August 13, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


Louisiana has assumed the challenging mission of providing its students a level playing field on which to learn, so that they will be prepared for the rigors of work after graduating from high school or college. Educators will have to learn the expectations of this level playing field; there is no user's manual for higher level thinking. Our state has thus moved from prescriptive curriculum toward providing teachers tools to understand expectations, set goals, and plan curriculum.


Perhaps the most important tool is assessment. It provides us a view of what our students have achieved in the past and what they shall achieve in the future. It is the basis on which we set goals and make plans.


As administrators and teachers set goals for the 2013-2014 school year, many have expressed to me that the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), administered to 2nd grade students as a summative measure of learning, has not been updated to meet the rigorous expectations of this year's LEAP and iLEAP. Second grade teachers have told me that, given the increase in rigor on the LEAP and iLEAP in 2014, ITBS would effectively lower the bar for 2nd grade students this year. 


I have asked you to adjust the assessments your districts administer to ensure that they meet the new standard, and I must insist on the same for statewide assessments. For that reason, having spoken with many of you about this issue, I have determined that we should not administer the 2nd grade ITBS statewide in the 2013-2014 school year.

Taking this step will allow teachers to focus on more rigorous targets. It will also allow more instructional time to focus on those targets and will save precious funds at the state and district levels.


This decision also brings 2nd grade testing in line with the transition schedule planned for other grades. The state will continue to provide districts with 3rd grade value-added data in 2014. In 2015, there will be not be 3rd grade data provided, as there will be no ITBS baseline from the previous year. Similarly, in 2015, as part of the PARCC series, the state will again administer a 2nd grade diagnostic test. 


I hope this allows you and the educators in your schools more time and greater focus as we adjust to a level playing field for Louisiana students. 


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

Superintendents' Conference Call


You are invited to participate in the Superintendents' Conference Call hosted by State Superintendent John White on Wednesday, August 21, 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' August 21, 2013 Meeting: 

  • Click here to log in. 
  • Select: Participant Application
  • When prompted, enter the Meeting Access Code: 2368350#
  • Dial into the Phone Bridge: (866) 814-8448 (Use this phone bridge only; do not use the AT&T phone bridge listed on the link above.)
  • When prompted, please give the Meeting ID #: 1620779
  • 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. Click here for an updated Superintendents' conference call schedule. 

Ed-Connect Newsletter


Subscribe to Ed-Connect


Please forward to principals and teachers. As the new school year begins, all educators can sign up to receive Ed-Connect, a newsletter for Louisiana teachers and principals. Ed-Connect contains helpful resources and announcements to support teachers, principals, and school staff in their work. Click here to sign up. 

District Support


Back To School Resources


As we work together to raise expectations for students, our state has moved away from dictating the material that teachers must cover. Instead, Louisiana educators will now decide for themselves what success for students will mean, how to measure that success, and how curriculum should be planned to achieve that success.


Doing this well means understanding the new expectations students will achieve, setting goals for students, and planning instruction necessary to reach goals. The Department is publishing a Back-to-School Teacher Guide which points teachers to helpful resources that can be used to become familiar with the standards and assessments for this year, set their student learning targets and plan for instruction. For questions about the resources in this guide, please contact your network staff. 


K-12 Math and ELA First Unit Plans Released


Earlier this year, the Louisiana Department of Education released a set of sample year-long plans for ELA and math across grades K-12. The Department is now releasing a more detailed first unit plan aligned to these plans. Districts and teachers are encouraged to use these yearlong plans and unit plans as a starting point for planning.


The Department would like to thank all of the teachers who helped make it possible to release these sample plans. 


Literacy Design Collaborative


Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) participants can register here for the September trainings. These trainings are designed for Cohorts 2 and 3 of middle and high school ELA, science, and social studies teachers new to LDC, instructional coaches and district and school administrators.


Click here for a list of participating districts by Cohort and click here for participant expectations and training dates. If there are any questions, please email


Professional Learning Communities (PLC) at Work™ with Richard and Rebecca DuFour 


The Louisiana Department of Education has identified collaboration as one of our core focus areas for the 2013-2014 school year.


The Department and the Center for Development and Learning (CDL) are pleased to announce an event on August 27-28 in New Orleans that will support LEA planning and implementation for collaboration. The Department will cover the institute registration for a limited number of participants. For more information on the event, click here. The reimbursement forms for applicable districts and charters are located on the respective registration pages. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted with the required information to the link listed on the form by September 6th

  • When: August 27-28, 2013
  • Where: Hilton Riverside, New Orleans
  • Who should attend: Each LEA should consider its plan for implementing or improving collaboration and identify those who will most impact effective implementation. Potential participants may include superintendents, LEA leadership, principals, and teacher leaders.

