Press Releases

Thursday, April 27, 2017 1:48 PM

Paul M. Healey, Ph.D., PA Principals Association Executive Director, will be featured, along with executive directors from PASA, PSBA, PACTA and PAIU, on WITF's Smart Talk tonight at 7 p.m. They will be discussing the State of Education in Pennsylvania. Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program).


Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:56 AM

The state’s spending $80 million a year; that doesn’t include what school districts spend administering and preparing for the test. According to the Education Department, Pennsylvania is in the middle of the pack among states when it comes to spending on these exams.
ABC Channel 27, April 26, 2017
Full story

Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:55 AM

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that aims to reduce the federal government's role in K-12 education.
Associated Press, April 26, 2017
Full story

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:43 AM

New school vaccination rules that take effect in August will require Pennsylvania children to be fully vaccinated within the first five days of school.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 25, 2017
Full story

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:42 AM

More bills are emerging in the Pennsylvania Legislature to end or loosen a requirement that students pass the Keystone Exams to graduate high school. One bill unveiled Tuesday would allow school districts, not the state, to decide whether to use the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.
Associated Press, April 25, 2017
Full story

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:40 AM

The state House on Tuesday approved a plan to update the state’s 20-year-old law governing charter schools in Pennsylvania. The measure passed 108-84 and now goes to the Senate, which passed a similar, but not identical measure last year.
Sharon Herald, April 26, 2017
Full story
Last night, PSBA released this statement expressing concern over the passage of HB 97.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 3:59 PM

Representatives of several education leadership associations recently released the 2016-17 State of Education report highlighting the many successes and challenges facing public education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Paul M. Healey, Ph.D., PA Principals Association Executive Director, spoke at the news conference on April 24, 2017. Click here for the news conference (YouTube video). Click here for the PSBA press release.

Healey news conference

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 9:35 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is pleased to announce the availability of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) 2017-20 Request for Applications and the 21st CCLC Cohort 9 Grant Paper Application and Instructions for 2017-20.  The Cohort 9 application for the 21st CCLC grant will be created, submitted, collected and competed via a paper application process.

Program Purpose

The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or to expand activities in community learning centers that:

  1. provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students, particularly students who attend low-performing schools, to meet the challenging State academic standards; 
  2. offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, arts, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, environmental literacy programs, mathematics, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector or occupation for high school students that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and
  3. offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

Prior to Grant Award

All potential applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Notify PDE via email of the applicant’s intent to submit an application.  Include the legal name of entity, and either the AUN (school districts/charter schools/intermediate units) or EIN (all other organizations) and vendor number for the lead organization.  Specify in the letter of intent to apply the target population to be served including grade levels, proposed site locations, district and school names, community based organization partners, etc.  Email your letter of intent to Susan D’Annunzio at Due Date:  May 4, 2017.  Please note this is due prior to the paper application submission deadline. No extensions will be granted.
  1. If your agency is not a school district, charter school or intermediate unit, or if you have never received a grant in prior cohorts, you will need to register for a vendor number. Non-Procurement Entities can apply for a brand new vendor number using the following link:  Applicants must have a vendor number at the time they submit an application for funding in order to do business with the commonwealth and so that they can eventually be paid by the commonwealth, if their application is selected for funding.  Once you have a vendor number, you will provide your vendor number on the Title Page form and grant agreement document. Applicants who already have a vendor number to do business with the commonwealth will use the previously received vendor number.
  2. Include the DUNS number. DUNS, or data universal number system, is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. In accordance with the Federal Fiscal Accountability Transparency Act (FFATA), all grant recipients must have a valid DUNS number and must also be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM), the successor to the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. DUN’s numbers are issued by Dun and Bradstreet and are available for free to all entities required to register under FFATA.

To obtain a DUNS number, go to

To register with the SAM database, go to

Applicants are required to submit their DUNS number and expiration date of their SAM registration as part of the EWEG application and must certify that they will ensure that their SAM registration will remain active for the entire grant period. 

