April 24, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


Looking ahead to next year, I find hope and inspiration in the 2,000 educators who came together in Lafayette last week for the first Louisiana Teacher Leaders gathering. The collective energy, knowledge, experience, and desire for progress were profound. Thank you to the many of you who were there.


We are moving from a time of standardization - a uniform curriculum, textbooks approved by Baton Rouge, comprehension tests - to a time of empowerment, in which teachers and administrators collaborate and use tools to make decisions on behalf of students. At the Teacher Leader kickoff, teachers learned how to use curriculum, assessment, and goal-setting tools to prepare for the year ahead. In future sessions, beginning at our June training, we will go deeper into the Classroom Support Toolbox and into the specific instructional shifts required by new standards. We will also explore the connection between Compass pedagogy and the high-order thinking skills required on our new assessments.


Teacher Leaders will serve as an invaluable source of information and guidance on the changes we are undertaking together. I hope you make use of their energy, knowledge, and capacity for assisting and informing other educators. At the kickoff, Teacher Leaders planned for future communications with other staff at their schools; I hope you will take them up on this, to assist your schools and communities in making this transition in expectations.


This should not be a closed-door process. We have made all sessions conducted at the event available online for you and your staffs. You can find each session here. I think you will find that they provide both helpful information and strong models for how to facilitate the learning process among educators in your districts and schools.


Most of all, I appreciate greatly that each school in every district participated. It was a true team effort.


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:
District Support

Teacher Leader Kickoff


Thanks to all district staff, principals and teachers that made the Teacher Leader Kickoff event a success. Nearly 2,000 teachers, principals and district staff, represented schools across the state in Lafayette last week. Additionally more than 1,500 tuned in to the live event online.  Together, these educators began their work to prepare for the state's transition to more rigorous standards and assessments. These efforts to empower those closest to students will continue with a second session June 12th and 13th. Information on registration and the location will be available in the coming weeks. Click here to watch the opening session, featuring student speakers, LSU baseball Coach Paul Mainieri, and State Superintendent John White. Highlights and materials from the breakout sessions are also available online in addition to the closing session.


If you have stories to share of how you're serving as an ambassador for change, please send to classroomsupporttoolbox@la.gov.

Literacy Design Collaboration-Information for Newly Interested Districts


The Literacy Design Collaborative is a framework for preparing students for college and career by engaging science, social studies, and ELA middle and high school students in:

  • Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
  • Building knowledge through content-rich non-fiction
  • Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational


The Department will conduct a Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) orientation webinar on May 2, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. for districts interested in learning more about LDC and the application process. The application will be posted in the May 7th newsletter. Click here for more information about the LDC support plan for next year. Please contact Jill Slack at jill.slack@la.gov if you have any questions.   


Webinar information below:


  • May 2, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
    • Click here to log on
    • Toll-Free:866-434-5269 / Meeting Access Code: 2873170# 


Literacy Design Collaborative Meetings


Please forward to all current Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) participants. LDC participants should register here for the following May meetings. These meetings are designed for middle and high school ELA, science, and social studies teachers; instructional coaches; district and school administrators and network coaches currently implementing LDC. The second day at both locations is optional for teachers.


See below for more information on the two meetings options.


Option 1:

Where: Ruston, Louisiana


  • May 7 - Teacher Session
  • May 8 - Teacher Session and Training of Trainers

Option 2:

Where: Chalmette, LA 


  • May 9 - Teacher Session
  • May-10 - Teacher Session and Training of Trainers

Teacher and Principal of the Year Application Submission Reminder


The deadline for LEAs to submit Principal and Teacher of the Year applications to the Department is 5:00PM on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Only one teacher and one principal nominee will be accepted from each LEA.


Please send any questions regarding the selection process to excellenteducators@la.gov.


Compass Data and Reporting - Implementation Report


On April 3rd, the Department shared Compass implementation reports that enable districts to review their own progress and that of other districts. These reports are representative of reports that will be included in the final Compass report that the Department will release in August.  


This week, we are sharing updated reports. District names are not included in the reports released today, 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 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


The Department recently released a guide to support educators' and districts' efforts to verify key data points leading up to the end of the year. Since that time, educators have begun verifying that Compass data and student rosters are accurate.The timeline for verifying data is April 8th to May 10th. During this time:

  • Teachers have the opportunity to edit their student rosters in the Curriculum Verification and Roster Portal (CVR) before principals review edits and certify the school has completed verification by May 10th. This process is required for all schools and will ensure Value-Added data accurately reflects student achievement. If teachers do not verify their rosters, students may be erroneously included in their results.
  • 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. 


Please e-mail compass@la.gov with any questions.


Update on Process for Requesting Invalidation of Value-Added Scores


If, in reviewing teacher rosters, a school or district leader believes a teacher should not receive value-added results due to an approved absence longer than 60 days or other, equally extreme extenuating circumstances, the district will be able to request invalidation of value-added results via the Compass Information System. Instructions for making these requests will be shared in the May 7th newsletter and the window for submitting these requests will open at that time.


