BESE Newsroom

BESE approves process for science standards review

Framework for 2016-17 review based on recent English, math standards review process; Board also approves return of four schools to OPSB control, updated early learning center requirements, accountability measures

June 22, 2016

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) today approved a process to review the state’s academic content standards in science. Based on a committee structure led by professional Louisiana educators and encompassing extensive public input, the new review process will ensure that state science standards represent the knowledge and skills students need to succeed.

"STEM fields are rapidly developing, demanding a level of mathematics, technology and engineering integration that existing Louisiana science standards do not currently satisfy," said Jim Garvey, BESE president. "BESE’s approval of this review process is the first step toward ensuring that Louisiana science standards reflect the knowledge and skills our students need to succeed, as well as prepare them for a variety of college and career opportunities."

Louisiana law requires BESE to develop state academic content standards to be taught in public schools for required subjects in grades kindergarten through 8 and high school. The state’s current science standards adopted in 2005 are due for review per BESE policy. Presently, only New Mexico and Wisconsin use science standards older than those used in Louisiana.

"The standards review will be based on the successful process used for the review of the Louisiana Student Standards for mathematics and English and will likewise be an open dialogue driven by Louisiana educators and content experts," said Dr. Holly Boffy, BESE Vice President. "The plan allows for all stakeholders to have a voice in the process and members of the public will have the opportunity to review each individual standard and share feedback."

A 31-member Standards Committee selected by BESE will oversee the 2016-17 review and bring recommendations to the Board. At least half of the Standards Committee will be comprised of Louisiana, district and school-based educators. Many of these members will also sit on one of two content workgroups (K-8 content, high school content) during the 2016-17 review cycle. The content workgroups will review each set of standards in depth and propose revisions to the Standards Committee for consideration. The public will have the opportunity to review standards and provide input through the meetings process and an online comments portal.

School districts and organizations will nominate qualified candidates for committee membership during the months of June and July 2016. BESE will consider all eligible nominees and will make final selections at its August 10, 2016, regular meeting. The Standards Committee and content workgroups will meet publicly during the fall of 2016 to review public comments and student assessment results with final updates to the standards recommended and presented to BESE in March 2017.

Additional information on the standards review plan, including committee qualifications, nomination process and process timeframe is available

In other action, the Board approved the return of four Recovery School District schools in New Orleans to the jurisdiction of the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). This year, 33 RSD Type 5 charter schools met the eligibility requirements to transfer to OPSB. The governing boards of four of those schools, Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, Pierre A. Capdau Charter School, KIPP Renaissance High School, and Mary D. Coghill Charter School, voted to seek approval from BESE to make the transfer. Contingent on the schools finalizing Type 3B charter contracts with the OPSB, the transfers will be effective July 1, 2016.

BESE also approved policy changes regarding the Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Network, related to lead agency responsibilities, coordinated enrollment and the unified quality rating system. The changes come after observations of nearly all early childhood classrooms were conducted around the state during a “learning year” per policy adopted by the Board in 2015. The aims of the adjustments are to recognize top-performing sites and attend to low-rated sites; increase accuracy and credibility of observations; increase transparency, ensure parent choice, and support coordinated enrollment; and extend the academic approval process beyond the learning year. One key change is the program quality rating instrument shifting from a three-point scale to a four-point scale, which allows for more differentiation among programs and more detailed information in an effort to assist families in choosing the appropriate childcare center or provider.

In order for implementation to occur prior to the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, BESE approved the policy revisions as a Declaration of Emergency, effective June 22, 2016, for a period of 120 days or until adoption of the final rule. Additional detail on the policy measures is available

BESE also conducted its biannual joint meeting with the Louisiana Board of Regents, at which the Board endorsed a process for revamping the Louisiana “Believe and Prepare” educator preparation and mentoring program. The process allows for the development of yearlong residency models embedded within university teacher preparation programs, along with accountability measures for all educator training providers.

Additional detail on all policy items considered and approved by BESE at its March meetings can be accessed at

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Kevin Calbert, Communications Manager
(225) 342-5847  |

BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement.