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July 10, 2012

EdConnect Header - LA Believes

 In This Issue   


  • Technology Readiness Footprint
  • District Support Leadership Teams
  • Course Choice Program
  • Louisiana BelievesSchool Board Tour
  • Compass Training Schedule
  • Common Core State Standards Summer Institutes

Educator Resources (Links)


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Dear Colleagues:


John Dewey called education "continuous formation through choice of action." Students and teachers alike create learning experiences through choosing.


Louisiana Believes is about choice of action. Students and parents choose schools and paths to career and college. Teachers choose content and activities. Superintendents and principals choose how dollars are spent and who best to be in the classroom. It's a plan based on agency of the individual and the team, rather than on the authority of the bureaucracy.


"Support" for educators is too rarely one such choices. Centrally-run programs and their mandates tend to dictate support, without taking into account the unique needs of each locality and each school. But the Common Core and Compass standards require the individual to take hold of new ideas. We cannot tell teachers what to expect of students and require them to think that way; they must learn it and believe it for themselves.


That's why this week we are announcing two critical shifts in how we provide support, allowing districts to tailor their plans for Common Core and Compass support.


First, our network teams will be led by five outstanding educators from across our state, each announced yesterday. Networks will have between 10 and 15 districts each. Team leaders and their staffs will work with district leaders on setting instructional goals in each classroom; observing classroom practice; using Common Core aligned assessments; facilitating teacher collaboration; and cultivating instructional leaders in your schools. But most important is that they support you and your district on a plan for implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Compass. I'm excited to start the work.

Second, later this week, the Department will announce results of a statewide technology readiness assessment. This assessment, administered over the last three months, establishes a "footprint" picture of what will be necessary in terms of what districts need to be ready for full implantation of PARCC online assessments in 2014-2015 and full digital readiness in years hence.


We are moving from a "pull-out in-service" world to one where teachers, principals, and administrators can make choices for themselves as to what they teach, how they teach, and how they receive support. Network teams are organized to assist you in this, and technology is a critical tool in making sure teachers can adapt to changing standards. I hope these two shifts are helpful to you.


And as always, thanks for all you for our children.




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe



The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes it is essential for all schools to have adequate technology resources to support online assessments and 21st century learning environments. In an effort to proactively assist districts and schools in planning and implementing strategies to ensure schools are technology-ready to support online assessment, Common Core, and embedded 21st century electronic resources, later this week we will release a document entitled Louisiana Technology Footprint.   This document will provide a picture of the current state of readiness for districts and schools. It will also compare districts to that picture, giving you a sense of how ready schools in your district are, providing a set of recommendations for supporting strategic planning and implementation was we move toward full digital readiness.



Monday, we announced our new District Support Leadership Team that will work directly with school districts to provide support during our transition to the new Compass educator evaluation system and the Common Core State Standards. These are both critical components of the Louisiana Believes plan to empower those closes to students - educators and parents - to make the best choices for children. School districts will fall into one of five networks that will assist in translating educational priorities into outcomes for students. Each network will be supported by a team of instructional specialists and managed by a leader with education experience. Those district support leaders are:


  • Warren Drake, Superintendent of Zachary Community Schools
  • Kerry Laster, Deputy Superintendent of Literacy and former Superintendent of Concordia Parish
  • Gayle Sloan, District Support Officer for LDOE Office of Innovation and former Superintendent of St. Tammany Parish
  • Melissa Stilley, Tangipahoa Parish School Board Chief Academic Officer
  • Francis Touchet, Principal, Erath High School


For a map of networks and leaders, please click here.



The Course Choice program, a critical part of the Louisiana Believes plan to empower educators and parents to make the best choices for children, will enable families to choose publicly-funded course offerings that best match each student's abilities and needs beginning in the 2013-14 school year. The Course Choice program will expand academic course options for all Louisiana students who want to enhance their academic performance and job readiness. The program will provide Louisiana's students the educational opportunities they need and deserve that will grow our state's economy, create new jobs, and best position Louisiana's families, businesses, and communities for success in the 21st century and beyond.


