February 26, 2013

Superintendent's Message


Dear Colleagues,


This week marks two important announcements regarding the 2013-2014 school year. The first is the result of feedback teachers have been sharing throughout the year, primarily that they need clarity and time in order to raise standards for every child. The Department worked with teachers from across the state to create the Classroom Support Toolbox, which brings together assessment guides, curriculum guidance, and Compass resources, so that each is aligned with the other. I hope you'll take some time to review the toolbox and to join us for a webinar to learn how it can be used. In the meantime, you will also want to assist principals in selecting Louisiana Teacher Leaders from your district, who will be trained over the course of the next six months on how each element of the toolbox works and on how schools can plan for the coming transition. Network teams are ready to work with you on the teacher-level and district-level Classroom Support Toolbox and will be in contact with you soon about preparing for the next school year.


Thursday you will receive projected cost and revenue in the 2013-2014 Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), along with a copy of the resolution BESE will consider and detailed data related to your district. Last week you should have received a comparison of how recent changes in special education and other academic elements of the formula would have impacted your district had they been implemented this year. As you saw then, the Department, heeding the guidance of superintendents, is proposing to pilot the changes only, meaning their financial impact is little to none. By piloting the changes, the Department will give districts time to review their data and will be able to see the formula's effects on the classroom without impacting schools financially in this first year.


The state's budget condition is a difficult one, as you know. But we are committed to not cutting the formula, as has been done in other states. We also continue to advocate for the Federal government to maintain its funding of Title I and other programs considered under the sequestration. We will keep you apprised of all that we are hearing from Washington as this process moves ahead. 


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe


In This Issue:
Superintendent's Conference Call

You are invited to participate in the Superintendents' Conference Call hosted by State Superintendent John White on Thursday, February 28th, at 12:00 pm CST.  You may begin dialing into the call 15 minutes in advance.  Please follow the instructions below:


To join the Superintendents' February 28, 2013 Meeting: 

  1. Go to: https://ldoe.uc.att.com/la/meet/?ExEventID=WPX75L&MeetingKey=5GIXBH42&UserExtEventID=322531 
  2. Select: Participant Application
  3. Dial into the Phone Bridge: (866) 814-8399
  4. When prompted, please give the Meeting ID # 1607151
  5. You will need to identify yourself in order to be placed into the meeting. 

Please note that this call is for superintendents and charter leaders only.  

District Support

Classroom Support Toolbox
Created by teachers for teachers to provide support during the transition to the Common Core State Standards, the 


What is the toolbox and why now?


A compilation of assessment, curriculum, and instructional resources, the toolbox ends top-down curriculum that tells teachers how and what to teach. Instead, it supports teachers by providing tools to plan, assess, and reflect. The toolbox brings together curriculum, assessment, and Compass tools, giving teachers the freedom to select and create from a number of resources while ensuring curriculum and assessment guidance is clear and simple.


Please join the Department later this week for an introduction to the toolbox. Click the link below to join one of two live streaming sessions to receive an orientation to the toolbox.


Link: www.livestream.com/LDOEcommwebinardates

  • Wednesday, February 27, 3-4 Pm
  • Thursday, February 28, 3-4 pm


Louisiana Teacher Leaders 


Applications are available in the Classroom Support Toolbox to nominate teachers to be a member of a group of 2,000 educators from across the state, including at least one teacher from every school, selected as a Louisiana Teacher Leader. 


Louisiana Teacher Leaders will be trained on every aspect of the toolbox and will ensure that teachers at their school are informed as to the resources and processes necessary to learn the Common Core and Compass.


Applications are due March 15 and will be followed by a Louisiana Teacher Leader kick-off event in Lafayette April 18 and 19.


Teacher and Principal of the Year Applications


The 2014 Teacher and Principal of the Year application materials are now available hereDistricts' nominations are due back to the LDOE by April 24, 2013. Please send any questions about this process to excellenteducators@la.gov. 


Questions or Feedback About the Classroom Support Toolbox


Please e-mail classroomsupporttoolbox@la.gov with your questions or comments.


