January 22, 2013 - In This Issue:
Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues, 


The newsletter this week contains updates on several critical issues, most notably technology and special education.


In the area if technology readiness, I am thrilled to report that, thanks to your foresight and leadership, we have made great strides over the last six months. Since the Louisiana Technology Footprint was first released, dozens of districts have made major gains, and the number of those ready for the Common Core assessments has nearly tripled. You can find districts' information here. You will also find detailed guidance on new state contracts that will allow every district to purchase hardware, wiring, services, and more at dramatically reduced costs. It is time to seize the moment for our children by making our schools 21st century environments. It can happen everywhere if we make it happen. Thank you for all you are doing to make that a reality. 


As you know, the state has committed to ensuring every child has access to the ACT FAQ here, starting this year (see this study to see what other states have experienced when making this shift). The ACT's reading complexity aligns with the Common Core standards, allowing our state an early start on new levels of rigor.


In recent years, and in line with the practice of most other states, we increased expectations for the LAA 2 pathway by expecting students taking LAA 2 to also take End of Course tests.  The same expectation is true for the ACT; students designated as eligible for the LAA 2 should participate in the ACT series. As a result, some concerns have emerged regarding testing students with severe disabilities. While the ACT - like End of Course tests - allows for modifications for students with special needs, schools should be vigilant in ensuring the LAA 1 classification is appropriately applied for students with severe disabilities. Students more appropriately classified as LAA 1 should not take the ACT. You can find guidance on the distinction between LAA 2 and LAA 1, as well as its implications for the ACT here


Technology readiness and classifying students are complicated but important issues. Your leadership and vision will guide us through the changes.


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe


Video Presentations on Compass Changes for Educators


Two live video presentations will be hosted in the coming week to provide educators with information about the changes to Compass approved last week. Videos will be streamed live, and viewers will be able to submit questions to presenters via compass@la.gov. 


The live video presentations will take place at the following times: 

  • Wednesday, January 23, 5:30-6:30PM
  • Monday, January 28, 5:30-6:30PM 
A recording of the video will be posted on the LDOE website subsequently. To join the live presentations at the times above, please click on the following link:www.livestream.com/ldoecomm. 
Compass Information System (HCIS)


The name of HCIS has changed to reflect upcoming enhancements to the system and will now be called the Compass Information System. We have two Compass Information System updates: 

  • The Compass Information System (HCIS) has revamped To Do lists for evaluators and teachers thanks to your valuable feedback on how we can continue to make the system more user-friendly. 
  • You may now use the Compass Information System (HCIS) to share your SLT results.  Please refer to this link for guidance on completing this process in the Compass Information System.
District Support

SRCL Cohort 2 Application Update


LDOE plans to release the Cohort 2 application in mid-February. Information about the application timeline, including dates for the technical assistance sessions, will be provided at that time. Awards will be announced by June. 



Understanding the ACT and testing for students taking LAA 1 and LAA 2


Please forward to special education administrators and high school principals


Click here for information on the ACT assessments and how those assessments impact students taking LAA 1 and LAA 2.

Full Academic Year Definition


Please forward to Accountability Contacts.


In October, BESE approved a policy changing the definition of a full academic year for the purposes of student accountability.  For 2012-13, students are considered to have been present for the full academic year for accountability purposes at the district level if they are enrolled on or  before October 1 and are present in that district for testing.  Students meeting this criteria will be counted in the districts DPS score.  At the school level, students will be counted in the school's SPS score if the students is enrolled on or before October 1, is present on February 1, and is counted in the district's DPS.  Students taking EOC tests initially in December, are counted where they test in December if they are also enrolled in the district on October 1.   

Statewide Waiver for 3rd year seniors graduating in Spring 2012 with a Basic Core Diploma


Bulletin 741 (2318. A. 2) requires all incoming freshmen, starting with the 2010-2011 cohort, completing the basic core curriculum to complete a career area of concentration (AOC) to earn a high school diploma.  This year, some 3rd year seniors in cohort 2010-2011 will meet required Carnegie credits to graduate in May 2013, but will not have coursework required for an AOC.  Under current policy, these students will not be able to graduate. At the January meeting, BESE approved a one-time statewide waiver of Bulletin 741 2318, the College and Career Diploma, to allow 3rd year seniors in cohort 2010-2011 to graduate without earning an AOC. The waiver will allow these students to graduate in 2012-13 and hold 3rd and 4th year seniors this year to the same standard. Next year, all seniors graduating with a basic core curriculum, regardless of cohort assignment, will be required to complete a career area of concentration. This waiver aims to provide equity to all seniors graduating at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. 


Please note this waiver is a one-time waiver only for those students who entered high school in 2010-2011 and will graduate in three years at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.  Please contact Bridget Devlin at Bridget.Devlin@la.gov  with any questions.


Act 1 Compensation Plans - Avoyelles Spotlight


Avoyelles Parish has proposed a compensation system that makes student achievement a priority, while also recognizing the value of strong, experienced educators. The new compensation system sends a clear message: in Avoyelles Parish, classroom results matter. You can access the policy governing the plan here and the actual plan here.  


Under the new compensation plan, teachers can receive an $800 stipend each year for a Highly Effective rating, and teachers rated Effective: Proficient will receive a $400 stipend.  Effective teachers who use Value Added Measures, EOC, or Dibels data to write their Student Learning Targets will also receive an additional $200 stipend to recognize their instructional excellence in these important subjects.


Over the long term, the new system strongly encourages effective teachers to remain in the classroom.  All effective teachers will receive a $400 annual base salary increase for experience - a bold step forward from the system that traditionally awarded raises regardless of classroom results. 


Avoyelles Parish is taking steps to ensure they are on track to begin the 2013-2014 school year with a system in place that that boldly rewards those teachers who are doing the most to raise student achievement.


All districts should plan to submit their new compensation plans to Act1@la.gov for final review by no later than April 1, 2013. If your district would like technical support prior to submitting your compensation plan, email Act1@la.gov. You can access the rubric that we are using to review plans here.


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

Increased Flexibility for Districts and Schools: B741 changes Explained
Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a large package of revisions to Bulletin 741, Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, in order to provide increased flexibility to districts and schools. Click here to read a summary of the approved changes and please share this with your principals.   

FY12 SIG 1003(g) Waiver Request Notification


Please forward to Superintedents and Federal Program Directors.


LDOE is requesting to extend the period of availability for FY12 SIG 1003(g) funds to allow funding for three year grant awards. Please review the attached waiver request.  Comments or questions should be sent to John Hanley at john.hanley@la.gov  by Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

FY2012-13 MFP Budget Letter (January 2013)


Please forward to Superintendents, Business Managers and Financial Officials of City/Parish Public School Districts.


The January Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Budget Letter contains revised payment amounts for the city/parish school districts. The second quarter Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEEP) payments were applied to the December 2012 MFP payment amounts.  Since the Scholarship payments are on a quarterly basis, the January payment has been revised so that the quarterly SSEEP payments are not included.  The third quarter SSEEP payments will be included in the February 2013 payments.


The following MFP Budget Letter documents are attached:

Technology Readiness

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is committed to supporting its schools and districts in their efforts to get technology ready. The department has created a second edition of  Louisiana Believes: Louisiana's Technology Footprint to serve as a tool for LEAs and schools to analyze their current technology readiness status.  The LDOE will also offer follow up support to districts to enhance technology devices, infrastructure, and bandwidth.

The Technology Footprint is a living document that will continue to be updated bi-annually in January and July as the LDOE, LEAs and schools work toward achieving their educational and assessment technology goals. The latest version of the footprint provides data on 77 school systems, of which 10 systems meet the 7:1 testing ratio using recommended hardware and 22 systems meet this ratio using both recommended and minimum specification hardware. This is more than triple the number of districts that met these thresholds in June. 

In order to give districts a preview of their results, district footprint documents can immediately be downloaded at  

http://www.louisianabelieves.com/data/footprint/.  These footprint will be announced publically on Thursday, January 24. If you have questions, please contact Carol Mosley at carol.mosley@la.gov.

Technology Purchasing Contracts: Lower Pricing to Support Your Technology Readiness Efforts

Districts and schools in Louisiana can now enjoy special pricing and discounts on a wide range of technology devices, services, software and networking products to improve their technology footprint.  The department has negotiated a wide range of contracts that offer districts discounts of up to $450 and Windows OS upgrades to Windows 7 or Windows 8 FREE of charge.  Districts will have access to reduced priced technology services and support, as well as new guidance and models for wireless networking and service options for iPads.  For a complete list of these technology products and contracts click here. 

 For more information, contact Carol Mosley at carol.mosley@la.gov.

Changes to the Web IEP


Please forward to Special Education Supervisors, Principals, and Special Education Teachers.


Two changes have been made to the Web IEP and will be reflected on all IEPs created or revised. The first change is on the General Student Information page under Transition Courses of Study. A new option has been added, Individual Prescription for Instruction. This option is for students who are not LAA 1 and pursuing a non-diploma pathway other than a Certificate of Achievement. A copy of the plan can be found in the Connections Handbook. The other change is in the Placement/Least Restrictive Environment page under Alternate Assessment Implications. The second box has been reworded to describe other exit pathways a student may pursue other than a high school diploma and a certificate of achievement.


For questions with SER contact Cindy Delaughter (cindy.delaughter@la.gov)  or Susan Kaufman (susan.kaufman@la.gov).


DHH File with Early Steps Participants


Please forward to all SER Coordinators.


The DHH Excel file containing Early Steps participants has been added to your file share section of SER. The file is named "<your LEA name> - From DHH- <month>". If you do not have a file, you did not have students on the list.


The DHH Excel spreadsheet contains a list of children, ages 2 years 2 months or older, who are identified as having a current IFSP and are currently in the DHH system for the given month.  These children are potential Part B participants. 


These files are intended to aid in the Part C to Part B transitioning process. Transitioning children are those who have an active IFSP, regardless of whether or not they qualify for Part B.  This announcement applies to LEAs 001-069 and 396. 



  • When adding these students to SER, be sure to complete the Part C transition fields at the bottom of the Pre-Referral Activities page.  This data will be used in the completion of the SPP, Indicator # 12, Early Childhood Transition. 
  • School districts are required to be at 100% compliance in having the IEP completed AND IMPLEMENTED (services started) by the child's third birthday. 
  • An interim IEP and/or timeline extension is not allowed for the child transitioning from Part C to Part B.

Please contact Cindy DeLaughter at cindy.delaughter@la.gov should you have any questions regarding the above information.

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John White
State Superintendent of Education
Twitter @LouisianaSupe

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