LAFAYETTE — Entering the final week during which students can apply for one of the Lafayette Parish School System’s schools of choice programs, some programs, including the French and Spanish immersion program, have waiting lists.

The district’s foreign language immersion and arts options typically have waiting lists. Student interest is growing in the business and finance academy at Acadiana High, which will likely have its first waiting list, said Randall Domingue, district schools of choice marketing and recruitment coordinator.

More than 20 options are available for specialized instructional academies focused on environmental science, foreign language immersion, or the arts, which start as early as kindergarten and continue through high school. The options of study are diverse, including college-level study as part of the Early College Academy housed at the South Louisiana Community College where high school students work toward a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. The program’s first class of graduates received their associate’s degrees and high school diplomas in ceremonies last May.

Applications are open until Jan. 31, but the number of applicants have already exceeded open spots in the ECA program, as well as other popular options in French and Spanish immersion, Lafayette High’s Academy of Health Careers, J. Wallace James Elementary Arts and Technology Academy, L.J. Alleman Middle School’s Performing Arts Academy and L. Leo Judice Environmental Sciences Elementary, Domingue said.

A computerized lottery is held to select applicants for open spots in each program.

Lotteries will be held over three days, with the elementary school selections made Feb. 25, followed by middle school on Feb. 26 and high school on Feb. 28, Domingue said.

The district recently changed the focus of its newest high school, David Thibodaux, to focus on science, technology, engineering and math or STEM disciplines.

“Thibodaux is still a new program, so I think we’re still in the building phase, but this year it will have a waiting list,” Domingue said.

The school is housed in the former N.P. Moss Middle School and recently changed from a career and technical high school with a STEM Academy offered to its middle school students to a full STEM Academy for grades 6-12. Major renovations are also planned for the high school to add specialized labs and additional classrooms.

This year, students also have a new option — the academy of legal studies at Northside High. The academy launched last school year, but after the schools of choice lottery process. As part of the academy, students also take college-level criminal justice courses for college credit.

Other pathway study options include: biomedical and health careers, technology, business and finance and the sciences.

Students may apply to two academies and the application process is open to any student living in the parish.

“It’s open to everyone who is a student in Lafayette Parish — whether a public, private or home-school student,” Domingue said.

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