July 23, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


If Louisiana's students are going to compete on a level playing field with students across the country, Louisiana educators will need to understand the expectations for themselves. There will be no guidebook or set of rules to follow. 

The same goes for principals. They cannot help teachers to learn if they don't take responsibility for running schools in which teachers learn. There is no rule or guideline that can produce this. It takes an individual leader having her own beliefs and her own plan.

In schools in which educators learn, teachers collaborate to review student work, and administrators observe classroom practice regularly. Compass should be a tool to assist in this process, not a bureaucratic checklist. Over the last several months, we have heard your concerns that the Compass tool can sometimes inhibit collaboration and feedback rather than facilitate it. 


In light of that feedback, we are improving and clarifying two elements of the Compass tool: 

  • As detailed in this one-page memo, administrators can set the frequency and duration for classroom observations that best suits their district or schools. Too often educators have interpreted Compass as limiting principals to two visits per year, when we know that in schools where teachers learn the dialogue is constant. See the memo for clarity on administrators' ability to design the observation plan best for their schools.
  • The Compass Information System screens in which administrators take notes and enter ratings will change as of August 22 to reflect specific feedback provided by principals. These changes will allow for an easier time entering notes, reducing the formalities of the process.

Educators take true responsibility for outcomes when we trust them to do their jobs. This means avoiding bureaucratic boxes to check and allowing principals to create an environment in which teachers learn. Compass can serve as a tool for doing this, provided we let our educators determine how it works for their teachers, their schools, and their kids.


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:


Planning for the 2013-2014 School Year - Rubric and Observation Flexibility


Compass is a system designed to give teachers feedback on their classroom practice to help all students reach rigorous academic goals. Beyond minimum requirements outlined in law and policy, districts have flexibility to design a local Compass process that supports educators and students.  


This year, districts and evaluators made many decisions about how Compass is used in each district and school, including the rubric used with teachers and leaders. That choice is available this year, too. If you choose to use an alternate rubric, please submit the name of that rubric here by September 1, 2013.


Beyond minimum requirements, districts and evaluators also have a great deal of flexibility with respect to the frequency and length of observations, as well as the way observations are scored. The specific flexibility available under current law and policy is outlined here.


Network teams are available to discuss these design decisions with you and your staff. Please contact Compass@la.gov with questions.



Talent Recruitment System is Now Live


The Teach Louisiana website now includes a new feature called The Talent Recruitment System to help districts find potential teacher and leader candidates and to help potential candidates find vacancies.


The Talent Recruitment System matches teacher and leader candidates with districts/school vacancies. This system allows Human Resource personnel to post job vacancies to the Teach Louisiana website, as well as view applicant matches in their inbox. Teachers and leaders will now be able to create employment profiles and browse vacancies more easily.


For step-by-step instructions on using this system, visit www.teachlouisiana.net and click on the Jobs tab at the top of the home page. Please contact joni.lacy@la.gov with any questions.  

District Support


2013-2014 Prekindergarten Updates Webinar


In response to feedback as well as questions from the field, the Department will host a webinar for LA 4, Title I, 8g, Special Education and NSECD Early Childhood Coordinators in order to help educators prepare for the upcoming school year. The webinar will provide program updates for 2013-2014 and will also cover information regarding allocations, monitoring, Early Learning and Development Standards training and other matters. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.


If there are any questions, please contact nicholy.johnson@la.gov.


Webinar information below:

  • Click here to log on.
  • Toll-free: (888) 273-3658 / Meeting access code: 3691141#
Assessment and Accountability


EOC Tests System User Accounts


The EOC Tests system provides districts and schools with summative data about student performance on end-of-course assessments. In order to secure this data and ensure privacy as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the user accounts are reissued every year. EOC Tests system user accounts for the 2013-2014 school year will go into effect on the morning of August 5th. Beginning July 29th, district test coordinators should review the district technology coordinator and school test coordinator information for each school in the district. All updates should be entered into the system before distributing the new school level accounts. As a reminder, all users must have a signed security and confidentiality agreement on file. Click here for a copy of the agreement. 

If you have any questions, please contact at dana.maxie@la.gov.


Placement Tests for Students Enrolling in Grades 5 and 9


Please forward to all district test coordinators. According to the High Stakes Testing policy, students enrolling in a public school in grades 5 and 9 from a Louisiana non-public school or an approved home study program and who did not take the LEAP test in grades 4 and 8 must take the placement test. During the week of July 22, the placement tests will be shipped via UPS from Riverside Publishing Company to district test coordinators.  


If you have any questions or do not receive your placement tests, contact bernadette.morris@la.gov.

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 2013-2014. In order to update educators on the recent reboot of Course Choice, the Louisiana Department of Education will offer online informational training to all school-based professional school counselors on the program and school roles and responsibilities in the Course Choice approval process at the dates/times below. Please choose one webinar to attend.   

  • July 26, 2013 9:00-10:00 a.m.
  • August 5, 2013 9:00-10:00 a.m.
  • August 8, 2013 9:00-10:00 a.m.
  • August 12, 2012 2:00-3:00 p.m.   

Webinar information below:  

  • Click here to log on.
  • Toll-free: (877) 336-1831 / Meeting access code: 2416498# 

Identifying Students for Advanced Placement (AP) Coursework


The new cohort graduation index recognizes a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam or an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam of 4 or higher as the highest level of achievement earned by a cohort graduate. Each student with at least one AP score of 3 or higher or an IB exam of 4 or higher will earn the maximum 150 points toward the graduation index. Students who take an AP or an IB course and earn a 1 or 2 on an AP exam or a 1, 2, or 3 on an IB exam receive 110 points toward the graduation index.


Your school can now offer up to 34 AP courses in subjects that prepare students for college and careers. The Department will provide a webinar to help school administrators, counselors and principals identify students for 2013-2014 AP courses utilizing a set of existing tools such as the ACT Plan exam results and the PSAT AP Potential tool


Webinar information below: 

  • When: Thursday, July 25th, 2013 from 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Click here to log on.
  • Toll-free: (877) 336-1831


HB1 Appropriation


The FY 2013-2014 $69 million appropriation and monthly payment amounts are now available here on the Department's website. Please reference Circular 1154 and attachments to view your allocation and payment schedule. The $69 million allocation should be coded in the AFR as indicated below: 

  • 50% - required to be used for salaries and/or benefits to be coded to revenue code 3290 - Other Restricted Revenues, General Fund
  • 50%  - to be coded to revenue code 3190 - Other Unrestricted Revenues, General Fund
Summer Enhancements Details for Software Vendors


Please forward to all data coordinators. Please go to the INSIGHT Coordinator Portal and forward to your software vendor the document entitled Summer Enhancements Details for Software Vendors. This details the needed changes for the coming school year for reporting requirements; it's very important that you begin working to ensure your reports will contain the necessary elements.

Please e-mail john.fielding@la.gov with any questions. 


Education In The News


Registration full for new Course Choice program


About 22,000 Louisiana students qualify for TOPS college scholarships


ACT scores improve locally


Broussard: In long run, Compass a valuable tool


Teachers coming into local classrooms more prepared


State leaders tout ACT results


Educators, state officials gather in Lafayette for collaboration conference


Letter: Compass isn't driving teachers out

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