April 3, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


Your teachers, counselors, and administrators have used the Compass tool to achieve great improvement in our classrooms this year. Teachers and principals have set goals for students; administrators and master teachers have provided feedback; educators statewide have adjusted their practice to inspire critical thinking and student motivation. We owe all involved a debt of gratitude for their hard work.


As the year begins to wind down, we wanted to share two resources that will be helpful in ensuring we support educators to every degree possible.

  • The Compass Information System now provides reports for your district that allow you to compare your district's observation ratings with those in all other districts. No other district is identified by name, but you are able to see how other districts, listed anonymously, have rated the observed performance of teachers and administrators. We hope this will help you to assess the fairness and rigor of your school's use of the Compass tool. Before next school year, such information will be shared in a more public report (no individual employee identifiers will ever be shared), and we want to ensure you have advance notice to plan for end-of-year ratings before that time.
  • Administrators and teachers using the Compass tool well will close the year with conversations that provide feedback on classroom performance and student outcomes. The Department will be posting resources, including a webinar and a sample end-of-year conversation, to the Classroom Support Toolbox next week.  These resources will model for administrators how to conduct productive conversations. In the meantime, in this newsletter and today's Ed-Connect, the Department is providing educators with a Frequently Asked Questions document that will outline what they should expect in using the Compass tool at the end of the year. The document details expectations for conversations, explanations for how ratings will be established, timelines, and other processes. We hope it will be helpful to reflecting on the past year and to starting the planning process for the year ahead.

Administrators who use the Compass tool well use it as a source of constant improvement, so that we might serve our children better from one day to the next. Soon we will launch plans for 2013-2014 together. Those plans will be stronger for having reflected on the year's successes and struggles. We owe each of our educators that kind of substantive, supportive dialogue as we bring this year to a close.


As always, thanks 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 Monday, April 8th, at 10:30 am CST.  You may begin dialing into the call 15 minutes in advance.  


Please follow the instructions below to join the Superintendents' April 8, 2013 Meeting:

  1. Go to  https://connect4.uc.att.com/stateoflouisiana/meet/?ExEventID=82368350
  2. Select: Participant Application
  3. When prompted, enter the Meeting Access Code: 2368350#
  4. Dial into the Phone Bridge: (866) 219-5829
  5. When prompted, please give the Meeting ID # 1609625
  6. 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.  


End-of-Year Resources


Compass is a tool intended to support educators' professional growth, so that students meet new and rigorous standards. The end of the school year gives teachers, school leaders, and their evaluators an opportunity to assess students' progress and to agree on educators' areas of strength and areas for improvement. These year-end conversations should also inform preparation for the coming school year by identifying specific tools in the Classroom Support Toolbox that will support instructional planning for the coming year. These conversations should be a two-way dialogue between educator and evaluator, grounded in student data and evidence from observations/site visits.


There are several key actions districts should take to ensure that Compass data is accurate and up-to-date, so that end-of-year conversations are productive. The timeline below provides a summary of these actions, with corresponding dates.



Upcoming Compass Milestones

District Action




Data Verification - Phase I


  • Teachers and school leaders verify student rosters in the CVR system
  • District and school leaders verify employee assignment and correct data entry errors



Start: April 8


End: May 10




Rate SLTs


  • Using assessment data, evaluators should rate SLTs
  • Assessment data will be available on this timetable: 
    • EOC results - 48 hours after testing
    • ACT results available - 3-8 weeks after testing
    • LAA 1, GEE, ELDA results available - April 29
    • LEAP, iLEAP, LAA2 results available - May 17
    • Grade 2 ITBS results available - May 31



Start: As soon as assessment data is available


End: Before submitting final evaluation



Final Evaluation Screens Available

in CIS


  • Evaluators review and submit final evaluation data
  • Districts submit requests to invalidate value-added scores for teachers with extenuating circumstances
  • Once submitted, educators are able to view final evaluation data



Release: Early May



End-of-Year Conversations


  • Evaluators conduct end-of-year conversations with educators

*Value-added data will not be available until 6/10. District and school leaders should develop a plan for discussing value-added results with teachers and leaders.




Districts and schools develop timeline




Data Available


  • Teachers and school leaders review results
  • Evaluators submit final student outcomes rating for value-added teachers between 20th and 80th percentiles



Week of June 10




Data Verification - Phase II


  • District leaders review student outcomes rating for value-added teachers between 20th and 80th percentiles and assign a student growth score




Start: Week of June 10


End: July 15



CIS Closes for SY12-13

  • All Compass data must be entered into CIS by July 15, 2013.  After that point, the system will be available only for viewing and reporting.