2013-2014 Science and Social Studies Educator Engagement Meetings


Please forward to curriculum coordinators, principals, and science/social studies teachers. In planning for 2014-2015 and beyond, the Department would like to solicit input from educators across the state on the direction forward with science and social studies curriculum and assessment. The specific dates and sites for engagement are listed below. No RSVP is required. Please e-mail with any questions. 


Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Monday, August 19, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Claiborne Building, Thomas Jefferson Room

1201 North 3rd Street

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

Monroe, Louisiana

Tuesday, August 20, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Ouachita High School, Mane Center (behind Ouachita High)

681 Highway 594

Monroe, LA 71203

Bossier, Louisiana

Thursday, August 22, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Bossier Instructional Center (next to Airline High School)

2719 Airline Drive

Bossier City, LA 71111

Chalmette, Louisiana

Monday, August 26, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

St. Bernard Professional Development Center

Chalmette Elementary School (2nd floor)

75 E. Chalmette Circle

Chalmette, LA  70043

Crowley, Louisiana

Thursday, August 29, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Acadia Parish Educational Center (APEC)

2122 North Parkerson Avenue

Crowley, Louisiana 70526



2013-2014 Compass Support


Student Learning Targets:  

The Back to School Teacher Guide includes resources to support teachers in setting goals at the start of the year. The guide includes links to new student learning target exemplars and additional guidance on how to write student learning targets.


Observation and Feedback: 

The Compass Teacher and Counselor rubrics can be accessed on the Compass website. For districts using the Compass Leader Rubric, note that the below components were refined based on feedback from educators:

  • Component 2a: Facilitates collaboration between teams of teachers
  • Component 3a: Observes teachers and provides feedback on instruction regularly

This year, districts will continue to have the option to choose their rubric for teacher and leader observations by sharing that information here by September 1, 2013.


In addition, district can reference the Instructional Video Library which includes examples of instruction at different levels of the Compass rubric to support teacher improvement.


Additional tools and resources to help support Compass implementation can be found in the Compass Library. Please contact with any questions.


Compass Information System


The Compass Information System will improve in several ways during the 2013-2014 year. These improvements are based on significant feedback from educators. In order to prepare for the 2013-2014 school year, there are few critical dates users should consider:


Upcoming CIS Enhancements


  • CIS Offline

August 13-19, 2013

  • CIS Open for 2013-14: Schools may update employee rosters (link to employee roster mock up) at this time

August 19, 2013

  • Redesigned Observation and Site Visit Screens: More flexible design, and ability to upload notes and other documents. 
  • Evaluator Assignments: Allows multiple evaluators for single employee and the ability to rate any rubric component. 

Late September

  • Expected Value-Added Targets**
  • Observation, Student Learning Targets and Evaluations:Enable users to delete, lock/unlock and print all.


  • Improved Roster Verification Process
  • Personnel Action Flags (i.e. invalidation)
  • Updated Final Evaluation Screens



Please contact with any questions.


* Over the course of the school year, teachers may have shifting class assignments or shifting class rosters. Evaluators and teachers, together, should determine how to adjust student learning targets appropriately to accurately reflect ambitious, reasonable goals for each individual teacher.

** Expected value added scores will be shared in mid-September. For each student, the Department will share a range within which the student would typically score. The range will indicate a projection of 'typical' and 'exceeding typical' scores. These scores should serve as one piece of information to help teachers set goals but should not serve as a substitute for a teacher setting a student learning target for students. 


Teacher Exit Interviews


2012-2013 teacher exit interview data is due on August 16, 2013 via State law requires all local education agencies to compile and report data on the reasons teachers are leaving a school or system for any reason. Please log in to the Teach Louisiana web site, click on the Human Resources tab; then click on the Exit Interview link and enter your districts' teacher exit information. You may contact for further information or assistance.

Assessment and Accountability


Spring 2013 ACT Profile Report Release


Please forward to district test coordinators and high school principals. As part of our commitment to preparing all students for college or career, Louisiana administered the ACT to all juniors starting in Spring 2013. Between August 19-23, high school principals and district test coordinators should receive the ACT Profile Report illustrating the results of this assessment, including a student level data file.  If you have any questions, please email or

School and Course Choice

2013-2014 Career and Technical Education Materials


Please forward to all career and technical education (CTE) supervisors, high school principals, high school counselors, and CTE teachers. The Area of Concentration (AOC) career education resource and updates are now available for the 2013-2014 school year. The Department is currently launching an initiative to strengthen the career diploma track, in order to provide more students a direct path to high-growth, high-wage careers. This will include revising the framework of Industry-Based Certifications (IBCs), AOCs, and required coursework. The AOC resource below pertains only to the 2013-2014 school year and includes a summary of key updates. 


