Press Releases

Thursday, May 28, 2015 8:30 AM

Pennsylvania school administrators are invited to take advantage of an excellent leadership opportunity that will help eliminate the achievement gap within their school and district. The Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute (ECELI), a PA Inspired Leadership course, bring together K-3 and early education leaders in a cooperative, professional learning community.

Through this training, K-3 administrators have the opportunity to acquire deeper knowledge and greater leadership skills to successfully identify and navigate the challenges and opportunities in creating Prenatal to Grade 3 (P3) alignment. Promoting access to high quality K-3 classrooms for children at risk for school failure due to poverty, disability, dual language learning and other high risk factors is a focus of all school administrators in eliminating the achievement gap and is addressed in a P3 approach.

The Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institutes are ideal for those leaders who want to take a deeper dive into collaborative learning and relationship building around early learning and P3 alignment. Participation in the ECELI encourages a partnership between the school-based and early care and learning systems which children and families navigate. It also builds relationships to create coordinated, aligned, and coherent learning experiences for students and their families. 

Click here to see the dates, locations and application information

Information is also available on the PA Department of Education website:–%20Administrators/PA%20Inspired%20Leaders/Pages/default.aspx#.VPndoX4o6Uk

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 3:29 PM

GrapeSEED is hosting a Web Seminar on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. EST

Research has shown that oral language has a profound effect on children’s reading success throughout their academic career. Presenters will share how and why oral language acquisition and critical listening strategies are significantly improving reading fluency in young English learners and test scores for all student populations. They will also cover oral language concepts, why it works, research findings and teacher stories based on their experiences.

Click on the link below for more information and to register.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015 10:49 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will be offering training on the 2015 Attributions for Federal and State Accountability Reporting. This training will use the 2015 Attribution Map, discuss the Data Recognition Corporation Attribution window in eDIRECT, and the impact these attributions have on federal and state accountability and teacher effectiveness.

Please download the 2015 Attribution Map prior to the presentation from PDE's website at > K-12 > Assessment and Accountability > Pennsylvania Accountability System (PAS) > 2015 Attribution Map v.1.

There will be four sessions of the 2015 Attributions for Federal and State Accountability Reporting training webinar. The training will consist of presenters from PDE's Divisions of Performance Analysis and Reporting and Data Quality, along with Data Recognition Corporation. Please select the link that uniquely identifies the date and time you will attend.

May 26, 2015 from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

May 26, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

May 27, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

May 27, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Please contact PDE's division of Performance Analysis and Reporting with any questions at (717) 705-2343 or

Monday, May 18, 2015 10:46 AM

Terry Madonna will join the next monthly Twitter chat with Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations on Tuesday, May 26 at 8 p.m. Madonna is Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. He is also the Director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll.

Topics will include, but not be limited to: Property tax reform, Governor Wolf’s budget proposal, and of course the need for a fair, predictable basic education funding formula. Use hashtag #FairFundingPA to participate and follow the conversation.

On the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m., the following organizations go to Twitter to discuss timely topics, ask questions and listen to the public’s responses:

  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA);
  • The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association)
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS)

Join the conversation. Share your ideas, lurk, learn and let us know what you think about the state’s support for public schools. It’s a simple, free and fast-paced way to communicate and share information. If you’ve never tweeted before, here are directions and a few tips:

How to Get Started

Log-on to, sign-up, create your profile, find people and organizations you are interested in following and start tweeting out messages in 140 characters or less. Be sure to follow our Twitter chat participants:

  • @PASASupts – Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators
  • @PSBA – Pennsylvania School Boards Association
  • @PASBO_org – Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials
  • @PA Principals Association – Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals/Assistant Principals
  • @PARSS2go – Pennsylvania Association of Rural and School Schools

What is a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats happen when a group of people all tweet about the same topic using a specific tag (#), called a hashtag, which allows it to be followed like a transcript on Twitter.

Follow the Conversation or Check Back Later

To follow a Twitter chat live or to read the conversation later, log-on to Twitter, click on the #Discover link, then search for #FairFundingPA. You will see all recent tweets on that topic. Read, reply and post your own thoughts and messages. It’s That Easy. Join the Conversation!

Thursday, May 14, 2015 9:44 AM

Sweeping aside decades of legal precedent and policy-making tradition, Senate Republicans passed a pension reform bill Wednesday that, as written, would change benefit formulas mid-career for more than 360,000 current state workers and school employees.  The 28-19 vote was a ringing endorsement for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman's insistence that killing Pennsylvania's tax-eating pension tapeworm is a must-have for the 30-member Senate GOP caucus in this spring's state budget talks.

Click here for full article.

Source: Penn Live, by Charles Thompson |, on May 13, 2015 at 9:30 PM, updated May 13, 2015 at 9:35 PM; PA Ed Policy Roundup, May 14, 2015.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 9:39 AM

On a 28-19 vote, the Senate's Republican majority carried a major public employee pension reform measure to passage Wednesday afternoon.  All Republicans present voted for the bill except one, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County. All Democrats present voted against it.  The bill, as passed, would for the first time in more than 30 years attempt to roll back future pension benefit formulas for current state employees and school teachers, albeit only for their work after its enactment.  Supporters say it is needed to rid the state budget of a fiscal tapeworm that is crowding out other needed investments.  Opponents, including the state's major public sector unions, have vowed a court challenge if that kind of language is passed into law.

