The progress you have made with your students in recent years is unprecedented. Last year, a full three quarters of all schools in Louisiana showed improvement in student outcomes. Our state owes you a debt of gratitude for everything you did to make that happen.
The challenge ahead of us remains. One in five Louisiana students achieves a college degree. And while that was perhaps adequate for days gone by, the economy of today demands more of our graduates.
This is why we are adopting Common Core State Standards: to put our students on a level playing field with the future graduates with whom they will ultimately be competing. And it's why we are implementing Compass, to help each of us step up his or her game to this new challenge.
Compass has required additional effort for many of you this year. You've set quantifiable goals in student achievement and spent time internalizing a rubric focused on both teacher and student actions in the classroom. You've observed colleagues and have been observed yourselves. It has been a year of change (we've compiled a Frequently Asked Questions Document regarding Compass that you can find here.
That change is part of a long journey. As detailed in an op-ed published in last weekend's Times Picayune, Compass was designed by educators during the 2011-2012 year. Ten districts chose to pilot the system in 2011-2012, upon which the Department made changes to simplify the system. This school year, in which there are ratings but no impact on a teacher's tenure status, marks its first implementation on a statewide basis.
We are continuing to learn how that implementation is playing out at such a broad scale, across 50,000 classrooms. I know it will do more to honor strong teaching - and students' right to strong teaching - than did the past system, which rated nearly 99 percent of teachers as being exactly the same. At the same time, I know we have continued adjustments to make. Based on feedback from educators statewide, we are considering adjustments to the student data we provide teachers at the beginning and end of year, to the manner in which we use value-added data to produce the rating, and to the way Compass measures specific student populations, most notably those impacted by disasters or those already performing at the highest levels.
Over the course of the next month, I will be meeting with teachers across the state to discuss Compass and the Common Core, sharing successes and challenges we are observing, and asking the guidance of teachers on any adjustments. Please be on the lookout for meetings near your school or home. Then, at the beginning of January, we will share proposed adjustments with the public and with our Louisiana Believes Educator Advisory Committees, as well as the Superintendent's Advisory Council. Pending development of good policies, we will propose adjustments to BESE in January.
Please do take a minute to the FAQ document, or, if you haven't already, to visit www.louisianaschools.net/compass for more information. And please send any thoughts or questions you have about Compass to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, thank you for all you do for our children,
Louisiana Department of Education