Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:21 AM
The state House and Senate GOP leaders have named the chairs of their education committees. Lawmakers expect the panels to see a lot of action in the coming legislative session, since Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has underlined education funding as his top priority upon entering office.
Source: WITF, Jan. 12, 2015.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:11 AM
Lloyd Smucker has a new job in the state Legislature. The Republican state senator will lead the high-profile Education Committee for the two-year legislative session that started last week.
The West Lampeter Township lawmaker is taking over the position previously held by Sen. Mike Folmer of Lebanon County. Folmer was chosen to head the State Government Committee — Smucker’s old post. Meanwhile, Ryan Aument was chosen to serve as chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee. The panel is responsible for reviewing proposals to restructure state government, cut costs and improve government efficiency.
As chairman of the Education Committee, Smucker has been given the assignment to oversee a public education system that has been strained in part by the underfunded Public School Employees’ Retirement System. Smucker discussed in a press release the importance of his new position, why he feels he is the right person to tackle the problems facing the system and what he hopes to accomplish.
Click here for press release.
Source: Lancaster Online by Karen Shuey, staff writer, posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 11:25 a.m.
Friday, January 9, 2015 10:23 AM
Pension reform has been given the key moniker of Senate Bill 1 and will likely take the form of a defined contribution plan, a key player in the process told The PLS Reporter this week.
During Tuesday’s swearing-in day ceremonies in the Senate, newly re-elected President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) raised the prospects of pension reform legislation to a new level by declaring a pension reform bill will take on the prestigious title of Senate Bill 1, a more-than-symbolic gesture emphasizing the importance of the issue to the Senate.
“Moving the state pension system more in line with that of the private sector is one of the most significant means we have to gain more revenue, for needs like education,” Sen. Scarnati stated during Tuesday’s ceremony. “Pension reform will be Senate Bill 1 and a top priority this session.”
According to Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), a longtime pensionphile and current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the pension reforms included in the bill are likely to include a shift to a defined contribution plan from the current defined benefit plan.
“I would expect that its platform would include a defined contribution plan for new school district and state workers as the foundation of the proposal,” he told The PLS Reporter.
Click here for the full article.
Source: The PLS Reporter, Author: Jason Gottesman, Thursday, January 8, 2015.
Friday, January 9, 2015 10:07 AM
A letter on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization was sent yesterday to congressional leaders by NAESP, NASSP and the American Federation of School Administrators. (See links below.)
There has been a lot of talk that the Senate will move very quickly this winter on a bill to reauthorize ESEA. NASSP and NAESP have been and will continue to conduct meetings with Senate Education Committee staff regarding the bill and our priorities.
Friday, January 9, 2015 8:34 AM
Attention PA Principals Association Members: You are invited to attend the Real Life / Real Issues: Drugs and Young People Community Forum on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 12 p.m. (noon) at the WITF Public Media Center, 4801, Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111 - for a discussion of the dangers facing young Pennsylvanians. A reception will be held at noon, followed by the viewing as an audience member of the live taping of "Real Life / Real Issues: Drugs and Young People." PA Principals Association is a prime sponsor of this program.
Heroin has undergone a resurrection. A powerful opioid drug that was once only the scourge of inner cities is now widely available, cheap and being abused in the middle class suburbs and even the most rural areas of Pennsylvania. But heroin isn't the only story. In fact, prescription medications, especially painkillers, are abused more often.
The snow date is Saturday, February 7, 2015.
Click on this link for more information: http://www.witf.org/community/witf-events/2015/01/please-join-us-for-an-important-community-forum.php
Thursday, January 8, 2015 11:33 AM
PA Principals Association has announced its Aspiring Principals Workshop schedule for 2015 - Previewing the Principalship and Getting the Job-Done Right! - to be held in two locations: the Eden Resort, Lancaster, and the Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburgh (see below for the Workshop Schedule). The workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and lunch will be provided. The cost for each workshop is $175, but are now being offered for $150, provided to you at a discounted rate through a grant from The Horace Mann Companies.
2015 Workshop Schedule
Previewing the Principalship-- A hands-on workshop designed to familiarize participants with the daily functions of the principalship.
