Press Releases

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 8:56 AM

Students who take online classes through cyber charter schools, including those in Pennsylvania, perform significantly less than their peers attending traditional schools, a national study found.

Click here for full article.

Source: The Morning Call, Oct. 27, 2015.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:46 AM

In a country where only one-third of students are rated proficient on national math and reading tests, more than 1 million drop out of high school annually, and the percentage of higher education students enrolled in remedial class might be as high as 60 percent, governors are at the forefront to help solve those and other problems by implementing new systems such as competency-based education (CBE), according to a paper released today by the National Governors Association (NGA).

Governors are the only policymakers to oversee the entire pipeline of policies and resources for their state’s education systems, making them well-positioned to lead discussions in improving education. Expanding Student Success: A Primer on Competency-Based Education from Kindergarten through Higher Education examines ways governors can support and expand CBE at the state and local levels.

In a CBE system, every student advances based on his or her demonstrated mastery of specified knowledge and skills, in contrast to traditional models, which advance students based on a specified amount of class time. Research suggests that CBE can play a role in helping more elementary and secondary students meet higher standards of learning and become better prepared for college or a career training program. Once in higher education, CBE allows for older students (traditional-age college students or adult learners) to learn on their own time, at their own pace.

Governors interested in CBE should explore the following policy areas:

  • The role of the educator and opportunities for learning;
  • Assessment and accountability; and
  • Repurposing funding.

To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Education Division, please visit


Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:22 AM

The U.S. Department of Education released a report today that shows Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge states are rapidly improving the quality of early learning programs while enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families, in the highest-quality programs.  Each state has reported successes in one or more areas.

What’s more, thousands more children are receiving health screenings to help detect medical or developmental issues earlier, the report shows. The report comes from the annual performance reviews for the 20 states who have received more than $1 billion in Early Learning Challenge grants since 2011. These reports capture the successes achieved and obstacles overcome by states in the last year.

“By investing in high-quality early learning through programs like the Early Learning Challenge, states are giving many more children a strong start in life,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “Thanks to the leadership of governors, state officials and education advocates, these states are implementing plans to develop high-quality early learning systems that improve the quality of learning and provide our youngest citizens with the strong foundation they need for success in school and beyond.”

The Early Learning Challenge is a historic federal investment that supports states in building strong systems of early learning and development to ensure that underserved children – including low-income and minority students, as well as students with disabilities and English learners - and their families have equitable access to high-quality programs.

Highlights from the reports:

  • More than 72,000 early learning and development programs are now evaluated under their states’ Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS) – an 87 percent increase since the states applied for their grants.
  • Nearly 14,000 programs are in the highest quality tiers of their states’ rating system – a 63 percent increase since the states applied for their grants.
  • Significantly more children with high needs are enrolled in programs in the highest quality tiers of their states’ rating system.
  • More than 200,000 children with high needs are enrolled in highest rated state-funded preschool programs.
  • Nearly 230,000 children with high needs are enrolled in child care programs that receive federal child care subsidy funds and are in the highest tiers.
  • More than 150,000 children with high needs are enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start programs in the highest tiers.
Monday, October 26, 2015 11:00 AM

The PA Principals Association is pleased to announce that it has recently partnered with the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) and the Foundation for Educational Administration, Inc. (FEA is the professional development division of the NJPSA) to promote their "Stand Up Say No to Bullying" anti-bullying curriculum. This flexible, web-based curriculum for students in grades 5-9, includes five basic lessons with activities that have students rewriting scripts, acting out scenes and discussing and reviewing video clips and scenarios designed to elicit student participation.

