BESE approves free STEM courses for educators

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During the joint meeting of the Louisiana Board of Regents (BoR) and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on Wednesday, June 20, Supt. John White presented two initiatives supported and approved last week by the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (LaSTEM) Advisory Council at their monthly meeting. The initiatives include programs that will allow STEM educators to pursue college and postsecondary education courses free of charge.

Both the Board of Regents and BESE voted to approve: Two STEM-related Jump Start graduation pathways to begin in the Fall of 2018-2019. The approval of the Digital Design and Emergent Media and Environmental Protection and Sustainability graduation pathways brings the total count of Louisiana Jump Start graduation pathways to 51. Upon completion, students will receive a STEM workforce credential as part of their career or university preparatory diploma experience.

Any Jump Start regional team can adapt or adopt these graduation pathways. For the full list of Jump Start graduation pathways, click here. Re-establishment of the CTEP Program. The Louisiana Classroom Teacher Enrollment Program (CTEP) allows public school teachers to attend LA public colleges and universities tuition-free on a space available basis if teachers are denied enrollment in a tuition program provided by BESE. Revised guidelines and application processes were also adopted by both state boards and will be made available online. This program will be reinstated pending the release of LA Department of Education funds. Educators teaching in STEM courses will work closely with the LaSTEM Council and LDOE as part of the STEM Fellows initiative.

Updates to STEM courses approved for TOPS eligibility. Both state boards updated the list of courses that can generate credit for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) as presented by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Aid (LOSFA), a program of the Board of Regents. Environmental Awareness and Physical Geography were the two courses approved by both state boards. The LaSTEM Council meets again Wednesday, July 18.