DEPARTMENT RELEASES REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS FOR COURSE CHOICE PROVIDERS

Jul 16, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. - Today the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) released a Request for Application (RFA) to authorize partners from industry, higher education, online education, and schools themselves to participate in the Course Choice program. Course Choice, which allows families to choose from a range of education options, including workplace-based apprenticeships, is an integral component of Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to empower students and teachers. Louisiana is the first state in the nation to implement such a system.

"Students today are too often limited by what is offered within the walls of their particular school," said State Superintendent of Education John White. "By opening education to a variety of entities proven to prepare students, Course Choice expands options for students and families. Businesses will offer internships and apprenticeships that prepare our state’s students for 21st Century jobs. Universities will teach students before they graduate from high school. And excellent Louisiana teachers will find new opportunities to teach students beyond their current classrooms."  

The Course Choice Program will enable students and their families to choose publicly-funded course offerings that best match each student’s abilities and needs beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.  The program will provide Louisiana’s students with educational opportunities that 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.

The Course Choice program will:

  • give students and their parents/caregivers unprecedented choice in developing personal educational pathways;
  • provide innovative career and technical education courses, internships and apprenticeships that will prepare students for the types of jobs Louisiana needs filled by Louisiana graduates in order for the state to prosper;
  • motivate students to graduate high school on time or early, many with college credits to prepare them for post-secondary academic and career success;  and
  • help students who are behind their class level catch up and graduate on time.

The Course Choice RFA is a user-friendly, 100 percent electronic process focused on course quality and course provider accountability.

The RFA kicks off a three step process for prospective course providers:  1) on-line applications; 2) in-person or virtual interviews; and 3) independent expert panel reviews.  The LDOE has designed the RFA process with multiple feedback loops to help applicants submit their best possible packages.

"This process was designed so that course providers will receive an ample amount of feedback in order to submit the best possible applications," said Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastague. "We will work with Louisiana educators and businesses every step of the way, and we can’t wait to see what they have to offer our students and their families."

While the LDOE will evaluate all proposals, the RFA indicates that this first Course Choice selection process will focus on:  1) core academic subject offerings; 2) career and technical offerings (including internships and apprenticeships); and 3) college credit course offerings.

The LDOE’s substantial outreach effort will include course provider informational meetings in all eight BESE regions, multiple webinars and an applicant help line.  LDOE will actively reach out to Louisiana businesses and educational start-ups to help them develop effective application packages.

The LDOE will also launch proactive outreach initiatives to inform and involve professional school counselors, teachers, principals, superintendents and school district officials in Course Choice, seeking their input and feedback as the program rolls out.

Two informational webinars about the Course Choice Program and an overview of the RFA process will be held on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. The afternoon webinar will cover the same topic as the morning webinar. Please join at the time that is most convenient for you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 10:00 a.m. 
To join online, please click 
here
To connect with your telephone only call 1-888-621-7121 (toll free), enter event number 891950

Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 4:30 p.m. 
To join online, please click 
here
To connect with your telephone only call 1-888-621-7121 (toll free), enter event number 705775

Finally, later this summer the Department will recruit independent experts to review positively-rated course provider applications, as required by statute.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the Course Choice program - course providers, businesses, Louisiana educational entrepreneurs, professional school counselors, teachers, administrators - can register at www.louisianaschools.net/coursechoice. Everyone who registers will automatically receive all Course Choice updates and information (including, for example, the times and dates for all of the LDOE’s regional Course Choice outreach meetings around the state, deadlines and webinars scheduled for July 18 - July 30).

For more information, go to www.louisianaschools.net/coursechoice or email coursechioce@la.gov.



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