April 10, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


You and your principals and teachers have already started planning for the transition to more rigorous expectations in our classrooms. You are setting goals and planning assessments in line with the new standards; you are planning for collaborative time between teachers so that they can reflect on the quality of student work; and you are ensuring teachers and principals receive feedback on how their practice can meet Compass standards.


This is part of a long transition. It will not happen overnight.


The same is true of our academic policies. When standards and assessments change, so too must the policies that spell out incentives and consequences for performance. These policies include graduation requirements,Compass, and school and district accountability.


This summer the Department will bring to BESE a slate of proposals that spell out a gradual, phased-in approach to transitioning graduation requirements as well as Compass measurements. In both cases, the approach will slowly transition our system's consequences to meet the new expectations.


In the spring of 2012, BESE approved an accountability formula that aligns better with college and career readiness. This is the first part of the academic policy transition. The first letter grades under this system are to be released October 2013. 


The Department's projections show that school letter grades will remain relatively steady this year. As in any year, some schools' scores will fluctuate; but overall grades are unlikely to shift dramatically. This is the case because the formula was designed to honor the progress schools have already achieved; while ACT scores below 18 do not earn points, for example, points awarded at 18 or above will compensate and keep schools steady. If you are interested in discussing your schools' projections, please contact Jessica Baghian.


District and school leaders have expressed concerns that the public will not have apples-to-apples letter grade comparisons from one year to the next. The Department agrees with this feedback, and we have proposed to BESE that for the fall of 2013, districts and schools receive two letter grades: one based on the formula from 2011-2012 (to show growth) and one based on the new formula. In future years, two grades won't be necessary, but this is a common sense step for a year of transition. Click on this overview to review further details regarding how these grades will affect Top Gains incentives and other consequences associated with letter grades.


We are transitioning much of how we do the daily work of teaching and learning. It is important that we be patient and make pragmatic decisions that honor past efforts while never hesitating to raise the bar. Thank you for providing us the feedback that helps us to see how we can best make policy in this way.


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:
District Support


SRCL Cohort 2 Subgrant Application Webinar


The SRCL subgrant application focuses on the four key focus areas that networks are supporting. This grant represents a funding opportunity to support establishment or improvement of these systems in your district. Due to interest in this grant, the Department will host a webinar on Thursday, April 11, at 11:00 a.m. to review the application criteria and address questions. Applications must be submitted no later than April 16, 2013, at 4:00 p.m. Please see below for webinar login information.  
  •  April 11, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
    • Click here to log on 
    • Toll Free: 866-434-5269Meeting Access Code: 2873170#


Teacher and Principal of the Year Application Submission Reminder


The annual Teacher and Principal of the Year programs honor the state's most exceptional educators. The deadline for LEAs to submit Principal and Teacher of the Year applications to the Department is 5:00 P.M., Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Applications must be submitted from the district level, and only one Teacher and one Principal of the Year application will be accepted from each LEA. Applications from individual teachers will not be accepted. 
Please contact excellenteducators@la.gov with any questions. 

Compass End-of-Year Conversation Resources


Through the end of year, teachers and evaluators together will evaluate student progress, determine areas of teacher strength and improvement, and begin the planning process for the next school year. Last week, the Department released several resources to support this end of the year Compass process. This week, the Department is releasing additional resources. 


In this video tutorial, Louisiana educators discuss and model a productive end-of-year conversation.  While teachers and leaders may watch this tutorial independently, the tutorial may also be used in teacher collaboration sessions, principal training sessions, and other development opportunities.


This reflection guide is an optional tool that educators and evaluators may use to prepare for and guide end-of-year conversations.


Please contact compass@la.gov with any questions.


Clarification Regarding Value-Added Data for Geometry Teachers


As noted in the end-of-year Compass guide, the Department has clarified the content areas and grades that will receive value-added scores. Geometry teachers who teach students in grade 9 or lower will receive value-added scores as part of their Compass evaluation for the 2012-13 school year. Geometry teachers who teach students in grade 10 will have access to value-added data for their students for informational purposes only
Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, 10th grade Geometry teachers' value-added scores will be included in their Compass evaluation. 
Please contact compass@la.gov with any questions about this clarification.


Act 1 - Compensation


Sixty-six districts have submitted their revised compensation plans for educators.  The vast majority of these plans show great progress in recognizing and rewarding excellent educators who serve in high-demand positions.


The Department will conclude reviews and discussions of plans on April 15, 2013.  Shortly thereafter, the Department will release a report on districts' progress to design and adopt new compensation plans for educators. 


Please contact Act1@la.gov with any questions.

Assessment and Accountability


Clarification on Use of U.S. History Scores in Student Grade


Please forward to all district test coordinators. As requested by districts, US History EOC grade conversion tables will be available by April 19 on the EOC website.  However, districts are not obligated to include US History EOC results in students' grades for the first year.  Because grade conversion tables are typically not available until the second full year of an EOC, districts may decide individually whether to include EOC results in students' grades for May 2013.


Please contact Bernadette Morris at bernadette.morris@la.gov with any questions.

School and Course Choice

Course Choice Professional School Counselors Informational Webinar Series


Please forward to all professional school counselors. Course Choice will provide students and their families with 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 11, 2013.  The Louisiana Department of Education will offer 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:


  • April 11, 2013 from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • April 17, 2013 from 3:00-4:30 p.m.
  • April 25, 2013 from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • May 1, 2013 from 4:00-5:30 p.m.


Webinar login information below: 


  • Click here to log on.
  • Toll Free: (877) 336-1831Meeting Access Code: 2416498# 

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 Data Management System Users Conference


Please forward to all data coordinators. The 2013 Data Management System Users Conference is scheduled for Thursday April 18, 2013 at the Claiborne Building in Baton Rouge.  Sign in will begin at 7:45 a.m., and the opening session will start at 8:15 a.m. in the Louisiana Purchase Room. You must have an account in Coursewhere to register for the conference. Click here to register. Registration is open until today, April 10, 2013. 


If you do not already have an account, registering for an account in Coursewhere is a simple process. If you have an account but cannot remember your password, follow the instructions provided on the site. Please e-mail van.fabre@la.gov if you have any questions. 


Please contact Van Fabre at van.fabre@la.gov with any questions. 


Additional LaSTATS Report


The Department will soon make available an additional report to help school districts with their attendance and enrollment tracking.  Use of this report is optional and requires no additional action by the district.  The Department will host a webinar on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 1 p.m. to review the information found on the LaSTATS report and discuss potential ways districts can make use of this additional information.   


Webinar login information below: 

  • April 11, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Click here to log on 
    • Toll Free: (877) 848-7030Meeting Access Code: 2874412#


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

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LDOE Website

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