LDOE Louisiana Believes
In This Issue
Superintendent's Message
Academic Content
Assessments and Accountability
Information Technology
Education in the News
LDOE Links
LDOE Contacts

John White
State Superintendent of Education

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LDOE Weekly Newsletter  1/15/2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues,


Today BESE considered and endorsed two important strategies in our state's plan for ensuring every child is on track to a college degree or a career.


Over the course of the next month, the state will be releasing its 2013-2014 Academic Strategy. This will include guidance and support for teachers on issues of assessment, curriculum, collaboration, and a classroom instruction. As part of this, Compass must become the best professional development tool possible. While the tool has had a profound and positive effect on the classrooms of our state already, specific enhancements will make the tool clearer for educators and will provide them more and better feedback. These enhancements include clear data at the start of the year, video libraries for use in conjunction with the Compass rubric, and "making the middle matter" through more feedback for educators generally meeting expectations.  See a detailed presentation on the enhancements here, a summary for educators here, and a YouTube presentation of the adjustments here.


Compass is a tool and is only as effective as its users. Just as we need to support our educators, so too do we need to empower them, allowing them to focus on their students in the way they know best. Too often rules and regulations distract educators from the work of educating, focusing them instead on the requirements of government. As these rules grow in number, the effect becomes more suffocating.


We are moving away from distinct rules, programs, or grants whose terms control the actions of educators. Instead, our educators are now more accountable for results than ever before, through Compass and otherwise. We must trust in their ability to make decisions, at every level of the system, and resist the impulse to control their actions through mandates from on high. As such, BESE today supported a comprehensive overhaul of Bulletin 741, granting greater decision making power to educators to determine what is best for the children in their care. See an FAQ document here and an op-ed on changes regarding school counselors specifically here


Our team will provide additional detail, through webinars and otherwise, in the weeks to come. 


As always, thank you for all you for our children,




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe

Academic Content

 Action Item

Course Choice Informational Webinar


Course Choice will provide students and their families access to rigorous college and career, publicly-funded course offerings that best match student's abilities and needs beginning SY 2013-14. In December, we began informational webinars for professional school counselors and district staff. The webinars provided a Course Choice Program overview, explanation of forthcoming District Support Systems, and an outline of key implementation dates. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 2:30 p.m.  We will discuss the various course offerings, course providers, and details about the Choice course catalog.


Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/bmsd8nq

Meeting key (if prompted): CO8XSSZX

Toll Free:  1-888-621-7121 (Toll Free:  Yes)

Event Number:  360879


To assist us in providing the most helpful information, please send questions to coursechoice@la.gov  in advance.  The Course Choice Program is an integral component of Louisiana Believes, the state's plan to empower students and teachers. For more information go to www.louisianaschools.net or email coursechoice@la.gov.

 Action Item



Please forward to all District Superintendents, Textbook Supervisors,  Curriculum Supervisors, Principals and Teachers.


In December, BESE decided not adopt any textbooks for the upcoming school year.  The Department and BESE do not believe that any of the textbooks are yet appropriately aligned to the Common Core Standards and forthcoming PARCC assessments.  Although districts are free to purchase any textbooks, regardless of whether these have been adopted by BESE, the Department does not recommend that districts invest in new materials at this point. The attached document provides a summary of the submitted texts and comments identifying the areas of misalignment to the Common Core State Standards by the state committee and LDE content specialists. 


The state is currently reviewing its process for the upcoming 2013-2014 textbook adoption.  The Department plans to continue its support to school districts by identifying resources that are confirmed as fully aligned with the Common Core State Standards.


Assessments and Accountability

 Action Item

ACT Key Dates


Please forward to District Test Coordinators, Special Education Coordinators, and ACT School Test Accommodations Coordinators.
  • Friday, January 18 is the deadline to submit additional seniors for the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to the Department. The Department should be notified only if changes in the number of additional seniors tested at district expense would greatly increase the expected invoice by $1,000. District superintendents should contact Bernadette Morris with any questions at bernadette.morris@la.gov.
  • During the week of February 4, the high school's ACT Test Accommodations Coordinator (TAC) should expect preliminary ACT rosters for ACT-Approved Accommodations.  The TAC will receive an ACT memo with clear instructions to submit additional documentation for those students still pending ACT-Approved Accommodations as well as contact information for assistance. A copy of the memo is attached.
  • Wednesday, February 27 is the deadline for high schools to order ACT testing materials for State-Allowed Accommodations.

 Action Item

Act 1 Compensation Plans 


The LDOE has reviewed several strong compensation plans in the last few weeks.