- Friday, February 6 - Eden Resort, Lancaster
- Friday, May 8 - Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburgh
Getting the Job-Done Right! -- A workshop designed as a follow-up to Previewing the Principalship. Activities include: resume writing, creating your professional portfolio and enhancing your interview skills.
- Saturday, February 7 - Eden Resort, Lancaster
(Note: The form is writeable, but you must open the file in a different viewer at the top of your screen. Then, click on Open With to access the writeable file.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 11:08 AM
There are new regulations involving Child Abuse Clearances and this Fact Sheet produced by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is an excellent overview of the changes. Click here for the Fact Sheet.
Monday, December 22, 2014 10:45 AM
Required Employment History Review Procedure and Forms
Act 168 of 2014 amends the Public School Code of 1949, to provide direction regarding employment history reviews for all new employees who will have direct contact with children. The Act also requires the Pennsylvania Department of Education ("Department") to obtain and monitor arrest and case disposition information for educators.
The information below focuses on the process for employment history review as dictated by Act 168, explain the use of forms related to the employment history review and explain the process for accessing information regarding "pending criminal charge" information as directed by Act 168.
As of December 22, 2014, all school entities and/or independent contractors of a school entity (collectively referred to herein as "hiring entity") must conduct an employment history review for any prospective employee prior to hiring, if the employee will be hired for a position where he/she will have direct contact with children. Direct contact with children is defined as the "possibility of care, supervision, guidance, control or routine interaction with children."
Summary of Act 168 Requirements
In addition to satisfying pre-existing employment requirements of the Public School Code and the Child Protective Services Law, the hiring entity must require an applicant under consideration for employment in a position where he/she will have direct contact with children to provide contact information for the following:
1. Current employer (regardless of whether the current employer is a school entity or where the applicant is employed in a position that involves direct contact with children); 2. All former employers that were school entities; and 3. All former employers where the applicant was employed in a position that involved direct contact with children.
The above information must be provided on the Department's form titled "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Release" form: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/http;/www.portal.state.pa.us;80/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_148494_1464556_0_0_18/Form-DPTT.pdf.
A separate form must be filled out for each current and former employer. The applicant must also consent to the current/former employer's disclosure of any information regarding abuse and/or sexual misconduct. An applicant for a position involving direct contact with children cannot be hired unless the applicant provides the required information.
In addition to disclosing current/former employers, an applicant must respond affirmatively or negatively to the following questions on the Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Release form: whether they have ever been the subject of an abuse or sexual misconduct investigation by any employer, state licensing agency, law enforcement agency or child protective services agency; whether they were disciplined, discharged, non-renewed, asked to resign from employment, resigned from or otherwise separated from employment while allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct were pending or under investigation or due to adjudication or findings of abuse or sexual misconduct; and/or had a license, professional license or certificate suspended, surrendered or revoked while allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct were pending or under investigation or due to an adjudication or findings of abuse or sexual misconduct.
Upon receipt of the completed Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Release form(s), the hiring entity, if the applicant is still under consideration for employment, must then submit the form(s) to the current/former employer(s) to verify the information provided by the applicant by completing section 2 of the form. The current/former employer(s) have 20 days to respond to the request. Failure by the current/former employer(s) to respond and provide the information requested can result in civil penalties and/or violations of the Educator Misconduct Act.
Any affirmative response by the current/former employer(s) to the questions regarding abuse and/or sexual misconduct could terminate the applicant's opportunity for employment or the hiring entity could decide to continue to consider the applicant for employment. If the applicant is still being considered for employment, the hiring entity must submit the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Information Request" form to the affirmatively responding current/former employer(s). In response to receipt of a Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Information Request, the current/former employer(s) must disclose all information and documentation related to the allegations within 60 days. Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure Information Request form: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/http;/www.portal.state.pa.us;80/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_148494_1464555_0_0_18/Form%20-%20DPTT%20-%20employer%20follow%20up.pdf.
Provisional employment of applicants pending responses by current/former employers can be made for up to 90 days of employment, if the applicant meets certain requirements.
