Instructional policies

ALCOHOL, DRUG, AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE EDUCATION PROGRAM

As required by the State of Louisiana, Excellence Academy Charter School shall require that a comprehensive substance abuse and prevention education program be incorporated into its curriculum, and shall include grade appropriate programs on the education, prevention, and counseling of alcohol, drug and substance abuse, and violence prevention.  Every student in grades kindergarten through nine shall be involved for a minimum of sixteen (16) contact hours every school year. The required minimum contact hours shall be incorporated into a comprehensive school health program.

Substance abuse counselors shall be appointed within Excellence Academy Charter School or in a collaborative sense with the community for the purpose of counseling students who have been identified as having an alcohol, drug, substance abuse or violence problem. Excellence Academy Charter School shall have a substance abuse prevention team to investigate research and report on all instances or reports of possession of controlled dangerous substances or alcoholic beverages, all in accordance with statutory provisions. The team shall adequately report their findings in writing and make appropriate recommendations for treatment, counseling or other appropriate action to the Principal of the school.

Excellence Academy Charter School students identified as having a substance abuse problem, including manufacture or distribution, shall be required to participate in the school drug counseling program, or an equivalent approved by the Board.

It is unlawful for anyone to use, distribute, be under the influence of, manufacture or possess any controlled substances as defined by statute on or around school property or an area within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes by any school, or on a school bus.  These areas shall be designated as Drug Free Zones.  Excellence Academy Charter School, in cooperation with local governmental agencies, and the Louisiana Department of Education, shall designate and mark Drug Free Zones which surround all schools and school property.

 

EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

Excellence Academy Charter School in the implementation of statewide curriculum standards has developed and adopted the Pupil Progression Plan in accordance with statutory provisions. The plan contains Board policy, regulations, and/or procedures as they relate to the promotion, retention, acceleration and similar actions regarding student performance. The Principal and the Executive Director shall all be responsible for the implementation of the Pupil Progression Plan as outlined by guidelines of the Louisiana Department of Education.

The policies, regulations, and procedures developed and revised periodically in the Pupil Progression Plan shall be considered as Board policy, regulations and/or procedures and treated as if part of this policy manual.

The Board of Directors shall be apprised periodically concerning implementation of all regulations contained in the Pupil Progression Plan, and an annual report shall be submitted to the faculty and staff outlining the progress of the programs, promotions affected, and similar transactions.

 

TEACHING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND FEDERALIST PAPERS

 

As required by State Law, Excellence Academy Charter School will include the teaching of the Declaration of Independence in Grades 6-8 and the Federalist Papers as part of the advanced high school preparatory Social Studies curriculum.

 

Ref: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 17:268

 

TEST SECURITY POLICY

Excellence Academy Charter School holds the test security policy to be of utmost importance and deems any violations of test security to be serious.

Formal and informal assessment and testing measures are used at Excellence Academy Charter School to provide diagnostic information, to determine grade or program placement, to validate and/or awards credits, to assess individual student performance, to assess student group and sub-group performance, to assess instructional program effectiveness, to provide information for curriculum planning and decision-making, to evaluate grant-awards, and for student, school, and accountability measures.

Assessment and testing programs at Excellence Academy Charter School consist of the following types:

  • Louisiana statewide accountability testing programs prescribed by the Louisiana legislature, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and/or the Louisiana Department of Education. These shall include, but not limited to:
  1. all criterion-referenced tests (CRTs),
  2. all on level norm-referenced tests (NRTs),
  3. all alternate assessments, and
  4. all placement tests.
  • Louisiana statewide diagnostic reading assessment grades.
  • Informal tests, inventories, and activities designed and administered by teachers to diagnose student needs and/or to assess student performance; entry-level and on-going assessments to evaluate student performance in computer labs and/or other instructional programs.
  • Screening, readiness tests, and/or checklists.
  • Commercially-published criterion-referenced tests and norm-referenced achievement tests administered to selected student groups.
  • School level screening for suspected 04 handicapping conditions.
  • Individual pupil appraisal evaluations for suspended handicapped and gifted students prescribed by State guidelines.

