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Our school

As we head into Spring Break, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and excited not only about our success at keeping COVID-19 at bay in our schools but also about the prospect of soon returning every one of our students and educators to their classrooms where we all know the best learning and teaching takes place.

We made great strides toward that goal in the past few weeks. So many of our teachers and staff are now fully vaccinated, and our safety procedures and access to testing continue to protect our school community. Now I want to encourage those educators and staff who have not been vaccinated to take advantage of the opportunities to do so. The same goes for our students 16 and older. Every shot in an arm is a boost of safety for all of us.

Our progress and successes during this challenging time are direct results of us coming together, listening to each other, and working as a team united in this fight. It’s not over yet – we must not let our guard down and still follow our COVID safety guidelines – but we can confidently say we are much better off than we were a year ago.

In a lot of ways, this pandemic was the first major, collective challenge we have faced since reunification three years ago. And our success illustrates the strength of our unique community of schools.

But it was not always this way for public education in New Orleans. Efforts to teach our children through the years have constantly been subjected to the pushes and pulls of social change, for better and for worse.

I bring this up because last Friday, we kicked off what will be a year-long commemoration of the 180th anniversary of the start of public education in New Orleans. It is a long and complicated history. While there have been advances since 1841 – Emancipation, Reconstruction, Desegregation – there have also been original sins and setbacks – Slavery, Jim Crow, and Systemic Racism.

We continue to push through toward a better, more inclusive, more equitable education experience for all our students. This past year has taught us that there is still much work to do, but we are heading in the right direction. I encourage you to watch and reflect on the words shared with us last week by former Sen. Mary Landrieu, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Cedric Richmond, a NOLA-PS alum and our former congressman who is now a senior advisor to President Biden. They have all been integral to the advancement of public education in New Orleans. It is a baton they pass to our new School Board, which Sen. Landrieu pointed out is one of the most diverse and progressive in recent times.

Let us capitalize on that new sense of purpose. We are launching a new strategic planning effort to guide NOLA-PS for the next four years. Rather than resort to a typical bureaucratic tactic of designing this plan internally, we are taking a different tack: We want your input. We have asked our schools, our educators, our students and our communities to submit their ideas, to ask questions, and to participate in the process of planning for the future of our unique community of schools.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

Contact

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

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Hotline Number for Parents
504-527-KIDS

School-based issues or concerns from parents

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

School and District based concerns, feedback, & inquiries from school staff or community members

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 from parents

24-hour Hotline Number for Community
504-522-HELP
District based community concerns, feedback, & inquiries from school staff or community members