The Louisiana Department of Education today announced additional supports for schools, principals, and teachers as the state continues in its fifth year of transition to higher expectations. Beginning Thursday, November 20, Department staff will host weekly office hours to answer teachers' and principals' questions regarding PARCC assessments. These office hours will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays each week between November 20 and April to provide support to teachers and principals who have questions about state standards and tests. Teachers, principals, and educators can access the office hours online, post their questions, and have an answer returned to them on the call or immediately afterward.
"Teachers are their students' biggest fans. They want their students to succeed. During my recent tour around the state, many educators asked for a direct line of communication with the Department to help them prepare students for this year's assessments. We're listening to their request," said State Superintendent John White.
The Department also announced a set of additional supports to ensure information flows quickly as new state tests approach:
- Superintendents: The Department will offer regular PARCC updates through the new, weekly "PARCC updates" section of the district newsletter and through a dedicated segment of the monthly superintendent conference call.
- District staff: The Department will provide a month-by-month checklist to guide preparations for spring administration, expanded guidance on features for students with unique needs, as well as regular communications including monthly calls with district test coordinators and the monthly calls with district planning teams.
- Teachers and Principals: The Department will provide regular, direct support through its twice-weekly "office hours," bi-weekly Ed-Connect newsletters, Teacher Leader training, and the assessment guides released last March.
In the coming weeks, the Department will announce further steps to communicate directly with parents and family members as well.
This increased support supplements resources already made available to educators over the previous four years. Those resources include:
- Direct District Support: Support through the agency's network teams, led by top superintendents and principals from the state.
- District and Teacher Toolboxes: The Department included in the District and TeacherSupport Toolboxes assessment and instructional tools aligned to the new academic expectations for educators to download and use in the classroom.
- Curricular supports: Over the last two years the Department released a series of resources to support educators include Math and English language arts guidebooks,curricular and interim assessment reviews, and Eagle, an online assessment tool for educators.
- Teacher Leaders Training: Summer content training institutes and bi-monthly regional collaboration opportunities for thousands of educators.
- Assessment Guides: In March, the Department released assessment guides for the grades 3-8 English language arts and math assessments. These guides outline all important assessment information needed by educators, including test structure, item types, administration guidelines, and resources to support educators.
- Webinars: Last week, the Department hosted specialized webinars for district test coordinators, special education administrators, and teachers to highlight key information regarding the spring 2015 assessments.