The LSU STEM Pathways provides high school students with the opportunity to enroll in a specialized progression of up to eight project-based STEM courses to attain industry-promulgated and valued credentials, university issued certificates of course completion, or dual enrollment credit in order to graduate with either a career-tech diploma or to enhance their university-prep diploma with Silver or Gold STEM Diploma Seal. For a list of courses, please see attachment.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the LSU Pre-Engineering Pathway in June 2017; the Digital Design & Emergent Media Pathway in June 2018, and the Computation and Biomedical Sciences Pathways are currently under consideration. Under provisions of the approved state education funding formula, a school district offering a BESE approved LSU Pathway course that is taught by an LSU-trained teacher receives $476 per student per course in additional Career Tech and Career Development Funds. The LSU Pathways are often referred to as LSU Certification Pathways indicating that the bulk of the student credentialing is not done by industry (like Adobe, Microsoft, etc.) but by LSU. The school districts are paying the LSU Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy (Cain Center) a $96 administrative fee for each student receiving a STEM Pathway Certificate of Course Completion and for which the school system receives $476 in CTE/CDF funding. This fee is being fully re-invested in the upkeep of the program and its standards-based and open source curricula. A full list of current programs administered by the Cain Center is given below.
The LSU Pathway teachers participate in intensive, graduate-level summer training courses. If taken for credit, this program leads to a “Professional Master’s Degree” or a customized “Professional Graduate Certificate” issued by the LSU Colleges of Science or Engineering.
For a school to be able to offer courses within the LSU Certification Pathway framework, teachers must become certified to teach a specific course at one of the LSU Pathways Summer Training Institutes (presently in Baton Rouge or Shreveport). Some courses require teachers to participate in a 3-week training institute (12 days); some require a 6-week training institute (24 days). Please see the attached schedule for an overview of the Training Institute.
In 2018-19, 1,659 high school students participated in at least one of the LSU Pathways courses; 1,463 of them earned LSU STEM Pathway Certificates, 390 also earned LSU Dual Enrollment credit, and 196 participated in pilot courses at Lee Magnet High School. The 2018-19 LSU Pathways students are from 20 high schools in 15 districts (East Baton Rouge -public and private, West Feliciana, Iberville, St. John The Baptist, St. James, Ascension, Rapides, St. Martin, Pointe Coupee, Baker, Central, Washington, New Orleans, Jefferson, Lafayette) and included 72 % “high-needs” students (as defined by the US DoE) and 60 % Black or Hispanic students. Moreover, since the inception of the LSU Pathways in 2017, and we have trained & certified over 50 teachers to facilitate the Pathway courses. In 2019-20, the program is projected to grow by 30-50%. This summer we are training over 80 teachers (30 of them new) and we are adding add high 14+ high schools from the following six new districts: Calcasieu, Livingston, Benjamin Franklin in New Orleans, Delhi Charter, St. Landry, Caddo, and DeSoto.