Feb 26, 2013

Online Classroom Support Toolbox created by Louisiana teachers

BATON ROUGE, La. - In 2014-2015, Louisiana will fully implement Common Core State Standards. In preparation for this transition to more rigorous standards and assessments, the Louisiana Department of Education today released an interactive online Classroom Support Toolbox for educators and school districts. The toolbox, a feature of, that replaces the state-run Comprehensive Curriculum, is an effort to provide increased clarity and support for teachers and districts without prescribing how to teach. The concept for the toolbox came as a result of feedback from educators and districts that have been preparing for the coming transition to assessments that will be aligned with Common Core State Standards.

“Our children are as smart and capable as students around the nation, and we are putting them on a level playing field with more rigorous curriculum,” said State Superintendent John White. “We have to support our teachers in making this shift. The Classroom Support Toolbox was created by listening to teachers and by working with them to create an online resource that will support, not dictate, their practice.”

The Classroom Support Toolbox can be accessed from the homepage. Types of resources provided on the website range from sample yearlong curriculum plans to instructional videos and guidance on how to set goals for student achievement. Assessment guides for the upcoming school year are also included to clarify how the state tests align to the new, rigorous standards. Sample assessment questions will also be provided. Additional resources, such as additional sample plans and video exemplars, will be added in the coming months.

Angelle Lailhengue, a teacher at Lacoste Elementary School, explains why the toolbox is important, “I believe the Common Core State Standards present an opportunity to take chances and make a change. We have the opportunity to be competitive with other states. Districts have the opportunity to empower teachers, teachers have the opportunity to make curriculum decisions for their students, and students have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

“The Common Core State Standards give Louisiana's students the same advantages as 44 other states in the nation, which they deserve.  If we do not teach Louisiana's students the same material and hold them to equal standards, we deny them access to a free and appropriate education,” said Julie Stephenson, a Ruston High School teacher who helped build the toolbox.

To support teachers with the continued transition to more rigorous standards and the use of these tools Louisiana will be kicking off the Louisiana Teacher Leaders: 2,000 teachers, principals, and district staff from across the state. This group will ensure that educator feedback shapes the Toolbox’s content. The application to nominate a Louisiana Teacher Leader is available in the Classroom Support Toolbox. At least one teacher from every school in Louisiana will be selected as well as principals and district staff from each district.

“In the past, when we raised the bar, we told teachers how exactly to do it,” said Superintendent White. “The toolbox reflects a shift. It gives teachers resources but does not try to do the thinking for them.”

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