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Louisiana Department Of Education Newsletter

August 27, 2013

Louisiana Department Of Education Superintendent's Message

Dear Colleagues:


Our kids are just as smart as any in America. A level playing field is the right thing to do, for our kids and for our state. But it is important that as we achieve that level playing field we not denigrate schools, humiliate educators, or hurt students.


BESE will consider transition accountability policy on issues such as promotion and graduation at its December and January meetings this year. As you know, the gradual transition plan already underway in Louisiana will hold the distribution of test scores relatively constant, provided educators continue to learn the new expectations. Last year our state increased the rigor of the tests, and the distribution of student scores remained relatively constant. We can expect, therefore, the same to be true of school letter grades. This year's tests will continue to increase in rigor. If educators learn the new expectations, we can likewise expect a relatively constant distribution of scores. Over time, BESE will raise the bar for accountability. But we will not support policy that drops scores off of a cliff and does not honor past progress.


I appreciate greatly your attention to the information the Department has disseminated about the PARCC field test. I hope you've also been able to review the PARCC sample items produced recently.


This week the Department will host a webinar explaining the results of last year's field test, to inform your work this school year. The questions yield information as to the validity of each question, but you too may wish to use them to see how prepared your individual students are for increased rigor. Unlike the LEAP or iLEAP, the scores cannot be reported in a coherent aggregate report. There is no 1-5 scale as there is with those tests, for example. But the results should provide important information at the school and classroom level. 


Finally, please also be on the lookout tomorrow for an email with a final report on your district's Compass rating distribution. The data are compiled from that which your staff uploaded into the Compass Information System (CIS), so you have access to it at any time. But we wanted you to see the form in which it will be displayed prior to its public release next week. You can also find below guidelines to use in responding to requests for data. While transparency is critical, It is imperative that we respect the privacy of educators and share information only when it protects anonymity of our employees.


Our task is urgent, but our process must be gradual and patient. I thank you and your staffs for working through each step so deliberately and for your commitment to the mission ahead. 


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




John White

Louisiana Department of Education

Twitter: @LouisianaSupe

In This Issue:



Final Compass Report


Next week, the Department will publish a report on the first year of Compass implementation. The report is intended to serve as the starting point for a discussion about how better to support teachers and leaders. The report will include both school and district level data and will cover the following: 

  • Student performance data
  • Overall Compass completion data
  • Value added rating distribution
  • Student learning target distribution
  • Observation rating distribution
  • Overall Compass score

Superintendents will receive a copy of their district's data later this week. To protect educators' privacy, leader results are not reported if a district has fewer than ten leaders. Teacher results are not reported when a school has fewer than ten teachers, nor will value-added results be reported if a district or school has fewer than ten teachers with value-added data. Individual teacher data/ratings will not be shared. 


Please contact compass@la.gov with questions.


Compass Observation Flexibility


Districts that will use an alternate rubric for the 2013-2014 school year should share that information here by September 1, 2013. Beyond minimum requirements, districts and evaluators also 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.


Please contact compass@la.gov with any questions.


Estimated Value Added Targets


In response to feedback from educators across the state, the Department will share expected value-added scores for students with districts on or before September 30th. These scores will be sent to superintendents via Box.com and will include all student data for the district in one file.


Expected score reports will include: 

  • An estimated range of student performance
  • Prior year achievement data
  • Student factors taken into account when generating expected scores 


In the coming weeks, the Department will share the file format that will be used to share the data, and sample SLTs that take VAM data into account. The Back to School Teacher Guide includes resources to support teachers in setting goals at the start of the year. The guide includes links to new student learning target exemplars and additional guidance on how to write student learning targets. 


Please contact compass@la.gov with any questions.


Talent Recruitment SystemTrainings


The Teach Louisiana website now includes a new feature, The Talent Recruitment System, which helps districts and schools find effective teachers and leaders. The Department will host a series of webinar trainings beginning Wednesday, September 4th for human resource personnel. Trainings will include instructions for posting and deleting job vacancies, viewing and generating candidate matches and emailing an electronic file with candidate match data.                        