 

Excellence Academy Charter School shall take every precaution to assure that all state and local tests administered within the school system shall be conducted in such a manner so as not to compromise in any way the testing results. Testing materials and procedures, as well as electronic data or computer media related to student testing, shall be properly supervised in strict compliance with regulations outlined by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Excellence Academy Charter School. In addition, all secure tests and test documents shall be stored under lock and key in the Excellence Academy Charter School Administrative Office when not in use.

 

 

 

TEST SECURITY

It shall be a violation of test security for any person to do any of the following:

  1. Administer tests in a manner that is inconsistent with the administrative instructions provided by the Louisiana Department of Education and/or Excellence Academy Charter School, which would give examinees an unfair advantage or disadvantage.
  2. Give examinees access to test questions prior to testing.
  3. Examine any test item at any time (except for students during the test or test administrators while providing the accommodations Tests Read Aloud or   Communication Assistance, for students determined to be eligible for those accommodations).
  4. Copy, reproduce, or use at any time in any manner inconsistent with test regulations all or part of any secure test booklet, answer document, or supplementary secure materials (e.g., writing prompts, science tasks).
  5. Coach examinees in any manner during testing; or alter or interfere with examinees’ responses in any manner; except that test administrators and/or proctors should monitor during testing and make sure students have test questions and answer documents aligned.
  6. Provide answers to students in any manner during the test, including provision of cues, clues, hints, and/or actual answers in any form — written, printed, verbal or nonverbal.
  7. Administer published parallel, previously administered, or current forms of any statewide assessment as a practice test or study guide.
  8. Fail to follow security regulations for distribution and return of secure test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials, as well as overages as directed.
  9. Fail to account for and secure test materials before, during, or after testing; all secure materials must be kept in locked storage; secure materials must never be left in open areas or unattended.
  10. Conduct testing in environments that differ from the usual classroom environment without prior written permission from the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments.
  11. Fail to report any testing irregularities or discrepancies to the Test Coordinator (a testing irregularity is any incident in test handling or administration that leads to a question regarding the security of the test or the accuracy of the test data). The Test Coordinator must report such incidents to Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors and the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments.
  12. Participate in, direct, aid, counsel, assist in, encourage, or fail to report any of the acts prohibited in this section.
  13. A Statement of Assurance regarding Excellence Academy Charter School test security policy that is in compliance with the State’s test security policy shall be submitted annually to the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments. This statement shall include the name of the individual designated by Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors to procure test materials.
  14. Test materials, including all test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials (e.g., writing prompts, science tasks), video tapes, and completed observation sheets, shall be kept secure and accounted for in accordance with the procedure specified in the test administration manuals and other communications provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.  Secure test materials include, student test booklets, student answer documents, any supplementary secure materials (e.g., writing prompts, science tasks), video tapes, completed observation sheets, all individual student test data in paper and/or electronic format, and all aggregated data of fewer than ten students.
  • All test booklets, answer documents supplementary secure materials and test administrator manuals, shall be kept in a designated, locked secure storage area prior to, during, and after administration of any test. Test administrators are to be given access to the tests and any supplementary secure materials only on the day the test is to be administered, and these are to be retrieved immediately after testing is completed for the day and stored in a designated locked, secure storage area each day of testing.
  • All test booklets, answer documents, and supplementary secure materials shall be accounted for and written documentation kept by test administrators and proctors for each point at which test materials are distributed and returned.