Click here for full article.

Source: Penn Live, by Charles Thompson |, May 13, 2015 at 3:28 PM, updated May 13, 2015 at 5:18 PM; PA Ed Policy Roundup, May 14, 2015.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 9:32 AM

Senate bill to overhaul the state's two debt-ridden pension systems could save taxpayers $18.2 billion over 30 years by reducing benefits for current and future state workers and school employees. Or maybe not.

Under Pennsylvania law, legislation that alters public pensions must receive an independent mathematical review to determine potential taxpayer costs and savings.  But the actuarial firm hired by the Pennsylvania Employee Retirement Commission to review Senate Bill 1 said it was not given enough time to read the 410-page legislation, which was unveiled Friday. The alleged savings may not be accurate, the firm cautioned in a report released Tuesday.  "We are disclosing that the time available for preparing this letter was insufficient to perform a complete review and thus this letter should be considered preliminary in nature," Chester County firm Milliman wrote.

Click here for full article.

Source: Morning Call, By Steve Esack Morning Call Harrisburg Bureau, May 13, 2015; PA Ed Policy Roundup, May 14, 2015.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:25 AM

A state Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that would reduce retirement benefits or increase paycheck contributions for most state and public school workers, the first step toward legislative floor votes expected this week on the headliner issues of overhauling the pension and property tax systems. With a party-line vote, the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee endorsed a measure that also would close the traditional pension system to new hires, enrolling them instead in a defined-contribution plan. In the House, the Republican leader's office said members today will take up proposals designed to shift the burden of paying for schools from locally assessed property taxes to increases in the sales and personal income taxes. Both House Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf have offered plans with that general outline, but the Republicans complain that Mr. Wolf would direct some revenue from the rate increases to other projects.

Click here to read article.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, By Karen Langley, May 12, 2015; PA Ed Policy Roundup, May 12, 2015.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:21 AM

Senate Republicans on Monday advanced legislation to overhaul benefits in Pennsylvania's two major public employee pension systems — over the protests of Democrats who say they have not had a chance to even read the bill.  The 410-page bill was passed the Senate Finance Committee along partisan lines less than 72 hours after it was publicly unveiled. No hearing has been held on the bill or is even scheduled, and Senate Republicans aim to pass it by the end of the week.  Their hope is to make it a central part of negotiations with Gov. Tom Wolf, as the Democrat seeks approval for a tax increase to wipe out a massive projected budget deficit and to underwrite the biggest-ever one-year increase for public schools. Wolf opposes a key element of the GOP's bill — the end of the debt-ridden traditional pension system that covers about 370,000 workers.  Democrats said a constructive discussion about addressing a $53 billion pension debt can happen only when there's a chance to debate different ideas or plans.

Click here to read article.

Source: Morning Call, By Marc Levy of the Associated Press, May 12, 2015; PA Ed Policy Roundup, May 12, 2015.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:02 AM

Pennsylvania’s Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) is a reliable reporting tool available at no cost to school districts. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory offers teachers an instructional strategy for understanding and tracking students’ proficiency across both cognitive and non-cognitive domains at kindergarten entry. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory is aligned to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and Pennsylvania Core Standards, and therefore it complements and can help improve existing assessments and teaching practices.

More than 200 schools in 22 school districts implemented the Kindergarten Entry Inventory in 2014, the first year it was available statewide. “As the principal I always struggle with getting to know our kindergarten classes at the start of the school year. We have a half-day program and they are all new to our school. Being involved with the KEI process, actively assisting in the observation process, has allowed me to connect with the kindergartens in a way I haven’t been able to in the past.”

Using the Kindergarten Entry Inventory, teachers observe and report a child’s skills in the first 45 calendar days on 30 standards-based indicators that address cognitive and non-cognitive skills. These indicators directly align with the Pre-Kindergarten Early Learning Outcomes Framework.  Having a comprehensive picture of the strengths and needs of students and classroom trends, teachers can adjust their instruction, access resources and professional development, and partner with families to meet the unique needs of their students.

This touchpoint of a child’s skills when they enter kindergarten provides an opportunity for families, teachers, schools and communities to work together to improve student achievement. For example, schools and early childhood programs can evaluate aggregate information to align expectations, curriculum, professional development and family involvement to best prepare students for kindergarten.

Schools interested in implementing the Inventory in the 2015-16 school year must register by August 15, 2015. Email for more information and instructions on how to register staff.

To watch the five-minute introductory video, read the 2014 summary report and other informational materials, and register for the Kindergarten Entry Inventory, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website at and click on K-12: Assessment and Accountability or go to

This initiative is part of Pennsylvania's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant. Schools must register by August 15, 2015 for the 2015-16 school year.



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