BATON ROUGE, La. – March 5, 2021 – Five youths with the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center have received academic credits towards their high school diplomas through the EBR Juvenile H.O.P.E. Redesign Initiative. The initiative was launched in the 2020-2021 school year and is a partnership with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Alternative Program’s office.
“This program is a major step in closing the education gap and empowering our at-risk youth to seek opportunities for themselves,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “It makes education more accessible to different populations in our community, and can help us ensure that our youth are given the opportunities they need to build upon their education, despite their current circumstances.”
"We must continue to raise the bar, expand opportunities and engage our scholars every step of the way," said Dr. Sito Narcisse, East Baton Rouge Parish School System Superintendent of Schools. "It is never too late to encourage students to actively participate and help create the pathway that best suits their unique needs."
Upon entry into the Juvenile Detention Center, youth receive a personalized review to determine an academic pathway best suited to their needs based on their length of stay at the center. The pathways include short-term proficiency support, long-term core academic credit options, or the PreHiSet option which focuses on preparing youth for the High School Equivalency Test.
“Over half of the Juvenile Detention Center’s long-term population of students were awarded their academic credits in late January at a recognition meeting attended by all youth, after which there was a noticeable increase in motivation among their peers. We are encouraged by this progress and look forward to increasing the number of students receiving credits,” said Tamara Johnson, Executive Director for School Leadership with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
“Data indicates that higher levels of literacy are associated with lower rates of juvenile delinquency, making education critical to the rehabilitation of our youth and will be the foundation for programming at the facility,” said Dr. Wade, Director of EBR Juvenile Services and Detention Center.
The partnership between the city-parish and East Baton Rouge Parish School System was established to provide youth who exceed the average length of stay with continuous access to educational services, and is a part of the ongoing effort to eliminate barriers to gaining credits toward a high school diploma or high school equivalency. The Juvenile Detention Center works in tandem with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to ensure students stay on track upon re-entry to society.