  • Any discrepancies noted in the serial numbers of test booklets, answer documents, and any supplementary secure materials, or the quantity received from contractors shall be reported to the Division of Assessments and Accountability (LDE) by Excellence Academy Charter School Test Coordinator prior to the administration of the test.
  • In the event test booklets or answer documents are determined to be missing while in the possession of the test administrator, a signed detailed explanation from the test administrator of events surrounding the missing documents and what was done to find them, should be part of the investigative report. The Test Coordinator, with assistance of other administrators appointed by Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors, is authorized to conduct additional investigations.
  • In the event state-contracted test booklets, answer documents, or supplementary secure materials are determined to be missing while in the possession of the school or in the event of any other testing irregularities or breaches of security, the Excellence Academy Charter School Test Coordinator shall immediately notify by telephone the Director of the Division of Student Standards and Assessments (LDE). The Test Coordinator shall investigate the cause of discrepancy and provide the Louisiana Department of Education with a report of the investigation in thirty (30) calendar days of the initiation of the investigation.
  1. Only personnel trained in test security and administration shall be allowed to have access to or administer any statewide assessments.
  2. Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors shall designate annually one individual in the school who shall be authorized to procure test materials which are utilized in testing programs administered by or through BESE or the Louisiana Department of Education.  The name of the individuals so designated shall be provided in writing to the Division of Student Standards and Assessments, Louisiana Department of Education, and included on the Statement of Assurance.
  3. A list of personnel authorized to have access to the locked, secure storage area where all test materials are stored shall be coordinated and maintained by the Test Coordinator.
  4. The test coordinator shall in-service all school-level personnel having access to test materials on test security. School personnel authorized to have access to the locked secure storage area shall be trained in test security policies and procedures.
  5. All persons involved in the administration of tests and other school-level personnel having access to testing materials shall annually receive proper training and professional development for handling and security in all testing materials. A record of such activities shall be maintained by the Test Coordinator.
  6. Testing shall be conducted in class-sized groups.  Permission for testing in environments that differ from the usual classroom setting must be obtained in writing from the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments at least thirty (30) days prior to testing.  If testing outside the usual classroom setting is approved by the Division of Student Standards and Assessments, the School Board shall provide at least one proctor for every thirty (30) students.       Small-group testing for students eligible for test accommodations shall not exceed eight (8) students.
  7. The Louisiana State Superintendent of Education may disallow test results which may have been achieved in any manner which is in violation of test security.
  8. The Louisiana Department of Education shall establish procedures to identify the following in state testing programs:
  • Improbable achievement of test score gains in consecutive years.
  • Situations in which collaboration between or among individuals occurs during the testing process.
  • A verification of the number of all tests distributed and the number of tests returned.
  • Excessive erasures for multiple-choice tests.
  • Any violation to written composition, open-ended or constructed responses that involves plagiarism.
  • Any other situation which may result in invalidation of test results.
  1. In cases where test results are not accepted because of breach of test security or action by the Louisiana Department of Education, any programmatic, evaluative, or graduation criteria dependent upon the data shall be deemed not to have been met.
  2. Individuals shall adhere to all procedures specified in all operational manuals that govern the mandated testing programs.
  3. Any individual(s) who knowingly engages in any activities during testing which results in invalidation of scores shall forfeit the test results and will be allowed to retake the test at the next administration.
  4. Anyone known to be involved in the presentation of forged, counterfeit, or altered identification for the purposes of obtaining admission to a test administration site for any test administered by or through BESE or the Louisiana Department of Education shall have breached test security.  Any individual who knowingly causes or allows the presentation of forged, counterfeit or altered identification for the purpose of obtaining admission to any test administration site shall forfeit all test scores but will be allowed to retake the test at the next test administration.

 

