Sep 25, 2013

Providers to Serve Students with Greatest Challenges through Innovative Courses Not Yet Offered

BATON ROUGE, La. - Today the Louisiana Department of Education called on high-quality course providers to apply to participate in the second year of the Course Choice program by adding to the portfolio of in-person and online courses currently offered. Current providers will continue to offer courses already in the portfolio. Course Choice provides opportunities for Louisiana students by partnering with industry, higher education, online education, and schools themselves to offer a diverse range of courses for students.

In its second year, the Course Choice Request for Applications (RFA) is calling on providers to 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 – The Department is seeking applications from course providers that help Louisiana students attain high-wage careers in high-growth job sectors (advanced manufacturing, construction, transportation, and healthcare, for example).
  • Student Services – The Department is seeking applications from course providers that can offer services that address the specific needs of specific student populations. Examples could include:
    • Counseling – course providers that offer college and/or career planning services;
    • Occupational Therapy – course providers that offer occupational therapy or other therapeutic services that help special needs students attain their full individual potential.
  • Arts and Music – The Department is seeking course providers that can offer a suite of arts and music courses aligned to TOPS standards.

In its first year, the Course Choice program saw demand exceed its initial funding with thousands of students signing up to take courses ranging from foreign language to welding. 4,346 students requested Course Choice enrollments in 2013. Currently, approximately 2,400 students are enrolled in Course Choice courses. Both urban and rural districts saw a large number of students participate in the program.

“Families across the state have signaled they want these options for their students. In this second year of Course Choice, we are calling on providers to offer the types of courses that students need to prepare for the future,” said State Superintendent John White. “Over the next few months, the Department will conduct a rigorous review process to finalize the list of providers with the goal of offering a wide range of high-quality courses to Louisiana students.

In order to be accepted as a course provider, applicants must participate in the following review process.

  1. Course providers will submit online applications by November 1st.
  2. Applicants with accepted applications will advance to a multi-phase interview process.
  3. Course provider applicants that receive a Proceed designation from their interviews will have their candidacies reviewed by an independent review panel.
  4. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will approve or reject each provider.

Last year 94 applicants resulted in BESE approval of 42 course providers.  Of these 42 BESE-approved course providers, 21 are active and offering courses to Louisiana students in the first year of Course Choice.

To access the RFA, please click here or to learn more about the Course Choice program visit the Department’s website, please click here

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