Jun 02, 2016

Superintendent White Discusses Calls for Clarity and Stability for Teachers

NEW ORLEANS – Nearly 4,500 educators, representing every school in the state, gathered in New Orleans today for the fourth annual Louisiana Teacher Leader Summit. In addition to almost 250 professional development sessions delivered by educators, participants also heard from State Superintendent John White, who opened the event hailing recent increases in reading levels, ACT scores, and high school graduation rates while calling for consistency and clarity from state officials as teachers implement the newly developed Louisiana Student Standards. The Superintendent also touched on the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the need to keep students first in considering adjustments to state policies.

“Our students – all of them, no matter race, family income, or disability– are as smart and capable as any in America. They have gifts and talents no lesser than those given to any children on Earth,” said State Superintendent John White. “As educators, we have a powerful role to play in helping students overcome the challenges they will experience on the path to leading health and productive lives as adults. In order to do this, teachers need clarity and consistency from Baton Rouge. Educators developed the Louisiana Student Standards, and it is time to give our educators the stability they deserve as they help students to meet and exceed those standards.”

The annual, three-day Teacher Leader summit serves as the kick off to preparations for the 2016-2017 school year and implementation of the Louisiana Student Standards. Many of the informational sessions during the three-day summit are led by Teachers Leaders from around the state. In addition, the Department of Education has produced a series of tools that schools and districts can access in order to ensure curricula and training are aligned with the new standards. Teacher Leaders will spend time training to use these tools at this week’s session.

Teacher Leaders will also train to use recently released, updated English guidebooks for school leaders and classroom teachers. After a year of development, the Louisiana ELA Guidebooks 2.0 expand on the guidebook companions to Louisiana’s most commonly used texts and provide teachers with daily lessons that build skills across Louisiana Student Standards.

Likewise, some Teacher Leaders will receive training on the 2016-2017 Louisiana Principal's Teaching and Learning Guidebook outlining key principal decisions for next school year and the resources available to support those decisions in curriculum, assessment, and professional development.

About the Louisiana Teacher Leaders

The Teacher Leader initiative was created at the urging of teachers who believed classroom educators needed a greater voice in statewide academic decisions. Louisiana’s Teacher Leaders held their first statewide summit in April 2013 with 2,000 educators in attendance. Since that time, the number of Teacher Leaders has grown to more than 5,000, with the Department expanding the opportunities available to Teacher Leaders by offering a blend of in-person and online trainings not just during the summer but throughout the school year. These professional development opportunities cover a variety of topics related to ELA, math, social studies, science, early childhood education, and special education.

Louisiana’s Teacher Leaders, nominated by their districts based on leadership ability, provide a positive influence on their school and support for their peers, playing a pivotal role in leading the effort during times 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.

About the Accomplishments of Louisiana Students

Louisiana’s students are demonstrating that they are indisputably as capable as any in America. When we give teachers the space and stability they need to accomplish their work, they help students achieve at higher levels.

  • Louisiana 4th grade students achieved highest growth among all states on the 2015 NAEP reading test and the second highest growth in math. In 2013, low-income Louisiana 4th graders readers trailed low-income students nationwide in reading at proficient levels by five percent. As of 2015, there is no gap.
  • The Louisiana class of 2015 showed greater improvement on the ACT than did any senior class in states using the ACT as their state test. Since 2012, the number of African-American students achieving a college-going ACT score has increased by 40 percent.
  • Louisiana’s 2015 high school graduation rate is an all-time high of 77.5 percent. African-American students led the state in 2015, increasing graduation levels by 3.5 percent.
  • Louisiana’s class of 2015 Advanced Placement® results showed greater annual improvement than in any state other than Massachusetts. The number of African-American students earning credits since 2012 has increased by 160 percent.

To read Supt. John White's remarks from the Opening Session of the 2016 Teacher Leader Summit, please click here.

To learn more about Louisiana's Teacher Leaders, please click here

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