POSTED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 2:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The Department of Education today announced that 21 Course Choice provider applicants have advanced to the next round of the selection process with the goal of participating in the second year of the program. Currently, 21 active course providers serve over 2,000 Louisiana students.
"The goal of the Course Choice program is to provide high-quality educational options to students in both rural and urban areas of the state that currently do not have access to the classes they need to prepare for college or a career," said State Superintendent John White. "By accepting new providers through a thoughtful, rigorous review process, this program will continue to diversify its offerings, ensuring students have the access they need and deserve."
This year, the Department narrowed its request for applications by outlining "innovation targets" that called for specific types of providers to apply. These targets sought providers that offer more courses that meet both the academic and career needs of Louisiana students. The requested courses were identified based on feedback from educators, parents, industry leaders, and regional economic development experts. They include:
• Expanded Opportunities for Career-Oriented Students: Innovative ways to expand access to high-value Career and Technical Education training courses (construction crafts, advanced manufacturing, transportation, energy, healthcare) for students in more remote school districts;
• ELA and Math Skills-Based Content; and
• Student Services: Supporting students through their school experience through counseling, rehabilitative services, and test prep.
As a result of this narrowed focus, 28 organizations submitted applications. These applicants underwent an initial review to determine if they met eligibility standards listed in the Request for Applications. 21 applications were accepted, the majority of which provide courses aligned to the proposed innovation targets:
• 11 of the applicants offer courses focused on providing training for career-oriented students, including agricultural career courses, nursing, welding (including mobile welding), and manufacturing and industrial safety;
• 4 of the applicants offer innovative student services, including speech therapy and occupational therapy; and
• 11 of the applicants are Louisiana-based organizations including Benjamin Franklin High School, eLearning Center, DJay's School of Beauty, J.Schneider and Associates, Pelican Virtual, and Sparx Welding.
The interview process will include pre-interview submissions, an in-person interview with Department staff and post-interview follow-up. Next, applicants successful in their interview will advance to the third phase of the process - an independent, third party evaluation - before moving on to final BESE approval. This final approval of new course providers is scheduled to occur January 2014.
Registration for 2014-2015 Course Choice courses will begin in February 2014.