September 10, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


Last week's Compass Annual Report marked an important moment. First, it allows us to reflect on years of work put in by administrators and classroom educators alike. In  the first year of using the Compass tool statewide, I am thankful for all that they have done to open their school and classroom doors, to continue to improve, and to be consummate professionals for the children and families they serve.


Also important, the data yielded by the report provides powerful insight into the trends and contrasts among us. The report shows us, for example, how we rate educators' performance and progress when compared to that of our students. Just as compelling, it shows us how our expectations for teaching practice compare from school to school and from parish to parish.


Across the state, the results show a general and consistent trend: evaluation ratings using the Compass tool in a given school or district tend to align with student progress or achievement in that school or district. For example, of the ten parishes with the highest percentage of teachers rated in the top two levels, seven were in the state's top 25 percent in student progress or student achievement.  All are in the top half of districts in terms of student achievement. This is a great accomplishment in the first year.


On the other hand, we have some inconsistencies that indicate we have work to do in establishing a common and high bar for teaching excellence. 51 parishes rated 50 percent or more of teachers highly effective on observations, student learning targets, or both. And there is a wide range of highly effective performance on observations across the state, from two percent of teachers in some districts up to 57 percent in others.


But, best of all, we gave evidence that establishing a high bar for teaching excellence can be a profound step forward in making gains with students, often those who are hardest to serve. Evaluators in Ascension Parish, East Feliciana Parish, the Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans, and St. Bernard Parish, where student growth was among the highest in the state, set a high bar for observations. Evaluators in these parishes were much less likely to assign highly effective observation ratings, giving teachers room to continue improving their practice. And 63 schools statewide ranked among the state's best in student progress while setting the highest bar for what it means to be highly effective. Another 18 schools did the same for student learning targets.


We need to learn from these schools and these school systems. By setting a high bar, they have allowed their educators room to grow and have created schools where the teachers learn. In the months to come, I hope you'll join me in studying how they have achieved what they've achieved, and how we can set a common and high bar in every classroom in our state.

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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

Reminder - Superintendents' Conference Call


The Department will hold our next superintendent's conference call on Wednesday, September 11th, at 10:30 am. You may begin dialing into the call 15 minutes in advance. Click here for the PowerPoint presentation. Please follow the instructions below.


To join the Superintendents' September 11, 2013 Meeting:


  • Click here to log in. 
  • Select: Participant Application
  • When prompted, enter the Meeting Access Code: 9725937#
  • Dial into the Phone Bridge: 866-253-6505 (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 #: 1622547
  • You will need to identify yourself in order to be placed into the meeting.



Compass Tools


Last week, the Department released the Compass Final Reportdetailing results from the first year of Compass implementation. This report should serve as a tool for districts and school leaders to evaluate Compass implementation in their own schools and plan for the 2013-2014 school year. 


To support educators as they continue to improve Compass implementation, the Department will release several Compass tools and resources this Fall to provide districts with greater flexibility in teacher evaluations. A schedule of these releases is listed below.  


Upcoming Releases


Expected Value Added Targets: Each district will receive a report with estimated ranges of student scores, prior year achievement data, and student factors taken into account when generating expected scores.

Week of September 30th


Updated CIS Functionality:

  • Redesigned observation and site visit screens in CIS: These screens will have a more flexible design, and will enable the uploading of notes and other documents.
  • Flexible evaluator assignments in CIS: Allows multiple evaluators for a single employee and the ability to rate any rubric component.

Week of September 30th

Phase II of Video Library: Additional instructional videos and feedback conversations will be added to the library.

End of October


Please contact with questions.  

District Support

Race to the Top District Competition


The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its 2013 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 support that will enable them to meet the needs of each student.


Districts are able to apply for the Race to the Top grant to support key statewide initiatives which include technology readiness, early childhood programs and PARCC implementation. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education will be hosting webinars to assist states through this process. Please submit any questions to by September 16, 2013 to have them included in one of these webinars.


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

Note: The USDOE asks that all district applications be reviewed by the Louisiana Department of Education prior to submission. Proof of the review must be included with your application. Applications ready for state-level review should be sent to by September 23, 2013, for consideration. For more information on the District Competition and key dates click here.

Assessment and Accountabilitytestwebinar


EOC Tests - Change in Registration for the December 2013 Administration


Please forward to district test coordinators. The Louisiana Department of Education has revised its process so that districts are able to submit EOC class roster data directly to Department for the December 2013 and May 2014 administrations. This change was made to give districts a single point of upload and should result in an easier and more problem-free process for districts. The district CSV file upload function in the EOC system will be disabled, so it is important that you submit your fall class roster data to the Department. As in previous spring administrations, registration data for the December 2013 administration will be preloaded into the EOC Tests system.


