Sep 09, 2015

Grants Aimed at Improving Graduation Rates and Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education released today a Request for Applications for “Building Pathways to High School Diplomas for Students with Disabilities Opportunity Grants” to improve graduation rates and provide career preparation and opportunities for students with disabilities after high school. Through IDEA, Part B, federal funds, up to $4 million is available for districts and charter schools serving high school students. State data shows the high school graduation rate has grown more than seven percentage points among individuals with disabilities, from 29.3 percent in 2010-2011 to 36.7 percent in 2012-2013. Act 833 of 2014 established an alternate diploma pathway for students with disabilities, holding them to the same high expectations as their non-disabled peers.

Applicants will use these grant funds to:

  • Provide necessary equipment to offer students with disabilities access to career preparation experiences,
  • Establish new partnerships with local businesses providing hands-on workplace experiences for students with disabilities adhering to Jump Start Internship Guidelines,
  • Train and certify career education professionals through channels such as the Jump Start Super Summer Institute, and
  • Provide research-based curriculum and high-quality instruction for students assessed on LAA 1.

Additionally, districts and charter organizations receiving grant awards will be expected to increase district and school collaboration with Jump Start Regional Teams, supporting student success and leading to more students with disabilities graduating with an industry-valued credential through a Jump Start pathway.

“Louisiana has made tremendous progress ensuring that all students have opportunities to pursue high school diplomas that prepare them for meaningful post-secondary experiences,” said State Superintendent John White. “There is still a lot of work to be done. We expect these grants to help districts and charters maximize the educational experience and provide more of these students an opportunity to excel, achieve a diploma, and succeed after high school.”

The amount awarded to each district or charter organization is based on the quality of the individual application, the amount of students impacted by the funds, and the overall amount of money requested through the competitive process. Below is a chart detailing the maximum potential award amounts for grantees.

Maximum Request





Number of Students Receiving
Special Education Services
(T9-12th Grades)





Deadline to submit application for these grants is Friday, October 9, 2015. BESE is expected to consider applications at its December 2015 meeting. Grant recipients will operate through September 2016.

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