Students returned to Iberville Parish public schools Friday, Aug. 10, and while it takes the coordination of 820 employees, thousands of students and 57 busses, the first week of school went well.

“We’re extremely pleased with the opening this year of our schools,” Superintendent Arthur Joffrion, Ed.D., said. “Our school level administrators as well as the employees who are committed to being extraordinary throughout the school year.

“We look for outstanding relationships and we are looking for academic results,” he continued. “We had a really smooth opening of schools.”

“We didn’t have any issues with the opening of school,” the superintendent said, although the train wreck in White Castle and the boil advisory in another part of the parish made the school system make some adjustments.

“With everything our control, the school year began extremely smoothly,” he continued. “That’s a credit to our school personnel..”

Joffrion said late last week there were a little less than 5,000 students who’ve showed up for school so far.

"We are running a little under 5,000 at about 4,700, which is a little down from last year,” he said, adding the School Board usually aims for a student population of 5,000. Joffrion said it’s still early and that target may still be reached for the 2018-19 school year.

“Some schools have shown increases while some schools have shown decreases,” he said. “So it depends from site to site as to whether they are up or down.”

Joffrion said he expects an increase in the enrollment at MSA-East and East Iberville, the result of people moving into a new subdivision right behind the school. The student population there is “a little down right now.”

While he didn’t have specific numbers in hand for all of the parish’s public schools, he said Plaquemine High still has over 900 students and the head count at White Castle High has increased.

“We also saw an increase at the STEM Academy,” Joffrion said. “We’re pleased with that number because of the number of program offerings there.”

Off the top of his head, the superintendent offered other school population counts, based in part on his visits to all of the schools in the parish, some more than once.

MSA-West still have a student count over 1,000 while Crescent Elementary, just down La. 1, is about the same as last year. Dorseyville Elementary, not far away, has a new pre-kindergarten class while Iberville Elementary lost one, “just because of a population shift,” Joffrion said.

While the school year never ends for the superintendent, he said this year’s unofficial start was a convocation with all of the over 800 employees of the school system, during which the theme of “Be Extraordinary” was adopted.

“We chose that theme just to focus on everybody being their best of whatever position they are in,” Joffrion said, adding Oschner Medical Center donated some of the 800-plus T-shirts distributed to the employees.

“We want to be best at what we do so that our students can be provided with what they need to be successful,” he continued.