  1. Consult with all eligible nonpublic entities located within the attendance area of the local education agency regarding participation in the proposed 21st CCLC program. Complete and submit the Certification of Non-public Involvement Form located in the Appendix of this document. Provide eligible nonpublic entities adequate time before the application due date to receive and respond to the Certification of Non-public Involvement Form. The equitable participation and nonpublic involvement should be an ongoing process and applicants selected for funding will be required to retain documentation of all dates of verbal, written and oral communication. Charter schools need not complete this process.
  1. Register to attend one pre-proposal workshop. One pre-proposal workshop will be   simultaneously broadcast from Harrisburg PaTTAN on Monday, May 8, 2017 to the Malvern and Pittsburgh locations.

Review the United States Department of Education’s Non-Regulatory Guidance document section F-16, “Students, teachers, and other educational personnel are eligible to participate in 21st CCLC programs on an equitable basis. A public school or other public or private organization that is awarded a grant must provide equitable services to private school students and their families. In designing a program that meets this requirement, grantees must provide comparable opportunities for the participation of both public- and private-school students in the area served by the grant. Grantees must consult with private school officials during the design and development of the 21st CCLC program on issues such as how the children's needs will be identified and what services will be offered. Services and benefits provided to private school students must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological.”

  1. Review the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 for changes that will impact 21st CCLC program implementation effective July 1, 2017.

Application Process

The 2017-20 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) application and all attachments are available online on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) 21st CCLC website at, keywords 21st CCLC.  Applications for the 2017-20 Cohort 9 21st CCLC grant will be created, submitted, collected and competed via a paper application process. Applications received with all required documents by the noon May 26, 2017 due date at the Division of Student Services will proceed to the peer review and will be rated on the criteria contained in this document and in the 2017-20 Paper Application and Instructions document.  The narrative format of the proposal must follow the same order as the application evaluation criteria listed below.  Applications that do not follow this required format order will not be reviewed and will be disqualified from the competitive process without exception. Applications missing any required attachments will be disqualified. All applicants are encouraged to follow the 2017-20 Request for Applications Guidelines.

Applicants are required to complete each section of the 21st CCLC paper application explained in the 21st Cohort 9 Grant Paper Application and Instructions for 2017-20 document and submit the completed application to Ms. Maribel Martinez at PDE’s Division of Student Services at the address listed below by noon on Friday, May 26, 2017.  No sections of the paper application are optional.  Faxed and emailed copies will not be accepted.  Originals, paper copies and attachments received after the deadline will not be reviewed. Failure to submit the required number of application copies by the deadline or to include copies of all attachments and narrative sections will result in the disqualification of the grant application and denial to proceed to the peer review. Applicants must submit one original and four copies of the completed narrative application with attachments and required signatory documents to:

Ms. Maribel Martinez, Fiscal Technician

Pennsylvania Department of Education    

Division of Student Services

333 Market Street, 5th Floor

Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333

Applications may be hand delivered to PDE at the above address, or sent via overnight mail or United States Mail.  All applications must be postmarked as received by PDE no later than the May 26, 2017 noon deadline in order to proceed to the peer review.  Please note that grant applications received through application overnight mail submission and or travel to PDE is not a reimbursable expense under any cohort.

Pre-Grant Workshops/Webinar

PDE will conduct one pre-proposal workshop in the Harrisburg area and two additional pre-proposal workshops will be simultaneously live-streamed to additional locations throughout the state at PaTTAN Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Malvern on May 8, 2017. All applicants are required to attend one pre-proposal meeting, including prior grantees, where PDE will provide information about the goals and priorities of the 21st CCLC, application procedures, evaluation criteria and technical assistance and resource information about high quality programming. Registration instructions can be found on page 70 of the 2017-20 Request for Applications Guidelines  and the 21st CCLC Cohort 9 Grant Paper Application and Instructions for 2017-20 posted on the PDE 21st CCLC website at and the Center for Schools and Communities website at

Participation in a pre-grant workshop is required for all eligible community-based organizations, school districts or charter schools, intermediate units, faith-based organizations and nationally affiliated service organizations planning to submit an application for the 21st CCLC competitive funds for 2017-20. To register, please email Ms. Kaci Baade at Please, no phone calls.  Include the location where you will attend, your name, email address, telephone number and the name of the organization that is planning to apply. Please be aware that an access code will be required for entry at the Pittsburgh PaTTAN location.           

