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Great Public Schools Criteria for Louisiana

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.


Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Louisiana.

Readiness to Learn


Full-day Kindergarten:

Qualified Staff


A qualified, caring, diverse, and stable workforce in our schools requires a pool of well-prepared, highly skilled candidates for all vacancies; quality induction for new teachers with mentoring services from trained veteran teachers; opportunities for continual improvement and growth for all employees; working conditions in which they can be successful; and professional compensation and benefits. Here are some facts about Louisiana's qualified teaching staff:

Accountability


Statute La. R.S. 17:10, 17:10.1 – 17:10.4

Louisiana does not reward nor sanction districts on the basis of performance.

The state rewards and also sanctions schools on the basis of performance. Rewards for schools are monetary (not bonuses) and non-monetary for both absolute and improved performance. State sanctions of schools include offer of technical assistance, requirement that either school or another entity create and implement a plan for improvement, loss of accreditation, withholding of fund, and reconstitution of the school.

Schools that are found to be low-performing for four consecutive years can be placed under a statewide recovery school district. This entity takes control over these schools from the jurisdiction of the city, parish or school board that had control of them if said city, parish, or school board failed to submit an acceptable improvement plan for these schools. A failed school can be reorganized or operated by the recovery school district. If the intervention failed to produce the desired result, the schools can be closed and reopened as charter schools or be operated by a contracted entity.

This policy was enacted as part of the state accountability system that was in place prior to the enactment of NCLB and appears to be unrelated to NCLB's AYP timeline. [17:10.5]

Parental Involvement


Louisiana established a two-year demonstration project, beginning in the 2003-2004 school year, to experiment in strategies to increase parental involvement in schools. Provided that funds are available through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, the program will be implemented in any local public school system and will include schools that receive federal Title I funds, to be selected from among all eligible schools identified as having either a lower test score result for students on the most recent Louisiana Educational Assessment Program test than its immediately prior result or less than a five point improvement in such scores as determined by the state department of education. A cross section of elementary, middle and high schools are to be selected after considering both the test scores and an assessment of school readiness. Schools that excel in involving parents in meaningful ways may be eligible for awards and public recognition, schools that are determined to be in non-compliance may be assigned technical support to assist the school in its efforts and randomly monitored by the independent parent review board (La. Rev. Stat. Ann § 406.6). Enacted 2003.

Early intervention programs may reduce the incidence of delinquent behaviors in later grades, especially when such programs include parental involvement in the prevention and intervention strategies. Elementary schools are authorized to create prevention and intervention strategies to address disruptions and violence in schools to create safe school environments in which teachers can teach and students can learn and which increase student and family connectedness to the school (La. Rev. Stat. Ann § 17:416.17). Enacted 2001.

The state directs the department of education to develop a comprehensive and balanced early childhood reading initiative for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Funds may be used to pay for parent education and resources in reading (La. Rev. Stat. Ann § 17:24.9). Enacted 1997.

An employer may grant an employee leave from work of up to a total of 16 hours during any 12-month period to attend, observe or participate in conferences or classroom activities related to the employee's children that are conducted at the child's school or day care center, if the conferences or classroom activities cannot be scheduled during non-work hours. Employees must provide reasonable notice and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. An employer is not required to pay an employee for any time taken as leave. An employee is permitted to substitute any accrued vacation time or other appropriate paid leave (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1015.2). Enacted 1993.

The state superintendent of education must hold quarterly meetings of representatives of appropriate public and private, state and local agencies to discuss ways of coordinating policies to promote expanded parental and family involvement in learning and in the life of the schools. Louisiana requires state department of education, local school boards and schools to name parent advocates who will develop strategies to increase parental involvement, resolve complaints from parents and improve communications between schools and parents. State also establishes an information clearinghouse of parental involvement within the state department of education. Authorizes demonstration grants to school boards and other public and private agencies to develop innovative family-school educational partnership activities (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:406 – 17:406.6). Enacted 1991.

It is the intent of the Louisiana legislature that every at-risk preschool child in Louisiana should have access to educationally appropriate early childhood programs that include parental involvement, center-based programs and before and after care (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:407). Enacted 1992.

Funding


Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funded at their authorized levels. Louisiana's school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations.
Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations (PDF, 62pp) (NEA, 2003)

Recruitment and Retention


Louisiana has state policies that support differentiated pay for rural, high-needs subject areas, and hard-to-staff schools, state financial incentives, paraprofessional/teaching assistants to become certified teachers, and alternative routes to certification. In addition, there are policies supporting induction, teacher workload, maximum class size, classroom discipline, retention, teacher recognition, and certification/licensure of educators from other states.

