Career & Technical Education Center

Louisiana Special School District Unveils Renovated Career and Technical Education Center
Posted on 08/17/2019

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Special School District (SSD) today unveiled a renovated career and technical education (CTE) center at the joint campus of the Louisiana School for the Deaf (LSD) and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired (LSVI) during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by students, families, educators, lawmakers, business partners and community leaders. The center, called the CTE D.R.E.A.M. Academy, will provide nearly 100 high school students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing and who have visual impairments the opportunity to access many of the same career preparation courses and credentials as their peers across the state.

The CTE D.R.E.A.M. Academy will offer on-campus coursework aligned to select Jump Start graduation pathways. Jump Start is Louisiana’s innovative CTE program that prepares students to lead productive adult lives, capable of continuing their education after high school while earning certifications in high-wage career sectors. Students are required to attain industry-promulgated, industry-valued credentials by taking progressions of courses called pathways in order to graduate with a Jump Start TOPS Tech diploma, known as the career diploma. Jump Start is an elective path for students pursuing a TOPS University diploma.

In the 2019-2020 school year, the CTE D.R.E.A.M. Academy will provide coursework aligned to the following pathways:
 Agriculture Technology
 Auto Mechanics
 Business Management
 Carpentry
 Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
 Digital Media and Entertainment Technology
 Hospitality, Tourism, Culinary and Retail
 Information Technology
 Public Service
 Welding

These particular pathways were chosen to satisfy local workforce needs and selected by
students through a survey of their interests. Students also chose the name for the
academy and conceptualized the logo design. D.R.E.A.M. is an acronym for “Develop,
Reinforce, Empower, Achieve, and Mobilize.”

 “D.R.E.A.M. is the outline for how SSD, LSD and LSVI will work collaboratively to prepare
students to enter the real world, prepared for a career or further study in college or a
technical school, upon graduation,” said SSD Academy Leader and Director of College
and Career Preparation Marcia Speed. “The academy will allow us to remove barriers to
student learning, to expand opportunities for every student, and to forge community
partnerships that can bolster students’ long-term success. We look forward to watching
the academy, as well as our students, grow over time.”

Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiled the facility in which most of the CTE instruction
will take place. Built in 1984, the 50,000-square foot building that will host the new
academy had previously served as a space for vocational training only for students at

Last year, as part of the SSD’s new strategic plan, the Louisiana Department of
Education, which oversees the SSD, committed $250,000 to revitalizing the space for 21st
Century learning for students enrolled in both of Louisiana’s special schools and
expanding career training resources for deaf and visually impaired students across the
state. The building has since seen new paint, signage, flooring and classroom
modifications aligned to the offered pathways.

“This is a historic day for the students of LSD and LSVI,” said Jada Lewis, a member of
the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. “It is a day that our commitment to all students having access to career training and opportunities is realized.”

"This really is a dream. Students who attend school here, at LSD and at LSVI, have a
great opportunity to partake in this wonderful facility and the learning opportunities here,"
said Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

Speaking to students attending the event, Smith added, "Learn to be a CNA now, then
learn to be a nurse. Learn about plants now, then learn to be a great farmer. This is so
much to learn. Good luck, and I hope we will see you all in the workplace."

Among the partnerships already established is one with the Louisiana State University
(LSU) AgCenter and the LSU Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and
Evaluation (AEEE). The LSU AgCenter and AEEE are helping guide the development of
the CTE D.R.E.A.M. Academy’s agricultural education program, with the goal of making it
a model for the state. They are also working to establish a chapter of the Future Farmers
of America (FFA) for the LSD and LSVI students.

 “The FFA motto is learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve. Every
resource within the Louisiana Agricultural Education family will be readily available to
ensure this motto is engrained in the daily workings of this new program,” said Eric Smith,
executive director of the Louisiana FFA. “We are confident that agricultural education is
life-changing for all students because of our unique approach of hands-on learning
integrated with real-world application and leadership opportunities.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was the first time the renovated space has been publicly
debuted. The event drew a crowd of nearly 100 guests. Tours of the facility, led by
students, took place following a ceremony.

Learn more about the CTE D.R.E.A.M. Academy.

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