Act 1 Compensation District Spotlight: St. Bernard Parish


St. Bernard Parish knows that every student deserves an outstanding teacher.  That's why the district is offering an annual stipend of $600 for teachers in at-risk schools, defined as 50% or more students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.  Effective teaching matters for students in every school, which is why teachers in St. Bernard Parish can earn $300-$500 more each year thanks to stipends based on their effectiveness rating.  Coupled with annual salary increases based on a combination of experience and effectiveness, this bold approach to compensation will help St. Bernard attract and keep more great educators, especially in the schools where they are needed most. You can review the narrative of St. Bernard's plan here and the actual plan here.


Please remember that all plans must be submitted to Act1@la.gov by April 1, 2013 and will be reviewed against the criteria outlined in this rubric. Recently, we've seen districts submit multiple plans for approval. This gives them some flexibility on what they would like to bring to their boards. We encourage other districts to consider submitting multiple plans if that would be helpful.

Assessment & Accountability


ESEA Waiver Amendment Updates and the Common Core-aligned SPS Calculator


Please forward to accountability contacts.


Based on feedback and input from principals and superintendents across the state, Louisiana's School Performance Score (SPS) and accountability calculation policies were adjusted by BESE in Fall 2012.  As required by the US Department of Education (USDOE), these accountability adjustments were submitted as amendments to Louisiana's approved ESEA Flexibility Waiver. While the department anticipates receiving approval very soon, the USDOE is more closely examining the question of including LAA 1 students in the graduation index. Therefore, as part of the graduation data certification (starting today), we will include students taking LAA 1 so as to avoid any need to repeat this data certification process at a later date.


To assist districts in understanding the Common Core-aligned accountability policies, the annual SPS calculator is included in the Classroom Support Toolbox released today.  Please click below to view the calculator and related resources. 


SPS Calculator Links:

Please send any questions to Jennifer Baird (Jennifer.Baird@la.gov).

Opportunity: Common Core Field Test for Grades 3-8


Please forward to accountability contacts, principals and curriculum specialists.


The LDOE is pleased to announce an opportunity for all students in grades 3-8 to participate in a Common Core-aligned, online field test this Spring.  The tests will be administered from May 6th to May 17th across the state and data results will be shared with schools at the start of the 13-14 school year.


What are the benefits of participating?

  1. Educators will receive student results on Common Core-aligned items in order to inform planning for the 13-14 school year including preparations for the 13-14 Common Core-aligned LEAP and iLEAP assessments.
  2. Students are able to practice the Common Core using aligned items.
  3. Schools are able to practice administering assessments online in advance of online testing in the 14-15 school year. 

What is required of participants?

  1. Schools must be able to support the technology requirements of the online system (Click here for technology requirements and click here for a list of schools that are tech ready according to our latest Tech Readiness Footprint). 
  2. School test coordinators must participate in one webinar (March 22nd, April 3rd, or April 17th).
  3. Schools must administer the tests to students between May 6th and May 17th.  

How can we sign up?  The District Test Coordinator (or other superintendent designee) should complete this survey to identify the schools (and grades within those schools) that will participate by March 6th.


Please contact Jessica Baghian (Jessica.Baghian@la.gov) with any questions. 


LAA 1 and LAA 2 Participation Webinar


Please forward to special education supervisors and coordinators.  


The Department has received requests to clarify what documentation is required to classify a student as needing to take the LAA1 and LAA2 tests. This webinar will provide guidance on how to perform self reviews using the SER system and the Web IEP to ensure all participation criteria are fully supported on the IEPs of students targeted to take the test. Also, the Office of Student Programs will be reviewing IEPs in SER and will provide technical assistance to districts before the final date for submitting IEPs to SER. There will be 2 webinar times from which to choose. The two review forms that will be discussed in the presentation are attached below.


Wednesday, February 27 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm

Click: https://ldoe.uc.att.com/la/meet/?ExEventID=THU36G&MeetingKey=XRS86FVK&UserExtEventID=915561

Meeting Key (if prompted): XRS86FVK

Toll Free: 1-888-621-7121


Thursday, February 28 from 9:00 - 10:00 am

Click: https://ldoe.uc.att.com/la/meet/?ExEventID=J83M3J&MeetingKey=467JREVP&UserExtEventID=792511

Meeting Key (if prompted): 467JREVP

Toll Free: 1-888-621-7121

When prompted, enter the Event Number: 792511


Attachment 1: LAA1 Preliminary Review

Attachment 2: LAA2 Preliminary Review



Release of EOC US History Test Results for Graduation and Course Grade


Please forward to district test coordinators, high school principals, and high school counselors.


