COURSE CHOICE FUNDING LEADS TO EIGHT-FOLD INCREASE IN ENROLLMENT

Jan 07, 2015

More than 19,000 Students, Families Seek Coursework Individualized to Needs of Students

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today announced an increase in the number of students enrolling in Course Choice courses due to a $7.5 million enhancement to the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) and a corresponding change in state law. For the 2014-2015 school year, students have enrolled in 19,068 courses to date through Course Choice, an increase from 2,362 course enrollments in the 2013-2014 program pilot. Of those courses, more than 13,000 are “dual enrollment” at Louisiana’s post-secondary institutions.

Created as part of Governor Jindal's education reform legislative package in 2012, Course Choice provides families and students the ability to select from hundreds of online and face-to-face courses not traditionally offered by high schools and middle schools. The program is a critical component of
Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to allow every student a pathway to college and a professional career. Course Choice courses offer students opportunities to pursue college coursework, Advanced Placement courses, and technical training that prepare them for opportunities after high school. The program was piloted in the 2013-2014 school year, funded through a grant of state 8g funds.

In January 2014, the Minimum Foundation Program Task Force, consisting of education stakeholders from around the state, approved a recommendation to add $7.5 million to the MFP formula through a Supplemental Course Allocation (SCA). The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the state Legislature ultimately approved this recommendation, and the Legislature passed
Act 482, making all students at all public middle and high schools eligible for Course Choice offerings. For the 2015-2016 school year, the MFP Task Force is recommending to BESE an increase in the per-pupil funding for the Supplemental Course Allocation in the MFP from 26 dollars to 35 dollars to help meet the demand for dual enrollment and other course choices.

“Investing in the education of our children is a top priority — that’s why we committed $7.5 million to Course Choice this year,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “This program connects more of our students to a wider range of course options and helps them get the skills they need to grow up and pursue their dreams. The increase in enrollment means more of our kids are working toward academic success in the classroom, and we won’t stop working to make education the best it can be for our children.”

"Course Choice and the Supplemental Course Allocation provide all students with multiple, challenging pathways that broaden their opportunities and skills beyond high school as they pursue college or career aspirations," said State Superintendent John White. “Thanks to the hard work of our state legislators, BESE members, and school districts, these sorts of pathways are now possible.”

“Expanding course options allows students to pursue academic and job-readiness goals matched to their abilities and needs,” said Jay Guillot, BESE member and MFP Task Force chairman. “The Supplemental Course Allocation has helped make it possible for all Louisiana students to access more high-quality courses that will help them develop the specific skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.”

“School boards around the state are supportive of the need to provide more dual enrollment opportunities for students and parents, especially those that focus on college and career readiness,” said Scott Richard, Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association. “We hope to continue to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to enhance these opportunities moving forward.”

The Course Choice allocations provided to the local school districts have allowed students opportunities to expand learning beyond their current high school courses of study,” said Doris Voitier, St. Bernard Parish Schools Superintendent and president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendent. “Whether it is taking courses online that aren't offered at their high schools or getting an early start to college and career through dual enrollment, Course Choice has opened doors for our young people that previously were closed to them.  It's a great partnership for school districts that helps reinforce relevant and meaningful course options.”

Below is a table that summarizes a portion of the different types of course offerings provided through Course Choice to students across Louisiana:
 

Provider Name

Course Enrollments

Dual Enrollment: LCTCS Campuses

6,504

Dual Enrollment: UL / LSU Systems

6,825

Construction Crafts Courses: ABC Pelican

184

Dual Enrollment: Bard Early College

175

Louisiana Public School Course Providers: St. James

224

Louisiana Public School Online: LSMSA*

231

* - Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts

Through the Course Choice program, Louisiana high school students are taking TOPS-aligned dual enrollment courses at the state’s four-year universities. LSU and the University of Louisiana systems have accounted for more than 6,800 enrollments, with the most popular courses being College Algebra, English Composition, and Western Civilization. Beginning with the freshman class of 2014-2015,
ACT 359 of the 2013 Regular Legislative Session requires that these TOPS-aligned dual enrollment courses receive a weighted grade point average (GPA) when given consideration for a TOPS Opportunity, TOPS Performance, or TOPS Honors award. Additionally, students are receiving ACT preparation through course offerings to help improve their composite scores. These classes provide training, materials, and support for schools as they prepare their students for the ACT.

Course Choice also allows middle and high school students the ability to earn course credits via the Internet. The state has 17 online providers which offer an array of courses geared to preparing students for post-secondary education and technical schools. The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), a pioneer in distance learning education, has 231 enrollments and is one of several providers offering online courses.

Students are also gaining access to technical courses leading to statewide
Jump Start Industry-Based Credentials through Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) campuses. There are more than 6,500 enrollments through the LCTCS campuses. Career and technical education (CTE) prepares youth for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. The most popular courses are Welding, Occupational Orientation and Safety, Oxyfuel Systems, NCCER Core Training (construction), General Electrical System Diagnosis, and Introduction to Industrial Instrumentation.

The Course Choice program has a fully-staffed statewide Counselor Assistance Center as a resource to support students, parents, and professional school counselors identify and select appropriate courses. All stakeholders have direct access to a licensed professional school counselor by calling 1-877-453-2721 or sending an email to
SCA@la.gov.

The Course Choice registration system is now open to districts that intend to enroll additional students with any remaining SCA funds.

For more information on the Supplemental Course Academy/Course Choice, please click
here.
 

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