St. John Parish Public Schools embark on ‘Journey to Excellence’

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

LAPLACE — “Journey to Excellence” is a motto that will encompass all stakeholders in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School System during the 2022-23 school year, from the district administration to teachers, students and community supporters.

After a series of unprecedented years marked by a global pandemic, virtual learning challenges and a devastating hurricane, Interim Superintendent Rebecca Johnson looks forward to starting this year off on a positive note.

“One of our phrases for the school year for teachers and staff is ‘we go first’. We want to be a model of excellence for our students and for the community. Education has had such a negative connotation in the past few years because of COVID, and we want people to see that we are building a culture and climate here that’s positive,” Johnson said. “All of our buildings will be conducive to learning and welcoming to the community members and families.”

St. John the Baptist Parish scholars return to school on Monday, August 8. East St. John High School will have a staggered start, with freshman returning on August 8 and sophomores, juniors and seniors returning on Tuesday, August 9.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students begin school one week later, on Monday, August 15, while Head Start students begin school on Monday, August 22.

All of the buildings previously damaged by Hurricane Ida will completely reopen to students this month with the exception of the Emily C. Watkins campus. ECW students in kindergarten through eighth grade will reunite as a school family on the Leon Godchaux campus, while the preschoolers will continue attending school on the Fifth Ward Elementary campus. Johnson is hopeful all students will return to their home sites by January 2023.

To kick off the 2022-23 year on a positive note, staff will attend a “Journey to Excellence” Back-to-School Bash from 9 a.m. to approximately 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, August 4 inside the East St. John High School gymnasium. At this time, a special announcement will be made.

Immediately following the Back-to-School Bash, staff members will board buses and parade through some of the neighborhoods in the district to greet scholars and their families while sharing their excitement for the upcoming school year.

“This is the first time it’s being done here. As a former principal, I did this every year with just my faculty and staff. I want to bring it back on a larger scale because I want teachers to see where their kids come from. School is also a place that kids call home, so this is a way to bridge the community and our school system together,” Johnson said. “We want to see where they live, how the community is rebuilding, and show excitement and celebration because we want this year to start off on a positive note.”

Buses are expected to depart East St. John High School between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. Families can expect to start seeing buses move through neighborhoods between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m. on the East Bank and around noon on the West Bank.

Please see the following routes for reference:

West Bank Schools

West St. John High: Central Ave., Castle Dr., East Sixth St., East 11th St., East 12th St., East 13th St., East 14th St.

West St. John Elementary: Dufrense Dr., West 13th St., West Ninth St., West Eighth St., West Fourth St., West Third St., Amp Circle / Hwy. 18, West First St.


East Bank Schools

Garyville – Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet: Star Terrace Dr., S. Church St., N.W. 12th St., Garyville Northern St., West 19th St., Oak Park Blvd., S. Emilie St., Daffodil St., Little Hope St., Chestnut St., Historic East St., Marigold St., Main St., Historic West St.

East St. John Preparatory: N. Sugar Ridge Rd., Delta Rd., S. Sugar Ridge Rd., Belle Pointe Blvd., Foxwood Ln., Grant Dr., Oakmont Dr., Lee Dr., Portrush Dr., Jackson Ave., Colonial Dr., Homewood Pl., Champions Dr., East 12th St., West 10th St., Cynthia Circle

Fifth Ward Elementary: Cartier Dr., East 31st St., Van Arpel Dr., East 30th St., Tiffany Dr., Chad Baker St., Rebecca Ln., East 26th St., Magnolia Ave., East 24th St., Ave., East 22nd St. (MLK Blvd), Whitlow Ct. / Airline Hwy., East 14th St., N.W. Second St., N.W. Third St.

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary: Tuscany Dr., Revere Dr., Derek Ln., York Towne Dr., Ridge Wood Dr., Cambridge Dr., Meadow Dr., Virginian Colony Dr., Sawgrass Dr., English Colony Dr., Moss Dr., Pampas Dr., Shearwater Dr.

Emily C. Watkins Elementary: McReine Rd., Apricot St., Windsor Blvd., Park Pl., Somerset St., Boardwalk St., Nottingham Rd., State St., Walnut St., St. James Pl., Marvin Gardens St., Elm St., Capt. G. Bourgeois St., Redwood St.

John L. Ory Magnet: Orange Lp., Carrollwood Dr., Ormond Blvd., Carmel Valley Dr., Ellerslie Ave., Cresent Ave., Madewood Rd., River Oaks Dr., Ridgefield Dr., Riverlands Dr., Country Club Dr., South Pass Dr., Oak Point Dr., Oak Bend Dr.

LaPlace Elementary: Belle Alliance Dr., Longwood Dr., Bellevue Dr., Highland Dr., Dominican Dr., Hester Dr., Madewood Dr., Fairway Dr., Concord Dr., Golfview Dr., Glendale Dr., Greenwood Dr., Bayonne Dr., Calais Dr


Johnson also shared information on the following events taking place in advance of the first day back to school:


  • East St. John high school will hold orientation for freshman on August 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Seniors have orientation on August 3 from 5 to 7 p.m.


  • STEM Magnet Program registration will be August 3-4. The event will include schedules, student emergency contact info, signing the STEM contract, ID pictures with ID fee of $5, district technology fee of $20, and other important information. Uniform shirts are required for ID photos. Scheduled start day is Monday, August 8 for eighth and ninth graders only. All scholars from eighth to 12th grade report on Tuesday, August 9.


  • Garyville Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School will have a back to school meet and greet from 3:40 to 5:40 p.m. August 5 at the GMMS cafetorium.


Johnson reminds families to check the St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools website and Facebook page for the most updated information.

“One of the things I feel we haven’t been the best at is effective communication. When children go back to school, please make sure all the forms we send home are filled out so we have updated information for them to receive communications,” Johnson said. “It’s very important that we have email addresses and phone numbers on file.”