Louisiana’s Jump Start 2.0 Program

The Department of Education just released a blueprint for public feedback on the Jump Start 2.0 program. Louisiana is taking a step forward to reduce the negative connotations surrounding career and technical education and making sure those with a Career Diploma are ready to enter high-wage career sectors. In a blueprint titled Jump Start 2.0, the state is attempting to further its nationally recognized program Jump Start created in 2014.

The Jump Start program “prepares students to lead productive adult lives, capable of continuing their education after high school.” Students leave the program with a Career Diploma- signifying the students obtained industry mandated and valued credentials. With this program, students are able to leave high school with the ability to secure a high-wage or high-demand career. Jump Start is also an elective path which can be taken by students wanting to further their education.

Before the initiation of Jump Start, less than two percent of Louisiana’s students graduated with a Career Diploma. In 2018, over 90,000 students graduated high school with a Career Diploma- a drastic increase from 2014’s 17,885 students.

With the initiation of Jump Start 2.0, the program will grow even further. The blueprint signifies that:

  1. Every student that graduates with a Career Diploma will show they can succeed in the workplace- fully prepared to work in a high-wage, high-growth industry. The program will increase its workplace learning, prioritize the most valuable opportunities, and better align its 51 possible pathways to career clusters.
  2. Every state resident will know the Jump Start career path as well as the TOPS program. The program will do this by celebrating successful Jump Start graduates, launching an interactive website for students and families, and investing in further professional development for its career and technical education leaders.
  3. Community leaders will create various systems to conjoin education and employment throughout Louisiana without the state interfering. Jump Start will do this by creating new governance structures and supporting ideals that take the experience past high school graduation.

The Louisiana Department of Education released the new blueprint initiative after the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) instructed the Department to assess how the Jump Start program offerings aligned with the workforce needs of the state. The Department of Education released a report which stated that while students were gaining more credentials, but not receiving the experience necessary for the high-wage, high-demand jobs available in the region. Of the top 15 industry-based credentials earned, only three were truly aligned with regional needs.

As a way to improve, the Department of Education paired with not only education leaders, but also business leaders across the state to create a more comprehensive blueprint for Jump Start 2.0. The Department then turned to state residents interested in career and technical education in Louisiana. The public feedback form closed March 15.

The Department of Education will now evaluate the feedback to improve the blueprint and share it at the April 2019 BESE meeting. All changes to the program will be carried out keeping in mind the needs and commitments of participating schools, students, and school systems. Some of the changes may be enforced as soon as the 2019-2020 school year.

For more education related information, click here.

LDOE Begins New Career Option Course

The LDOE has recently announced, “select school systems across the state are piloting a new course designed to help ensure all students are prepared for success following high school graduation. The course, called Quest for Success, allows middle and high school students to develop essential workplace skills, explore various careers and industry sectors, and learn about themselves and their interests in order to successfully navigate high school, post-secondary education and career pathways”.

The article explains, “the ultimate indication of our students’ career readiness and our effectiveness in preparing them is the success they find after they leave us–the extent to which they are employed in jobs they enjoy and that allow them to earn a good living, support their families and meaningfully contribute to their communities,” said State Superintendent John White. “These are bold ambitions that will require families, educators and industry leaders to work together, but the implementation of Quest for Success, first through the pilot schools and then statewide, is a step in the right direction.”

Quest for Success, which replaces the current course called Journey to Careers, was written by 22 educators as part of their participation in the Louisiana Educator Voice Fellowship. The fellowship, a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Education and national nonprofit organization America Achieves, supports the state’s comprehensive effort to improve career readiness, which includes its Jump Start program.

Quest for Success is now being piloted in 38 school systems, and only teachers in those school systems who completed a specialized training are allowed to lead the course this year. Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, the course will be studied and revised based on teacher and student input, and a formal evaluation will be conducted at the year’s end.

For the full article and more information on the release of Quest for Success, click here.

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Program Launches for Teacher to Advocate for Education Initiative

The Louisiana Department of Education has developed a new program that would allow one teacher to take a year off to go around the State advocating for the education initiative of their choosing.  The teacher that will be chosen will come from nominees for Louisiana Teacher of the Year from the previous year. The fellowship was announced at the 12th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala, and was awarded to 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert, who will continue her efforts to recruit and train the next generation of Louisiana educators.

Eckert, who is an English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge Parish, spent some of her time as 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year recruiting new educators and elevating the teaching profession. She will continue this work by focusing her fellowship on pioneering the national “Educators Rising” program in Louisiana. The program identifies young people, starting with high school students, interested in teaching and provides them with the information, skills and hands-on experience to become successful educators.

The fellowship is supported by a $50,000 stipend of state funding that is paid directly to the recipient’s school system. It allows the teacher to take a year-long sabbatical and may be used to help pay for their substitute, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred during the advocation period by the recipient.

“Louisiana has taken the Teacher of the Year award and turned it into a true leadership opportunity. Our winners and finalists are scholars, spokespeople, mentors,” said State Superintendent John White. “We need to be doing more to nourish and support them in realizing their leadership potential.”

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Louisiana Offers Free College Courses for Teachers

The Louisiana Department of Education has recently announced they will be offering free college courses to qualifying teachers in Louisiana. They have announced that  “an application for the BESE Tuition Program for Teachers, which will allow public school teachers to enroll in courses at any regionally accredited college or university, as well as some private universities, in Louisiana at the state’s expense.”

According to the article released on the Department of Education’s website, “The application prioritizes teachers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and those accepted to participate in the program who will be taking STEM-focused coursework will join a newly created cadre of educators called STEM Fellows, who will work with the Department and the LaSTEM Council to further STEM initiatives across the state.”

For more information and how to apply, click here.

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Louisiana Teachers to Receive Classroom Instruction Training

As stated on the Louisiana Department of Education website on April 24th, 2018, “more than 700 teachers across the state have been selected to serve as Content Leaders and provide high-quality, content-rich and curriculum-specific professional development to new and current teachers in their school systems. The selected teachers will participate in special training during the 2018-2019 school year that prepares them for this responsibility and culminates in a professional distinction, as well as career advancement opportunities.”

The training will begin in summer 2018 and continue through the 2018-2019 school year. The training will include nine in-person sessions–half of which will occur during the summer months to reduce time spent outside the classroom–and will be held in various locations across Louisiana. Participants will receive:

A deeper knowledge of English Language Arts (ELA) or math content and how to teach it;

  • The knowledge and skills they need to effectively use and help others use the ELA Guidebooks 2.0, a nationally recognized curriculumcreated for Louisiana teachers by Louisiana teachers, or a top-tier mathematics curriculum;
  • The knowledge of adult learning theory, and the skills and resources to facilitate meaningful, productive learning experiences for fellow educators; and
  • Access to 36 additional hours of turnkey training sessions outside of the program.

For more information on the training the teachers will receive, click here.

Louisiana Department of Education Re-Vamped Report Card System

According to the Louisiana Department of Education, “On November 7, 2017, the Louisiana Department of Education released the Louisiana School Finder, an interactive online tool designed to help families more easily locate and evaluate schools and child care centers across the state.”

This unique system is truly one of a kind as no other state in the nation on performance spanning from birth to 12th grade in this type of easily accessible online format that is so well organized.

“In the first week alone, more than 25,000 unique visitors explored the Louisiana School Finder.” This included visitors from out of state as well.

For more information on this new system and to see some of the amazing feedback it has received, click here.