Press Releases

Monday, September 29, 2014 11:49 AM

It has come to PDE’s attention that some LEAs may be planning to use the Data Recognition Corporation’s (DRC) eDIRECT system instead of using Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) in order to generate precode labels for the Winter Keystone Exams. By not submitting your precode data to PIMS, assessment results for students may not match PIMS data. This becomes critical as Keystone Exams become a graduation requirement. If student data does not match the data in PIMS, students may not have record of meeting graduation requirements, which becomes crucial beginning with the class of 2017.

Further, the Pennsylvania Code (22 PA Code §4.51(K)) states that the Secretary will report data and pertinent information about the state assessment system to the Board of Education and the General Assembly each September. In order for the Secretary of Education to report these data, PIMS must be the primary data source.

PDE recognizes that the Data Collection Consolidation (DCC) calendar is new and LEAs are struggling to meet the Sept. 29, 2014, deadline for data submission for the Winter Keystone Exam precodes. For this reason, PDE is extending the internal snapshot from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, 2014, to allow LEAs to submit the Student, School Enrollment and Programs Fact templates that are required for this collection. Local education agencies (LEA) have until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2014, to upload data to PIMS to be able to generate precodes for the Winter Keystone Exams. It is expected that all LEAs will comply.

Please contact the PIMS help desk if you have questions on data fields or you need assistance with uploading your data. The contact information is 800.661.2423 or

Please contact PDE’s Division of Performance Analysis and Reporting (PAR) with other questions at 717.705.2343 or

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:10 PM

On September 23, 2014, the Pennsylvania Senate introduced and adopted Senate Resolution 453 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-31), recognizing October 2014 as “National Principals Month” in Pennsylvania.

Join PA Principals Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals to celebrate principals in Pennsylvania and across the country during National Principals Month!

National Principals Month is an opportunity to say “thank you” to principals everywhere and to share with the community all the great things that principals do.

As you plan your National Principals Month activities, be sure to check out the national associations’ “Ideas for Celebrating” and the “interactive National Principals Month wall,” where you can read about and post activities happening in schools and communities nationwide.

Please visit

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 3:31 PM

Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq announced that a Flexible Instructional Days pilot program is available to schools across the commonwealth. Flexible Instructional Days offer schools the ability to use non-traditional educational delivery methods on regularly scheduled school days in which circumstances, such as inclement weather, necessitate an alternate approach. The program is effective in the current school year.

Click here for the full press release.

Source: PA Department of Education Press Release,, Sept. 22, 2014.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 11:17 AM

You know that outstanding school leaders make for outstanding schools, but sometimes it's not easy to communicate the numerous ways that good principals enhance their school communities. We firmly believe that one of the most powerful methods for conveying this message to policymakers is simply to let them see for themselves.

To supplement the exceptional efforts of our grassroots network of principals in advocacy, we encourage you to ask one of your members of Congress to shadow you for a day over the Columbus Day congressional recess. Shadowing provides a wonderful opportunity for members of Congress and congressional staffers to experience firsthand the role and responsibilities of exemplary principals. Furthermore, it provides the perfect occasion for you to highlight the excellence in leadership NASSP principals provide to schools, educators and students around the country.

If you like, you can email your member of Congress this template invitation to participate in the shadowing program.

Use the following web address to invite a representative to shadow you for a day.


Monday, September 22, 2014 2:19 PM

State Rep. Mike Tobash rolled out a new website this month to outline Pennsylvania’s current pension crisis. The site also includes details about the hybrid pension plan solution. It features a video that outlines the current public pension crisis, and its $50 billion debt and explains how the state acquired this unsustainable debt.

Click here to read the full article.

Source: The Philadelphia Tribune, Sept. 18, 2014.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:37 AM

Registration is now open for the 2014 annual Safe Schools Conference, "Keeping Our Children Safe: Strategies for Schools and Communities Safe Schools." This year's conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey located in Grantville, Pa., on October 8-9, 2014. Click here for more information and to register.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 1:00 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is providing an opportunity for local education agencies (LEA) to attend an online training that will address the data elements required to be uploaded to the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS), an explanation of the student and school enrollment templates, the internal snapshot, and data used for generating precodes. The training will be followed by a question and answer period.

PDE will be offering four webinar sessions via "GoToMeeting" on Sept. 18-19, 2014. Presenters will be from PDE’s Divisions of Performance Analysis and Reporting and Data Quality (PIMS).

