Jun 16, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. – Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Board of Regents (Regents) today previewed 76 new Fast Forward pathways, which will provide students additional opportunities to receive their high school diploma while simultaneously earning an associate degree or participating in a state registered pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship.

Before approval earlier this week, these pathways underwent reviews by the Louisiana Department of Education, BESE, Regents, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and Louisiana Economic Development as well as Career and Technical Education supervisors from large and small school systems across the state.

“From cybersecurity to carpentry, these new pathways empower our students with opportunities to gain employable skills for the high-wage, high-demand jobs of today and tomorrow,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley.

The state’s education boards were also briefed on the progress being made in expanding dual enrollment in Louisiana to meet their joint goal of all students graduating high school with college credit, a postsecondary credential of value, or both – starting with the graduating class of 2029.

Meeting highlights include:

  • Increasing the number of students participating in dual enrollment and graduating with a college credit or industry credential:
  • 52% of high school students graduated with a credit or credential in the 2019-20, compared to 51% in 2018-19;
  • 3% increase in college course enrollments by high school students in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20, despite pandemic and hurricane disruptions;
  • Collaborating with the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) to offer statewide workshops for colleges and universities and their high school partners in support of the increased focus on course rigor and encourage continuous improvement in dual enrollment programs; and
  • Generating more than 25,000 visits (hits) to the new Louisiana Dual Enrollment Portal (ladualenrollment.com), launched in January 2022 and designed to be a one-stop shop for information including a direct link to LDOE’s Fast Forward Initiative (FastForward.la).

“Today we acknowledged the significant work that has been accomplished in Louisiana over the last few years to expand college opportunities for high school students, giving them a clear pathway to prosperity,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed. “Our collective success rests on our ability to effectively align policies, resources, and accountability to accelerate access to academic and technical early college options for all high school students in our state. Equity in these opportunities is critical.”

In addition to the discussions around the state’s expanding dual enrollment options, Regents and BESE also reviewed legislation of joint interest and received an update from the Office of Broadband Development & Connectivity regarding the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program, broadband infrastructure, affordability of services, and various digital literacy initiatives. Access to reliable high-speed internet continues to be a priority of both boards, with members expressing support for ongoing efforts to make schools connectivity hubs in their communities. 

By law, Regents and BESE are required to meet jointly twice a year to discuss education policy, share information, and vote on issues of mutual interest.