Press Releases

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 12:51 PM

From Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education: As we approach the PSSA and spring Keystone testing windows, I'd like to offer a reminder to all LEAs concerning participation in our state assessments.  The United States Department of Education (ED) continues to call for  participation by all students; however, in recognition of special circumstances, ED provides some flexibility for five percent non-participation.  This five percent flexibility is important to Pennsylvania, as Chapter 4 regulations allow parents/guardians to have their children excused from testing due to a conflict with religious beliefs.  Though Pennsylvania regulation allows this excusal, ED does not recognize this as an allowable reason for non-participation, and students who do not participate due to the allowance in Chapter 4 will have a negative impact on an LEA's/school's participation rate.  ED believes the five percent flexibility it provides will account for any parents/guardians who choose to exercise this option.  The provision in Chapter 4 specifically says,

§ 4.4. General policies.

                    (d)  School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:

                            (4)  The right to review a State assessment in the school entity during convenient hours for parents and guardians, at least 2 weeks prior to their administration, to determine whether a State assessment conflicts  with their religious belief. To protect the validity and integrity of the State assessments, each school entity shall have in place procedures to be followed when parents or guardians request to view any State assessment. Procedures must be consistent with guidance provided by the Department in its assessment administration instructions. If upon inspection of a State assessment parents or guardians find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request that states the objection to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.

Parents/guardians are not to be denied their right to have their children excused if they follow proper protocol.  Parents/guardians must sign a confidentiality agreement form prior to reviewing the assessment.  After reviewing the assessment, parents/guardians must state in writing to the superintendent, CEO, or AVTS director that they wish to have their child(ren) excused from the assessment due to a conflict with religious belief.  The specific conflict does not need to be stated; simply that it is a conflict with religious belief.

LEAs and schools are encouraged to seek 100 percent participation in the assessments, but please be reminded of parents'/guardians' rights under Chapter 4.

 

 

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:39 AM

So what do we mean when we say "Kicking the can down the road"? In the latest chapter of Pennsylvania's ongoing impasse over the state budget, the legislature was doing the kicking – sending a more-or-less balanced budget to the governor's desk earlier this month.
Click here for full article.  
Source: PennLive.com, March 27, 2016.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:38 AM

John B. King Jr. talks about his priorities for a tenure that may be short-lived: implementing the new education law, high-quality preschool and college access, to name a few.
Click here for full article.  
Source: NPR.org, March 26, 2016.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:32 AM

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding's mission is to ensure that Pennsylvania adopts and maintains an adequate and equitable system of funding public education. CFEF has assembled news stories about the budget crisis in the Commonwealth and other funding issues by region and statewide.

Click here for a map with news by region (and statewide).

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:35 PM
The 2015-16 budget that the Governor is allowing to become law will permit schools that have been pushed to the brink by the budget impasse to remain open and their students to complete this academic year.
But make no mistake: this budget does not solve the state's long-term school funding crisis. The threshold for a successful school funding system should not be whether there is enough money for schools to keep their doors open and the lights on. It is about whether there are sufficient resources so that all students - no matter where they live - can succeed in school and meet the state's academic standards.
The Governor and legislature must immediately turn their attention to the 2016-17 budget. They must work together to enact the fair school funding formula recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission and pass an on-time budget for 2016-17 that makes a significant investment in our public schools next year of at least $400 million and provides adequate revenues to support that investment.
Every school year counts for a student. We cannot allow Pennsylvania's children to endure another school year without solving the state's education funding crisis.
 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:49 PM

In calculating Highlands SD's 2016-17 school budget, Superintendent Michael Bjalobok said district officials have to use their imaginations (Allegheny Co.).
Click here for full article.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 21, 2016.

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:48 PM

Frustrated taxpayers and concerned parents of school children came out to vent Monday at a meeting to address the ongoing state budget impasse.  More than 300 went to the Hanover Area High School auditorium to hear state legislators and local education officials talk about the budget impasse. 

Click here for full article.
Source: Citizens Voice, March 22, 2016.

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:45 PM

At a time when school budgets around Pennsylvania are drying up, the Central Bucks SD (Bucks Co.) has set itself apart in a seemingly financial oasis.

Click here for full article.
Source: The Intelligencer, March 22, 2016.

 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:09 PM

Join GrapeSEED for a webinar to discuss Oakland University’s independent research into the effectiveness of oral language acquisition for early reading fluency and what it means for early childhood educators worldwide.

These longitudinal studies were conducted at multiple schools and in diverse populations of children from preschool to Grade 2. We will review the testing measurements used but quickly drill down into understanding the impact on various student subgroups and on their literacy skills.

Presenter: Deonna Montei, Literacy Consultant

Deonna has served as a Teacher, an Administrator, a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, a Regional Literacy Training Center Director, and a Literacy Consultant for more than 30 of Michigan’s public and private school districts in rural, urban and suburban areas and in the inner city, as well as in public, private and charter schools. It has given her a first-hand perspective on what really makes a difference when it comes to language.

Register now.

 

 

 

 

 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 9:26 AM

On Wednesday, March 23, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET), NASSP will begin its three-part webinar series on the new Every Student Succeeds Act, also known as ESSA. This historic law, which was passed in December 2015, ends most of the punitive provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act and shifts responsibility to the states for all decisions related to adoption and implementation of challenging academic standards. This could include Common Core State Standards, the development of accountability systems for schools and educators, and evaluations and support systems for teachers and principals.

 

These webinars will help educators understand how ESSA differs from current law, and what they can do as advocates at the state level to ensure they are part of the policy development process.

The first webinar in this series will highlight the major Title I provisions of ESSA and discuss the responsibility of states to adopt challenging academic standards and assessments, establish accountability goals for all student subgroups and schools on a wide range of performance indicators, and implement locally designed school improvement strategies for schools that are struggling.

Presenters:

Amanda Karhuse is the director of advocacy at NASSP. She coordinates all federal policy and advocacy efforts for NASSP, which include lobbying congressional staff, monitoring legislation affecting middle level and high school leaders, and participating in coalition-building activities with other national education organizations.

 

David Chodak is the associate director of advocacy at NASSP. He is responsible for developing NASSP’s grassroots advocacy agenda, representing NASSP before Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, and integrating student leaders into NASSP’s advocacy initiatives.

 

Richard M. Long is the executive director at Learning First Alliance (LFA) and has spent the past four decades working in education policy. Under Long’s leadership, LFA will focus on the implementation of ESSA while continuing work on college and career ready standards through LFA’s “Get It Right” campaign.

 

Fees:
This webinar is sponsored by the Learning First Alliance and is free for both NASSP members and nonmembers.

Registration:

Click here to register.

 

Save the Dates for Part 2 and Part 3 - 

Part 2: ESSA Title II Provisions
Wednesday, April 27 | 3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)
Learn about the allowable uses of funding at the state and local levels, including the Title II grants to help states and districts prepare, train, and recruit high-quality school leaders.

Part 3: ESSA Title IV Provisions
Thursday, May 12 | 3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)
This webinar will discuss the requirement that states work with districts to provide effective student transitions to middle school and high school, as well as provisions to support literacy programs, digital learning, and personalization in schools.

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