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EBR school system plans to give incoming 9th graders greater access to college credit and workforce experience starting next year

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Hannah Amoroso is thrilled that the East Baton Rouge school system is rolling out more educational resources for her 8th grade daughter when she enters high school next year. However, her daughter worries about the workload and graduate-level courses that come with the Pathway to Bright Futures initiative.

“When my daughter was listening to the school board meeting, she had real anxiety and her response was, ‘I don’t even know if I’m ready for high school.’ You know, she’s in 8th grade, so it’s a big transition,” Amoroso explained.

Amoroso is like many other parents who are concerned about the superintendent’s proposal to implement dual-enrollment classes for all incoming 9th graders next year.

“Right now, students will enter grade 9, they will have a curriculum that they will have. In that curriculum, you will see that students have access to be able to start taking higher level college courses. We have a residency program that we’re talking about with internships for kids, we also match that with the commercial industry,” said EBR Superintendent Sito Narcisse.

Pathways to Bright Futures will give 9th graders the opportunity to take college-level courses through Baton Rouge Community College. However, college is not the immediate next step, students who plan to start working immediately can gain work experience in areas such as transportation, construction, or technology.

“73% of employers say they are unable to find the skilled talent they need today in our community. The other big challenge we face as a community that historically has not given all members of our community access to the benefits of our economy,” explained Adam Knapp, who is the President and Chief from the management of BRAC.

Glen Oaks High School was the first school to try the dual enrollment program with its current 9th graders, taking college courses like Cultural Geography and French I. 97% of students passed the program.

“What we can put back into the community from Glen Oaks has now changed a bit in that they’re providing an opportunity, an associate’s degree, college credits that they probably never would have had before,” said Sunguna Mayweather, who is the Academic Coordinator at Glen Oaks High School.

The EBR school system hopes dual enrollment classes will give students more resources they need to succeed after leaving high school.

Parents of new Grade 9 students will be invited to orientations in January and February if they have any questions or concerns.

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