September 24, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:

 

Last week the Department followed the Superintendents' Call with a presentation to the Superintendents' Advisory Council on the state's gradual transition to expectations that put our students on a level playing field. The presentation details three proposals BESE will consider at its December meeting:

 

  1. If schools teach the new expectations, they should expect test scores to remain constant because Louisiana will maintain a score of 'basic' as indicating proficiency.
  2. Because test scores will be relatively constant, so too should letter grades. However, as an additional safeguard, the Department will propose to BESE that in 2014-2015 letter grades not be allowed to drop by more than one grade in the event that a school struggles with the new expectations.
  3. In the fall of 2015, BESE will consider setting a schedule for gradually raising the proficiency bar on tests, as has been done by BESE and other states previously.

 

These are important details. I ask you to scrutinize them and to send any thoughts in advance of the December discussion.

 

But these details are not as important as the reason for adopting new expectations in the first place. Our world is increasingly unforgiving to adults who do not have the skills to work in dynamic environments and to adjust to changes in the economy. That ability to adjust starts early, taught through basic number sense and reading skills, for example, which form the foundation of dynamic young minds.

 

As young adults, our children will compete for jobs, for opportunity, and for the life they want to live. They will compete with peers beyond our state's borders and outside of our country for these opportunities. In a changing world, we cannot continue to teach the LEAP standards and expect our young people to keep up after graduating.

 

There has been a lot of talk in political circles about the Common Core State Standards in recent days. I write to assure you of this: the Department's resolve remains to ensure that Louisiana's kids have every opportunity to compete on a level playing field. We will be responsive to concerns, but we will continue to bring Common Core transition policy to BESE on the schedule planned. We will continue to support you and your teachers in implementing this large task, and we will see through to a time when the families and students of our state have the chance to learn on a level that makes them second to none.

 

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

 

John  

 

John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:
Compass

 

Student Achievement Trend Data

 

Last January, the Department announced a series of improvements to CompassAs part of these improvements, the Department agreed to share more information about historical student achievement data. These historical data shows teachers where students are making appropriate progress that should be maintained and where students are not making enough progress and teachers will need to provide additional support. At the end of next week, the Department will share this student achievement trend data with districts.  Districts and teachers should use these data to understand trends in each student's past performance and determine how to ensure students are achieving at the highest level possible this year. These are only one source of data available to teachers that should help inform the goal setting and planning process for this school year.

 

The Department will also facilitate two identical webinars next week. Districts' instructional/academic leads, Compass contacts and data coordinators should plan to attend one of the webinars. Links to the webinars will be sent out in next week's newsletter. The dates and times are listed below:  
  • Option 1
    • Date: Wednesday, October 2
    • Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Option 2
    • Date: Thursday, October 3
    • Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

The student achievement trend data will be shared with each LEA SIS coordinator through one district level file per content area.  The file will include students listed on a school's 2012-2013 value-added roster. 

 

Please email compass@la.gov with any questions.

 

Compass Information System Enhancements

 

To support continuous improvements to Compass implementation, the Department will release the latest series of enhancements to the Compass Information System (CIS) on Thursday, October 3. These enhancements are designed to accommodate flexibility in classroom observations. Districts and evaluators 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.

 

Updated CIS Functionality:

*These and other resources are available in the Compass Library and CIS webpage. Guides to the roster verification, evaluation and value-added processes will be released in spring 2014. Please contact compass@la.gov with questions. 

 

Assessment and Accountability

 

2014 LEAP and iLEAP Practice Tests

 

Teachers across the state have set SLTs for students this year aligned to a more rigorous set of standards - the Common Core State Standards. Our state assessments this year, LEAP/iLEAP/EOC, will also be aligned to these standards. In order to support teachers with the planning and instruction, the Department will be publishing practice tests for the spring 2014 LEAP and iLEAP assessments in math and ELA. These assessments will be available in the Teacher Toolbox on Friday, September 27.

 

The practice tests mirror the operational 2014 LEAP and iLEAP assessments in terms of length, types of items, test blueprint, and rigor. Teachers are able to use these tests to better understand the content of the LEAP and iLEAP tests and to assess how their students are progressing on this year's standards. 

 

If you have any questions, please contact jan.sibley@la.gov.

Finance

Head Start and Early Head Start Grants Available

 

Sixteen parishes in Louisiana can now access more than $42 million to serve 5,500 children through Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS). School districts can apply for this opportunity directly or they can partner with other applicants in the community.  Early Head Start serves children from birth to three and Head Start serves three- and four-year-olds. For more information on available Head Start Grants click here or visit the funding opportunities page for the Office of Head Start here. Applications are submitted through grants.gov.  

 

MFP Budget Letter - September 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 zalinsky.matthew@la.gov

 

LEA Extended Sick Leave Survey

 

Forward to business managers of public school districts, type 2 and type 5 charter schools, lab schools, and other LEAs. Act 788 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session requires LEAs to annually submit a report to the Department on the number of extended sick leave requests granted each year, the number of leave requests denied, and the reasons for such denials. Complete this survey regarding extended sick leave for FY2012-13. Responses are due by Friday, October 4.

 

If you have any questions about submitting this survey you may contact zalinsky.matthew@la.gov.   

 

Education In the News

 

Education upgrade: Louisiana seeks to improve pre-K programs

 

Iberville teachers show improvement in state rankings

 

Plan to fix failing Caddo schools unveiled

 

School district welcomes input 

 

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

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