Click here to join one of the following webinars:

  • Wednesday, September 4th at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Thursday, September 5th at 10:00 am - 11:00 am 

Please email an
y questions to joni.lacy@la.gov.

Professional Growth Plans


The Department no longer collects Professional Growth Plans (PGPs). Each LEA may facilitate their own process for creating and filing PGPs. 

Assessment and Accountabilitytestwebinar


Spring 2013 Online Field Test Release - Webinar 


Please forward to district superintendents, district test coordinators, school test coordinators and principals. The results of the Spring 2013 Online LEAP/iLEAP Field Test administered May 6-22, 2013 will be released at noon on August 30, 2013. With this release, districts and schools will receive reports reflecting student, school, district, and state level results.


Please note that field test results are very different from traditional LEAP/iLEAP test results. A webinar on how to interpret the online field test results will be held on August 30 at 11:00 am. 


Webinar information below:

  • August 30, 11:00 am
  • Click here to log in
  • Toll-free: (888) 557-8511 / Meeting access code: 4898034#

The reports will be released on the INSIGHT portal. Click here for instructions on setting up user accounts, a school participation list and a user's guide on how to navigate the INSIGHT portal. If school-level users have questions, please contact your district test coordinator.


If school or district-level users have questions regarding security or access to the reports, they should call (877) 453-2721 or email louisianabelieves@la.gov. If school-level users have other questions, they should contact their district test coordinator. If district test coordinators have questions, please e-mail bernadette.morris@la.gov or susan.yuan@la.gov

District Support


Teacher Leader Back-to-School Kick-Off


As teachers head back to the classroom to make empowered decisions about how best to support their students, the state will provide virtual support to the Louisiana Teacher Leaders.  A kick-off email went out to all Teacher Leaders on Monday, August 26th to kick off that collaborative work. Please be sure that your district's teacher leaders and principals received this email and are beginning to join the state-wide collaborative resource sharing and support. If you or any of your Teacher Leaders have any questions or concerns please email louisianateacherleaders@la.gov. 


2013-2014 Science and Social Studies Educator Engagement Webinars


Please forward to curriculum coordinators, principals, and science/social studies teachers. In planning for 2014-2015 and beyond, the Department would like to solicit input from educators across the state on the direction forward with science and social studies content and assessment. In response to your feedback,the Department has added three science and social studies engagement webinars. The webinar dates, times and log in information are below.


Webinar #1

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Webinar #2

Thursday, September 5, 2013 from 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Webinar #3

Thursday, September 5, 2013 from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm







Webinar log in information:

  • Click here to log in.
  • Toll-Free Number: (866) 390-1828 / Meeting Access Code: 7502987#


If you have additional questions, please contact susannah.craig@la.gov.


Connections and Dropout Prevention Plans 


Districts and schools with a four-year cohort graduation rate of less than 80 percent are required to maintain a dropout prevention plan. For the 2013-2014 school year, templates for the Dropout Prevention Plans can be developed by individual districts and should be retained at the district or school. Click here for a sample template. Districts planning to continue the Connections Process for the 2013-2014 school year should send notification of intent via email to dianna.keller@la.gov.


Health, Physical Education and Vending Survey


Please forward to superintendents and school leaders in health and physical education. In compliance with Senate Resolution 5 of the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Department will conduct an annual survey of school districts' compliance with health, physical education and vending machine laws and regulations. Please have only one person complete this survey by September 30, 2013.
School and Course Choice

Registration for Course Choice LCTCS Courses Offerings


The Course Choice program offers a full range of academic courses to Louisiana students across the state in math, English language arts, science, social studies and foreign languages. Enrollment requests for Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Dual Enrollment courses has been extended through September 3, 2013. This is the final opportunity to work with students to enroll them in LCTCS post-secondary courses. The LCTCS Course Catalog can be found here.  


