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August 22, 2012

EdConnect Header - LA Believes

 In This Issue   




  • Navigate Compass with HCIS
  • Believe and Include Grants Available for Special Education
  • Calling All Educational Entrepreneurs!
  • Connect With Your Ed Colleagues
  • Louisiana Believes in Students and Educators


Educator Resources (Links)


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Dear Colleagues: 


This is a time of change in public education. We all know and live that every day. As I travel across the state discussing Louisiana Believes, I see evidence of teachers and schools stepping up to lead the change.


Change is already happening in classroom practice and expectations. Our network teams are working with districts to adjust assessments, feedback, and goal setting to help you practice the Common Core and Compass standards. As detailed in the state's Academic Strategy memo, Louisiana's approach will not rely on mandates and PowerPoints, and instead will focus on giving you the tools you need to translate the new standards into units, lessons, and instruction.


Equally important to these policy changes are upcoming changes to the way we will be assessing our students. Yesterday, the Partnership for Assessing the Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) offered a preview of the next generation assessments that Louisiana students will begin taking in 2014-2015.


The sample test items in English language arts and math demonstrate the instructional shifts that are required to prepare students for Common Core standards. The examples will provide you with a useful tool to help your parents understand the transition to the more rigorous academic standards. The sample test items are available online at www.parcconline.org. 


The release of these assessment items is another reminder of the monumental shift that is happening in education, here in Louisiana and across the nation. As educators, we can seize the moment and make use of these changes for our children, or we can sit back and let them happen to us and our schools. I see evidence every day that Louisiana teachers and schools are finding ways to be proactive by leading the change. I'm looking forward greatly to seeing the results.


As always, thanks for all you do for our children.





John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe




The Human Capital Information System (HCIS) is a free, web-based system designed to guide educators through the Compass support and evaluation process. The user guide for the HCIS is now available to help you understand the purpose and functions of the system.


The HCIS will help you set goals for yourselves and your students; allow your evaluators to provide real-time feedback on observations; and enable school leaders to strategically track teachers' and school leaders' performance to inform ongoing professional development, promotions and other human capital decisions. The system is designed to save time, allow for greater transparency and feedback, and provide data to enhance teaching and learning.



The Department has launched Believe and Include, a $4 million competitive grant program that will provide funding to schools to develop innovative programs that help students with disabilities achieve proficiency of the more rigorous Common Core State Standards. The grant program is seeking replicable, scalable solutions in staffing, planning, scheduling, technology or other tools, which allow students with disabilities to learn and perform in the least restrictive environment. The Department is funding Believe and Include by redirecting federal funding provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) from centralized programs to school districts and local school leaders. 


Applications for Believe and Include are due September 15, and grant recipients will be announced in October.  Each grant application must include at least three partner schools. The Department anticipates minimum grant awards to be $50,000 per partner school for a total of $150,000 per grant.  For more information on the application process, please click here.

Calling All Educational Entrepreneurs!


This is a reminder that teachers, former teachers, teams of teachers, and alliances of teachers with other organizations can all apply to be Course Choice providers. Course Choice offers teachers a first-of-its-kind opportunity to extend the reach of their expertise to students outside the four walls of their classrooms.


The Department began accepting Course Choice applications on August 17. To upload your PDF application today, visit www.louisianaschools.net/coursechoice. Course providers that submit applications early will be allowed to modify their applications based on feedback from the Department.  The final deadline to apply to become a Course Choice provider is October 12, and BESE will make final decisions on approved providers in December 2012.



With each issue of Ed Connect, we want to reach as many teachers as possible. Please help us spread the word by sharing the newsletter with your friends and colleagues. We encourage you to forward the email to other teachers, post it to Facebook, or share it on Twitter. Your co-workers can also sign up for future issues of Ed Connect here.



Last week, the Department released a strategy memo outlining the state's academic vision. Louisiana Believes in Students & Educators is a guide for teachers and schools in the implementation of Common Core State Standards and Compass. If you haven't had a chance to read it, please take some time to learn more about the state's vision for education here.