  1. Any teacher, administrator, or other school personnel who allows or breaches test security shall be charged with violation of state and/or school policy and disciplinary action shall be pursued in accordance with the provisions of state statutes, with direction from the Excellence Academy Charter School Board.
  2. The following alleged violations of test security shall be investigated by the Principal.
  1. Any testing irregularities, including violations in test security, such as plagiarism and excessive wrong-to-right erasures identified through erasure analysis.
  2. Employees accused of irregularities or improprieties in the administration of standardized tests.
  3. Missing test booklets, answer documents, or supplementary secure materials.
  1. Procedures for conducting an investigation shall include, at a minimum, the following:
  1. The Test Coordinator shall notify the Principal of the alleged violation; the Principal shall appoint one or more members of the administrative staff to assist the Test Coordinator with the investigation.
  2. The investigative staff shall meet and review the alleged violation and to determine specific investigative procedures.
  3. The investigative staff shall set a meeting with the Principal and test administrator of the identified class(es).
  4. The investigative staff shall conduct a group interview, or individual interviews if deemed more appropriate, with the Principal, Test Coordinator, and Proctor.
  5. The investigative staff shall conduct individual interviews with students from identified class(es).
  6. The investigative staff shall meet with the Principal to report findings and request development and submission of School Test Security Corrective Action Plan.
  7. The investigative staff shall develop a Corrective Action Plan including follow-up activities and timelines to check on the implementation of Test Security Corrective Action Plan. The entire document submitted to the Board of Directors for review and approval.
  8. The Board of Directors shall determine what, if any, disciplinary action shall be taken against the employee/s accused and found by the investigative staff to be in violation of test security and irregularities.
  9. The Test Security Corrective Action Plan shall be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Education Division of Students Standards and Assessments, and any follow-up activities shall be implemented by the Test Coordinator.
  1. Responsibilities of Test Coordinator
  1. Attend regional and/or state test coordinator’s meetings conducted by the Louisiana Department of Education.
  2. Order, receive, and inventory all testing materials. Secure test booklets, answer sheets, supplementary secure materials (e.g., writing prompts, science tasks), and administrator manuals that contain actual test items under lock and key.
  3. Maintain a list of school personnel by name and position authorized to have access to locked, secure storage area where all test materials are stored.
  4. Investigate and report discrepancies or irregularities to the Principal and , if a state test, to the Louisiana Department of Education Division of Students Standards and Assessments.
  5. Inform the Principal of test security laws, policies, regulations, and administrative procedures.
  6. Maintain a dated and signed roster of all school system personnel trained in test security and test administration.
  7. Keep written dated and signed documentation of testing materials distributed and returned.
  8. Provide test schedules to the Principal.
  9. Conduct training in-service for monitors as deemed appropriate.
  10. Oversee monitoring of all tests.
  11. Pack tests and ship to scoring service or place in secure locked storage.
  12. Follow all policies of BESE, testing vendors, and Excellence Academy Charter School with regard to requests from parents or other examine secure tests.
  13. Trains authorized users of the LEAP Web Reporting System, and ensure that individual student test data are protected from unauthorized access and disclosure. This includes ensuring the security of passwords to authorized users only of the LEAP Web Reporting System, any disks or CDs with downloaded individual student test data, student-level data open on a computer screen, individual student data in paper and electronic format, and of aggregated data of fewer than ten students.
  14. Keep the Principal informed of all testing requirements, schedules, and irregularities.
  15. Conduct in-service on test security for all persons having access to secure test materials; conduct in-service for test administrators on test security and on test administration procedures.
  16. Keep on file a dated and signed roster of all school personnel attending the annual in-school in-service on test security and another roster on each test administration in-service.
  17. Keep accurate written documentation of distributed and returned test materials each day with date, time, and serial numbers, to whom distributed, by whom returned.
  18. Report in writing, with the Principal’s signature and date, any missing test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials, and any discrepancies in serial numbers of testing materials to the Louisiana Department of Education prior to administration of the test.
  19. In the event state-contracted test booklets, answer documents, or supplementary secure materials are determined to be missing while in the possession of the school or in the event of any other testing irregularities or breaches of security, the Excellence Academy Charter School Test Coordinator shall immediately notify by telephone the Director of the Division of Student Standards and Assessments (LDE). The Test Coordinator shall investigate the cause of discrepancy and provide the Louisiana Department of Education with a report of the investigation in thirty (30) calendar days of the initiation of the investigation. If the documents are determined to be missing while in possession of a test administrator, obtain a signed and date written detailed report from the test administrator of what happened and submit this as part of the written investigative report.