Verifying Employment Eligibility or Certification and Pending Criminal Charges
In addition to verifying the applicant's history regarding abuse and/or sexual misconduct, Act 168 also requires that when the applicant is an educator who holds public or private school certification and/or has been assigned a Professional Personnel Identification number ("PPID"), the hiring entity must ensure that the applicant has a valid and active certification appropriate for the position, determine whether the applicant has been the subject of public professional discipline, and ascertain whether the educator has pending criminal charges.
Information concerning certification status and public professional discipline can be found in the Teacher Information Management System ("TIMS"). In addition, information concerning pending criminal charges will also now be available through TIMS. Hiring entities that are provisioned users of TIMS can determine whether an educator has pending criminal charges by searching the educator by name or PPID and clicking on "View Complete Profile. Hiring entities that are not provisioned can access the same information by searching the educator by PPID from the public access site: http://www.teachercertification.pa.gov/Screens/wfSearchEducators.aspx.
For example, for an educator with pending criminal charges, you would see the following notation in the Educator Complete Profile: Pending Criminal Charges: Yes - The Department has information of pending criminal charges. Please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Chief Counsel at 717-787-5500.
For an educator without pending criminal charges, you would see the following: Pending Criminal Charges: No - The Department has no information of pending criminal charges. The Department provides this information pursuant to Act 168 which does not relieve a public or private school entity from its duty to obtain any and all required criminal clearances pursuant to 24 P.S. §1-111.
A "Pending Criminal Charges" indicator means that the educator has been criminally charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, which includes pending pre-trial diversionary program completion (i.e. an ARD program).
The information reflected in TIMS regarding pending criminal charges has been received by the Department from the Pennsylvania Justice Network ("JNET"), which provides the Department with limited public information about criminal charges. If it is noted that the applicant has pending criminal charges in TIMS, the hiring entity may contact the Department's Office of Chief Counsel at 717-787-5500 for information regarding charge information, the date of the charges and the county where the charges were incurred. Hiring entities may also verify the charges and obtain this information by accessing the Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Portal, which is a free database of publicly available criminal information. Access to the portal can be made at https://ujsportal.pacourts.us
Please note that the information available on TIMS is only provided for educators holding a Pennsylvania public or private teaching certification and/or a PPID number. Information for any other applicants is not available on TIMS.
Friday, December 19, 2014 8:08 AM
Applications are now available for the U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program (2015-2016 school year) at: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/12/2015-2016-teaching-and-principal-ambassador-fellowship-program-applications-now-available/. The deadline for submission is January 20, 2015.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:41 AM
The Center for Safe Schools has announced the third session in the 2014-2015 Third Thursday Bullying Prevention Online Learning Series. On Thursday, December 18, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., "School Bullying and Social Emotional Learning", a live online learning session for educators will be held.
Supported with funding from the Highmark Foundation, this session will be presented by Stacie Molnar-Main, Ed.D. of the Center for Safe Schools.
In recent years, the focus of most bullying prevention efforts in schools has been on systemic approaches to improving school climate and bystander behavior. This focus is warranted based upon what is known about the social and ecological nature of bullying. Yet, bullying is more than a climate issue. It is also a matter that affects individual children. This webinar focuses on the relationship between social-emotional development in individuals and involvement in bullying. The session introduces a new tool designed to assist schools in assessing school-wide bullying prevention strategies and in identifying class-level and individual-level interventions that support bullying prevention.
The Center for Schools and Communities, as a division of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, is offering Act 48 professional development credit for those with Pennsylvania teaching or administrative certificates. Participants must attend the online session from beginning to end to receive credit. Only specified professional development sessions are available for credit. The Record of Attendance will be e-mailed to participants upon completion of the session. If you are interested in receiving Act 48 credit, please check the appropriate box on the registration form.
Please register for "School Bullying and Social Emotional Learning" on December 18, 2014 3:00 PM EDT at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming Third Thursdays Bullying Prevention dates:
- January 15, 2015 The Role of Physicians in Bullying Prevention, Intervention & Recovery
- February 19, 2015 Dating Violence
- March 19, 2015 Cultivating Empathy for Healthy Relationships and Collaborative Programs
- April 16, 2015 Fostering Cultural Competence: Using Children's Literature to Talk About Difficult Issues in K-12 Classrooms
- May 21, 2015 Bullying in Sports: The Injuries We Don't See
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