Participating LCTCS Campuses include:



  • Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC)
  • Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC)
  • Capital Area Technical College (CATC)
  • Central LA Technical College (CLTCC)
  • Delgado Community College (DCC)
  • Fletcher Technical Community College (FTCC)
  • Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC)


  • Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC)
  • Northwest LA Technical College (NWLTC)
  • Nunez Community College (NUNEZ)
  • River Parishes Community College (RPCC)
  • South Central LA Technical College (SCLTC)
  • South Louisiana Community College (SLCC)
  • Sowela Technical Community College (SOWELA)


Enrollment requests for LCTS courses should be made by sending a request to coursechoice@la.gov by September 3, 2013.


2012-2013 Audit Assurance Information


Please forward to business managers for city/parish school districts, type 2 and type 5 charter schools. The FY2012-13 Audit Assurance Information for Schedule 1 is attached below for your reference. We are currently determining what other assurances may be needed for FY2012-13. Please make sure that your independent auditors receive copies of these documents. 

If you have any questions or need further information, please email zalinsky.matthew@la.gov.


LEA Survey  - Expenditure Data


Please forward to business managers of city/parish districts and Type 2 and Type 5 Charter schools. Please complete the following survey regarding expenditures for printer-related items. This information is required per Senate Resolution 167 which created a study group to investigate the status of e-book integration in public schools. Responses are due by Thursday, September 5, 2013.


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

Reminders from 2013 Legislative Session


Please be reminded of the following new requirements, per new state laws that recently went into effect:

  1. Crisis management plans are to be developed in collaboration with local law enforcement and emergency personnel. Schools must conduct a safety drill within the first 30 days of school. Plans must be approved by the local superintendent and an annual report must be made to the school board (Act 50, 2013 Regular Session).
  2. LEAs must provide four hours of bullying training for new employees who have contact with children and two hours of training each year for all school employees who have contact with children (Act 329, 2013 Regular Session).
  3. In order to respond to a legislative request, the Department will be surveying schools this fall to determine compliance with the state law requiring daily physical activity in elementary grades (SR 5, 2013 Regular Session).

For questions about any of these new laws, please contact erin.bendily@la.gov.



Dropout / Credit Accumulation Rosters


Please forward to data coordinators.  Fall 2013 letter grades will be determined, in part, by credits earned by the end of 9th grade.  Thus, these data must be certified to ensure accurate letter grade results.  Dropout/credit accumulation rosters will be distributed to SIS Data Coordinators via your district's FTP site. Data coordinators should immediately and securely transfer these files to the Student Transcript System (STS) coordinator as well as accountability staff. 


STS coordinators should work with schools to correct any Carnegie units awarded to students in STS by September 10, 2013 when the data certification period closes, at which point the accountability file will be updated to reflect these updates.  


For questions regarding FTP, please contact annette.chelette@la.gov and for questions regarding the rosters or accountability process, please contact jennifer.baird@la.gov.


Graduation Support Profiles


To identify and intervene with first-time 9th graders at-risk of dropping out, 2013-2014 Graduation Support Profiles will be generated based on data entered into SIS in three phases with the following deadlines: September 6, September 20, and October 1. The sooner you submit your data, the sooner you will receive your profiles. As in prior years, these reports apply statistical analyses of recent statewide cohorts to each student's 8th-grade achievement and demographic data.


These reports will be emailed to local superintendents and certain charter directors to distribute to staff soon after the aforementioned dates. If you have any questions, please email josh.posey@la.gov or email annette.chelette@la.gov for data submissions.

LEADS, INSIGHT Portals 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, September 4th, from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, for normal monthly production server maintenance.


Education In The News


Public schools make computer gains


Louisiana should stick with Common Core


Lafayette schools' AP test scores improve


Find Louisiana's ACT ranking by looking beyond national data, educators advise


Shreveport student organizes anti-bullying seminar


Standards to help La. stepforwers


The Common Core and the Common Good


Louisiana early childhood educators can apply for free computer center 

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

LDOE Links

LDOE Website

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