Louisiana School Choice Roadmap

By: National School Choice Week Team

Last Upated: September 27, 2021

Choosing a school? You’ve got options. 

Each spring, parents face one of the biggest decisions they can make for their child: What school environment will their child will spend about 1,000 hours in next year? 

Making that decision with confidence starts with knowing your options. You may have more school choices than you realize! Understanding your choices can help you find a school where your child is happy and actively learning. Louisiana families can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, homeschooling, and learning pods.

Looking for special education options? You can learn what special education services are available in Louisiana at the Ultimate Guide to Special Education.

Search for Schools Near Me

Thank you for using our school finder tool. This new tool allows families to search for in-person public, charter, magnet, and private schools and learning environments. To identify online schools in your state, please visit our Ultimate Guide to Online School. To learn more about your state’s homeschooling laws, please visit our Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. This tool was developed by National School Choice Week, with data provided in partnership with Public School Review and Private School Review. For more information about this tool please visit our Schools Near Me Frequently Asked Questions page. Gracias por usar nuestra herramienta de búsqueda de escuelas. Esta nueva herramienta le permitirá encontrar escuelas presenciales tradicionales públicas, charter, magnet y privadas y lugares de aprendizaje. Para identificar escuelas en línea en su estado, visite nuestra Guía de Escuelas En Línea. Para obtener más información sobre las leyes de educación desde el hogar en su estado, visite nuestra Guía para la Educación en el Hogar. Esta herramienta fue desarrollada por la Semana Nacional de Opciones Escolares, en asociación y con datos proporcionados por Public School Review y Private School Review. Para obtener más información sobre esta herramienta, visite nuestra página de preguntas frecuentes sobre escuelas cercanas.
Traditional public schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public charter schools do not charge tuition. They are usually managed by nonprofit organizations and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public magnet schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and focus on themes, such as math, science, technology, and the arts.
Private schools charge tuition, but scholarships are often available via state programs or by individual schools. Private schools are privately managed and can be faith-based or secular.

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      Louisiana Traditional Public Schools

      First of all, children in Louisiana can choose traditional public schools. Traditional public schools are free to attend, open to all students, operated by school districts, and funded by taxpayers like you. Did you know that Louisiana spends an average of $11,755 per public school student each year? You can search your school’s spending and that of nearby schools at Project Nickel.

      In most cases in Louisiana, each district decides whether it will participate in open enrollment, so parents should check with their local district if they wish to participate. The state only requires districts to offer open enrollment in certain circumstances, such as when students wish to transfer from a school in academic distress to a school that is not in academic distress.

      Open enrollment refers to whether parents can choose to send their children to any public school, regardless of their zip code or where the school is located. Open enrollment is a valuable form of public school choice, increasing families’ access to free, public school options. Students participating in open enrollment are provided transportation by their public school of choice, if that school is closer to the student’s residence than their assigned school. 

      In 2021, Louisiana established the Steve Carter Literacy Program, which provides reading scholarships of up to $1,000 to help public school students in grades K-5 who need extra tutoring or support for literacy. Find out more about public schools in your state here: Louisiana’s Department of Education.

      Louisiana Charter Schools

      You can also choose from more than 140 charter schools. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed extra freedom to innovate with curriculum and learning methods. Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what community need it serves. For instance, the school might provide a Spanish immersion program or offer a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system is usually used to determine admittance. For more information on charter schools in your state, check out the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools 

      Students celebrate school choice in Louisiana

      Louisiana Magnet Schools

      Magnet schools are another school choice in Louisiana. These are free public schools that allow kids to focus on specific themes, like science or the performing arts. Louisiana has several magnet schools throughout the state. Some Louisiana districts with magnet schools include Caddo Parish Public SchoolsCalcasieu Parish Public SchoolsEast Baton Rouge ParishIberville Parish SchoolsTangipahoa Parish School District. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System, for instance, has magnet schools allowing students to focus on pre-law, visual and performing arts, health sciences, business and governmental affairs, or engineering. If you have a magnet school near you with a theme that interests your child, it could be a great choice for you. 

