Jun 03, 2014

Superintendent White Discusses State’s Plan to Implement Higher Standards and More Challenging Assessments

BATON ROUGE, La. – In preparation for the 2014-15 school year, nearly 4,000 Teacher Leaders, representing every school in the state, gathered at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans for the second annual Teacher Leader Summit. This professional development for educators further establishes the Department’s commitment to provide increased support to districts and teachers, empowering those closest to students to lead in the transition to new expectations and assessments. Many of the informational sessions during the two-day summit were led by Teachers Leaders from around the state. State Superintendent John White addressed educators to discuss the state’s plan for continued implementation of new academic expectations and more challenging assessments. Superintendent White’s remarks were the start of two days of intensive training for an expanded group of Teacher Leaders.

“In order to help students achieve these new, higher expectations, our teachers are leading the way by raising the bar every day,” said State Superintendent John White. “Our teacher leaders are not only helping write and adopt curriculum, but are making curriculum choices helpful to creating an environment that fosters critical thinking.  They are opening their doors to help guide fellow teachers through this transition to better orient teaching methods around assessments that are more challenging than have ever before been administered in our state.”

Louisiana’s Teacher Leaders, nominated by their districts based on leadership ability, positive influence on their school, and support for their peers, play a pivotal role in leading the effort during this time of transition. Teacher Leaders create and implement collaboration between fellow teachers to reflect on student learning results, access and adjust planning tools to meet student needs, specifically by utilizing the Classroom Support Toolbox, and share instructional best practices to help fellow teachers improve. They will also set up clear communication systems at their schools, so their peers are aware of the most up to date tools and resources.

In the coming months, the Department will train an additional 2,000 educators during two more statewide professional development sessions bringing the total number of teachers trained over the summer to 6,000. These teachers will take what they have learned back to their districts and schools to train their fellow teachers.

Additionally, the Department of Education is providing numerous in-state supports for educators, including:

  • Curriculum Resources:  Teacher leaders and expert content staff created curriculum guidebooks for English and math in grades Kindergarten to 12, as well as assessments guides and sample tests.
  • District Planning Teams:  The Department supports districts with strategic decision making through the planning guide and direct work with designated teams of district staff – technology, assessment, and financial – to prepare for the new standards and better assessments.
  • Technology Footprint:  To help districts prepare for the technology demands of the 21st century, including online assessments, the Department continues to publish its semi-annual technology footprint which assesses district readiness and provides guidance on next steps.
  • Textbook reviews:  Louisiana educators reviewed textbooks to advise districts on the alignment with the standards.

During the past six months, the Department’s Network Teams have worked with district teams to plan for the upcoming school year. The Department published an extensive set of resources to support this planning process including the District Planning Guide, Instructional Resource Reviews,  teacher professional development opportunities, newly negotiated technology contracts, and resources to support schools set up teacher collaboration structures. Districts are utilizing these resources and others during their planning process to meet the needs of their students and educators in the areas of curriculum, assessment, professional development, and technology. Providing these tools gives educators and administrators lends guidance to those who are closest to the students, while still allowing them the power to choose what is best for their community, their school, and the children in their charge.

The Department will continue to release resources aimed at support teachers with planning for Louisiana’s shift to higher expectations. This month, the English Language Arts Guidebook for Kindergarten through 2nd grade will be released. It joins ELA and math guidebooks already released in grades K-12 and assessment guides in ELA and math for grades 3-8.

  • Assessment Guides: These guides explain the content of next year's ELA and math assessments for grades 3-8. The guides include more detail about the types of questions, the number of questions and scoring information.

    To read Superintendent John White’s remarks to educators during the 2014 Teacher Leader Summit opening session, please click

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