The young scholars of the Natchitoches Junior High/Frankie Ray Jackson School are off to a superb start for the 2023-24 school year. Several hundred students and their families gathered at the school for its annual Open House Wednesday, August 16. Third year principal and Howard University alumna, Mrs. Alexa Bernard-Conday, is looking to build on last year’s success when the students of NJH raised their proficiency scores in all four content areas, Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. Each year of her tenure has seen improvements in student scores. She is joined in this worthy quest by Assistant Principals Chase Step and Robert Carnline as well as over 30 faculty and staff members. The young men and women of NJH are well led and heading in a positive direction.
The 330 students of the NJH family do not have to stop learning and growing when the final bell rings. The school offers a full range of sports as well as cheerleading for boys and girls to choose from. The youngsters can stretch their minds and learn new skills with the school’s band, art club, and other after school programs. Along with East Natchitoches Elementary, NJH has been a major presence at the yearly Regional Science Fairs held at LSU-A. NJH will also be adding robotics to its offerings this year. The art club’s work can be seen throughout the school. The young musicians of the NJH band will be performing several concerts at the school and community as well as supporting the school’s football team.
There are two notable programs starting this year. The school has a Student Success Closet with everything from uniforms to hygiene and school supplies. Students whose families are in trying circumstances can draw items from the closet. This both preserves the student’s dignity and removes an obstacle to learning. As for parent-teacher conferences, they will now have a strong student led component in which the student will present his or her progress in grades and test scores to his or her parents.
As a writer for the Natchitoches Parish Journal and a former teacher in one of the poorest parishes in our state, I have long maintained that there are talented, capable, and intelligent children in each and every one of the parish’s schools who will rise to any challenge placed before them. It is quite evident that the leadership, faculty, and staff of Natchitoches Junior High share that belief and are acting upon it. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes all the best to the young men and women of Natchitoches Junior High as they learn, grow, and get better. Go NJH!