Funding Availability

PDE will have approximately $18 million available for Cohort 9 grants. Applicants may choose to provide out-of-school time programming (i.e. before school, afterschool, holidays, weekends and summer school services) focused on providing opportunities for academic enrichment, including tutorial services to assist students, particularly those who attend low performing schools and to assist them in meeting the challenging academic standards in prekindergarten through grade 12.  The performance measures of school attendance, classroom performance, and/or reduced disciplinary referrals and meeting state and local academic achievement standards in reading, math, and science must be addressed by all applicants.

Applicants may request funds ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of up to $400,000. Programs that propose to provide both school year and summer programming are more powerful for results and data; therefore, no funds will be available for applicants who do not propose a minimum of six weeks of summer programming.  There will be no summer-only applicants in this grant round.

Federal Funding Priorities

As mandated by federal law, highest funding priority will be given to applications:

      “(A) proposing to target services to—

            (i) students who primarily attend schools that:

(I) are implementing comprehensive support and improvement activities or targeted support and improvement activities under section 1111(d) or other schools determined by the local educational agency to be in need of intervention and support to improve student academic achievement and other outcomes (priority and focus schools); and

(II) enroll students who may be at risk for academic failure, dropping out of school, involvement in criminal or delinquent activities, or who lack strong positive role models; and

(ii) the families of students described in clause (i)

(B) submitted jointly by eligible entities consisting of not less than 1 — (i) local educational agency receiving funds under part A of title I; and

(ii) another eligible entity; and

(C) demonstrating that the activities proposed in the application—

(i) are, as of the date of the submission of the application, not accessible to students who would be served; or

(ii) would expand accessibility to high-quality services that may be available in the community.

(2) Special Rule-The state educational agency shall provide the same priority under paragraph (1) to an application submitted by a local educational agency if the local educational agency demonstrates that it is unable to partner with a community-based organization in reasonable geographic proximity and of sufficient quality to meet the requirements of this part.

(3) Limitation- A state educational agency may not give a priority or a preference to eligible entities that seek to use funds made available under this part to extend the regular school day.

(j) Renewability of Awards-A state educational agency may renew a subgrant provided under this part to an eligible entity, based on the eligible entity’s performance during the preceding subgrant period.

In determining whether an application has been “submitted jointly”, PDE will look for evidence of:

a. collaboration in the planning and design of the program;

b. substantial roles for each partner in the delivery of services and management and oversight of the program;

c. shared grant resources to carry out roles;

d. one partner serving as the fiscal agent; and

e. integration with the regular school day program.”

Only one contract will be issued for each application selected for funding, even for joint proposals. Communities or organizations may apply together to share resources, so long as statutory requirements are met. PDE has determined that for the purpose of the 21st CCLC grant, the following constitute an eligible consortium: two or more individual companies, community based organizations, service related organizations, or educational entities that partner together to benefit the students at the educational site locations targeted for program implementation for the purpose of the grant and who actively contribute to and collaborate on the 21st CCLC-funded project.

Only one partner will be named as the grantee if selected for funding and will have the fiduciary and fiscal responsibilities for the grant.  Consequently, every joint application must identify only one organization to be designated as the grantee and the fiscal agent on behalf of all members of the consortium.  That entity will have fiscal and contractual responsibility for carrying out the proposed grant program. PDE strongly encourages joint collaborators to identify a grantee that has expertise in managing the fiscal and contractual obligations required by 21st CCLC. Organizations do not have to demonstrate prior experience in providing afterschool programs to be eligible to apply for a grant but must, however, describe the likelihood of successful implementation and the capability to provide activities and services outlined in the proposal. Members seeking payment for services will be considered providers rather than partners.

Letters of endorsement are not by themselves sufficient evidence that organizations or school districts have substantially been involved in the design of a program. Letters of support of applications received will not be reviewed as part of the peer review process. Please refrain from submitting letters of support.

Pennsylvania’s Funding Priority

For the purposes of this application Pennsylvania will award funds to applicants proposing to provide services to designated focus and priority schools in the lowest five to ten percent of Title l.  All applicants must meet this Pennsylvania priority in order to receive highest funding priority consideration.  Highest funding priority will be given to qualified applicants proposing to provide afterschool services before school, afterschool, during the summer and holidays to academically struggling students attending schools designated as “priority” or “focus” schools with school performance profile scores in the lowest five to ten percent of Title I schools and will receive the highest funding priority consideration for 21st CCLC funds. 