Please e-mail compass@la.gov with any questions.

Assessment and Accountability


PARCC Accommodations - Seeking Educator Feedback


In preparation for the 2014-2015 school year, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released a draft of the full accommodations manual for the assessments currently being developed by the 22-state consortium for public comment. The draft PARCC Accommodations Manual is a comprehensive policy document that will support local educators in the selection, administration and evaluation of accommodations for the assessment of students with disabilities and English learners on the PARCC assessments.


To review the manual and to provide feedback, please click here by May 13th. After May 13, 2013, the feedback will be reviewed by national experts and consortia members to revise the manual as needed.


Preparing for the 2013 Accountability Release      


Please forward to district test coordinators, accountability contacts and principals. The school and district accountability team will host a webinar on May 1, 2013 at 11 a.m. to overview the transition plan for letter grades in fall 2013 including:


  • Details regarding the plan to release two letter grades. Click here for an overview. 
  • An overview of the updated SPS calculator
  • Updates on the simulated data available to districts

Webinar information below:

  • May 1, 2013 at 11 a.m.
    • Click here to log in
    • Toll Free: 888-363-4735 / Meeting Access Code: 7937571#
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 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) 336-1831 / Meeting 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.



FY2012-13 Fiscal Risk Assessment

Please forward to 
business managers and superintendents of city/parish public school systems, and business managers and board presidents of type 2 and type 5 charter schools.


By law, each city, parish or other local public school board shall be notified on a regular basis of its financial status per the annual fiscal risk assessment. The FY 2012-13 fiscal risk assessment has been updated and populated for each local education agency (LEA) to include the latest available data. 


Each LEA's preliminary data will be sent via a separate e-mail to the specific LEA/school system.  Responses are due to the Department by Friday, May 3, 2013Please see the attached memo for additional information about the fiscal risk assessment process. For further information or questions, contact Zalinsky Matthew at zalinsky.matthew@la.gov or 225-342-6216.



Fiscal Risk Assessment Memo

Description of Factors     

District/School Response Form  

Purpose of Fiscal Risk Assessment  



LaSATS Participation Information


Please forward to all data coordinators. Information regarding the LaSATS report specifications and steps for participation will be available on Blackboard Wednesday morning. Please coordinate with your data management system vendor in order to begin using this additional report. For assistance with Blackboard access please email rima.duhon@la.gov. For questions regarding LaSATS please email kim.nesmith@la.gov


Career and Technical Education (CATE) Data System


The CATE data system, found here, will be open from May 1, 2013 to July 31, 2013 for entering Career and Technical Education data for the 2012-13 school year. Please review the information under the "DOCs" tab in CATE, and give special attention to the user's guide and the data collection forms/instructions to ensure each school in your district submits the correct information. As a reminder, new district and school-level users will need a login ID and password, which must be assigned by their district security coordinator. All 2011-2012 finalized reports are complete and ready for immediate review under the "CATE Reports" tab.  We encourage all districts/schools to review this data to guide development of 2013-14 Perkins Local Application Plans.


For additional information, please contact Debbie Cruz at 225-342-3431 or debbie.cruz@la.gov.


Attendance Awareness in Louisiana


The Department recently issued the 12 or 13 years of Perfect Attendance Certificate to honor eligible seniors at the end of the school year. This year's attendance certificates are attached below and should be submitted at the end of the school year.


If further information is needed, contact Robert Schaff by email at robert.schaff@la.gov.



2013 Attendance Award (F).pdf
2013 Excellence in Attendance Award (F).pdf
2013 Perfect Attendance Award (F).pdf



School Bus Transportation Emergency Preparedness Survey


The Department is striving to ensure that emergency access to bus transportation during the upcoming hurricane season is improved. New procedures have been implemented to ensure that more information is gathered in advance of an event. The new procedures are designed to ensure the evacuation and reimbursement processes are more efficient.


Any districts or school bus providers that are interested in this opportunity should complete the "School Bus Transportation Emergency Preparedness Survey", no later than May 7, 2013. The survey can be found here. All districts providing busses will be notified of the date and time of the webinar.


If you have any questions regarding the survey and/or participation in the emergency transportation efforts, please contact Robert Schaff at 225-219-0367 or email robert.schaff@la.gov.


Education In The News 


LA4 is a Proven Success


State Department of Education Selects 15 School Districts to Participate in Early Childhood Pilot


Pre-K pilots set for 15 parishes


A+PEL poll: Teachers Favor Merit Pay


Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Touts Gov. Jindal's Education Reforms at Summit


La. Superintendent Addresses 'Teacher Leader' Event


Teacher Leaders Gather in Lafayette for Kickoff Meeting


Letter: Good Teachers Should Get Good Pay

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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

Contact Us



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