      Louisiana Private Schools

      Families in Louisiana can also consider private schools, nonpublic schools that charge tuition. Private schools may offer a unique curriculum, smaller class sizes, or a faith-based tradition. Louisiana’s more than 400 private schools come in all shapes and forms, from Montessori schools to schools designed for children with special needs.

      The average tuition for private schools in the state is $6,887 for elementary schools and $8,249 for high schools. In Louisiana, there are a couple opportunities in place to make private school more affordable. For one, families who pay private school expenses can claim a deduction on their taxes. Also, families with incomes below a certain level can qualify for tax-credit scholarships. Additionally, Louisiana has two voucher programs, one for students with special needs and one for low-income students.

      Also, since 2018, the federal government allows parents to save for K-12 private school tuition using tax-preferred 529 savings accounts.

      Learn more at the Louisiana Federation for Children and Private School Review: Louisiana.

      Louisiana Online Learning

      Whether your child wants to accelerate learning or needs a quieter environment to focus, you may want to give virtual school a try. Louisiana students in grades K-12 can attend Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, or University View Academy, both online charter schools, full-time. For part-time options, online providers participate in the state’s Supplemental Course Academy program, which offers free classes to students attending underperforming public schools, public schools that do not offer a certain course, or private schools on opportunity scholarships. Students who do not qualify for free classes can take these courses for a fee. 

      If a student would like to switch to online school, their parent or legal guardian must notify the currently enrolled school in order to withdraw and identify the online school they are transferring into. 

      What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Louisiana for 2021-2022?

      Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy’s fall enrollment deadline is mid-September and spring enrollment deadline is mid-January. University View Academy offers rolling enrollment. 

      Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

      As of September 2021, at University View Academy, grades 3, 8, and 12 are waitlisted for the 2021-2022 school year, but there are a limited number of spots in other grades. Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy is full. 

      Does the school provide technology and wifi?

      Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy does not typically provide technology and wifi. But, based on financial need, a loaner computer may be available. At University View Academy, a laptop is provided and an internet stipend can be received at the completion of the school year.

      Louisiana Homeschooling

      Additionally, Louisiana families looking for an extremely customizable education can choose to homeschool. Homeschooling, the process of parents educating students at home, is permitted in all 50 states.

      In Louisiana, notice of your intent to homeschool is required within 15 days of starting and annually by October 1.  If you initially begin to homeschool in the middle of the year, it is required that you file notice 12 months after your initial approval.  It is recommended that you formally withdraw from your public school so your student is not marked truant. In the case that you decide to return to public school in the middle of the school year, check with your school to see what their protocols are.  Each school has unique guidelines for placement.

      Louisiana offers funding assistance for homeschool such as the Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) and the Louisiana homeschool tax deduction.

      You can learn more at the Louisiana Department of EducationHome School Legal Defense Association – Louisiana, and Homeschool Louisiana.

      Louisiana Learning Pods

      Micro-schools, pods, pandemic pods, and learning pods all refer to the same concept: students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize.  Pods themselves can take a variety of legal forms, but in general they can be separated into two categories: self-directed pod (homeschool, homeschool collaborative, or micro-school) and learning support pod. It’s important to understand what kind of pod you are signing up for and the requirements that go along with it.  Learn more about learning pods.

      Self-Directed Pods:

      If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Louisiana. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA here. Note that homeschool students in Louisiana may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

      If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. You can read more about what Louisiana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

      Learning Support Pods:

      If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

      Cheerleaders celebrate school choice in Louisiana

      Education Resources for Louisiana Parents

      For additional information about school choices in Louisiana, visit these resources:  

      School Choice Celebrations in Louisiana

      National School Choice Week 2022 will take place January 23 – 29, 2022. We encourage all schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals to join the celebration. Check out ideas, inspiration, and more information

      Louisiana celebrated National School Choice Week 2021 with 699 virtual events and activities across the state. Click the button below to learn more about school choice in Louisiana.

      Visit State Page


      Explore School Choice. Get a free School Choice Snapshot for your state.

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