Up to 110 additional priority points could be assigned to applications demonstrating prior program experience and that propose highest quality programming for the priority area targeted. Following are the additional priority areas:

The 2017-20 additional Pennsylvania priorities for 21st CCLC funding:

  1. STEM/STEAM: Preference for funding will be given to qualified applicants with demonstrated prior experience and success in providing services to elementary, middle (6-8), and high school (9-12) students in grades 2-12 who propose offering programs that build skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (referred to in this paragraph as ‘STEM’), including computer science, and that foster innovation in learning by supporting nontraditional STEM education teaching methods. Applicants could be eligible for up to 20 extra priority points based on the quality of their proposal.
  1. WORKFORCE/CAREER READINESS/COLLEGE READINESS: Preference for funding will be given to  qualified applicants with demonstrated prior experience and success in providing services to middle and high school students in grades 9-12 that partner with in-demand fields of the local workforce or build career competencies and career readiness and ensure that local workforce and career readiness skills are aligned with the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act  and assist students in preparing for meaningful engagement in preparing for postsecondary education,  workforce training,  career pathways, and  increase college and career readiness.  Please note that grant funds cannot be used to pay for shadowing and or internships for students and it must occur in an out of school time setting.

Applicants must document evidence of expanding career connections for students while promoting career-technical and college routes. Career and college readiness programming must offer the following: alignment with realistic college attendance aspirations, academic planning for college and career readiness, academic enrichment opportunities to improve grades and college or technical school eligibility; offer assistance in paper and online applications, helping students to prepare for careers and technical school or college, provide structured homework help, college counseling services and afterschool and summer learning programs also provide engaging learning opportunities for youth by connecting learning to careers, college, and other future plans. Applicants could be eligible for up to 20 extra priority points based on the quality of their proposal.

  1. TRANSITIONAL VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL SERVICES PLANNING: Preference for funding will be given to qualified applicants with demonstrated prior experience and success in providing transitional planning services to middle school students in grades 6-12.  Transitional planning will involve deliberate sustainable planning between these entities and exploring means to identify student’s talents, interests, and to provide resources and training reinforced by interaction with local business and industry partners during afterschool hours to emphasize the importance of vocational/technical skills and specific career clusters offered through pursuing career and technical education.   Afterschool applicants selected for funding will assist in identifying student post- secondary careers, career acquisition, career retention and advancement and developing tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Applicants could be eligible for up to 20 extra priority points based on the quality of their proposal.
  1. HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT RECOVERY: Preference for funding will be given to qualified applicants offering credit recovery to high school students in grades 9-12 through a blended approach. An applicant may propose to use 21st CCLC program funds for a before or afterschool program or activity for which participants may receive credit toward high school graduation requirements if: (1) such a program or activity is an expansion of the options for receiving high school credit in a particular area that would not have been provided without the 21st CCLC program; and (2) the program or activity does not replace or reduce the courses and programs normally provided by a local school district or private school (i.e., there is no reduction in the course offerings or costs in that particular academic area).  Please note that drop - in programs are unallowable, credit recovery students must attend the program for all portions of the program, and credit recovery must include a blended approach of face-to-face instructor- led components and online programming.  The online component cannot be 100 percent of the teaching methodology.  Please refer to the Credit Recovery Toolkit in the Standard Aligned System. High school credit recovery programs should align with the PDE Credit Recovery toolkit Applicants could be eligible for up to 20 extra priority points based on the quality of their proposal.

Note: It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the entity or district to award the credit. Application must include a letter of agreement between the LEA and the grantee clarifying the responsibility of recording the credits.

  1. UNDERSERVED GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS: Preference for funding will be given to qualified applicants proposing services to K-12 students located in the following Pennsylvania counties identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as those that do not currently have  21st CCLC programs or have not received recent funding as an applicant or part of a consortium: Armstrong, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Huntington, Jefferson, Juniata, Lycoming, Mercer, Mifflin, Montour, Pike, Potter, Somerset,  Sullivan, Snyder, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming. Preference for funding will be given to qualified applications from communities across Pennsylvania that are not currently receiving 21st CCLC funding.  In order to qualify for this priority, no member of the consortium group or any single applicant agency, district or community based agency will have received a 21st CCLC grant under any name since 2010. Applicants could be eligible for up to 30 extra priority points based on the quality of their proposal.