For students graduating in 3 years, an EOC U.S. History score will be required to graduate this May. U.S. History test scores from the December 2012 administration are projected to be released April 17 release via a CSV file to district test coordinators pending BESE approval. The graduating seniors from the December 2012 administration who need to retest would do so during the April 24-May 17 window. During this window, U.S. History scores will be available within 48 hours of test administration. The U.S. History test will also be part of the June 24-27 retest.


The EOC U.S. History grade scale conversion charts are projected to be posted on April 17. If you have questions, contact Bernadette Morris at bernadette.morris@la.gov


Course Choice Registration Information


Course Choice will provide students and their families access to rigorous college and career course offerings that best match students' abilities and needs beginning SY 13-14.  The registration process will begin next week.  Each school needs to establish user accounts for the Course Choice registration system which will permit high school principals/counselors the ability to validate courses that students schedule. District test coordinators are being asked to disseminate the school level username & passwords no later than March 4, 2013.  On Thursday, March 7, 2013 students can begin registering for courses and principals can login to establish their school account at www.louisianacoursechoice.net.


Usernames and Passwords will be distributed to district test coordinators in two separate emails on Thursday, February 28, 2013


Please contact the Course Choice Counselor Assistance Center at coursechoice@la.gov for any of the following:

  • If you do not have any IDs and passwords for a school that has recently opened or closed
  • If a school needs any additional IDs and password
  • If the name of the school principal has changed
  • If there is a problem with a school username and password

The Louisiana Department of Education will be offering online training to all school-based Professional School Counselors on their roles and responsibilities in the Course Choice approval process: See the Course Choice Professional School Counselors Informational Webinar Series below for the dates and times.


Thank you for assisting with this ID and password distribution. If at any time you have any questions, please contact the Course Choice team at coursechoice@la.gov

School and Course Choice


Course Choice Professional School Counselors Informational Webinar Series


Please forward to all high school principals, counselors and teachers.


Course Choice will provide students and their families access to rigorous college and career course offerings that best match students' abilities and needs beginning SY 13-14.  The registration process will begin on March 7, 2013.  The Louisiana Department of Education will be offering online training to all school-based professional school counselors on their roles and responsibilities in the Course Choice approval process at one of the following dates/times.



February 28, 2013, 4:00-5:30 p.m. 

Click: http://tinyurl.com/c2jsda7

Meeting Key (if prompted): THDU6RTE

Toll Free: 1-888-621-7121

Event Number: 924592


March 14, 2013 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. 

Click: http://tinyurl.com/d3gmo76

Meeting Key (if prompted): HUVTSFV2

Toll Free: 1-888-621-7121

Event Number: 131056


March 21, 2013 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. 

Click: http://tinyurl.com/c8hrxha

Meeting Key (if prompted): IRBRM450

Toll Free: 1-888-621-7121

Event Number: 266969


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.louisianacoursechoice.net or email coursechoice@la.gov. 

2013-2014 LEA Needs for Foreign Associate Teachers 


The LDOE will soon begin recruiting foreign associate teachers (FATs) of French and Spanish who meet the highly qualified teacher designation and qualify for the Louisiana World Language Certificate for the SY 2013-2014.


Teachers will be assigned to LEAs based on individual academic and professional credentials.


To assist the Department in selecting the teachers best suited for your district/school, we request that you complete the attached LEA Projected Needs Form.. 


Although final decisions will not be made until April 2013, the information you provide will assist in making tentative decisions for 2013-2014. Every effort will be made to satisfy your requests in recruiting and placing teachers in programs that follow the scheduling guidelines outlined in Bulletin 741 and the Guide for Administrators of Elementary Level Second Language and Immersion Programs in Louisiana Schools.


Please note that we are requesting that completed forms be returned no later than Thursday, February 28, 2013. 

Attachment: LEA FAT Form



High School Diplomas


Please forward to all district superintendents, diploma and transcript contact persons, principals and counselors.


Districts are likely making preparations for the fast approaching graduation season. Please use the attached Diploma Order Form to submit your estimated counts for each type by March 1, 2013.  Allow enough for midterm and summer graduates and printing errors. Also included are procedures for documenting and issuing Certificates of Achievement.