July 15



Compass Final 

Report Released



  • Review 2012-13 Compass Final Report







The Department is adding the following resources to the District and Teacher Support Toolboxes to provide guidance to educators and evaluators on closing out this year and planning for success next year.


For Teachers

  • A guide and FAQ on the Compass end of year processes and conversations
  • A video on facilitating productive end-of-year conversations (coming next week)

For Evaluators


For Districts

Please send any questions about the Compass end-of-year process to compass@la.gov.



Compass Data and Reporting - Implementation Report


This week, the Department is sharing Compass implementation reports that enable districts to review their progress and how it compares to other districts' progress.  These reports are representative of reports that will be included in the final Compass report that the Department will release in August.  District names are not included in the reports released yesterday, but will be included in the year-end Compass report.


In terms of Compass implementation progress, at this point in the year, districts should expect to see:


  • Nearly all teachers and leaders have submitted student learning targets.
  • The majority of teachers and leaders have two observations or site visits recorded.
  • Strong alignment between professional practice ratings and student outcomes data (SY 11-12 value-added data is used at this point in the year).   


Districts are able to automatically generate these and other implementation reports in the Compass Information System under the "Report" tab. Please contact your Network Data Specialist with any questions about the reports.


Note: For districts not using the Compass Information System to record observations/site visits or student learning targets, completion rates for these items will appear as "0." However, these districts' data will be part of the final Compass report.



Compass Data Verification


In order for end-of-year reflection and planning to be productive for teachers and school leaders, the data they are reviewing must be accurate and complete. To support educators' and districts' efforts to verify key data points leading up to the end of the year, the Department has consolidated this guidance into one document.


Curriculum Verification and Roster Portal (CVR) will open April 8th for verification of student rosters.  This process is required for all schools and will ensure Value-Added data accurately reflects student achievement.  Teachers will first have the opportunity to edit their own student rosters and then principals will review edits and certify the school has completed verification by May 10th. Instructions on the student roster verification process are available in the Teacher Support Tool box.


During this time, we encourage districts and schools to verify data in the Compass Information System.  This is an important step in closing out the end-of-year for Compass and will help prepare schools for end of year conversations.  To support districts in checking other Compass data for accuracy, the Department has provided specific guidance.  Please review this guide for more detail on both processes or contact compass@la.gov for further information or assistance.


Act 1 Compensation Plans - Submission and Reporting Update


The LDOE has received compensation plans from nearly all districts. 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. Later this spring, the LDOE will report out on districts' progress and will highlight districts with exemplar compensation plans.
School and Course Choice

Course Choice Registration System School Level 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 began on March 7 and several schools have already seen students beginning to enroll. Therefore, each school should establish user accounts for the Course Choice registration system which will permit high school principals/counselors the ability to validate courses that students schedule. 


If you have not activated your Course Choice school account please follow up with your district test coordinators or contact the Course Choice Counselor Assistance Center at coursechoice@la.gov or call 1-877-453-2721.


Please contact the Course Choice Counselor Assistance Center for any of the following:

  • To establish a school ID or password for the Course Choice registration system
  • To establish any additional IDs or passwords
  • If the name of the school principal has changed
  • If there is a problem with a school username and password

Course Choice Registration System URL: www.louisianacoursechoice.net 



Cecil J. Picard LA4 Early Childhood Program Reimbursements


Please forward to parish/city school LA 4 coordinators and business managers, and administrators and financial officials of charter schools and selected organization sponsors.


Districts may begin to submit reimbursement requests for eligible expenditures for obligations as of November 15, 2012 for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the Cecil J. Picard LA 4 Prekindergarten Program. Funding should be available to the Louisiana Department of Education in the very near future allowing the Department to reimburse valid claims. Use this checklist to ensure that all required documentation is submitted with each claim. Also attached is a sample payroll claim that has been approved by the CDBG staff. Please submit claims to LDOE.StateClaims@la.gov.


Should you have questions regarding this information, please contact Brandon Gubanscik at brandon.gubanscik@la.gov or 225-342-3836.



Given recent questions concerning data storage and overall technology security, please click here for a letter from Superintendent John White.


Education In The News 


Letter: Identify and reward best teachers


School voucher program applications increase


Interest in voucher schools remains high despite court challenge


Applications for tuition vouchers increases



LDOE Contacts
John White
State Superintendent of Education
(toll-free) 877.453.2721 
Twitter @LouisianaSupe

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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