BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Educators involved in a partnership between the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) hope to make major advancements in education.

EBR Schools is giving all students the opportunity to leave high school with college credits already earned. This is a part of an initiative and new curriculum called “Pathways to a Bright Future” where all children will have access to life-changing resources.

“It was hard at first during the first semester, then the first couple of classes, but when you got on, it was pretty easy,” said Glen Oaks High Student Ambassador Lauryn Hayes.

Many students like Hayes from Glen Oaks High School participated in the Pathways to a Bright Future pilot program.

“I always say our job is to bring children’s dreams closer to them, not further,” said East Baton Rouge Parish School System Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sito Narcisse.

“Now you have students not just hanging in the neighborhood when they graduate from high school, you have them going to jobs, you have them going to work. They have an opportunity when they graduate, and already have something planned,” said Glen Oaks High School Principal Robert Signater Sr.

Dr. Narcisse said students can earn at least 60 college credits in the new pathways or gather important skills to join the workforce after high school.

“All options available on all options will be considered whether that option is dual enrollment, advanced placement or industry-based certification,” said Narcisse.

BRCC will have to increase its workforce to make these changes work.

“We have to beef up full time, we’ve had to hire additional adjuncts. But more importantly, we have high school instructors who we can already credential that can teach some of those subjects.”

EBR students will choose a pathway out of five options, guiding them towards college readiness or industry preparedness.

“We have five focus areas for our high school students in technology, health care, construction and manufacturing, automotive and logistics and liberal arts and management,” said Narcisse.

The key with this program is accessibility, even to those in lower-income households.

“Parents don’t have to pay for an opportunity for a kid to earn an associate degree that might not have had an opportunity of going to college,” said Signater.

Some are concerned about students not being able to handle the coursework, however, EBR Schools said they will have intervention efforts in place.

“We put in support systems, whether it’s through counseling support systems with other staff around them, and that’s what we’ve been working with the BRCC around to make sure that we can walk them through this process,” Dr. Narcisse.

The new plan will roll out for all EBR freshmen in the fall.