District and school test coordinators should work with their SIS data coordinators to submit enrollment data via the process outlined in the September 3, 2013, district newsletter. The directions and file layout were included in last week's newsletter and must be submitted via FTP by September 23, 2013.


If district test coordinators have any questions, please email or


ACT Webinar - September 25th


Please forward to district test coordinators and high school principals. ACT will be hosting an implementation webinar to provide an overview of the 2014 state ACT administration. The webinar will be Wednesday, September 25, 2013, from 10:00 am - 11:30 am. Webinar topics include the testing calendar with key events, an explanation of ACT testing with accommodations and the required documentation, and the roles and responsibilities of required staff at the school and district level.


  • Click here to log in.


Participation in a webinar is optional, but this is a great opportunity to get answers to questions you may have.

School and Course Choice

Course Choice Progress Student Progress Monitoring


The registration period has closed, and more than 3,000 students are enrolled in the Course Choice program. Course Choice providers must submit a grade in progress for every student on the 1st and 15th of each month. The first progress grade will be available for review on September 16, 2013, in the Louisiana Course Choice online portal. School counselors, may log in at any time to view the grades in progress for students registered in a Course Choice class. 


The counselor assistance center is also available to support parents, students, professional school counselors, and course providers for the Course Choice program. To reach a Course Choice counselor, please call 877-453-2721 or email the counselor assistance center at

Advanced Placement 101 Webinar


The College Board will be hosting a webinar to provide an overview of Advanced Placement materials that will introduce students and parents to AP and upcoming developments and changes to the program. Participants will learn strategies to promote early awareness of AP and maximize the effectiveness of school counseling services. These strategies can be used to draft a plan for AP in their school/district.


Webinar information below:


  • Date: September 18, 2013,  2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Registration Deadline:  September 16, 2013
  • Webinar log info: Click here to log in.
If you do not receive registration confirmation, please contact the Southern Regional Office at or the Louisiana AP Program Administrator, at 


Accountability for Weighted Student Funds in the MFP


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of LEAs. AFR reporting details for the weighted student funding provided in the MFP has been updated to include the instructional staff service functions for career and technical education, student with disabilities, and gifted and talented and is located here.  


If you have any questions or need additional information, please email .


Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Fiscal Requirements


Please forward to business managers and financial officials of city/parish school districts, charter schools, lab schools, and other LEAs.


The following MOE Applications are past due for completion in eGMS:


  • IDEA MOE Confirmation FY 2011 - Due Date: March 29, 2013
  • IDEA MOE Verification FY 2013 - Due Date: April 10, 2013
  • NCLB MOE FY 2014 - Due Date: July 15, 2013
  • IDEA MOE Confirmation FY 2012  - Due Date: July 31, 2013

The attached spreadsheet details those LEAs whose submissions are outstanding. Review the attached spreadsheet and contact staff to discuss any issues interfering with submission of these federally mandated reviews. For questions regarding the reviews, contact or contact for eGMS technical inquiries or support.



Application Status.xlsx 



Legislative Resolution Study Groups


The 2013 Legislative Session resulted in several resolutions requesting study of specific topics. The following groups will be meeting throughout the fall and submitting reports and recommendations to BESE and the legislature in the winter. 

  • Bullying Prevention - September 20 and October 10
  • Task Force on Textbooks and Instructional Materials - September 25 and October 23
  • Agriculture Education Study Group - September 25 and October 22
  • MFP Task Force
    • Next meetings on September 25, October 10, November 11, and December 13
    • Information available on the Current Initiatives section of the BESE website 

 Other Meetings of Interest:

  • Superintendents' Advisory Council - September 19
  • Special Education Advisory Panel - September 25
  • Accountability Commission - October 2
  • Next BESE meeting - October 16-17 
Contact with any questions.  


2013-2014 United States Senate Youth Program Opportunity


The Louisiana Department of Education and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation are pleased to announce the 2014 United States Senate Youth Program. Two outstanding students from Louisiana will be selected to spend a week in Washington, D.C., in March of 2014. Each Louisiana delegate will receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation. The national program brochure can be found here, and the application materials for the Louisiana program are found here. The names of the students selected and their application portfolios must be received at the address below no later October 18, 2013. If you need further assistance, please contact Marian Johnson, Program Coordinator, at



Marian Johnson, Program Coordinator

Louisiana Department of Education

Office of Content, Room 4-207

P.O. Box 94064

Baton Rouge, Louisiana   70804-9064 


Education In The News


9 of 10 Louisiana teachers are rated effective or highly effective in new evaluations


Most teachers pass new evaluations in first year


With Common Core, Fewer Topics but Covered More Rigorously


State recognizes six Acadiana schools for teaching marks


Only 4% of La. teachers rated at lowest level of 'ineffective


Compass plan pointing the way


Changing how we learn 


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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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