Pilot program to help Caddo Parish students obtain free college credit

Caddo Schools approved for pilot program

CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) -There’s a new opportunity available for students in Caddo Parish that want to go to college — but might not graduate with TOPS.

The Louisiana Board of Education recently approved a pilot program called the Extension Academy for Caddo Parish Schools and Calcasieu Parish Schools. The Board of Education will fund this three-year pilot program that will launch in the 2020-2021 school year and serve up to 25 students in the first year.

Caddo Parish Schools will select graduating seniors who are not eligible for TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) or have not earned post-secondary credentials to participate in this program.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for a student that truly doesn’t know what they are going to do,” said Caddo Schools Executive Director of High School Performance, Victor Mainiero.

New pilot program gives Caddo Students more options

Students in the program will either attend Bossier Parish Community College, Ayers Career College or Caddo’s Career Center to obtain their credentials or credits.

“They’re still considered a high school student which means that they still have the ability to increase that GPA to make them TOPS eligible or also retake the ACT so that they can become TOPS eligible as well,” said BPCC’s Program Director of High School Initiatives, Alexandra Ekstrom.

The state’s first and only extension academy is currently underway in New Orleans for the 2019-2020 school year. 17 students are in the program building skills and achieving credentials focused in construction crafts, graphic design, video editing and software development.

Mainiero says they will be selecting students that will be graduating in the Spring of 2020 to kick off this new program.

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