Press Releases

Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:57 PM

Message from Executive Director: PA Principals Association is part of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. The campaign released today their proposal for a new Basic Education Funding formula to boost student outcomes in all parts of the state by helping close funding shortfalls in all school districts and narrow the growing gap between wealthy and poorer districts. Please see the two following links, which provide an overview about the campaign and the proposed formula. PA Principals Association is one of approximately 40 organizations involved in this critical work and working on behalf of school leaders across the Commonwealth. 

Click here for executive summary.

Click here for press release.

 
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:45 PM

As you are well aware, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), does not provide principals and assistant principals with adequate support, training and resources but still holds them accountable for student achievement. Congress is now rapidly working to reauthorize ESEA, which presents a tremendous opportunity to elevate the role of principals in improving student achievement, and have their voices heard.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recently submitted detailed comments in response to legislation passed by the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the law. The comments note many concerns with the bill, with one of the most important being its lack of acknowledgement and support for the vital role of principals, and providing them with the necessary professional support to ensure better teaching and improved learning for all students.

At a minimum, the Student Success Act of 2015 must the following top concerns:

  • Clearly define the term “school leader” to mean principals and assistant principals working inside the school building, not non-building staff such as teacher leaders, superintendents and other district personnel;
  • Require districts that receive Title II funding to allocate no less than 10 percent of the funds available for professional development for elementary, middle, and high school principals to improve instructional leadership;
  • Require that state principal evaluation systems be designed in collaboration with practitioners, and ensure that they are based on more than just student test scores. We recommend that any principal evaluation focus on the six key domains of leadership responsibility within a principal’s sphere of influence: student growth and achievement, school planning and progress, school culture, stakeholder support and engagement, professional qualities and practices, and professional growth and learning;
  • Oppose any and all efforts to transform Title I funding—which is designed to assist public schools with high concentrations of poverty and high-need students—into a private school voucher.

As a leader in your school and in your community, your voice is extremely powerful in this debate. H.R. 5 is on the House Floor the last week of February, and principals must take action to let your representatives in Congress know these concerns must be addressed. While a sample letter has been provided for you, we strongly urge you to personalize the letter where possible.

Click here to send a letter to your Congressional representative.

 
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 9:01 AM

Challenging situations are getting worse in schools statewide according to an update to the annual Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) budget survey.

Click here for press release.

Click here for full report.

School Leaders Respond to Budget Survey; Call for Action, Equity and Adequate Funding

“The current PASA-PASBO report highlights the critical need for a fair education funding formula. Our members have been expressing concerns about cuts in programs and people, which directly affect the students in a negative way. The low hanging fruit has been picked clean and we need the State to take action on fixing the way we fund education in order to protect our most precious resource our children.” 

– Dr. Paul M. Healey, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals

Click here for more comments.

 
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:58 AM

If your area did not pick up the Real Life / Real Issues Community Forum on public television, please click the link below to access this important piece on Drugs and Young People: http://video.witf.org/video/2365429481/

 
Monday, February 23, 2015 10:29 AM

In a recent interview, Mr. Rivera, now serving as acting education secretary, made it clear that he has not forgotten where he came from and the challenges faced by students and families in impoverished neighborhoods.
Click here for the full article.

Source: PSBA Daily EDition, Feb. 23, 2015; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 22, 2015.

 
Monday, February 23, 2015 8:35 AM

The latest from Washington, D.C., is that Congress is acting fast to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Here is what NAESP is doing to make sure ESEA meets principals' needs -- and how you can be part of the process.

Raising Principals' Voices

There are a lot of moving pieces in the ESEA reauthorization process. Here's a quick guide to what's happened so far:

  • NAESP filed comments on sections of the Senate's discussion draft bill.
  • NAESP submitted comments on the House of Representatives' bill, which will be marked up next week.
  • NAESP partnered with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators to urge Congress to support the re-introduction of the Principal Recruitment and Training Act of 2015, a bill to help recruit, prepare, and support principals in the profession.

