LSU STEM Pathways Overview
The open-source curricula for the LSU STEM Pathway courses first took shape at Lee Magnet High School in Baton Rouge in collaboration with LSU faculty. In addition to taking courses in the four “core” subject areas—English language arts, math, science, and social studies—all students at Lee MHS take LSU STEM pathways courses in one of the following four Lee Academies: (1)Biomedical Sciences, (2)Computing, (3)Digital Media & Arts, and (4)Pre-Engineering. The standards and inquiry-based curricula are open source. School districts pay the university a $96 administrative fee for each student receiving a university-issued STEM Pathway Certificate of Course Completion. Funds received are fully re-invested in the program and its open source curricula.
LSU STEM Pathways provide high school students with the opportunity to enroll in a progression of up to eight standards-based project- and inquiry-based STEM courses to attain industry-promulgated credentials, university-issued certificates of course completion, and/or dual enrollment credit. Students graduate with either a career-tech diploma OR an enhancement to their university-prep diploma with a Silver or Gold STEM Diploma Seal.
Seeherefor an overview of all LSU STEM Pathway courses andherefor all LSU STEM Pathways Course descriptions.
Under the approved state education funding formula, a school district offering a BESE-approved LSU STEM Pathway course that is taught by a trained and LSU-certified teacher receives $482 per student per course in the form of Career Tech and Career Development supplements. In the LSU STEM Pathways, the bulk of the student credentialing is not done by industry (like Adobe, Microsoft, etc.), but by LSU or ULM.
In 2019-20, over 2,800 high school students are participating in at least one of the LSU STEM Pathways courses, with 540 of them also earning LSU dual enrollment credit. The students represent 35 public and private high schools in 20 districts (Ascension, City of Baker, Central, Charter Schools, East Baton Rouge Parish Evangeline, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Private Schools, Rapides, St. John The Baptist, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, University View Academy, Washington, West Feliciana). They include over 72 % “high-needs” students (as defined by the US DoE) and 60 % Black or Hispanic students. Since the inception of the LSU Pathways in 2017, we have trained and certified over 90 high school teachers to facilitate the Pathway courses.
From 2020 on, supported by $9M in federal funding, LSU and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System will be expanding the LSU Computing Pathway to middle schools and will expand the reach of Introduction to Computational Thinking, a foundational core course in all four LSU STEM Pathways, to schools across the state. Moreover, a collaborative effort of the Louisiana Department of Education, the RAND Corporation, BloomBoard, and LSU will be rolling out Micro-Credentials for STEM Pathway teachers from 2020 on.
The statewide rollout of the LSU STEM Certification Pathways is a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Education, Lee MHS, and faculty from Louisiana State University’s Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy, College of Engineering, College of Science, School of Art, School of Music, and the LSU Center for Computation & Technology.