As superintendent of New Orleans public schools, in reading the recent article on the state scores of many of our schools, I felt compelled to reiterate how we at the school district are responding to the test results from last school year.

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The overall results from our K-8 schools showed a step in the wrong direction. With standards rising statewide, we slipped back rather than moving forward and we need to do better. Beginning this past summer, my team and I have been working directly with our schools and focusing on what must be done to improve instruction in the classroom while aligning teachers’ work to meet the new, more rigorous standards set by the state. We are also doubling down on efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of talented teachers throughout the district. Our joint goal is to improve academic achievement. Together, we are focused on ensuring our educators have the resources they need to help our students thrive

But we did, in fact, improve our district score and that improvement was led by our high schools. The hard work students, families and educators have been doing over these past years is now beginning to pay off by the time they leave high school. We are graduating more students; more students are taking college courses while in high school; and more students are graduating with career technical training valued by employers. Additionally, more than half of our high school students are attending A and B-rated schools.

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We have work to do, to be sure. We must be clear about where we need to improve and where we are seeing progress. And we will never waiver in our commitment to ensure that our children attend schools that prepare them for continued success. It is our privilege, our job and our passion.

Henderson Lewis Jr.

superintendent, New Orleans public schools

New Orleans