Louisiana High School Students Offered More Options

Students across Louisiana will soon be able to acquire different skills across various STEM careers, earning college credits along the way. Louisiana Believes tells us more with New Stem-Focused Jump Start Pathways to Provide High Schools with Advanced Skills, College and Career Credentials.

The four new programs are a part of Louisiana’s Jump Start pathways and can earn college credits at Louisiana State University or Xavier University. One of the four has already been approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). The other three have been approved by a BESE subcommittee and only have to be approved by the full board before going into effect.

Jump Start was created by the state of Louisiana to provide high school students with career and technical skills to move into high-demand STEM jobs. The STEM pathway consists of Carnegie credits throughout the STEM field and technical education that could lead to statewide credentials. The four new programs are: Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy, LSU Biomedical Sciences, LSU Computing, and National Integrated Cyber Education Research Cyber Security.

The Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy program was approved by BESE in June. It combines components from both natural sciences and industry practice. The teaching and schooling is to prepare that take this pathway through discussing pharmacy in the classroom and career experience.

  1. The LSU Biomedical Sciences track delves into the world of biomedicine. The pathway spotlights biomedicine to animals and humans. It will give an excellent foundation for students that are aiming for success along the medical track or any other science related field.
  2. The LSU Computing Certification Pathway consists of computer science, computational thinking, and computational science. This pathway is for students that want to find a career in computing.
  3. The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center Cyber Security track consists of computer science, engineering, and mathematics. The program involves hands on learning and the exchange of knowledge with professionals in a given field. Students evaluate the ins and outs of privacy and security when a lot of communication and interaction is shifting online. They will also study the ethical side of advancement in robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous devices.

Students that complete one of the given pathways will also receive a STEM endorsement on their high school diplomas.

The pathways were created by different groups throughout the region last year. They were submitted by the Jump Start Graduation Pathway Review in the spring. The panel is made of members from the Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the Louisiana Department of Education. Once BESE approves, the pathways are adapted and adopted by Jump Start regional teams.

The Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy Pathway being implemented at the St. John the Baptist Parish STEM Magnet High School. This will make the program the third pathway at the school.

Careers across various STEM fields are the fastest growing not only in the state, but also in the nation. More than half of Louisiana students express an interest in the STEM field, but only ten percent meet the benchmark in showcasing readiness for collegiate level math and science. To counteract this, Louisiana wants to give students the option to experience STEM coursework. They are hoping the four programs assist them in reaching that goal.

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