Over a year ago, the NJPSA was approached by the producer of an award-winning movie, Contest, which aired on the Cartoon Network and deals with bullying in an entertaining and thoughtful manner. Shortly following its on-air premiere, they were asked to develop educational materials to help send an important message to students in grades 5-9, "Stand Up Say No to Bullying." This new curriculum can be used independently or after viewing the movie. These lessons help schools set clear expectations for student behavior when it comes to dealing with both bullying and normal social conflict. Students will learn the following:
  • To identify the elements of bullying
  • To distinguish bullying from normal conflict
  • The positive and negative impact of bystanders
  • How to be an "upstander"
  • The specific tools to use when witnessing bullying or when engaged in normal conflict
  • The importance of real friendships
Educators spend a significant amount of time dealing with conflict among students. The Stand Up Say No to Bullying curriculum helps to build a consistent language and a consistent approach to dealing with conflict across a school community. Using clips from the movie, the voices of actors and real students and engaging classroom activities, the curriculum sends a strong message - bystanders need to embrace their power as "Upstanders" and share responsibility for creating a positive school climate.

Perhaps the best way to understand how you could use this curriculum to improve the climate in your school is to take a look at
the web site so you can learn more about the various modules in the curriculum. There is even a preview page that will give you free access to a few of the video clips, objectives and handouts that are included in the modules.

The cost for a one-year school license, which allows all the teachers in your building to access the entire curriculum, is only $550 and can be purchased
at However, if you buy the curriculum before December 31, 2015, NJPSA will discount the cost to only $500. If you are interested in learning more about this great opportunity or have questions regarding how you can use the "Stand Up Say No to Bullying" curriculum, please contact Barbara Gantwerk, FEA's coordinator of special projects, at 609-860-1200.


Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:35 AM

Three top Elizabeth Forward (Allegheny Co.) officials will research what would happen if district schools are forced to close for lack of state funding as the prolonged budget standoff drags on.

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Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Oct. 22, 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:34 AM

The Philadelphia SD will be forced to borrow millions of dollars to meet payroll through the end of the year because of the state budget impasse, officials said yesterday.

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Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 22, 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:29 AM

When Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill would bring up the topic, even some of her fellow state legislators didn't know that employees of an association that lobbies lawmakers on behalf of school boards are included in the state pension system.
Click here for full article.

Source: York Dispatch, Oct. 21, 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:15 AM

The list below are activities your school(s) may utilize in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month:

  • PA Bullying Prevention Consultation Line - 1-866-716-0424 - Messages can be left 24 hour a day, seven days a week, and will be returned Monday-Friday during normal business hours.  The Bullying Prevention Consultation Line is a toll free number that will allow individuals experiencing chronic and unresolved bullying to discuss effective strategies and available resources to deal with school-based bullying; and is available, to students, parents/guardians, and school districts across the state of Pennsylvania.


    Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:12 AM

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announces the revision of the Basic Education Circular (BEC) and the Child Accounting Guidelines.  Section VII of the Education for Homeless Youth BEC has been revised. If PDE-4605 is disclaimed and a school district of residence cannot be determined, the educating school district should submit a written request to PDE’s School Services Office to make a determination regarding the student’s “ward of the state” status.

    The Child Accounting Guidelines have also been updated with this information, and the charter/cyber school information has been updated to read:

    “Does the McKinney-Vento Act apply to Pennsylvania charter schools?

    Yes. A Pennsylvania charter or cyber charter school (“charter school”) must follow the Act’s requirements for LEAs, including designating a liaison, identifying homeless students, and ensuring immediate enrollment. Effective July 1, 2015, if the student is enrolled in a charter school, the school district of origin will remain financially responsible for the education of the student unless and until the student is no longer deemed homeless.

    The charter school must enroll a homeless student as long as other students living in the same area would be eligible to attend the school if classroom space is available. If the charter school has particular skills-related entrance requirements, the student must meet those criteria (for example, a fine arts charter school with requirements related to artistic ability). However, enrollment deadlines must be waived for students experiencing homelessness.”

    This information can be accessed on PDE’s website at, search word: Homeless Education. If there are any questions, please call Sheldon Winnick, State Coordinator, at 717-783-6466. 

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 8:18 AM

    Advance registration is closed as of 8 a.m. today, 10/14/15, for the PA Principals Conference at The Penn Stater (10/18-10/20). From this point, all registrations must be done on site. We hope to see you in State College!

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