  • The 2013-2014 AOC Guide can be viewed here.


For additional information regarding the AOC guide, please contact  


Identifying Students for Advanced Placement Coursework


The new cohort graduation index recognizes a score of 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam or an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam of 4 or higher as the highest level of achievement earned by a cohort graduate. 


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 PLAN exam results and the PSAT AP Potential tool. The Department can also prepare custom data packets for your school that will assist you in the following ways: 

  • Identify each student's AP potential across all AP courses
  • Help you encourage high-potential students to register for AP courses 

To submit a school principal request for a data packet, or if you have any questions, please email


Register for Course Choice Courses by August 27


The Course Choice program offers a full range of academic courses to Louisiana students across the state in math, English language arts, science, social studies and foreign languages. Enrollment requests will be accepted through August 27, 2013. This is the final opportunity to work with students to enroll them in courses they need to qualify for TOPS, graduate and/or explore their academic interests. 


Additionally, a series of online informational training options for all school-based professional school counselors on the program and school roles and responsibilities in the Course Choice approval process will be held at the dates/times below 

  • August 15th 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • August 19th 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • August 21st 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • August 26th 2:00-3:00 p.m. 

Webinar login information below:

  • Click here to log on.
  • Toll Free: (877) 336-1831 / Meeting Access Code: 2416498# 
Detailed information, including course descriptions and registration procedures, is available on the Course Choice website at For additional information about Course Choice or if you need help using the registration system please call (877) 453-2721 or email


Summer 2013-2014 Technology Footprint Release


Schools and districts across Louisiana have shown their dedication to improving student achievement through technology-enriched learning opportunities that engage students in asking questions and utilizing tools to facilitate real-world problem solving by upgrading and enhancing their digital footprint. Later this month, the Louisiana Department of Education will release its updated third volume of Louisiana Believes: Louisiana's Technology Footprint for eighty-four (84) districts and charter schools. The footprint provides information relative to five areas of technology readiness within Louisiana's schools. They include device specification readiness, device-to-test readiness, network and technical infrastructure readiness, staffing and training readiness, and facility readiness. 


Previously released district and school footprints can be downloaded here.


FY 2012-2013 Financial Data Collection Instructions


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of public school districts, charter schools, and State agencies defined as an Local Educational Agency (LEA) for these purposes.


Revised Statute 17:92 mandates that local school systems provide annual financial reports to the Louisiana Department of Education no later than September 30th each year. To ensure compliance with Louisiana Revised Statutes, each LEA must submit their completed annual financial report, which includes all applicable fiscal project codes, no later than September 30, 2013. The Department is providing the FY 2012-2013 Annual Financial Report (AFR) Packet to facilitate this collection process. 


The AFR packet includes the following: 

  • 2012-2013 AFR Packet
  • 2012-2013 AFR Program Dates and Ratings
  • 2012-2013 Updates
  • 2012-2013 Department of Education Grants (Federal & State) 

This data is collected through the Web-AFR system via the Louisiana Educational Accountability Data Systems (LEADS) Portal. The LEADS portal will open on Thursday, August 15, 2013 and close on Friday, December 20, 2013


For further information or questions regarding reporting or coding, contact or at 225-342-4989. For questions regarding the electronic submission process, contact at 225-342-3619.


FY 2013-2014 Financial Guidance


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of public school districts, charter schools, and State agencies defined as an Local Educational Agency (LEA) for these purposes. In an effort to assist each LEA execute and comply with specific federal and state requirements, the following guidance and self-assessment tools are provided below.


  • The Annual Financial Report (AFR) Guidance for State and Local Funds provides guidance to ensure revenues and expenditures are uniformly reported in the AFR to avoid duplication of revenues and expenditures at the state level, and to accurately reflect revenues and expenditures for each entity.
  • The LAUGH Guide Memo provides general guidance for coding expenditures and includes a Q&A to address specific coding questions that are frequently received by the Department.


Education In The News


Jefferson Parish public schools receive $1.2 million grant to turn around schools


New Orleans charter schools show progress with students, study finds


3 Central Louisiana school districts receive $2.3 million in grants


Study: Louisiana among top states for charter school gains


Superintendent of Education John White says improvements take time


Our Views: Good growth in credit classes


Pilot program starts early with reading skills


School choices changing for Baton Rouge parents



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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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