Jun 26, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education is hosting two webinars this week about the new Course Choice program, the first system of its kind in the nation, where students can access public funds to pay for individual courses that best suit their needs. Families will be able to use the Course Choice program to pay for apprenticeships, expanded career and technical education, higher education courses, and virtual classes. Course Choice providers will include post-secondary education institutions, online schools, business and industry associations, and teacher entrepreneurs.

"Course Choice builds upon the belief that empowering parents is the best path to improving outcomes for our kids," said State Superintendent of Education John White. "Students’ educational options will not be determined by their zip code or their family’s income, and they will have more customized options tailored to their particular needs and interests."

The Course Choice program is a component of Act 2 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session and will begin in the 2013-14 school year. The program will first focus on students enrolled in CD and F schools, but will also provide course options for all students who want to enhance their academic performance and job readiness.

The goal of the program is to give students, and their parents, unprecedented and personalized educational choices. Students who are behind their class level can use Course Choice funds to catch up with their classmates and graduate on time. High performing students can use Course Choice to graduate high school early, many with college credits to prepare them for post-secondary academic and career success.

"All of our students will have more access to the educational opportunities they need and deserve," White said. "This, in turn, will grow our state’s economy, create new jobs, and best position Louisiana’s families, businesses and communities for success in the 21st century and beyond."

Course providers, businesses, entrepreneurs, guidance counselors, teachers, administrators and parents who want to learn more about the Course Choice program can participate in informational webinars the Department is hosting on Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28:

  • Wednesday, June 27, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
    • http://tinyurl.com/7pnre4a
    • To connect with your telephone only, dial 1-888-621-7121 and when prompted, enter the Event Number:  701635

  •  Thursday, June 28, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
    • http://tinyurl.com/6rw7fmy
    • To connect with your telephone only, dial 1-888-621-7121 and when prompted, enter the Event Number:  553505

Additionally, Department of Education staff will launch an outreach initiative to inform and involve guidance counselors, teachers, principals, superintendents and school district officials in Course Choice, seeking their input and feedback as the program rolls out. The outreach effort will include informational meetings July 23 - July 25 with educators, post-secondary education institutions, education providers, and businesses in areas around the state, multiple webinars and an applicant help line.

The Department will release a Request for Applications for Course Choice program providers on July 16 that will focus on course quality and performance expectations for providers. Prospective course providers will go through a three-step process including online applications, in-person or virtual interviews, and independent expert panel reviews. Providers will be selected based on core academic subjects offered; career and technical offerings (including internships and apprenticeships); and college credit course offerings.

"Course Choice can be the catalyst to dramatically expand access for Louisiana’s students to the kind of individualized, rigorous, and dynamic learning opportunities they will need to build strong families, successful careers and thriving communities," said Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastugue.

For more information about the Course Choice program, visit www.louisianaschools.net/coursechoice, call 1-877-453-2721, or email coursechoice@la.gov.


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