Aug 11, 2017

BESE to Approve First Round of Grant Awards at August Meeting

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education today announced plans to award $350,000 in grant funding to build and implement new programming to prepare students with significant disabilities for employment and/or educational opportunities after high school. Five recipients are included in the first round of awards, pending approval by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) at its August meeting, and a sixth recipient will be chosen later this fall. 

"Changes have taken place on both the state and national levels to create an atmosphere that is ripe with opportunities for high school students with significant disabilities. Local school and charter management systems are now tasked with identifying, building and implementing vocational and educational programs that will prepare these students for lives enriched with competitive, integrated employment and life-long learning opportunities," said State Superintendent John White. "But with new opportunities, challenges exist, and systems may not always have the expertise or resources to independently support this work. This grant intends to address those needs and continue moving the state forward in providing excellent opportunities for all students."

The first-of-its-kind grant, funded by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), will be used to create partnerships to increase opportunities for students who have significant cognitive disabilities or persistent academic difficulties as a result of their disability. Those partnerships will construct vocational training and community work-based learning programs on community college and university campuses.

Recipients will later work in state and regional teams to create guidance for other schools and school systems to use when creating and expanding effective programs across all ages and grades for this population of students.

The 2017-2018 recipients--which will receive $58,000 for one year, pending BESE approval--include:

  • St. James, St. Charles, and St. John parishes in partnership with South Central Louisiana Technical College
  • St. Helena Parish in partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University and Northshore Technical Community College
  • St. Bernard Parish in partnership with Nunez Community College
  • Iberia Parish in partnership with South Louisiana Community College
  • Collegiate Academy in partnership with New Orleans College Prep 

A Request for Applications (RFA) will soon be released to fund one additional recipient in the northern part of the state. As with the first round, applicants will be asked to submit a proposal detailing the programming to be created, the partnership that will be forged to actualize that programming, the timeline and budget, and the plan for sustainability. The application will be available on the Department's website August 21, and the deadline to apply will be 5 p.m. CDT on September 8.

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