Lafayette students learn about schools of choice

Students claim coveted spots in special programs

More than 3,300 students in Lafayette Parish this week learned the results of the lottery for the district’s schools of choice programs with more than 50 students and their family members gathering Thursday evening for news about the high school level programs.

Computerized lotteries for elementary and middle school slots were held earlier this week.

The district has about 20 schools of choice programs — ranging from foreign language immersion to biomedical studies — that offer students a chance to go to schools outside their attendance zones and study a specialized curriculum. Students could apply to their top two schools of choice.

Randall Domingue, district schools of choice marketing and recruitment coordinator, said students selected for a seat in their second-choice program remain on the waiting list for their first-choice program until they decide whether to accept it.

Casey Potts, a freshman and student-athlete at Teurlings Catholic School, applied to the health careers academy at Lafayette High because of her interest in sports medicine.

“I’m so nervous because I want to get in,” Potts said, sitting between her mother Jody Meche and family friend, Linda Guillory, who has one child in the health academy and another in the performing arts academy at Lafayette High.

There were only 10 spots for incoming sophomores in the program and 30 students applied, school officials said Thursday.

Potts didn’t get into Lafayette High, but there’s still the waiting list, her mother Jody Meche and other parents said.

The health academy at Lafayette High was Herminia Soto’s second choice.

The Scott Middle School eighth-grader’s first choice was the Early College Academy, where she could earn an associate’s degree while earning her high school diploma at South Louisiana Community College.

“I saw a lot of opportunities in both,” said Soto, who wants to be a pediatrician. “It doesn’t matter as long as I get chosen for one, I’ll be thankful.”

Soto’s name was on the health academy list, but not on the list of 80 students selected for a potential seat in the ECA program.

There’s a chance Soto could get into the ECA program because students selected must score basic on both the English and math portions of a state standardized test this spring before they can accept their seat.

“My friend got in. I’m happy for her,” she said.

Domingue said students who did not attend the lottery events this week can view their results by logging into their school of choice application.

Some programs did not require a lottery process.

All incoming ninth-graders who applied at the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High, Academy of Business and Finance at Acadiana High, Thibodaux Science Technology Engineering and Math Magnet Academy and Academy of Visual and Applied Arts at Comeaux High got seats, Domingue said.

While the majority of programs at all grade levels have waiting lists, some still have spots that students can apply for from March 15 through June 30. A full list of available programs will be posted, but some programs include biomedical sciences at Carencro Middle and environmental sciences at Lafayette Middle.