Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube                                                                 December 3, 2013

Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


As a prelude to this letter, I want to thank the officers of the Superintendents Association, along with the regionally-appointed members of the Superintendents Task Force, for the time they spent in recent months sharing perspective with our team on transition policy as our state raises literacy and math expectations.


Since last summer, my team and I have promised transition policy that ensures we not denigrate educators, humiliate schools, or hurt students. Today, the Department presented elementary and middle school transition policies that will achieve that purpose to BESE's Academic Goals Committee, which supported the measures. You can find a fact sheet on the policies here.  Also I will be hosting a town hall for all educators tomorrow at 5:30 pm to explain the policies in detail and answer questions. Click here to access the livestream of this event and click here to email your questions for the townhall. 


In the ensuing weeks, the Department will continue to distribute guidance on implementing the policies and will host webinars to share that guidance. In January and March, the Department will propose high school policies related to diploma pathways and accountability. 


In brief, the policies include:

  • Long-term accountability: by the year 2025, A-rated schools will average "mastery" or "level four" performance. Today, schools rated "A" at a minimum average "basic" or "level three."
  • Transition accountability: 2015 will serve as a baseline for the letter grade distribution, followed by a gradual increase each year in order to achieve the 2025 goal. Between 2013 and 2015, letter grades will be awarded based on a curved distribution. This means that we will start the gradual raise of the letter grade bar from a fair baseline.
  • Educator accountability: Value-added data will not be available, as tests are changing from one year to the next. The state will provide districts with transitional growth data, but there will be no requirement value-added data be used in Compass ratings for 2014 and 2015.
  • Student accountability: Fourth grade and eighth grade promotion standards will remain in place. For two years, districts may grant fourth grade students promotion waivers if they struggle on state tests but demonstrate evidence they will succeed in fifth grade otherwise. This is the same discretion school districts exhibit in other grades. Henceforth, students not passing eighth grade tests may proceed to a transitional ninth grade on high school campuses, where they will receive remediation and coursework for high school credit.
  • Technology: Students in grades three and four will take paper and pencil PARCC tests in 2015. Following a "dry run" of technology systems fall 2014, districts may request that other grade levels be administered paper tests if technology systems are not yet ready for PARCC administration. In 2016, tests will be administered online for all students.
  • Curriculum: In addition to the Classroom Support Toolbox curriculum resources, the state will produce a hard copy Louisiana Curriculum Guidebook in ELA and math.
Each of these policies will raise expectations for the students of our state while allowing educators, parents, and students more time to learn the expectations. I again thank all of you who contributed to their creation


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





John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:

District Support

Mid-Year District Survey Information


This week, the district mid-year survey is being sent to all district superintendents this week via email and will remain open for two weeks. This survey is intended to inform the Department's work based on district feedback.  We ask that you complete this survey in collaboration with your staff. Your honest feedback and suggestions provide valuable input for helping us meet your needs.


If you have any questions, please contact District Support at


Translated Versions Available - Louisiana's Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities Parent Handbook 


Translated versions of Louisiana's Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities Parent Handbook are now available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese. You can access these handbooks online by clicking here.


For additional information or for translated versions, please contact your IDEA point of contact.



ACT Statewide Administration:  Retesting Seniors, Accommodations and Training Webcasts


The ACT is given to students in grade 11 statewide. Students' highest scores (through 12th grade year) will be used as 25 percent of high schools' letter grades and in calculation of high school bonus points. The 2014 ACT will be administered on March 18, 2014. Make-up exams will be administered on April 1, 2014.


Some grade 12 students will test with students in grade 11 as outlined below:


  1. Grade 12 students with no ACT score from a previous administration (state funded) 
  2. OPTIONAL: Grade 12 students with a previous ACT score may test as part of state testing day (district funded)


The two rosters mentioned below will be distributed through secure email to district test coordinators and accountability contacts this week. 

  • The ACT No Match Roster will list names of students who must test because the state has no record of a previous score.  Students on this list will be assigned a score of zero if they fail to participate in the March administration.  
  • The ACT Match Roster will list the names of students for whom the state does have a score, but who may retest at the district's expense (e.g., students with scores below 18).  Each district that plans to retest seniors must have completed  a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Department's finance office.  The cost is $33 per student. Submit completed agreements with original signatures to Susan Kahn, Office of Assessment, P.O. Box 94064, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064 by Friday, December 9, 2013.  

ACT- Approved Accommodations: The deadline for ACT to receive applications for ACT-Approved accommodations is Friday, December 13, 2013. For more information, view the ACT Checklist of Dates or contact ACT at 1-800-553-6244, ext.1788 or


Training Webcasts Available: The ACT Test Administration training webcast is now available for all appointed test staff for the ACT. Live Question and Answer sessions on ACT Test Administration are scheduled for January 30 and February 4. For more information, view the ACT Checklist of Dates or contact ACT at 1-800-553-6244, ext. 2800 or


For questions, please contact


End of Course Grading Waiver


Please forward to district testing coordinators. Due to the delay in reporting of results for the December 2-18, 2013 administration of English language arts and math EOC assessments, BESE has approved a waiver process whereby districts may submit a request to waive the requirement that the EOC score be calculated into the final grade for the course. Waivers can be submitted any time after December 18, 2013. All waiver requests must besubmitted to the Department before EOC results are released on January 22, 2014.


Please see the links below for the correct forms as well as additional information.  

For questions or additional information, please contact


GEE/LAA2 Fall Retest Administration Student Reports


Online student reports and CSV files of student test scores for the fall retest administration of GEE and LAA2 will be available to district and school test coordinators via LEAPweb reporting system on Monday, December 9, 2013. 


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 submit your responses no later than December 10th. 


Upcoming Task Force and Commission Meetings 






Instructional Resource Task Force 


December 10, 2013

9:00 am - Noon

Louisiana School for the Deaf

Agricultural Education Study Group Meeting

December 10, 2013

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Louisiana School for the Deaf

Special Education Advisory Panel 

December 19, 2013


Iowa Room (1-153)

Claiborne Building 




LEADS Portal, INSIGHT Portal and eGMS Scheduled Maintenance 


To facilitate proper maintenance of applications and corresponding databases, all applications available from the LEADS Portal and INSIGHT Portal, as well as eGMS, will be down on Wednesday, December 4th, from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, for normal monthly production server maintenance.


Data Coordinator's Webinar


To stay informed of the latest changes, due dates, and relevant information on the core data systems, please join us for the next data coordinator's webinar on December 11th at 2:00pm. Please see the INSIGHT Coordinator Portal for participation instructions and agenda. Please e-mail if you have questions.


Dropout Correction


In addition to running dropout reports for school year 2012-2013, districts must also run dropout reports for school year 2013-2014, which will address summer dropouts. Not correcting these dropouts could affect accountability scores as summer dropouts are a factor in calculating the dropout accumulation index.


Not correcting these dropouts could affect accountability scores since summer dropouts are a factor in calculating the dropout credit accumulation index.


Course Codes


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 transitional student growth data, student achievement trend data, and other student outcomes data. All courses for tested grades and subjects should use the appropriate course code from the attached list.

Education In the News


Getting ready to raise bar


John White suggests slowing down impact of Common Core


State recommends charter extensions, renewals for 25 schools


Superintendent White and DOE: We're listening


Superintendent White: 'We're taking feedback' on new education standards


Education changes worth effort


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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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