August 20, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


The path to putting our students on a level playing field with peers across the country has been and will be a gradual one. We began by adopting standards in 2010. The state gradually introduced trainings and curriculum guides in ensuing years, finally making adjustments to the LEAP and iLEAP in 2013. In 2014, assessments will fully reflect this new level of rigor. But we will hold constant for now what it means to achieve 'basic' in Louisiana, just as letter grades will be relatively constant, provided schools commit to learning the new expectations. At its December and January meetings, BESE will consider accountability transition policy on issues such as promotion and evaluation. Over time, BESE will raise the bar for accountability. But we should avoid denigrating educators, humiliating schools, or hurting students as we make this transition.


The same is true of the technology necessary to educate kids for the 21st century. These days, technology is deeply intertwined with learning. It doesn't happen in one room, for one period on one day. It is a constant. Districts and schools that invest in technology, that help their teachers learn to use it well, and that provide staff to support its use, will have a leg up, both in preparing students for the world after high school and in assisting teachers with their jobs. 


Put simply, our children and their teachers deserve technology-rich schools. It is the right thing to do in 2013.


Later this week, the Department of Education will release its semi-annual Technology Footprint survey, reflecting statewide progress in acquiring information technology devices and broadband access. This isn't a survey about readiness for a test so much as it is about readiness for life today.


The survey will reflect tremendous progress in our state over the last year, thanks in great part to your leadership. We are on track. 


Of course it will also reflect challenges. But it will show no challenge that cannot be addressed. I hope you will take the time to delve deeply not just into the statewide information contained in the report, but also into your customized school and district report. The information contained in these reports will provide you with a detailed update on every school building in your district, along with proposed steps to ensuring your schools are ready to pursue the learning opportunities your kids deserve.


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

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


The Back-to-School Teacher Guide


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 with any questions.


Release of the Coordinated Monitoring Calendar


Earlier this year, the Department released a unified application to allow districts to apply for federal funds through one application.  Now the Department is announcing a coordinated monitoring process that streamlines the monitoring of federal and other grant funds into one cycle per district. As a part of this process, the Department is sharing several resources:


  1. Monitoring calendar that details when each district will be monitored and on which programs. Click here to access this by date and click here to access this by LEA.
  2. monitoring lead will be assigned to each district to provide support throughout the monitoring process.
  3. Soon, the Department will be releasing all monitoring protocols so districts are clear on what specifically will be monitored.


To learn more information on this year's monitoring process we invite you to participate in the upcoming Coordinated Monitoring Calendar webinar. If your district has questions, please contact 


Webinar Dates: 
  • Monday, August 26, 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, August 29, 10:00 am 

Webinar login information below:

  • Click here to log in.
  • Toll-Free: 888-636-3807 / Meeting Access Code: 2664136#


Education Excellence Fund


The Education Excellence Fund (EEF) is designed to provide funding to support technology readiness, early childhood programming and opportunities for at-risk students. The Louisiana Department of Education is currently accepting applications for the EEF to support at-risk students in your district and we encourage educators to submit an application. The application is due no later than September 16, 2013.


Race to the Top District Competition


The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its Race to the Top - District competition.  In an effort to personalize education for all students, the Department has invited applicants to describe how they will provide teachers the information, tools, and supports that will enable them to meet the needs of each student.


The Louisiana Department of Education encourages districts to apply for the Race to the Top grant to support this year's key statewide initiatives which include the Technology Footprint, Early Childhood programs and PARCC implementation.


Key Dates:

  • Technical Assistance Webinars: August and September 2013
  • Intent to Apply Due: August 23, 2013
  • Application Due: October 3, 2013
  • Grant Award Announcement: December 2013 

For more information on the District Competition and key dates click here.



Compass Information System


Yesterday, August 19th, the Compass Information System reopened for the 2013-2014 school year. Districts can now begin to update their school rosters for the new school year, enter student learning targets and conduct observations. It is important to note that the conduct observations screens will be updated in late September, but all information entered prior to that will be retained. Other changes you can expect this year include:


Upcoming CIS Enhancements


  • 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

  • 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


Assessment and Accountability


PARCC Releases Additional Sample Items


To help all schools and educators prepare for the 14-15 administration and the 13-14 field test, PARCC recently released additional sample items and PARCC will release additional sample items in October. Also, if a school is not selected for the PARCC field test, they will be able to access PARCC practice tests when released in 2014. If you have any questions, contact or


Spring 2014 PARCC Field Test for Select Schools


Please forward to superintendents and district test coordinators.  In the spring of 2014, the PARCC Field Test will be administered across all PARCC states. PARCC will select schools for the PARCC Field Test to comprise a representative sample of students across PARCC states and the list of selected Louisiana schools will be released during the week of August 26. Superintendents and district test coordinators will be notified in advance and the notification letter will provide important participation information.