This week, on Thursday, January 17 at 3:00 p.m., the LDOE will host a conference call for district leaders who are working to develop new compensation systems. During this call, we will share features of selected districts' compensation plans to give participants perspective on other districts' approaches to recognizing and rewarding excellence.  We will also provide time for Q&A with Department staff and TNTP technical experts. To participate, please register for this call via Coursewhere by clicking here. 


All districts should plan to submit their new compensation plans by April 1, 2013, for final review.  At that time, we will assess each plan against a rubric that articulates the requirements of Act 1. Please access that rubric here.  We will review plans on a rolling basis. If your district would like support from the LDOE or from TNTP's compensation experts prior to formally submitting your plan, email Act1@la.gov.


If you have questions, please contact Act1@la.gov or Gary Jones at Gary.Jones@la.gov.

 Action Item

Act 3 - Louisiana Early Care and Education Network: 2013-2015 Community Pilots

Please forward to Early Childhood Coordinators, Supervisors and Directors 


Since the passage of the Early Childhood Education Network (Act 3) in 2012, significant progress has been made toward implementation of this legislation.  Included in these efforts is the development of a Request for Applications (RFA) seeking up to five local pilot networks who will agree to share services and resources to develop a coordinated system of early childhood care and education for their community. 


The RFA will be presented to the Board at their meeting on January 15, 2013.  For more information on these Community Pilots, and the RFA, go to:


Information Technology

 Action Item

Dropout Data Certification


Please forward to Accountability Contacts.


This year, Dropout Data Certification will be completed through the normal SIS dropout cleanup process. Rosters will not be distributed. Please work with your SIS coordinator to ensure that dropout data is correct. Dropout data will be used in the dropout/credit accumulation index for students who were enrolled in Grade 8 in 2011-12 and it will be used for the calculation of the cohort graduation index and graduation rate.


All corrections must be submitted through SIS no later than January 18, 2013. Please remember that data errors not corrected by your district/school by January 18, 2013, cannot be used as grounds for an appeal of accountability scores in October, per policy outlined in Bulletin 111.

 Action Item

Prekindergarten Performance (PKP) Winter Data


Please forward to LA 4, Title I, 8g, and ECSE Coordinators for Assumption, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Jefferson, Lincoln, Monroe City, Rapides, St. John, and St. Landry Parishes


LA 4, Title I, 8g, and ECSE teachers may begin entering their winter data from the Prekindergarten Student Performance Checklist to the Prekindergarten Performance (PKP) site from January 14 - February 1, 2013. Please note that after February 1, the PKP site will NOT be accessible and no changes can be made to data.  Please make sure your teachers submit data accurately. If you have questions, contact Nicholy Johnson at (225) 342-3647 or Nicholy.johnson@la.gov.

Action Item  

Medicaid Revised Behavioral Health Codes Effective January 1, 2013


Please forward to all Special Education Supervisors, Medicaid Administrators & Behavioral Health Service Providers.


Effective January 1, 2013, Medicaid revised the behavioral health procedural codes and the definition of the services. Utilization of these revised codes in your Medicaid billing process is mandatory. The revised codes and definitions have been automatically updated in the SER RSM Tracking System.   For more information, contact Janice Fruge' at janice.fruge@la.gov


Action Item

CSPR Title I, Part A and Part D, Data Collection


Please forward to LEA Federal Program Directors.


The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) must report in the Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) its progress and compliance with the areas and initiatives set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  The LDOE is requesting that all Title I Directors/Security Coordinators enter the CSPR Title I, Part A and Part D, 2011-2012 school year data electronically at https://leads3.doe.louisiana.gov/ptl/.  The deadline for entering the data is January 25, 2013. If any additional information is required, please contact Edeltress Matthews Brown, via e-mail at edeltress.brown@la.gov or by telephone at 225.342.1506 or 877.453.2721.


 Action Item

Health and Physical Education and Vending Survey


Please forward to Superintendents and School Leaders.


The Louisiana Department of Education's Office of Student Programs needs your assistance in completing the annual health and physical education survey. As part of Revised Statute 17:17.4 and Senate Resolution 146 of the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Department of Education is required to monitor and evaluate health and physical education and vending machine activities in school districts and provide an annual report to the Louisiana Legislature. Your participation in this survey is critical in providing quality, accurate data to the Senate and House Committees on Health and Welfare. It is important to note that data is analyzed and disseminated collectively and not by individual districts. Although you may collect information from other staff in your district, please have only one person complete the survey. Please complete the survey at  http://tinyurl.com/a5xgo5n  by January 25, 2013.

Education in the News

Louisiana's teacher evaluation system gets top slot on national education policy report card


StudentsFirst group rates Louisiana education policies high


Louisiana first in pro-student education policies


School choice can provide quality education to the poor


States show spotty progress on education gauges


Turnaround story as Louisiana ranks in top third in education


Louisiana's rank rises on national education quality report card