Differentiated Pay for Hard-to-Staff Schools: The Teach Louisiana First Program was established to provide incentives to reduce the shortage of teachers certified to teach certain core subjects in low-performing public schools as defined by the state board of elementary and secondary education. The incentive payment provided to teachers participating in this program shall be in addition to any salary adjustment received by a teacher holding a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. 
LSA R.S. §17:427.3

Differentiated Pay for Rural Schools: The Louisiana Qualified Teachers' Incentive Program is established as a special program for any eligible classroom teacher who agrees to teach in a low-performing public school located in a disadvantaged and underserved geographical area of the state. The state board of elementary and secondary education shall formulate, develop and approve components of the Louisiana Qualified Teachers' Incentive Program and provide for the program to be administered by the state superintendent of education.
LSA R.S. §17:427.5

Differentiated Pay for High-Needs Subjects: The Critical Teacher Shortage Incentive Program provides each newly certified teacher who agrees to practice his profession as a classroom teacher in the elementary or secondary schools of the state in the area of mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics or special education, $3,000 per year for the first four consecutive years for which the teacher practices her/his profession.
LSA R.S. §17:427.2

Statewide Financial Incentives: Upon graduation and acceptance of a teaching position, students become members of the Louisiana Teacher Corps. Loans made to the student shall be forgiven in return for services rendered by teaching in a school in an economically disadvantaged region of the state as defined by the state board of elementary and secondary education. Two years' funding of the loan together with the interest shall be forgiven for the applicant for each year of practicing his profession in an elementary or secondary school in an economically disadvantaged region of Louisiana.
LSA R.S. §17:3042.7

For Paraprofessional/Teaching Assistants to Become Certified Teachers: The department of education, with the approval of the state board of elementary and secondary education shall establish a program to assist teachers' aides and other paraprofessionals who work in state-approved elementary and secondary schools to meet the qualifications for certification as a teacher. The program shall include provisions under which the paraprofessional may apply for exemption from tuition for required teacher training courses at a public college or university in the state or at a nonpublic institution.
LSA R.S. §17:7.4

Induction Policies: A professional growth program is provided to assist classroom teachers in realizing their potential by establishing a teacher mentor program of formative professional assistance to identify and isolate the characteristics of a teacher's performance so that strengths can be built upon and weaknesses remedied.  
LSA R.S. §17:3771 through §17:3776

Maximum Class Size: No parish or city school board shall have a system-wide pupil-classroom-teacher ratio in kindergarten through grade 3 in excess of 20 pupils to one classroom teacher. The number of students in any class in kindergarten through third grade in any public city or parish school system shall not exceed 20, except physical education classes. 
LSA R.S. §17:151
LSA R.S. §17:174

Classroom Discipline Policies: Every teacher is authorized to hold every pupil to a strict accountability for any disorderly conduct in school, on the playground of the school, on any school bus going to or returning from school, during intermission or recess. Each parish and city school board shall have discretion in the use of corporal punishment.
LSA R.S. §17:223

Statewide Retention-Related Policies: The state board of elementary and secondary education shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a program or programs of continuing education for degreed classroom teachers in state-approved elementary and secondary schools. These rules and regulations shall include provisions under which a teacher may continue his education at a public college or university in the state in order to take one or more courses of instruction in his/her field or discipline and under which the teacher shall be exempt from paying tuition of the college or university he/she attends.
LSA R.S. §17:7.3

Teacher Recognition: Each year, the superintendent of each city, parish or other local public school system shall select one teacher from the elementary schools in the system, one teacher from the middle or junior high schools in the system and one teacher from the high schools in the system to receive the outstanding elementary, outstanding middle or junior high school and outstanding high school teacher of the year award.
LSA R.S. §17:432

Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: A teacher certified in another state who meets all requirements for a Louisiana certificate qualifies for an Out-Of-State Certificate (valid for three years and is non-renewable). However, the teacher must take and pass the appropriate PRAXIS examinations, or the teacher must provide evidence of at least four years of successful teaching experience in another state, complete one year of employment as a teacher in Louisiana public school systems and secure recommendation of the local superintendent of the employing school system for continued employment.
DOE Out Of State Certificate