Please note that applicants are not permitted to divest more than 20 percent of the total grant award to any single entity, including but not limited to partners, collaborators or sub-grantees.  At a minimum, applicants must maintain direct control of 51 percent of the total grant award or more during the entire grant cycle.  Additionally, applicants are not allowed to divest oversight of the program administration or implementation to another agency, this includes, but is not limited to, existing 21st CCLC programs and other agencies in a sub-grant process.  These funds may not be used as a pass-through to another agency to operate a 21st CCLC program.

Period of Availability

The grant period will range from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020.

The total grant period is three years, which is anticipated to begin October 1, 2017 and to end September 30, 2020, subject to availability of funds from the United States Department of Education and satisfactory performance of the grantee in the previous year. Following the initial award, subsequent award years will be contingent upon: (1) availability of funding from the specific funding authority; (2) satisfactory performance by the grantee as evaluated by PDE, and (3) compliance with all grant requirements and meeting all conditions set forth within the 21st CCLC 2017-20 Request for Applications and Guidance and 21st Cohort 9 Grant Paper Application and Instructions for 2017-20 for which funding was provided.

Eligible Applicants

Any public or private organization that meets the eligibility requirements can apply for 21st CCLC funding.  This includes public school districts, charter schools, private schools, nonprofit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, and for-profit corporations. All programs must be implemented through a partnership that includes at least one (1) local educational agency receiving funds under part A of Title I and at least one (1) nonprofit agency, city or county government agency, faith-based organization, institution of higher education, Indian tribe or tribal organization, or for-profit corporation with a demonstrated record of success in designing and implementing before school, after school, summer learning, or expanded learning time activities.

All applicants must target student in the lowest five to ten percent of Title I schools or those listed as focus and priority schools. To be eligible for this grant, at least 85 percent of the students an applicant is proposing to serve must attend: 

  1. schools implementing comprehensive supports and improvement activities or targeted support and improvement activities under section 1111 (d) of ESSA or other schools determined by the local educational agency to be in need of intervention and support to improve student academic achievement and other outcomes; and
  2. students who may be at risk for academic failure, dropping out of school, involvement in criminal or delinquent activities, or who lack strong positive role models; and
  3. other schools determined by the local educational agency to be in need of intervention and the families of such students; and
  4. entities that propose in the application to serve students described as eligible for schoolwide programs under Title I, Section 1114 of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the families of these students or for the purposes of this request for Applications, “local educational agencies” are defined as public schools and districts, private schools, and charter schools.

A complete list of eligible schools, as of February 1, 2017 can be located at the following link:

Current cohort 7 and 8 grantees are eligible to apply, but cannot duplicate services of their current grants or propose to provide services to the identical target population of students. Cohort 9 applicants selected for funding are not eligible to amend their target populations to include current cohort 7 or 8 grants once funding for previously awarded grants has ended.

Authorized Extended Learning Opportunities                                                                                                             
An approved entity that receives an award from PDE may use the funds to carry out a broad array of activities that advance student academic achievement and support student success, including before and afterschool, summer, Saturdays and holiday programming. A minimum of 50 percent of daily programming must directly target reading, math, and science enrichment with the balance of  activities occuring on a rotational basis. No student can be removed from regularly scheduled instructional hours to participate in an extended learning opportunity. “Each eligible entity that receives an award under section 4204 may use the award funds to carry out a broad array of activities that advance student academic achievement and support student success, including:

(1) academic enrichment learning programs, mentoring progr

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:44 AM

A GOP-proposed bill currently sitting in the state House is raising questions about who should be responsible for keeping Pennsylvania students safe. It would give districts the option to let trained teachers carry firearms at school.
WITF, April 25, 2017
Full story

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:42 AM

Education leaders from across the Commonwealth are demanding "relief" from state lawmakers in Harrisburg Monday. "Ninety percent of schools report budgetary and funding issues as one of their biggest challenges," said Nathan Mains, of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association., April 24, 2017
Full story

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P.O. Box 39, 122 Valley Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 Phone: (717) 732-4999 Fax: (717) 732-4890