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Dear Members of the NOLA-PS Community,

I would like to start by sending my heartfelt thoughts to all members of the NOLA-PS community and our neighbors affected by Hurricane Zeta. This year has certainly brought its fair share of challenges, from the pandemic to a record hurricane season that has already seen five named storms hit our shores. But through every challenge that comes our way, this community comes together and weathers the storm.

Well before Hurricane Zeta made landfall, NOLA-PS’ emergency response systems jumped into gear, coordinating closely with the City, our schools and our community to respond quickly, provide guidance, and communicate school closures to families. As we recover from this storm, NOLA-PS will continue to maintain open lines of communications with and support schools and families across the District to prioritize the safety of our school community.

October is Youth Justice Awareness Month - a time to reflect on and raise awareness of young people impacted by the criminal justice system. As part of Youth Justice Awareness Month, I want to highlight some of the good work at the Travis Hill School, which operates inside the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center and Orleans Justice Center. This school provides teens and young adults with support and a top-notch education that is relevant, meaningful, and designed to help students re-engage with school, both while detained and upon release. And they are making gains! The Travis Hill School is the 4th ranked alternative school in the state and the only alternative school recognized as a 2019 Equity Honoree for its progress with historically disadvantaged students. I am most proud of our students at Travis Hill for making incredible and meaningful progress towards high school graduation despite the barrier of incarceration. These remarkable results are a testament to their determination and the tireless dedication of the Travis Hill schools’ educators who are by their side.

As we forge ahead into this school year, expanded COVID-19 testing remains a key part of our reopening - and remaining open - strategy. NOLA-PS is setting a national example when it comes to COVID-19 testing, and it’s all thanks to our amazing community members. Our concerted work with the Louisiana Department of Health and the City of New Orleans have made free tests available to our school community at sites around the city. We also have stood up mobile testing sites at certain school facilities to make it easier for students showing symptoms to be tested. And we are working on new partnerships and programs to track and contain COVID-19 in our school community that I hope to share with you soon. Meanwhile, we must keep up our vigilance, especially as we enter the holiday season. Getting tested has never been more important - just because you don’t feel sick, doesn’t mean you’re not sick. I strongly urge every member of our school community to help keep your friends, family and neighbors safe by getting tested. At the community-based sites – which you can find here: – these tests are free, they are quick, and they will help keep our school community healthy.

Together, we can do this.

In Service,

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

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