Press Releases

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 11:20 AM

PA Principals Association Executive Director, Dr. Paul Healey, requests that PDE alter the implementation of the Principal Effectiveness System for 2014-15. I am making a formal request on behalf of the school leaders across the state in reference to the Principal Effectiveness System. We are asking PDE to immediately consider suspending the Correlation piece (15%) for the 2014-15 school year and make it optional this year along with the elective/SLO piece and require it for 2015-16 instead. Our request is based on the following reasons:

  •  The current training for the Correlation and SLO pieces has just begun and it is already October and thus it is safe to say that many school leaders and superintendents will not be trained until early December
  • The training on the correlation piece suggests that school leaders examine their data over the summer and then begin the critical conversations with their supervisors in late Summer or Early Fall.  This certainly makes sense because the correlation piece should inform the SLOs to be developed, thus they should work in partnership
  • Because the training is now just starting, school leaders do not have ample time to concentrate on these critical conversations and thus will not have a full year to work on their "plans" which will become part of their annual evaluation
  • In addition, we believe implementing this piece right now when school leaders are concentrating on the teacher effectiveness pieces as well as the framework for learning for themselves places a heavy burden on them and risks a poor implementation of the new system
  • The teacher effectiveness system was implemented in phases in which the first phase only required the 50% observation and building level data.  We believe the principal effectiveness system should also be phased in whereby only the new framework for leadership and the building level data are required for 2014-15.
  • Finally, as we have been traveling around the state meeting with our members, we have clearly heard their frustrations about feeling overwhelmed with the implementation of PA Core, Keystones, Teacher Effectiveness and Principal Effectiveness. These are people who sincerely want to do a good job with all of these initiatives, but feel the plate is now overflowing.

   Therefore, we respectfully request that PDE reconsider the current phase in cycle for Principal Effectiveness and only require the framework for leadership and the building level data for 2014 15 and the other two components (correlation and elective/SLO) required for 2015-16.


   We thank you in advance for your consideration and are willing to discuss this matter at any time in the very near future.   


Thanks, Paul 



Thursday, October 2, 2014 1:45 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has announced its Pennsylvania's Educator Effectiveness Rating System (PEERS), a free, voluntary, web-based version of the Act 82 Educator Effectiveness final rating tools (PDE 82-1, 82-2, and 82-3). This online tool will be available to local education agencies for the summative evaluation of teaching professionals, non-teaching professionals and principals/administrators during the second half of the 2014-15 school year.

PEERS will be hosted within the existing PVAAS web application, allowing all account holders to have ease of access to the online rating tools for the 82-1, 82-2, and 82-3 using the existing PVAAS account system. Through PEERS, the School Performance Profile (SPP) Score will be pre-populated by the PVAAS web application, with the flexibility to change the school or allow multiple schools. When available, PVAAS teacher measures will also be pre-populated into PEERS. As part of the web delivery, rating information will be aggregated to summary-level reporting.

PEERS is aligned to the 82-1, 82-2 and 82-3 .xls documents provided to LEAs on the PDE Educator Effectiveness webpage, with the added benefit of web-enabling the three forms to maximize the capabilities of a web interface and the online management of these forms.  The system will link teachers, principals/administrators, and non-teaching specialists to a possible final rating form based on PIMS data submitted by each LEA, with the ability to change the form as per local decision.

Use of PEERS is free, voluntary, and may be used alone or in concert with other tools that LEAs are using to manage the supervision and evaluation process. Access to the forms is granted by the LEAs.

Opportunity for Input:

During the development and implementation process, PDE and SAS (the PVAAS provider) are interested in gaining input from administrators in the field in order to design and deliver a system that provides users with an efficient and effective process to not only complete the summative rating forms, but to be able to use the data effectively for teacher, principal, and school/district growth and improvement.

To that end, focus groups will be established to provide feedback, with the overall intent to elicit input as to the effectiveness of the online tool in meeting the needs of LEAs.

PDE is asking for a maximum of a three member LEA administrator team - representatives of large and small LEAs from rural, urban and suburban areas across Pennsylvania. Feedback is sought from those who plan to use the tool during the second half of SY14-15, those considering using the tool, and those who may use the tool along with other systems they already have in place.

Focus groups will be convened a maximum of twice during this school year to meet with SAS (the PVAAS provider), as well as completing a maximum of two online surveys about the design and development of PEERS.

Any LEA/District that is interested in serving on the PEERS focus group should email by October 15, 2014. One person from the LEA should email the name, role and email address for each person from your 1-3 member administrator team for the PEERS focus group.

To learn more information about the specific capabilities of this tool, please access the PVAAS site at for more details about PEERS.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 8:49 AM

SY13-14 PVAAS Teacher-Specific Reporting will be released on the following dates:

·  The night of October 23, 2014: PVAAS District Admin (1 per LEA) and School Admin Account Holders (1 per school)

·  The night of October 30, 2014: Teachers

PVAAS Teacher Specific Reporting will be provided in Reading and Math (grades 4-8), Science (grades 4 & 8), and Keystone content areas (Algebra I, Literature, Biology).

PVAAS Teacher-Specific Reporting will NOT be provided in PSSA writing (Grades 5 & 8) for the following reasons: (1) Moving to PSSA ELA; and (2) lower than preferred correlations at the teacher level. 

Questions can be directed to


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.

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