  20. Monitor administration of tests. Be available during the testing period to answer any questions that arise. Report testing irregularities to the Principal immediately.
  21. Test Coordinator should not be responsible for administering tests during peak testing periods.
  22. Pack and return all used and unused test booklets, answer sheets, supplementary secure materials (e.g., writing prompts, science tasks), administrator manuals, and other require documents to the Louisiana Department of Education according to instructions.
  1. Responsibilities of the Principal
  1. Oversee and be responsible for total school adherence to test security laws, policies, regulations, and administrative procedures.
  2. Appoint test coordinators and see that they provide test security and test administration in-service to school staff.
  3. Keep on file a list of school personnel by name and position authorized to have access to the locked, secure storage area where all test materials are stored.
  4. Assign only personnel who have been trained on test security and test administration to administer tests; assign other certified personnel and Para-professionals to assist with monitoring or proctoring during testing.
  5. Fully inform all faculty, students, and parents of test security policies, procedures, and schedules; and inform them of high-stakes testing requirements.
  6. Provide a school environment conductive to good testing practices and procedures throughout the week/s of testing:
  7. Rearrange regular schedule to adhere to state testing schedules.
  8. Turn off bells.
  9. Avoid and disallow fire drills, use of PA system, and other interruptions during test administration.
  10. Monitor testing and cooperate state monitors.
  11. Report any discrepancies or testing irregularities to Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors immediately.
  12. Keep written documentation of all discrepancies/irregularities and how each discrepancy/irregularity was investigated and handled within the school. Submit a written report to Excellence Academy Charter School Board of Directors of any investigation and maintain a file copy.
  13. Cooperate with the Louisiana Department of Education staff on any investigation of a suspected test security violation by student/s and/or staff.
  14. Ensure protection of individual student test data in paper and electronic format, and of aggregated data of fewer than ten students.
  1. Responsibilities of Test Administrators
  1. Attend in-service on Test Security and Test Administration.
  2. Disseminate all testing materials in the same manner each time. Do not allow students to pass materials to others. Before beginning each testing session, check to see that each student has his/her own test booklet and answer document.
  3. Before and after testing periods, and during any recess breaks, keep all testing materials under lock and key until returned to the Test Coordinator. Test materials should never be left out in the open in an unlocked and unattended room.
  4. When taking any short break within the classroom, make sure all test materials are picked up off all students’ desks. Monitor the class during the break by standing at the front of the classroom and observing carefully.
  5. Code student answer documents according to specific instructions provided. Because answer documents according to specific instructions provided. Because answer documents are secure materials, this activity should be treated with the same security measures and procedures as test administration.
  6. Adhere to test schedule. Administering any test section out-of-schedule shall be treated as a test security irregularity.
  7. Conduct testing in a classroom environment unless small-group or individual testing is provided as an allowable accommodation to eligible 504, special education, or limited English proficient students.
  8. Administer make-up testing if allowed. Makeup testing is mandatory for all LEAP 21, GEE 21, iLEAP, and Iowa Tests.
  9. Adhere to all test administration procedures as outlined in test administrator’s manual and instructions.
  10. Adhere to all test security measures as outlined in administrators’ manuals, this Excellence Academy Charter School Test Security policy, and the state Board of elementary and Secondary Education Test Security policy.
  11. Return all scorable and non-scorable materials, signed Security and Confidentiality Statement, and any other requested documents to the School Test Coordinator.
  12. Submit signed and dated written documentation of any testing irregularity or materials discrepancy to the Principal and the Test Coordinator. Maintain a file copy.
  13. Testing Schedules
  1. Excellence Academy Charter School shall follow testing schedules established at the state level.       Administering any state test section at a time that is different to the state schedule without specific approval of the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments and/or Excellence Academy Charter School Test Coordinator shall be treated as a test security violation.
  2. Any single student, or group of students that requests early or late test administration of any whole test or test section on any test (LEAP 21, GEE 21, iLEAP, the Iowa Tests or LAA) because of a school trip, convention, other Excellence Academy Charter School approved student activity, or any other reason, must make a written request signed and approved by the Principal to the Test Coordinator. Test Coordinator will refer the request to the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Student Standards and Assessments, seeking their approval prior to test administration.