Only one order form should be submitted for each public school district.  Lab schools, Type 2 Charter schools, special schools and nonpublic schools that administer the state's assessments should also submit an order form.


Attachment 1: Diploma Order Form

Attachment 2: Certificate of Achievement Form 


Impact of Sequestration on Federal Education Programs


Please forward to parish/city school superintendents and business managers and administrators and financial officials of charter schools and selected organization sponsors.


Sequestration would not reduce funding until the 2013-2014 school year for USDE programs. Total estimated cuts to school districts and schools for FY2013-2014 Louisiana Federal Education Programs equals $30.2 M and includes the following programs:


  • Title I, Part A, School Improvement 1003(g), Migrant and Neglected/Delinquent
  • Improving Teacher Quality, 21st Century Learning Centers
  • Homeless Children and youth, Rural Education (REAP)
  • English Language Acquisition, IDEA - Part, IDEA - Preschool
  • Career and Technical Education - Carl Perkins 


Should you have questions regarding this information, please contact Rashaunda Matthews at rashaunda.matthews@la.gov or 225-342-3784.


eGMS FY 12-13 Race to the Top - Phase 3 Application Update


Please forward to Race to the Top-Phase 3 project coordinators, business managers and financial officials of public school districts and charter schools and selected organization sponsors.


eGMS will be updated by close of business on February 27, 2013 to include  a supplement to the FY 12-13 allocations for the Race to the Top - Phase 3 program.  Please note that the process to utilize these funds will vary depending on the status of your application. Revised grant award notifications will be available in the Grant Award Program (GAP) system by close of business on Friday, March 1, 2013. Should you have questions regarding this information, please contact Kim Lamonte at kim.lamonte@la.gov or 225-342-1547.


Attachment 1: Race to the Top Supplemental Allocations Memo - FY 2012-2013

Attachment 2: Race to the Top Supplemental Allocation Schedule



Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB)


Please forward to parish/city school superintendents and business managers and administrators and financial officials of type 2 charter schools.


The United States Treasury has released the latest allocations to Louisiana for low- to no-interest loans which can be utilized by city and parish school districts and charter schools.  Louisiana's allocations for 2012 and 2013 totals $14,488,000. Should you have questions about the program in general or about requesting an allocation, you may contact Bill Tindall at bill.tindall@la.gov or 225-342-5046.


Attachment 1: QZAB Memo

Attachment 2: QZAB Program Procedures 


Increased Flexibility for Districts and Schools 


Bulletin 741 Changes Explained  


In each newsletter, the Department will spotlight an example of how the revisions to Bulletin 741, Handbook for School Administrators, can be or is being used to refocus district policies and practices on student achievement. To share examples of how your district is planning to take advantage of this new flexibility, please email Gary.Jones@la.gov. Click here to read a summary of the approved changes and please share this with your principals.  


Revision: Louisiana high school students must earn 1.5 Carnegie credits in Physical Education and .5 credits in Health to graduate with a diploma. Previously, only JROTC could be substituted for physical education credits. The revisions to the policy allow students to substitute marching band, extracurricular sports, cheering or dance team for the required one-half PE II credit. Students must still take PE I and a half-credit of Health.


Implementation:  As freshmen begin planning their schedules for the next school year, they may want to consider substituting an extracurricular activity for PE II. Students are still required to meet compulsory attendance laws (60,120 minutes a year) but this substitution allows for additional time in the school day for remediation, advanced classes, or electives of interest a student may not have time for otherwise.


The Department of Education will create course codes for each of the substitute activities that students may enroll in. It is the school's responsibility to ensure that the activity provides weekly physical activity. Activities may occur outside of the school day but must be taught or coached by a school employee. Since these courses will show up on a student's transcript, a grade must be given but a school can decide whether to assign a letter grade or a Pass/Fail. Students may also substitute these courses for elective credit in PE III or IV. 


Education In The News 


State Superintendent John White at BPCC


Terrebonne school lead the way on curriculum changes


Southwest Louisiana educators discuss changes in Louisiana Believes plan


Top La. education official meets with ArkLaTex teachers


Superintendent John White talks with teachers


State Superintendent John White announces education initiatives for the year


White outlines goals for schools


State education chief gives awards, talks teachers, vouchers 


LDOE Contacts
John White
State Superintendent of Education
Twitter @LouisianaSupe

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

Contact Us



Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    View our videos on YouTube