To register, please select one of the links provided below. Each session has a distinct registration link. Be sure to select the link associated with the session you plan to attend. Upon registration, a link will be emailed to you.

Note: Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the specific system requirements and link for joining the webinar you selected:        

Sept. 18, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Sept. 18, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Sept. 19, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Sept. 19, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Please contact PDE’s Division of Performance Analysis and Reporting with any questions at 717.705.2343.

Monday, September 15, 2014 8:57 AM

Governor Tom Corbett congratulated Pennsylvania’s students, parents, taxpayers, educators and school leaders for earning an “A” in academic achievement, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on K-12 Educational Effectiveness.

   As noted in the chamber’s report, “student performance in Pennsylvania is very strong,” based upon results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which found that:

  • 44 percent of fourth graders performed at or above grade level in math, compared to the national average of 42 percent;
  • 40 percent of fourth graders performed at or above grade level in reading, compared to 34 percent nationally;
  • 42 percent of eighth graders performed at or above grade level in math, compared to 34 percent nationally; and
  • 42 percent of eighth graders performed at or above grade level in reading, compared to the national average of 35 percent.

   Pennsylvania also received high marks for postsecondary and workforce readiness and international competitiveness.

   The 2014-15 state budget invests nearly $12 billion into early, basic and postsecondary education, which represents 41 percent of total state spending.

   More than $10 billion has been allocated for public schools this year, which is an increase of $1.5 billion, or 17 percent, since the Governor took office.

   This year’s budget also provides $374 million for the state’s high-quality early education programs, such as Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance and Early Intervention. This is an increase of $19.5 million, or 5.5 percent, over last year. The state budget also allocates more than $1.6 billion for postsecondary education, such as student grants and institutional support.

   New this year is the Governor’s Ready to Succeed Scholarship, which will offset the cost of postsecondary education for middle-income students. This $5 million program provides up to $2,000 to eligible students whose families earn up to $110,000.

   In 2012, the Governor signed into law legislation that revised the state’s educator evaluation system for teachers and principals. The new system not only considers traditional teacher practice, such as observations and lesson planning, but also, for the first time, includes multiple measures of student achievement. This will provide educators with information about their strengths as well as areas that are in need of improvement.

   Last year, the state launched the new School Performance Profile, which provides student, parents and taxpayers with comprehensive information on how public schools are performing.

   The profile includes numerous indicators of a school’s academic health, such as student performance on the state assessments; student academic growth; graduation, promotion and attendance rates; advance placement course work; ACT; and SAT.

   The Chamber’s report highlighted an area in need of significant attention: the state’s pension systems, which continue to consume a greater portion of the state budget.

   The Governor noted the fiscal strain on the state and its taxpayers as a result of the pension crisis:

  • Property taxes are rising: One hundred sixty-three school districts requested exemptions to increase property taxes, 99.4 percent of which cited pension costs as the reason for the exemption.
  • Pension costs mean less money for important programs and services: Pension costs are consuming more than 60 cents of every new dollar of state general fund revenues.
  • Our pension debt is growing quickly: Pennsylvania’s pension costs are approximately $50 billion, and in just three years, those costs will rise to $65 billion. Each Pennsylvania taxpayer would need to contribute approximately $13,000 to eliminate the current debt.

Source: PDE Press Release (excerpts), Sept. 12, 2014.

Friday, September 12, 2014 11:17 AM

PA Principals Association is a governing board partner with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. An informational Statewide Virtual Kick-Off event will occur on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and be broadcast at all IUs across the state. We urge all school leaders to attend the session at their own local IU to learn about the issues surrounding school funding and how we can work together to assure fair funding for all children.

Please click here for the flyer to register for the event.

Friday, September 12, 2014 9:38 AM

The Pensylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Eligible Content review site is scheduled to go live soon.

This site is designed with three goals in mind:

  1. Increase awareness and understanding of our state’s Eligible Content – the grade by grade statements that define what we want our students to be able to know and do
  2. Solicit actionable feedback on the Eligible Content as part of the Pennsylania Department of Education’s review process
  3. Provide PSSA/Keystone Exam sample questions for English Language Arts and Mathematics for each tested grade/subject.

Click here for more information.

Click here for the State Board Proposal – Focusing on Academic Content in ELA and Mathematics.

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