 

 

Ref:     La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:24, 17:81, 17:81.6, 49:953

Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices, Bulletin 118, Louisiana Department of Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USE OF MOVIES AND CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECTS IN CLASSROOM INSTTRUCTION

 

The Board of Directors of Excellence Academy Charter School understand that from time to time the use of movies and/or excerpts of movies and other media productions will enhance the study of certain subjects, as well as providing a visual aid regarding the presentation of certain issues that are appropriate for school age children. The Board also understands it responsibility to safeguard students from the movies and/or media productions that include material that is not appropriate for students of certain ages.

 

The Board of Directors realizes that certain movies and/or media productions may involve the presentation of controversial issues and/or images that are not appropriate for students of certain ages or may involve topics that are not suitable to the community standards. The Board of Directors, the Principal and the classroom teachers all have a responsibility to make certain that if such subjects and/or controversial issues are necessary to be presented, that such would be accomplished in such a way as to do justice to the topic in a balanced, yet guarded manner so that all opinions are represented, and without offensive language or images.

 

Full length movies that are rated PG or a rating that is for more mature audiences shall be considered controversial at the K-5 grade level. Full length movies related PG-13 or a rating that is for more mature audiences shall be considered controversial at the 6-12 grade level. A classroom teacher shall be allowed to show excerpts of movies that fall into these categories provided that such excerpts as are used in no ways depict the content of the movie that required the PG, PG-13 or a rating that is for more mature audiences as appropriate in each case. Any use of movies or movie excerpts must be approved by the Principal or his/her designee, and should be clearly described in the lesson plans of the classroom teacher. The lesson plans should document why the movie and/or the excerpt of the movie is appropriate relative to the subject and or concept being taught.

 

Classroom teachers are specifically prohibited from showing movie and/or an excerpt of a movie to a class when the movie is not specifically called for in the classroom teacher’s lesson plans, and when the Principal or his/her designee has not approved of the use of the movie or the excerpts as the case may be. Showing a movie or an excerpt of a movie in order to “fill” the class period is strictly prohibited.

 

In some rare cases the Principal may be requested to approve the use of a movie or a movie excerpt that contains controversial subject matter and/or language or images that would ordinarily not be permissible or appropriate. In such cases if the Principal agrees with the classroom teacher that such a movie or excerpt would be helpful in advancing a student’s understanding of all aspects of the controversial subject, the Principal shall require a parent permission form to be signed by the parents and/or guardians of the students in that particular class. Any student whose parent or guardian refuses to sign the permission form will not be permitted to remain in the classroom during the showing of any part of the movie or the movie excerpts. In such cases, a parent permission form must be signed for each movie or movie excerpt, and no general permission form will b accepted and/or allowed.

 

Any violations of this policy and/or the intent of this policy shall be reported to the Board of Directors immediately. In case of any violation of this policy, the Board shall act to protect and safeguard the students and the school, and shall deal with the offender in a manner that would be appropriate, including if necessary, suspension and/or termination of the classroom teacher’s contract.

 

EXCELLENCE ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

TIERED TEACHING STRUCTURE

 

 

The following teaching positions will be classified in Tier I:

Elementary Classroom Teachers (K-8)

Physical Education Teachers

 

 

The following teaching positions will be classified in Tier II:

Art Teachers

Social Studies Teachers (Only)

ELA Teachers (Only)

Special Education Teachers

 

 

The following teaching positions will be classified in Tier III:

Foreign Language Teachers (Only)

Mathematics Teachers (Only)

Science Teachers (Only)

Jr. High Mathematics Teachers (Only)

Jr. High Science Teachers (Only)

 

 

Any other teaching position that is not listed will be classified by the Principal with

the approval of the Personnel Committee.