Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube                                                                      October 8, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


While our four-year university graduation rate is increasing, still only one in five Louisiana high school students on average ends up achieving a university degree. At the same time, our state's workforce is increasingly technical in nature: requiring a fundamental academic education as well as education after high school. Educating Louisiana students to take advantage of the job boom in our state, and to be participants in the 21st century workforce, is critical.


Standing in the way is the longstanding stigma attached to career education in America. Seventy-seven percent of Louisiana graduates are on the Core Four university preparatory track. Another 22 percent are on the basic track, leaving one percent on the career track. We have an unfortunate hierarchy of diplomas.


In December, BESE will review policies associated with the transition to higher academic standards in elementary and middle schools as part of the state's gradual five-year transition plan. In the last two weeks, these policies have been shared with the Superintendents Advisory Council and the Accountability Commission.


In January, BESE will begin considering high school policy. Over the last six months, we have been traveling the state talking about the hierarchy of diplomas currently.  In anticipation of the January BESE meeting, we have prepared some initial thoughts on areas of change in the state's approach to diplomas, as will be discussed on tomorrow's Superintendent Conference Call and in ongoing conversations across the state.  Following these discussions, we will issue a proposal for public comment.

At the heart of the presentation are the following ideas:

  • End the stigma attached to career education by unifying the diploma and allowing multiple paths to the degree
  • Align the university path with TOPS requirements and the career path with credentials for jobs available in local regions of the state
  • Reward career education outcomes in the school accountability system
  • Reduce standardized testing in high schools

This shift toward honoring career education will not be accomplished over night. But we hope that through discussion with parents, students, industry, and educators, we can craft a diploma that restores dignity to career education in a time of great economic growth, and time of opportunity for our graduates.


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





John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

Classroom Support Toolbox Update 


Each month the Department will be releasing updates to the Classroom Support Toolbox. These updates will be highlighted in the superintendent's newsletter, Ed-Connect and on the Toolbox's landing page.  


Common Core State Standards and Frequently Asked Questions


Louisiana's standards focus on getting back to the basics of education, teaching students to think for themselves and learn to problem solve. Click here to find answers to frequently asked questions about the Common Core State Standards. Additionally, resources to support this transition to more rigorous standards are available for educators and districts on the Department's website in the Classroom Support Toolbox.

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 has published practice tests for the spring 2014 LEAP and iLEAP assessments in math and ELA. These assessments are available in the Teacher Toolbox under the End-of-Year Assesments tab.


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


Resources for Early Childhood Teachers


Just as K-12 teachers do, excellent early childhood teachers set goals based on the Birth to Five Early Learning and Development Standards, plan and teach, and evaluate results. The Teacher Support Tool Box now offers resources designed specifically for early childhood teachers including a scope and sequence for ELA and math as well as a sample unit lesson plan. Click this link for access. Additional resources will be forthcoming.

Teacher Leader Advisors


The Department is announcing this year's Teacher Leader Advisors.  Last year, this same group produced many of the resources in the Classroom Support Toolbox.  This team of teachers will create the next wave of resources to support educators in working together to improve student learning in Louisiana.  Congratulations to these Louisiana educators!


If you have any questions, please email



Goal Setting 


Last week, the Department released a new resource showing student achievement trend data to districts that illustrates how students have performed historically and how they would perform if their historical trend were to continue. Educators should use this information as one source to inform what they and their students will achieve together this year and to provide background information for setting ambitious but reasonable Student Learning Targets. 


The following additional resources are available in the Toolbox to support educators' use of value-added targets:


Additionally, the Department has released a series of tools and resources designed to support teachers and leaders in setting rigorous academic goals for themselves and students. These resources include:


Compass Information System Enhancements


The Department released the latest series of enhancements to the Compass Information System (CIS) last week designed to accommodate varying approaches to conducting observations and site visits:

  • Redesigned observation and site visit screens: These screens have a more flexible design and enable observers to upload notes and other documents. These screens now accommodate multiple approaches to scoring.
  • Flexible evaluator assignments: Allows multiple evaluators for a single employee and the ability to rate any rubric component.

The next round of enhancements to CIS will be released in November. Please contact with questions. 


District Support

Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC)


District leaders, principals, teacher leaders, and coaches are asked to register here for the LDC Leadership Meetings on October 23 and October 24. Click here for a list of participating districts, and click here for participant expectations and training dates.


If there are any questions, please email



Reminder - Counselor Support Toolbox


Please forward to chief academic officers, curriculum supervisors, career and technical supervisors, principals, and school counselors. This summer the Department of Education partnered with school counselors across the state to create a Counselor Toolbox. This Counselor Toolbox is now live and available for use. Thanks to all of the counselors who provided feedback and support in the creation of the toolbox. To learn more about the resources included, join us for another introductory webinar where counselors will share this new tool


Webinar information below:


  • Wednesday, October 9, 2013 from 10:00am - 11:00am
  • Click here to log in
  • Toll-Free Number: 877-411-9748 / Meeting Access Code: 5305769#
If there are any questions, please contact

SRCL Allocations


The SRCL allocations and application are available in eGMS for both cohorts 1 and 2. In order to see the application, the SRCL contact information and SRCL assurances must be completed in the central data section in eGMS. Budgets are due no later than October 25. 


If there are any questions, please contact


2012-2013 Audit Assurance Information


Please forward to all LEA business managers as well as all PEP, SIS, CUR and SPS data coordinators.The FY2012-2013 audit assurance information packet and glossary are linked below. Data will need to be prepared as directed in the packet and provided to your independent auditor.  The results of the audit are due to the legislative auditor's office by December 31st. A Louisiana Department of Education contact name has been assigned to each of the schedules and is available to assist if guidance is needed.  



Assurance Glossary

Assurance Information Packet


Education In the News


White firm on Common Core


Our Views: Good start for Compass


Jindal invites Obama for school visit


Common questions, with answers, on Common Core education standards


John White: We're in danger of becoming the enemy


Louisiana school voucher program improves racial integration in some cases, study says


Terrebonne schools host anti-bullying activities


Groups issue statement supporting Common Core


Teachers to begin receiving merit pay based on 2013-14 evaluation scores


Editorial: Common Core about raising our standards


Common Core would aid students


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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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