COMMUNICATION IS A TOP CONCERN FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS

Sep 27, 2012

Advisory Committees Provide Feedback to State Superintendent on Louisiana Believes

BATON ROUGE, La. - Parents and teachers urged State Superintendent of Education John White to step up communications on the importance and impact of major changes in the classroom. The feedback came from advisory committees convened to identify challenges to implementing Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan for continued improvement in education. During September, White met with more than 100 members of the four advisory committees, which represent teachers, principals, superintendents and families and communities across the state, to define strategies to support Common Core State Standards and Compass.

"Parents need to be more aware of the big changes that are happening in the classroom," said Christy Cormier, a member of the Louisiana Believes Parent Advisory Committee. "The new academic standards are much tougher and our kids will be expected to perform at a much higher level than ever before - starting this year. I look forward to the day when Louisiana Believesis more than a plan.  As a parent of a 4th grade student who has a developmental disability, believing is the cornerstone to her education and success in life.  Knowing that each Louisiana Believes committee member is committing to believing in our children, our families and educators gives me great hope for my daughter’s future."

Starting this year, the writing assessment will align to the Common Core State Standards, which are rigorous, internationally-benchmarked academic standards adopted by Louisiana in 2010. Under the old assessment, students were asked to write an essay about a personal experience or opinion. Under the new assessment, students will be asked to read and respond to a passage, which measures their ability to develop and defend a line of reasoning based on their understanding of content.

"We need to up our game. When you raise academic standards for students, you raise the bar for teachers as well," said White. "Compass provides a process to give constructive feedback so teachers can continually improve their classroom instruction."

Compass is the state’s new teacher evaluation system, which, for the first time, will evaluate teachers in part on student learning. Half of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on how much a student learned from one year to the next, and half of the evaluation will be based on observations by principals and administrators.

Issues raised by superintendents and principals underscore the importance of providing clear communication. Explaining the shift to Common Core State Standards, determining how to elevate teacher leadership, and placing a strong emphasis on pre-K education were issues raised by school leaders.

The Teacher Advisory Committee formed workgroups to develop strategies to improve communication between the state and educators and to develop recommendations, tools and processes for helping teachers implement Common Core State Standards. One of those groups, the Teacher Communication Workgroup, will provide invaluable feedback on components of the Department’s website, newsletters, and communication to teachers in the classroom. Teachers and members of the Family/Community Advisory Committee stressed the need for parent-friendly information about the instructional shifts taking place in the classroom and the importance of new teacher evaluations and performance measures. A work group formed by the Community Advisory Committee will focus on providing feedback on the best practices in communicating community-led change with parents and implementation around at-risk students.

Membership on Louisiana Believes advisory committees is voluntarily. Interested participants submitted letters of interest to the Department and were selected based on their diverse professional backgrounds and geographic representation, as well as recommendations from educators and community groups. The four Louisiana Believes advisory committees are scheduled to meet quarterly.

The next Louisiana Believes Teacher and Parent/Community Advisory Committee meetings will be held in early January. A tentative schedule, which is subject to change, is below:

Teacher Advisory Committee    

Date

Time

Location

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1:00pm-3:00pm

Baton Rouge

Saturday, March 23, 2013

TBD

TBD

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

TBD

TBD

  

Superintendent Advisory Committee    

Date

Time

Location

Thursday, December 13, 2012

10:00am

Baton Rouge

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1:00pm

Baton Rouge

Thursday, May 16, 2013

1:00pm

Baton Rouge

  

Principal Advisory Committee    

Date

Time

Location

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1:00pm-3:00pm

Baton Rouge

Monday, March 18, 2013

TBD

TBD

Thursday, May 9, 2013

TBD

TBD

  

Parent/Community Advisory Committee    

Date

Time

Location

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

TBD

TBD

Monday, March 18, 2013

TBD

TBD

Saturday, May 11, 2013

TBD

TBD


About Louisiana Believes

Louisiana is implementing bold reforms to transform education, a statewide initiative called Louisiana BelievesLouisiana Believes is based on three fundamental beliefs - a belief that all students can learn, a belief that empowering teachers and school leaders will unleash the learning potential of students, and a belief that families know better than government what is the best pathway to success for their students. These core values are the foundation of policies to ensure each student, in every grade, year after year, remain on track to succeed in college and professional careers.

About Common Core State Standards
In 2010, Louisiana adopted the Common Core State Standards, which define what students need to learn in English language arts and math at every grade level in order to graduate fully prepared for college or a professional career. The new standards are more rigorous, more focused on critical content, and more relevant to what students need to know to be successful after high school. Students will be measured on their achievement of these new learning expectations in 2014-2015.

About Compass
Compass was created by Act 54 of the 2010 Regular Legislative Session and will be implemented this school year. For the first time, teachers will be evaluated, in part, on student learning. Half of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on how much a student learned from one year to the next, and half of the evaluation will be based on observations by principals and administrators. These new evaluations will determine compensation, which was required by Act 1 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session.

 
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