State education officials learned this week that Louisiana has been selected as on one of eight states to participate in the national College and Career-Ready Policy Institute.
“It’s an honor to be selected for this program, and we take pride in the fact that the Institute recognizes Louisiana’s progress and commitment to readying high school students for life,” State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said. “Our selection demonstrates our state is on the right track with its High School Redesign efforts as we seek to prepare students for life beyond high school graduation. Overall, the states selected to participate in this program have aligned their K-12 academic standards and high school requirements to meet the demands of college and careers and are ready to take their efforts to the next level.”
Louisiana’s selection will allow education leaders to join representatives from Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee to participate in a series of cross-state Leadership Sessions.  The Institute will also provide custom-designed technical assistance to help each state achieve specific objectives, including:
• Developing goals to improve high school graduation, college and career-readiness, and postsecondary attainment;
• Reviewing the state’s comprehensive assessment system to ensure measurements align with college and career-ready standards and allow student progress to be evaluated over time;
• Evaluating the state’s current system of accountability to determine whether college and career-readiness is a central priority;
• Designing a statewide system of supports and interventions to assist low-performing districts and schools; and
• Creating educational opportunities to ensure high-risk students advance to become college-ready.
“We think some of the key benefits for us will result from the Institute’s commitment to provide each state with tailor-made technical assistance as well as the opportunities we’ll have to share ideas with peers from other states,” Pastorek said. “This comes at a crucial time for us, considering the Department is largely focused on ensuring our students are prepared to enter the 21st century workplace.”
In September, representatives from participating states will meet in Washington, D.C., to launch the program. Following the launch, Institute representatives will conduct in-state visits to gain a more thorough understanding of current policies and to identify potential issues the program can target.  Following the state visits, the Institute will host the first cross-state Leadership Session in November.
The Institute is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is a collaborative effort of Achieve, Data Quality Campaign, EducationCounsel, Jobs for the Future and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.