Mayor’s Office And Over 30 Community Leaders Join The Orleans Parish School Board In An Effort To Keep Kids In School

January 31, 2019

OPSB Issues Call to Action to Community in Combating Truancy and Chronic Absenteeism in New Orleans Public Schools

NEW ORLEANS – (Jan. 30, 2019) –Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. and the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) have secured the commitment of over 30 community members and representatives from local businesses and non-profits in an effort to address truancy and chronic absenteeism issues within New Orleans public schools.

Monday, Jan. 28, the OPSB hosted a breakfast with the Office of the Mayor and members of the business community to discuss tactics on how to address these issues. During the breakfast, participants signed letters of commitment to join in the initiative as well as shape its future. Those in attendance who signed letters of commitment include City Councilmember Jason Williams; Emily Wolff, Director of the Office of Youth and Families for the City of New Orleans; Greg Tillery, Founder and Owner of We Dat Chicken & Shrimp; Cleveland Spears, Founder and Owner of Spears Group; Tony Duhon, Founder and Owner of Premier Automotive which donates a new car to one Orleans Parish public school student with perfect attendance every year; and Naillah Webber, Executive Director of Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN).

“Our students make up the fabric of our city’s future. As a community dedicated to their advancement and success, we must pull together to address these issues. As the saying goes, it takes a village. We are that village,” said OPSB Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “Together, we can help address attendance issues across all our schools.”

Recently released data shows that 24 percent of students in Orleans Parish were chronically absent, hindering student achievement and thereby impacting educational and economic outcomes for our students. School attendance issues in New Orleans can be attributed to poverty, juvenile arrests, weak social safety net and support systems for families, significant barriers to accessing social services, and uncoordinated systems of support for school children, both in and out of school.

“Since becoming a unified district on July 1, 2018, the OPSB made a commitment to families and students through our mission to ensure students are getting the best education possible,” said Angela Wiggins, Executive Director of the Office of Child Welfare and Attendance. “Our office recognizes in order to receive the best education possible our students must be actively present in school every day.”

See here for the community commitment letter.
See here for photos from the commitment breakfast.

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