Message from the Head of School

Coronavirus Update – May 14, 2020
Message Concerning the Start of the 2020 School Year

Dear JA Families,

As we rapidly approach tomorrow’s conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, I wanted to write and not only thank you all again, but also commend you for the incredible job you have done under extremely challenging circumstances. Your hard work, understanding, support, and encouragement have been nothing short of remarkable, and we will never be able to sufficiently express our gratitude.

The other reason for this letter is to express to all of you our commitment to reopen JA for on-campus learning on our scheduled first day of school in August, while taking effective and well-advised precautions to minimize health risks to our students and staff. We have been and will continue to work on appropriate ways to accomplish this, but we recognize the critical importance of our students returning to their school. Of course, if governmental mandates or new evidence make that impossible we will comply, but our firm belief is we will be welcoming your children back to the Jackson Academy campus on our opening day in August.

Thank you all again, and GO RAIDERS!

Jack Milne

Coronavirus Update – April 15, 2020

Coronavirus Update – April 7, 2020
A Word of Encouragement

Dear Raiders,

It has been said frequently during this worldwide upheaval, “The worst of times can bring out the best in people.”

We have seen that axiom affirmed time and time again within the Jackson Academy and greater Jackson communities. Dedicated teachers have successfully explored alternative teaching methods for which no one could have prepared them. We have seen parents double as effective teachers in a time when their plates are so full with understandable concern about the future. We have seen students rise to the occasion and be bolstered by not only their strong parental and academic preparation, but also by their enduring faith in God. There have been no weak links in this chain, and I have every confidence we will all succeed in this real-life test and be better than ever as a result. I am so proud of all of you and am thankful for the blessing of being a member of the Jackson Academy family.

Sincerely yours,
Jack Milne

Coronavirus Update – March 19, 2020
Distance Learning in Place Ready to Engage Fully This Monday

Dear JA Family,

In our effort to get information to everyone as promptly as possible after decisions are made, I am writing to confirm what most of you have already assumed. There will be no resumption of classes or activities on the JA campus next week. The delay is likely to extend even beyond that, but we are following the request of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools to schedule further delays on a week-to-week basis. Please know that we want everyone back as soon as possible, but only when we can be reasonably confident that it is safe to do so. This is an unparalleled situation, and no one can responsibly predict when things will fully “return to normal.” But how we handle it in the meantime will speak volumes about us.

While this is a recognized hardship to our families and everyone with a relationship with the school, I must share with you how proud I am of how our students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators have responded. We have carefully and thoughtfully fashioned a distance learning program in place ready to engage fully this Monday. Eddie Wettach and his Tech Center team have been working tirelessly to develop a streamlined and effective delivery method. We are so blessed to have them. Associate Head and Academic Dean Matt Morgan and his campus Heads (Sarah Love, J Reeves, and Steve McCartney) have developed what I’m confident will be the flagship distance learning program in our community if not the entire state. Associate Head for Finance, Angie Antici, has been overseeing our operations daily to ensure we are handling the present circumstances in the best ways possible in a manner that assures the financial stability of our school while providing the educational opportunities that our families have a right to expect. Our teachers are cheerfully giving of their time and talents to make this difficult time one that is productive and reassuring. In short, I could not be prouder of those who work for Jackson Academy and its children. My list of accolades could go on and on. As I told my counterpart at a “friendly competitor” school, these are truly trying and uncertain times, but when you work with great people it makes all the difference in the world. I am so grateful for, and to, every one of our employees.

Perhaps I am most grateful for the continued understanding, support, and encouragement from our parents. Remarkable really. You have all risen to the occasion with great aplomb, and I pledge to strive to be worthy of the trust you have placed in me to help lead us through this troubling time. I honestly believe JA will come out of this better than ever, and our faith, strength, and talents will be made more and more evident throughout the duration of this challenge, and beyond.

My best wishes to you all, and GO RAIDERS!

Sincerely yours,
Jack Milne

Coronavirus Update – March 16, 2020
Distance Learning to Begin March 23

Jackson Academy is carefully refining and finalizing plans to keep JA students engaged in their education, while adhering to precautions concerning the coronavirus pandemic. We are coordinating with teachers and developing appropriate methods of distance learning this week and will be prepared to launch effective distance learning on Monday, March 23. Unless you are notified otherwise, JA will postpone a return to campus for all students and will proceed with distance learning on this date.

Students will receive further learning plans from JA’s academic divisions on or before Friday, March 20, at noon. Certain classes may receive information earlier than Friday. Parents, please encourage your students to check their email frequently throughout the day.

As a reminder, MAIS has already granted a waiver for this first week’s delay, which will not have to be physically made up to have the required number of school days.

Coronavirus Update – March 14, 2020

Dear JA Family,

In response to the evolving information that has been increasingly forthcoming about the Coronavirus pandemic, and the real risk it poses to our children, families, and employees, I have concluded that in a necessary abundance of caution we must delay a return to school by all students and non-essential employees, including faculty, at least through Monday, March 23rd.

This will include our After School Program.

I fully recognize this decision may present a hardship to some working families, especially those with younger children who may depend upon our programs. However, potential inconveniences or hardships (not unlike those being experienced throughout the country) are vastly outweighed by the risks that would be assumed if these programs remained in place during these uncertain times. Any criticisms for this decision and its impact should be directed solely towards me.

More specifics and plans for the future will be delivered throughout the weekend and early next week, but what we know now is as follows:

  • no students are to return to school for any reason until further instructions are given,
  • no on or off-campus extra-curricular activities, including athletic practices, competitions, or meetings, will be held until further notice,
  • we will be reviewing and planning for methods of distance learning during this next week.

The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools supports the week-to-week closure of schools such as what we are putting into place.

I am pleased to report, with much gratitude, that Dr. Alan Jones, UMMC Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and a JA parent, has generously offered his time and expertise to counsel and assist us through this difficult period. I spoke with him this morning and he concurred with our decision, recognizing that reducing genuine threats to the health of our children and adults must take absolute precedence over temporary inconveniences or cancelled activities.

I continue to be encouraged by the support of our school community and know we will successfully weather this challenge together. 

Sincerely yours,
Jack Milne

A Message Concerning Coronavirus – March 12, 2020

Dear JA Family,

Throughout Spring Break we have been closely following what is now labeled the Coronavirus pandemic. Understandably, concern has been growing, especially about those members of our community who traveled overseas or on cruises this week.

More details will be forthcoming today and throughout the weekend, but in the interim we want to share our probable plans to require that all students, parents, and employees returning from China, Iran, South Korea, or the European continent (, or were on any cruise during Spring Break, or who had an in-the-home family member who did, refrain from coming to school for the recommended 14-day period, starting on the day of their return to the U.S.

I have been in regular communication with the Heads at Jackson Prep and St. Andrews, who have concerns similar to ours, and we three have decided to extend our Breaks for an additional day, returning next Tuesday, to give us the full weekend to receive and evaluate clarifications and recommendations from the CDC, government agencies, healthcare professionals, etc. Then Monday can be used to re-confer with our staff (who will return Monday unless in the above categories) and our peer schools to make a calm and informed final determination about school starts, alternative instruction, quaratines, school-sponsored trips, sporting events, additional listed affected countries, etc.

The After School Program will be available to JA families on Monday.

Please be assured, there is no higher priority than the health and safety of our children and adults.

Jack Milne


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