all, New Orleanians are proving to be resilient.

While we were all excited to begin sending our youngest learners back to school on Monday, mother nature had other plans, and for the safety of our community, we pushed back the start of in-person learning for these students. But as always, we quickly bounced back.

I’m thrilled to announce that just yesterday, 12 of our schools once again opened their doors up to students from PreK-4th grade - a milestone that has been months in the making. As a former teacher, there is simply nothing better than welcoming kids back to school and knowing that they can once again laugh and learn with their friends and teachers. I saw this joy firsthand at McDonogh 42 Elementary yesterday, where I joined our school community in kicking off the start of in-person learning. Next week, we’re excited to have all of our schools welcome back the rest of our PreK-4th grade students. As laid out in our Roadmap to Reopening and our most recent communications, we will continue to work towards a mid-October reopening for our students in grades 5-12.

As more students return to school buildings, I urge our community to remain steadfast in their support of the best practices that have created an environment for NOLA-PS to reopen the doors to our schools in the first place. For the sake of our students, teachers, and families - let’s keep up the good work. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. And while hurricane season is still with us, stay weather aware.

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools

Contact

Report Fraud

Department of Children and Family Services

Call 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) to report child abuse and neglect.

Report Abuse

Hotline Number for Parents
504-527-KIDS

or

504-304-5675
School-based issues or concerns during normal business hours

24-hour Hotline Number for Community
504-522-HELP

or

504-304-5782
District based community concerns, feedback, & inquiries after-hours support

External Resources

NOLA Public Schools. Every Child. Every School. Every Day.

2401 Westbend Parkway
New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

Phone: 504-304-3520

Hotline Number for Parents
504-527-KIDS

School-based issues or concerns during normal business hours

24-hour Hotline Number for Community
504-522-HELP
District based community concerns, feedback, & inquiries after-hours support