EBRPSS looks into offering more dual enrollment classes for virtual academy

Expanding dual enrollment options in BR
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:14 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is looking into offering more dual enrollment classes for its virtual academy this year.

Dual enrollment allows students in high school to get college credit. A new proposal would make it possible for students who are in the virtual academy to get those credits through Arizona State University.

However, not everyone likes outsourcing teachers. EBRPSS wants to partner with ASU to provide virtual instruction for middle and high school students next semester. Superintendent Sito Narcisse hopes the move can give students more college prep options online, while also dealing with the teaching shortages his district is experiencing.

“A lot of the discussion that we are going to be talking about around Arizona State is them coming in to help us mitigate a lot the issues we’ve been having with our virtual learning academy,” said Dadrius Lanus, EBR School Board member for District 3.

Some teachers are worried it means jobs could be on the line if the school system goes through with expanding the partnership beyond the virtual academy.

“Just putting that fear on the teachers, ‘Oh, am I going to have my job?’” said Noah O’Dell, an economics and math teacher at Baton Rouge High. “‘Am I going to have my job? Am I going to have to do additional training?’ It’s just a little additional stress that’s got teachers worked up.”

He’s concerned the suggested dual enrollment outsourcing program could impact his peers.

“For me, personally, it’s not that much of a concern because I have a master’s degree and I can teach at the college level but most high school teachers do not have a master’s degree, and so, they can’t teach dual enrollment course,” explained O’Dell.

Educators will have to have certain qualifications to teach dual enrollment courses and O’Dell worries that means some teachers could be without a job. Narcisse allowed an interview to learn more about the proposal.

“There is no teacher cuts,” he said. “I think for us it’s about providing more opportunity and more access.”

Narcisse also said it gives students another option to succeed, while Lanus added the district does have a plan.

“The district has several academies that we are trying to set up where our teachers can go through training, so they can get caught up with those things. Those are not things our teachers should have to pay out of their pocket. It’s going to come out of the district. I think that’s a healthy compromise for those teachers who are wondering how we are going to pay for this,” explained Lanus.

Narcisse added dual enrollment classes in test schools have been successful.

“Everything is not an either ‘this or that.’ It’s more of an ‘and.’ Our goal is to make sure that in conjunction with the teachers that we have college professors to provide kids with more opportunities,” said Narcisse.

EBR hopes to eventually expand dual enrollment classes to include LSU, Southern University, and BRCC. The EBR School Board will vote on Thursday, Dec. 2, on the partnership with Arizona and discuss more on how these credits can transfer to Louisiana’s universities.

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