Plus, in the midst of these critical debates, NAESP is bringing 200 principals to meet with lawmakers during the annual National Leaders Conference, Feb. 22-24. Conference participants will engage with top education and policy thought leaders, as well as receive leadership development and training focused on strategic advocacy in preparation for Capitol Hill meetings.

Read the messages they will take to the Hill on ESEA and the federal budget.  

How to Take Action

Here are several ways that you can add your voice to NAESP's advocacy efforts on ESEA.

  • Speak up on the House bill (Student Success Act, H.R. 5), which NAESP does not support. Watch for an email alert with timely information on the bill, and then tell lawmakers to Vote No using NAESP's easy-to-use Legislative Action Center
  • Follow the #naespNLC hashtag on Twitter for updates from the National Leaders Conference.
  • Read reflections from the National Leaders Conference in the forthcoming February issue of Communicator.
  • Join the Federal Relations Network community on edWeb for our advocacy staff's updates from Capitol Hill.

During the coming weeks as ESEA moves on its path toward reauthorization, NAESP will continue to stand for principals' interests and will make sure school leaders have a seat at the federal policy table.

 
Friday, February 20, 2015 8:37 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is pleased to announce the release of PVAAS Student Projections to ACT, PSAT and SAT for students currently enrolled in your school(s)/LEA. These projections are useful to assess – and address – students’ postsecondary and career readiness, even before they take the ACT, PSAT or SAT or before they attend high school. They also provide a statewide perspective on postsecondary readiness that extends beyond performance on PSSA and Keystones or the local community. Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s School Performance Profile (SPP) includes data on student participation in the PSAT, as well as participation/performance on the ACT and SAT.

The new projections to ACT, PSAT and SAT may answer questions like…

  • Are students who are already on the path to success on these assessments in fact participating in these assessments?
  • Are there students with a high likelihood of success who do not consider themselves college candidates? Once identified, educators can support and encourage these students.
  • Are there students who are at-risk for remediation in college?
  • Are there students who are underprepared for the college readiness benchmarks? Once identified, educators can ascertain which courses, resources and supports may increase the students’ likelihood of success on the ACT/SAT and in their college readiness.

Access to the NEW PVAAS Student Projections to ACT, PSAT and SAT is available on the password-protected PVAAS website. PVAAS account holders with student level access will have access to these new projections for students currently enrolled in their respective school/LEA.

Existing statewide assessment data from PSSAs and Keystones are used to yield these additional PVAAS student projections for LEAs, which will include projections to various PSAT, ACT and SAT benchmarks that indicate readiness in a variety of courses and colleges. These projections are available for the following students:

  • PVAAS Student Projections to PSAT for students currently enrolled in grades 6 to 11;
  • PVAAS Student Projections to ACT for students currently enrolled in grades 9 to 12; and
  • PVAAS Student Projections to SAT for students currently enrolled in grades 9 to 12.

SAS® EVAAS® is making available an archived web session for all LEAs interested in learning more about these new PVAAS Student Projections to Act, PSAT and SAT. This session will address the following topics:

  • Overview of Methodology for PVAAS Student Projections to SAT, PSAT and ACT
  • Benchmark Scores Used for PVAAS Student Projections to SAT, PSAT and ACT
  • Students/Grade Levels Receiving PVAAS Student Projections to SAT, PSAT and ACT
  • Offer Guidance on How to Use These New Projections
  • Offer Guidance on How to Use Them to Help Students Plan for College

This web session will be available on the PVAAS website, https://pvaas.sas.com under the e-Learning Link no later than March 10, 2015.

Questions regarding the new PVAAS Student Projections to ACT, PSAT and SAT can be directed to pdepvaas@iu13.org.

 
Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:07 AM

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), applaud the reintroduction of a bill to improve federal programs for the nation’s principals and assistant principals. S.476 and H.R.930, The School Principal Recruitment and Training Act of 2015, was introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), to amend Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to recruit, prepare, and support principals through capacity-building measures that will improve student academic achievement in high-need schools. The legislation emphasizes mentoring programs for principals, especially for aspiring and early-career principals.

Click here for more.

Source: NASSP, NAESP, AFSA Press Release, Feb. 19, 2015.

