Mar 07, 2017

Department of Education Announces Implementation Timeline, Educator Supports

BATON ROUGE, La.-The Louisiana Department of Education today announced a timeline and set of resources and trainings to support the implementation of the Louisiana Student Standards for Science. The standards--which were supported today by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's (BESE) Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee--define the scientific knowledge and skills that students need to learn throughout their education in order to successfully transition to college and the workplace.

"Louisiana's students deserve standards based on the latest scientific research and knowledge," said State Superintendent John White. "In developing Louisiana Student Standards for Science, Louisiana educators have set ambitious expectations for students who soon will be the leaders of our state and its economy."

A gradual transition to the new standards, summarized below in the timeline, will start immediately with training for thousands of teachers and identifying high quality curricula for use in Louisiana classrooms.  The 2017-2018 year will be a transition year; there will be only a field test at the year's conclusion. A fully operational, standards-aligned test will be instituted in 2018.




March 2017

BESE votes on new standards

Spring, Summer 2017


  • Curriculum reviews begin
  • Standards resources released
  • District training and teacher training at the Teacher Leader Summit

2017-2018 School Year

Transition Year

  • Field Test Assessments (spring 2018)
  • Curriculum provided to teachers
  • Training at all collaboration for districts, principals and teachers

2018-2019 School Year

Implementation Year

  • Operational assessments per federal requirements (spring 2019)
  • Ongoing training at collaborations for districts, principals, and teachers

Over the course of the initial months of the transition process, the Department of Education will partner with school systems and schools around the state to provide a package of supports to teachers:




Professional Development

Multiple in-person trainings run by state officials and private vendors

Curriculum and Resources

Statewide list of high-quality curricula for school and district use


Sample LEAP test questions


The proposed science standards and implementation timeline come after an extensive review by a diverse group of 86 individuals representing every sector mentioned in the law, as well as every region of the state. Representatives included 41 school districts, five charter schools, 20 organizations, six universities, and the state Board of Regents, which oversees higher education. In addition, the Department solicited feedback from the parents of Louisiana children and the general public.
"Over the past six months, the Workgroup members have spent countless hours in collaboration, research, discussion, and true consensus-building in creating something that would both appropriate and valuable for all Louisiana students," said Cathi Cox-Boniol, veteran educator in Lincoln Parish with 37 years of experience and Chair of the Louisiana Science Standards Review Committee. "The new science standards developed for Louisiana students truly mark the beginning of a new frontier in both teaching and learning in classrooms across our state."
Cox-Boniol said the multi-dimensional standards are customized for Louisiana, while comparable to other states, and allow Louisiana students to compete both nationally and globally.
Joni Smith, a 7th grade science teacher at Albany Middle School and the 2017 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, agreed. Smith, who served as a committee member and helped review the standards, said the standards also reflect the rigor necessary to truly challenge students, and allow increased flexibility for educators.
"Once teachers dig through them and realize the flexibility they now have to go deeper into each standard, it's enlightening," Smith said. "As a middle school science teacher, I'm excited."
Smith said she's also proud to see the state's science education progress. "We've been somewhat behind when it comes to science standards," she said. The standards were last updated in 1997. "I'm pleased we're finally catching up."
The full education board is slated to vote on the updated science standards at its regular meeting on March 8 at 9 a.m.
"Given the rapid advances and increasing expectations of today's STEM fields, it is critical that Louisiana develop updated, quality science standards that help broaden career opportunities for our students," said BESE District 8 Member Jada Lewis. "The new standards focus on the knowledge as well as the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary for students to succeed in science, and will be backed by a collaborative and realistic implementation plan that supports teachers. I applaud the efforts of the review committee and workgroups, and thank them for their many hours of dedication to this important work."

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