Aug 05, 2014

User-Friendly Booklet Summarizes ACT, Advanced Placement, Jump Start, and TOPS Innovations

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today released the
High School Student Planning Guidebook: A Path to Prosperity for Every Student, a comprehensive guide detailing Louisiana’s pathways to opportunities after high school for school administrators, counselors, teachers, and parents. In the last three years, high school opportunities have expanded in Louisiana, leading to record-setting graduation rates, college-going ACT scores, and Advanced Placement credits. Louisiana has also expanded opportunities for students to achieve meaningful career credentials through the Jump Start initiative and the related Course Choice program, funded by the Supplemental Course Allocation. The Guidebook summarizes these improvements in an easy-to-use format.

“The greatest factor in the growth of our economy will be the skills of our young people. While most jobs do not require a four-year college degree, high-growth, high-wage jobs in Louisiana almost always require an education after high school,” said State Superintendent John White. “A high school’s most important role is to help students attain the knowledge and capabilities that provide them future opportunity. This guide will help parents, teachers, counselors in making sure our students are on track to a college degree or a professional career.”

The comprehensive
High School Planning Guide details policies and programs of Louisiana Believes, including the Jump Start TOPS Tech Career Diploma and the TOPS University Pathway, as well as related funding and accountability changes. The Guidebook outlines the necessary building blocks to provide students appropriate access to these opportunities:

  • Planning for struggling students in the Transitional 9th Grade.
  • Focusing 9th and 10th grade students on mastering a set of foundational academic skills.
  • Developing basic and advanced college and workplace skills in the 11th and 12th grades through Jump Start or the TOPS University Pathway.
  • Counseling and supporting students through the Supplemental Course Academy and the Statewide Counselor Assistance Center.
  • Earning recognition for school excellence through the high school accountability system.

The Department will also conduct a number of webinars associated with the
Guidebook for superintendents, principals, teachers, and counselors. Webinars will be held each Thursday during the month of August, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

  • August 7: Guide Overview & Planning for Struggling Students
  • August 14: Guide Overview & 9th and 10th Grade Students   
  • August 21: Guide Overview & Developing Advanced and Basic College and Work Place Skills
  • August 28: Guide Overview & Counseling, Supports, Supports, Rewards

In addition to the electronic
Guidebook being posted on the Department website, a hard copy will be distributed to every district superintendent, principal, and lead counselor at each school during the week of August 11.

Accomplishments in Louisiana’s High Schools:

  • Louisiana’s four-year high school cohort graduation rate increased for a third straight year, reaching 73.5 percent in 2013, a 1.2 percentage point increase from 2012 and a 12.2 percentage point increase since 2001. In the class of 2013 nearly 1,000 more students graduated than did in the class of 2012.
  • The number of college credits earned in 2014 by Louisiana students on Advanced Placement (AP®) exams increased by more than 1,250 credits over results in 2013 – the greatest increase in number of credits earned in state history. The gains represent an annual increase of 24.6 percent which will likely keep Louisiana tops in the nation for increase in students earning a qualifying score. Louisiana high school students scored high enough to earn college credit on 6,410 AP® exams in 2014.
  • For the second consecutive year the number of high school seniors earning a score of 18 or higher on the ACT increased, leading to more graduates entering college without needing to take remedial courses. The class of 2014 saw 23,560 students post a college-going score, an increase of 1,472 students from 2013 and an increase of 5,253 since 2012.
  • This fall, Regional Teams across Louisiana will launch Jump Start, the state’s new program for school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students, certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs. Jump Start will enhance students’ access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and professionals to prepare during their high school schedules for careers in Louisiana’s high-growth job sectors.  Regional Jump Start teams will identify career opportunities important specifically to each region of the state, for which students may earn industry credentials.
  • In December 2013, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) adopted policy creating a Transitional 9th Grade to help struggling students successfully transition to high school and ultimately graduate. This Transitional 9th Grade will offer students the supports they need to be successful.
  • BESE also adopted policy to align with higher standards to ensure post-secondary success, indicated by results on ACT, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate exam. High Schools are rewarded for students who make progress on the ACT or graduate having taking and Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam.

To view a digital copy of the
High School Student Planning Guidebook: A Pathway to Prosperity for Every Student, please click here.

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