November 15, 2012
In This Issue
Top Gains Schools
Compensation FAQ
Compass Spotlight
Course Choice
Education in the News

Superintendent's Message


Dear Colleagues,


Last year our state asked educators to step up for our kids; and they stepped up. Three quarters of schools improved. Now it's time for an even more ambitious mission: putting our kids on a level playing field with students across the country and around the world. That is why our state led in the development and adoption of Common Core standards. See an Advocate editorial on both our schools' successes and the challenge ahead here.


Louisiana Believes is about putting power in the hands of teachers to lead this change. That's why we have ended top-down restrictions on textbooks and prescriptive curriculum. Instead, Louisiana plans to equip its educators with tools and to let teachers use these tools to make decisions as to what's right for kids.


One such tool is assessments. If we can give teachers a vision of how their students will be assessed, and if we empower them to make choices about curriculum and lesson planning, they will show us the way. The attached memo is designed to give teachers a clear view of what assessments are changing and of how they will change over the course of the next several years. Please read the document to learn more and share it with your fellow teachers.


Another tool is upgraded technology. Every one of the tests Louisiana will administer in 2014-2015 will require online administration. Districts are rapidly preparing through assessing their current inventory. In December the state will begin making available contracts for shared purchasing of critical hardware. You can upload updated information on your district's progress toward digital readiness here.


A clear vision of student success and the tools to deliver it are critical steps for you and your fellow teachers. 


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


Twitter @LouisianaSupe

Louisiana Believes Communications Survey


We want to hear from you. Teachers who are advising Superintendent John White on the implementation of Louisiana Believes have written and developed a survey to gain your feedback on communication.Your participation will provide valuable insight into how to share important information about policies that impact you and teachers across the state. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and respond by Tuesday, November 27, 2012. We value your input and appreciate your perspective.

Top Gains Schools

Congratulations to all of the teachers at our 440 schools designated as Top Gains Schools for the 2011-2012 school year.  These 440 schools are schools which improved their School Performance Score by or beyond a pre-determined growth target, from 2 to 10 points.  Top Gains Schools earn monetary rewards for educational purposes within the school.  Thank you for your exceptional work and continued dedication to our kids.

FAQ About The ACT


To get a head start on the Common Core's expectations, the state is requiring high school students to take the ACT this year. The ACT will serve as a beacon to educators from early childhood to high school for the education we owe our students. See this  Frequently Asked Questions document for detailed information that you can share with your colleagues and parents. 


The ACT's texts align well with the complexity the Common Core will expect our students to be able to read and analyze. A score of 18 or higher will be a milestone for all educators, pre-k through 12, of the minimum basic level at which we should expect all students to be educated. And for the first time, because of the ACT series, high school educators will be able to see real growth in college and career readiness data for every student.

Compensation FAQ


If Louisiana Believes that all students can achieve, then we have to believe in the adults who work with them.  Act 1 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session provides districts with the flexibility to design compensation systems that best fit the needs of local schools, allowing them to recruit, reward, and retain effective, in-demand teachers.  The old approach to compensation includes rigid, quality-blind salary schedules based on longevity.  The flexibility through Act 1 allows districts to set their own targets for increasing achievement and rewarding teachers making the biggest impact in the classroom.  Attached are some Frequently Asked Questions we have received on the new law.  We hope it helps clear up and misconceptions you may have about how Act 1 will affect you.  Please feel free to email us as if still have further questions.

Spotlight on Component 3b: Questioning and Discussion Techniques


As Compass observations are beginning to take place across the state, Ed-Connect continues its regular feature on the components within the Compass Teacher Rubric, along with videos of exemplar performance, to help educators and evaluators become more familiar with the content of the rubric. This week, we continue our focus on Component 3b: Questioning and Discussion Techniques with a look at a high school English language arts class.


Effective questioning is instrumental to student success. Oral or written, questions help teachers know the extent to which students are reaching the level of rigor required by the lesson's objective. When questions reveal student misunderstanding, the teacher must adjust instruction such that more students are achieving the objective.


Click here to view another video of Highly Effective teacher performance related to this component.


Click here to view an explanation of the evidence and rationale for the Highly Effective rating in this video.

Course Choice Seeking Counselors

The Course Choice Program is seeking five counselors with Louisiana licensed professional counselor credentials to serve as part of the Louisiana Course Choice Counseling Assistance Center. Course Choice is an innovative new program designed to offer Louisiana students an unprecedented collection of high-quality course offerings provided by universities, technical and community colleges, online course providers, business and industry, and educational entrepreneurs.  Course Choice will enable students to enroll in academic, career and technical training courses that will help them obtain post-secondary degrees and secure high-paying 21st Century jobs. 


The Course Choice Counselor will be responsible for helping both professional school counselors and students successfully participate in the Course Choice Program.  Responsibilities include a) becoming an expert in the Course Choice program (leaning all about the courses offered and the course providers);  b) becoming an expert in using and teaching others to use the Course Choice Registration System;  c) counselor training and implementation support; d) individual student planning and support;  and  e) Course Choice program reporting. 


For more information contact Ernise Singleton at 

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

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