School and Course Choice

Advanced Placement Course Audit Process Webinar 


To encourage successful growth of Advanced Placement (AP) Programs statewide, the Louisiana Department of Education will host an AP course audit webinar providing AP teachers and administrators with clear guidelines on curricular and resource requirements that must be in place for AP courses. The AP course audit gives colleges and universities confidence that AP courses are designed to meet the same clearly articulated college-level criteria across high schools.


All schools wishing to label a course as AP must submit the subject-specific AP course audit form and the course syllabus for each teacher of that AP course. The webinar will be held Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at 1:30 pm.


Webinar information below: 

  • Click here to log in / Meeting key (if prompted): 2527299#
  • Toll Free: (877) 411-9748 / Event #: 82527299


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 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

MFP Budget Letter - August 2013
Please forward to business managers and financial officials of public school districts. The FY2013-14 MFP Budget Letter has been revised to provide funding to charter schools that have added grades and/or classes in FY2013-14.  Table 2A-2 has been updated to include the revised local share allocations due to these charters. The MFP will be adjusted to actual October 1, 2013 student data as reported by each charter school in SIS. Table 2A-2 is attached here your reference.


If you have any questions or need further information, please e-mail

Incentives for Foreign Associate Teachers


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of public school districts and charter schools. Funding of incentives for Foreign Associate Teachers is provided in the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) for FY2013-14. The following items are attached for your reference:



If you have any questions or need further information, please email


Accountability for Weighted Student Funds in the MFP


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of public school districts, charter schools, and state agencies defined as an LEA for these purposes. The FY2013-14 Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Formula Resolution provides for the accountability for weighted student funds included in the MFP. Per SCR 130, Local education agencies (LEAs) are required to expend funds generated by applying the weighted factors contained in the formula for low income students, career and technical education course units, special education students with disabilities, and special education gifted and Talented students on items that serve the unique needs of students who generate such funds.   


The following items are attached for your reference: 


If you have any questions or need further information, please email 


Medicaid Reimbursement for Behavioral Health Services


Please forward to special education administrators, Medicaid coordinators, IEP facilitators. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and the Louisiana Department of Education have recently disseminated a memorandum regarding the requirements for the behavioral health cost recovery process. Effective immediately, all district claims for Medicaid behavioral health will be processed electronically from the data recorded in the Department's special education records/related services Medicaid (SER/RSM) system. Magellan Health Care (the state management organization for DHH) in collaboration with the Department have scheduled regional meetings to provide information and training for inputting data into the SER/RSM system. The memorandum and information regarding training dates and locations is attached below.


For more information, contact




August 2013 BESE Meeting Wrap Up


BESE met on August 12-14 and approved the following items that directly affect school districts:

  • Textbook Adoption Cycle Delay: The board delayed the textbook review and adoption cycle for grades 3-12 Math and 6-12 ELA until January 2015 in recognition of a Textbook Task Force underway to study possible improvements to the process.
  • Carnegie Credit Policy Clarification: The board approved revisions to clarify the Carnegie credit policy (2314 in Bulletin 741) based on feedback from educators and school leaders. If a student is enrolled in a course for the first time - one that is not identified as a Credit Recovery or Accelerated course - he or she must earn credit using the traditional seat time pathway once the academic coursework begins. Students in Credit Recovery courses with a corresponding end-of-course test must factor an end-of-course test into their final Credit Recovery course grade. If a student has previously passed the exam, he or she may "bank" the score to be factored into the Credit Recovery course grade.
  • MFP Task Force: The board approved the final membership and meeting logistics for the MFP task force. The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 4 at 10:00 am in the Claiborne Building.
  • Bulletin 741: This year BESE approved significant revisions to Bulletin 741, Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, which increased flexibility for school districts and removed burdensome reporting requirements. The revisions went through a lengthy Notice of Intent process with significant public input. The new bulletin will run as final rule in the Louisiana Register on August 20 and should be available on the BESE website shortly after.

 Note: The next BESE meeting is scheduled for October 15-16, 2013.


District Charter Applications


School districts are required to make charter school application information available on their websites and to follow certain processes. Please see this list of districts that may need to make adjustments to their websites in order to be in compliance.


The district charter application can be found here and includes information on how to set up a compliant district charter application process by the August 5th deadline, as required in Bulletin 126. Applicants attempting to apply to open a charter school in a district that does not have these guidelines posted may apply directly to BESE.


Please email with any questions. 


Coordinated Early Intervention Services Data Request


Please forward to special education supervisors. The Louisiana Department of Education is required under IDEA, to collect data on Coordinated Early Intervention Services (CEIS) provided at the LEA. CEIS apply to students who have not been identified as a student with a disability under IDEA, but need additional academic and behavioral supports in their general education classroom. Please take a moment to complete the attached table by Monday, September 9, 2013 and submit to 


Education In The News


Common Core empowers teachers


La. teachers deserve our gratitude


Jindal, White tout education advances


Education superintendent planning statewide tour


Course Choice online voucher program will serve all students who want it for 2013-14


Common Core changes increasing rigor

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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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