Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube                                                                 November 19, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


I appreciated greatly the time we spent together this week at the Superintendents Association conference. Your willingness to work alongside our team, day in and day out, to get this transition right will pay dividends for our state's schools and children, now and in the years to come.


I brought three messages to yesterday's meeting. First, we should aspire toward a time when an A-rated school is one that is preparing even its average students to succeed in technical colleges and in universities. Next, doing this requires a gradual transition. Our department - and I personally - am listening to the needs of all involved to craft the best process possible. Finally, that listening process has led me to conclude that we need more time to learn.


Our discussion yesterday regarding timing, curriculum, and guidance was compelling. In the time since, my team and I have gathered to make some adjustments that I think will make for an even smoother transition, in light of your comments. 


I also appreciated our discussion of career education. We must end the stigma against technical education so prevalent in our state and country, lest our graduates miss out on the unprecedented job opportunities arriving in Louisiana. I look forward to working with the Task Force on high school policy issues, career education, and Jump Start as soon as we settle the elementary and middle school transition process.


If we can do these things - defining an "A" as two- and four-year college readiness, and reviving our system of technical education - we will have created life opportunities for tens of thousands of future graduates. I thank you for our partnership in that process. Please look for final policies from us later this week. 


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





John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

District Support
Webinar - Equity and Access:  Using AP Potential to Support Traditionally Underserved Students


The Department strongly encourages educators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their AP programs by giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate in AP. Participants, using research and online tools to help students and families aspire, explore, choose, and enroll in AP courses, will identify and develop strategies to eliminate barriers to access appropriate for the culture of their school or district. 

  • Date:  November 20, 2013
  • Time:  2:30 p.m. 


Top Gains Policy Changes


Congratulations again to the 300+ schools earning the Top Gains distinction this year. Recipient schools may use the attached logos on their website and other school materials to promote their great accomplishment.


To assist districts and schools with determining why their schools did or did not earn Top Gains in 2012-2013 and what it will take to earn Top Gains for this school year, please refer to the Top Gains Fact Sheet.


As an additional resource, click here for a copy of the accountability webinar delivered to accountability contacts earlier this month.


Contact with questions.



Update on Implementation of Act 151 and Act 291 of 2013 Legislative Session


Acts 151 and 291 of the 2013 Legislative Session addressed the testing of high school students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) state that they will not pursue a high school diploma. The laws stipulate that such students shall not be administered a state standardized test unless the IEP team indicates that the assessment is appropriate for the student. This is not a change from current policy or practice; IEP teams have always determined the appropriate pathways and assessments for students with disabilities and should continue to do so. 


These laws do, however, make changes related to state school accountability policy, although federal requirements regarding testing participation remain in place. If the transition plan within a high school student's IEP indicates that the student is not working toward a high school diploma and the IEP team determines a state assessment is not appropriate, the student will not be counted as a "non-tested student" or a "non-participant" within the accountability system. In other words, a score of zero will not be assigned when these particular students do not take the state standardized test. 


The Department is working to develop guidance for IEP teams related to the implementation of this law and will share a draft with the Special Education Advisory Panel for its feedback in December. In addition, the Department will host webinars related to the new law and its implementation this winter to provide technical assistance and answer questions. Finally, as we work to develop recommendations regarding high school diplomas and career education, a stated goal of this work is to ensure that students learning the mainstream standards have a viable diploma pathway.


If you have questions in the interim, please contact


Upcoming Task Force and Commission Meetings 




MFP Task Force

November 21, 2013

10:00 am

Iowa Room (1-153) 

Claiborne Building

Accountability Commission

November 21, 2013

3:30 pm

Iowa Room (1-153)

Claiborne Building

School Safety Guidance and Requested Information


Act 50 of the 2013 Legislative Session requires each public school principal to prepare and annually update a School Crisis Management and Response Plan jointly with local law enforcement and other local emergency preparedness officials. The law also requires that the plan be rehearsed within the first 30 days of the school year.


The Department has worked with the Louisiana State Police and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to develop guidance for district and school leaders regarding school safety and the required plans. We are also providing a checklist that may be used, as best practice, to identify risks and items to be addressed.


This morning the House Select Committee on Homeland Security requested that the Department collect information regarding the implementation of Act 50 and report back. Please email  with responses to the following questions:

  1. Have all of your schools updated their School Crisis Management and Response Plan jointly with local law enforcement and other local emergency preparedness officials in the past year? If not, are all in the progress of being updated?
  2. Have all of your schools rehearsed their School Crisis Management and Response Plan this school year? If not, are there plans to rehearse them by the end of this calendar year?

Please respond by Tuesday, November 26. Thank you for your assistance in providing this information. 


Commission on Presidential Scholars


The Commission on Presidential Scholars has requested our assistance again this year with identifying nominees for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Class of 2014. All high school seniors graduating between January and June of 2014 who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, who attend public, parochial, or independent schools, as well as those who are home-schooled, are eligible. As in the past, the 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion and an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June. Click here for eligibility information. 


Nominations are due to by November 25, 2012, in order to be included. Please send the following for each nominee: 
  • Name
  • Home mailing address
  • High school name, and mailing address 
  • High School CEEB code
  • A brief description (no more than one page) of why the student is deserving of this award, given his or her academic achievement, involvement and service, leadership and character.

To learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and the Commission on Presidential Scholars, please visit


Course Codes


Please forward to data coordinators. The Department will be providing additional guidance on how to assign course codes in PEP for teachers of tested grades and subjects. Course codes assigned to teachers are used to populate the Curriculum Verification and Results Reporting Portal with the teachers of tested grades and subjects. It is important to carefully assign course codes so that teachers in tested grades and subjects receive value-added results, student achievement trend data, and other student outcomes data. Guidance will be available within the next week on the coordinator portal. Data coordinators should periodically check the Insight Data Coordinator Portal for the most up to date guidance.

Education In the News


Q&A: John White, Louisiana superintendent of education 


Vouchers don't hurt desegregation


Superintendent John White urges cooperation between high schools, colleges


White: Common Core withdrawal would be damaging


Bright spots in school rankings


Teaching Strategies Gold, new pre-school standards tool, takes root in pilot classrooms


Louisiana school voucher program improved integration last year, state report finds


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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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