October 3, 2012
In This Issue
Writing Prompt Exemplars
SPS Bonus
PGP Resources/HCIS
Course Choice RFA
News from the Road
Superintendent's Message


Dear Colleagues,


Much attention has been paid to the teacher development elements of Compass.  Many people do not realize, however, that school leaders will also receive feedback using the same Compass components as teachers. As with teachers, school leaders are to set goals. And as with teachers, school leaders are to receive feedback on a rubric that describes levels of performance related to student achievement. If you haven't had a chance to review it yet, I encourage you to look at the summary of the Compass system for school leaders here.


Perhaps most notable about the Compass rubric  for school leaders is that it links principal success to activities central to Louisiana Believes. In essence, the school leader system should reinforce the teacher system. For example, "classroom observation and feedback," "using common core aligned assessments," and "setting goals aligned to the Common Core" are skills reflected in the Compass rubric for school leaders; principals who do well on the rubric will have supported their teachers in achieving at high levels on their own rubric. The system tries to align priorities at each level, so as to allow schools and school districts to focus on discrete, critical skills for both leaders and teachers that will impact student achievement. 


The Compass rubric is a simple tool for improvement for principals as much as it is for teachers. Schools and districts that use the tool effectively will work intensively to create a vision of what the rubric descriptors look like, watching videos and teachers in action as part of the process. They will work hard to ensure that their expectations for each level of the rubric are shared across their faculties, ensuring that "highly effective" means the same thing to all teachers in the school. 


A critical factor in ensuring schools operate in such a way is the quality and focus of the principal. The Compass school leader rubric has been designed to support the idea of the principal as an instructional leader focused on Compass and the Common Core. As such a tool, it should be a powerful means for making progress with students. 


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe


Writing Prompt Exemplars Posted

The writing prompt on this year's LEAP and iLEAP is significantly different than it has been in years past. The new prompt, which asks students to read one or two passages and respond to a writing topic using information from the text(s), introduces teachers and students to an important CCSS instructional shift-writing grounded in text evidence.  The Department has developed sample prompts as well as aligned student exemplars to illustrate the types of questions that students will see and the type of work that should be expected of them.  There are three separate documents: one for LEAP and iLEAP, one for English II, and one for English III. The LEAP/iLEAP document has assembled writing prompts and samples of student work for grades 3-8 in one document so teachers can easily see the changes in passage complexity and the increasing expectations for rigor in student work as students progress from grade 3 to grade 8.


The documents are available on the LDOE website at http://www.doe.state.la.us/topics/trans_assessments.html.

New SPS Bonus Opportunity


Schools may now earn significant bonus points for making progress with the state's lowest performing students.  For more information on the specifics of this policy, please click here.

Professional Growth Plans Resources and HCIS Updates

Professional Growth Plans Resources

Consistent with past practices, teachers and administrators are required to complete Professional Growth Plans (PGPs) as a part of the Compass process.  The LDOE has provided PGP templates and exemplars for teachers, leaders, and counselors, as well as a PGP guidance document, intended to answer frequently asked questions. These documents are available here.  Please note: PGP forms do not need to be submitted to the LDOE.  


HCIS Updates 

Do you need help registering into HCIS? Is your account locked? Your LEA administrator will be able to assist you. Please find your local administrator's contact information by clicking here.  Upon communication from your central office, you may now utilize HCIS to input and/or view PGPs, SLTs, and conduct observations.  As a reminder, HCIS maintenance is performed on the first Wednesday of each month from 4-6 p.m.  

Course Choice RFA Deadline Extended

The Course Choice Request for Application (RFA) deadline has been extended to October 19, 2012.  The RFA is a user-friendly, 100 percent electronic process focused on course quality and course provider accountability. Since the Course Choice application window opened in August, the LDOE has received 45 application packages from non-traditional providers, school systems, teachers, online providers, and the four Louisiana post-secondary systems. If you are considering applying to be a Course Choice provider, now is the time to send in your application.  The deadline for the LDOE to notify applicants of their notification status is October 26, 2012.  Submission of the proposal by October 8, 2012 guarantees a provider feedback on their proposal by the submission deadline. The Course Choice program was established by the Legislature earlier this year in Act 2.  It creates an education marketplace where parents can choose from a wide range of academic and career-oriented courses that will best prepare a student for success in college and the workplace.  For more information, visit www.louisianabelieves.com/coursechoice.

News from the Road


Superintendent White has been visiting schools around the state to talk about Louisiana Believes. See what parents, teachers and principals are saying here:


American Press - White Discusses Wholesale Changes to State's Education System


Shreveport Times - Parents air concerns to Louisiana Education Superintendent


Town Talk - State education superintendent touts new curriculum in Natchitoches


Tri Parish Times - State supt: Schools need to be business ready


Next week, White will be visiting schools in Jefferson, Plaquemines and Orleans Parishes.

Louisiana Department of Education
1201 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

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