 
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 11:53 AM

Pennsylvania's Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) is a reliable reporting tool that offers teachers an instructional strategy for understanding and tracking a student's proficiency at kindergarten entry.  The tool collects information on a consistent set of standards-based indicators across the commonwealth. The KEI is based on Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood and the Pennsylvania Core Standards. KEI includes 30 indicators and provides a comprehensive profile that includes the domains of: Social and Emotional Development; English Language Arts; Mathematics; Approaches to Learning; and Health, Wellness and Physical Development.  KEI is intended to be used by kindergarten teachers to record a student's demonstration of skills within the first 45 calendar days of the kindergarten year.  It is a snapshot of skills upon entry into kindergarten.  Skills levels will be determined by multiple sources of evidence.  For more information about the Kindergarten Entry Inventory please visit, http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/departmental_offices/7235/p/1852080.

All focus and priority schools are required to implement the Kindergarten Entry Inventory as part of their school improvement efforts. Intermediate unit curriculum coordinators and academic recovery liaisons (priority schools) are ready to assist you in the KEI implementation process. 

This also serves as an invitation for all non-focus and priority schools who wish to implement Pennsylvania's Kindergarten Entry Inventory on a voluntary basis beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory is available to all school districts at no cost.

In order to implement the Kindergarten Entry Inventory, a Kindergarten Entry Inventory Point of Contact (KEI-POC) is required. The KEI-POC will act as the liaison between local education agency (LEA) administrative staff, implementing kindergarten teachers, and OCDEL and data systems staff. Having a dedicated KEI-POC will ensure that effective communication and implementation occurs throughout the KEI process.  Please send the KEI-POC name, email address and phone number to RA-PWOCDELKEI@pa.gov by March 13, 2015. Receipt of this information will initiate participation in Cohort 2: 2015 Kindergarten Entry Inventory.

Please note: If your LEA participated in Cohort 1: 2014 Kindergarten Entry Inventory, a KEI-POC must be assigned for 2015 implementation.

All kindergarten teachers who have not previously participated must complete skills and scoring practice professional development and complete a proficient user assignment in order to gain access to the web-based data system.  Teachers with a proficient user certificate of completion do not need to repeat the professional development protocol. 

The tentative training schedule is as follows:

March - June:

  • Face-to-face skills and scoring practice professional development available/ dependent on number of teachers and availability of OCDEL staff

March -September:

  • Asynchronous webinar available for skills and scoring practice professional development

ALL implementing kindergarten teachers without a proficient user certificate of completion MUST complete either face-to-face or asynchronous training.

August-September:

  • KEI systems professional development opportunities available

By the start of school:

  • Implementing kindergarten teachers must have proficient user certificate of completion on file in order to gain systems access

45 calendar days from start of school:

  • Observation and evidence collection/scoring completed

60 calendar days from start of school:

  • Data submissions (student outcomes) finalized within data system

Questions about this communication may be sent to RA-PWOCDELKEI@pa.gov.

 

 
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:45 PM

The May 2015 issue of the Pennsylvania Administrator focuses on the theme, "Teacher Effectiveness: Celebrations and Challenges."

The passage of Act 82 in 2012 has given Pennsylvania educators new guidelines for assessing the effectiveness of both school teachers and administrators. With any new implementation, there comes trials and tribulations (or celebrations and challenges). The May issue of the Pennsylvania Administrator will focus on stories from the field as districts implement the new effectiveness processes. In particular, we are interested in articles from the field that address some of the following:

  • How the district has aligned the Act 82 guidelines with a differentiated supervision plan.
  • How the district is dealing with the teacher specific component.   
  • How the district has handled the student learning objective (SLO) component with both the teacher and principal.   
  • Any issues that have surfaced with the Act 82 forms.   
  • Effective tools school leaders are using with the processes.

Articles should be no longer than 1,500 words and must be submitted via e-mail as a Microsoft Word document. A biographical sketch and a high resolution (300 dpi is preferred), color photograph of the author(s) (saved as a JPEG or a TIFF file) must accompany all articles. E-mail articles to sherit@paprincipals.org. The deadline to submit an article is March 6, 2015.

 
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