A few minutes with . . . Randall Domingue

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Randall Domingue, marketing and recruitment coordinator for Lafayette Parish School System's Schools of Choice program on Tuesday at the School Board Office. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Randall Domingue, marketing and recruitment coordinator for Lafayette Parish School System's Schools of Choice program on Tuesday at the School Board Office.

POSITION: Lafayette Parish school system schools of choice marketing and recruitment coordinator.

AGE: 37.

Domingue has worked in the Lafayette Parish school system for the past six years. Since 2012, he has handled marketing and recruitment for the system’s popular schools of choice program, which offers students in kindergarten through high school the chance to study specialized curriculum linked to their interests. The Lafayette Parish program developed as part of the district’s desegregation plan with seven options, and now offers specialized studies at about 20 schools to roughly 6,000 students — about 20 percent of the district’s total enrollment.

How is schools of choice different from what a student may learn in a traditional classroom?

Schools of choice is designed for students who want to study something very specific. If it’s business and finance, they take an introduction course and that leads to an accounting course. Your interest is built into the curriculum. The advantage is you get to see how that relates to your other courses. One of the biggest benefits is you get career exploration and career preparation as part of your regular classes.

How many options do students have?

Right now, we have 16 programs throughout K-12 education. We cover that in six different pathways: the arts; health and biomedical; STEM — science, technology, engineering and math; world language immersion; business and law; and advanced studies like the Early College Academy.

Any new programs planned?

The newest program we’re looking into is the broadcast journalism academy at Northside High School. We hope to have a full working radio studio and are looking at expanding to video production. We’ll start accepting applications in fall 2014 to start that academy in August 2015.

How does the district decide which programs to expand and which new ones to develop?

We look at national, state and local needs. We really want to make sure these students are going to be able to get a career here. We ask: ‘Is this going to lead to a career or a postsecondary program that will lead to their ultimate career?’ We look at the needs of Louisiana: how are we benefiting industry; how are we benefiting our economy?

The district recently held its annual spring lottery to select students for programs. What happens now?

We reopened applications for programs that don’t have a substantial waiting list. All programs will be accepting new applications on a first-come, first-served basis except for J. Wallace James Arts & Technology, L. Leo Judice Environmental Sciences, and Lafayette High Academy of Health Sciences.

Advocate staff writer Marsha Sills