LDOE will post the archived Course Choice webinar from June 28, 2012 and additional information resources on the LDOE Course Choice website. LDOE staff will launch an outreach initiative to inform and involve professional school counselors, teachers, principals, superintendents and school district officials in Course Choice, seeking their input and feedback as the program rolls out.  The outreach effort will include informational meetings July 23 - July 25 with educators, post-secondary education institutions, education providers, and businesses in areas around the state.


To sign up for a regional informational session, please click here.


Anyone who wants to receive Course Choice email updates- course providers, businesses, Louisiana educational entrepreneurs, guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, parents - is encouraged to register for email updates on the Course Choice webpage.


For more information about the Course Choice program, please click here, call 1-877-453-2721, or email coursechoice@la.gov.


Over the next two months, Superintendent of Education John White will visit several school boards to unveil Louisiana Believes. Supt. White's presentation will include a discussion of policy changes that districts statewide will make as a result of Acts 1, 2 and 3 of the recent legislative session. The Louisiana Believes plan includes the enactment of Acts 1, 2 and 3; the federally approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver which contains a rigorous new school and district accountability system; the transition to the Common Core State Standards; and the implementation of Compass - the state's new evaluation system for educators.


Supt. White has already presented the plan to school boards in Madison and Avoyelles Parishes. Here is a schedule of remaining visits:




July 24, 4:30 p.m.

Caddo Parish School Board

July 25, 6:00 p.m.

Richland Parish School Board

July 31, 5:00 p.m.

Terrebonne Parish School Board

August 2, 5:00 p.m.

East Baton Rouge Parish School Board

August 9, 5:00 p.m.

Beauregard Parish School Board

August 13, 5:00 p.m.

Allen Parish School Board

August 21, 6:00 p.m.

Tangipahoa Parish School Board

August 22, 5:30 p.m.

Lafayette Parish School Board

August 23, 4:30 p.m.

Jefferson Parish School Board





The LDOE will release guidance relative to the Compass evaluation process for school leaders next week. This release will begin with webinars for superintendents and other district leaders on Monday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 17.  These presentations are intended to provide district leaders with an overview of the Compass evaluation process for school leaders, to introduce the Compass leader rubric, to provide guidance relating to student growth measures for leaders, and to identify LDOE supports for implementation.  An archived recording of the webinar, along with the Compass leader rubric and SLT guidance for leaders will be posted on the LDOE website on July 20. Further training on the leader evaluation process will be offered this fall.


Information for upcoming webinars:


Monday, July 16

  • Webinar starts at 3 p.m.
  • To join webinar, please click here
  • Enter meeting key: OW3XQOL6


To connect with your *TELEPHONE ONLY* (no computer):

  • Dial 1-888-621-7121
  • Enter event number: 404939


Tuesday, July 17

  • Webinar starts at 9 a.m.
  • To join webinar, please click here
  • Enter meeting key: LR1CK9O0


To connect with your *TELEPHONE ONLY* (no computer):

  • Dial 1-888-621-7121
  • Enter event number:  474487


In addition, dates for the Compass Evaluator Training sessions were released Friday, June 1, 2012.  The trainings will be offered between July 23, 2012 and August 2, 2012, and session availability is based upon parish/region. For a complete schedule of trainings, please click here.


Registration is required and is available via Coursewhere. To access Coursewhere, please click here


The Louisiana Department of Education is offering one-day summer institutes for teams of three from each school in the state. The institutes are being offered at various sites across the state. The first institutes are happening this week through Thursday. A second set of institutes are scheduled for July 16-18. The institutes will provide information on LDOE instructional priorities and the supports that the LDOE will provide. The institutes will include training on the instructional shifts and critical focus areas in the CCSS for ELA and mathematics. School teams will provide support in developing plans to redeliver the content as well as support for incorporating these shifts in instructional practice. Most school teams have registered, but those who have not, we encourage you to register your school as soon as possible. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) District Specialists are coordinating the registration in each district. The CCSS Specialists should contact Susannah Craig at Susannah.craig@la.gov for more information. To view the complete training schedule, please click here.