Press Releases

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.

 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 1:28 PM

This professional development opportunity will focus on creating a positive school culture that supports academic success and provides a safe teaching and learning environment. The event will feature state and national experts presenting the latest research in school safety and youth violence prevention, effective program models, promising practices, networking opportunities and more during institutes, plenary sessions and workshops.

School administrators, student support personnel, teachers, school nurses, Student Assistance Program team members, school resource officers, local law enforcement and other community partners are encouraged to attend.

This event is presented by the Center for Safe Schools and the Highmark Foundation in partnership with Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Assistance Center.

For more information and to register, please visit:  http://www.safeschools.info/professional-development/2014-safe-schools-conference

 
Monday, September 8, 2014 12:59 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is providing the following training opportunity: “GETTING READY” for the 2015 State Assessments

Assessment specialists from the Division of Instructional Quality will present information on the:

•             Winter Wave 1 Keystone Exams to be administered Dec. 3 – 17, 2014

•             Winter Wave 2 Keystone Exams to be administered Jan. 7 – 21, 2015

•             PSSA Grades 3 – 8 English Language Arts to be administered April 13 –17, 2015

•             PSSA Grades 3 – 8 Mathematics to be administered April 20 – 24, 2015

•             PSSA Grades 4 and 8 Science to be administered April 27 – May 1, 2015

•             PSSA Make-Ups to be administered May 4 – 8, 2015 (or sooner)

•             Spring Keystone Exams to be administered May 13 – 27, 2015

•             Summer Keystone Exams to be administered July 27 –31, 2015

The many changes from previous test administrations will be highlighted.  In addition, information on Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English state-to-state for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will be discussed.  Opportunities will be provided for questions.

Presentations will be made via “GoToMeeting™.”  To register, go to the link provided for each session:        

October 22, 2014 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., the link is:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/454209778

October 23, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., the link is:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/856561818

October 23, 2014 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., the link is: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/170158466

A link to the recording of one of the sessions, along with the PowerPoint, will be posted to the PDE website as soon as possible following the sessions. For more information, contact the Bureau of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, PDE, at 717-265-7655.

 
Monday, September 8, 2014 9:58 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is seeking qualified educators to assist in the evaluation of completed Project-Based Assessments in Algebra I, Biolog, and Literature. Teachers, principals and curriculum specialists are welcome to apply. Evaluators must hold certification in the subject area in which they are applying to evaluate.

Educators will participate in online training and will receive projects electronically via a secure site. Act 48 hours will be awarded for training and project evaluation.

More information on the Project-Based Assessments is available on the Standards Aligned System website at http://www.pdesas.org/module/assessment/About.aspx.

Applicants may submit an application at http://pba.pdesas.org/signup.

Questions may be directed to helpdesk@pdesas.org.

 

 
Monday, September 8, 2014 9:56 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is seeking educators interested in participating in the development of Project-Based Assessments for Algebra I, Biology and Literature. Project-Based Assessments are for students who are unable to meet Chapter 4 requirements relating to high school graduation through the Keystone Exams.

Pennsylvania educators certified to teach these subjects are welcome to apply. The initial session is scheduled for October 14, 15 and 16, 2014, at PaTTAN Harrisburg.  Two additional days, if needed, are scheduled for November 5 and 6. PDE will reimburse participants for expenses and will offer a substitute stipend not to exceed $100/day.

To submit an application to participate in this work, go to http://www.pdesas.org/Main/News/576150 to download the application.

Questions: contact Ashley Hale at ahale@pls3rdlearning.com.

 
Friday, September 5, 2014 8:53 AM

When Alle-Kiski Valley school superintendents evaluate their principals' performance this year, student achievement will be half the equation. This school year, the principals' performance will be evaluated through a set of criteria designed to improve performance and accountability, under the state's Educator Effectiveness Project. A similar evaluation tool was put into play last year for teachers. “A lot of it is in line with what we are implementing now,” said Matthew Curci, Apollo-Ridge superintendent. “A lot of it has to do with documentation. Obviously, we'll have to tweak a little bit to fall in line with the state process, but what they're asking for is similar.”

One aspect of the new evaluation process for principals — that educators don't like — is the inclusion of how students perform on standardized tests.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Trib Live (www.triblive.com), Tom Yerace, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

 
Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:26 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), is working on its State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report.  The State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report will describe how the Commonwealth will improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities, ages birth-21, and comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). States must submit their new State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report to the United States Department of Education by Feb. 1, 2015, and it must include a description of targets and strategies to guide improvement through federal fiscal year 2018.

The State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report is built upon federally mandated indicators of compliance and performance. Each indicator includes baseline data, annual measurable and rigorous targets, and improvement activities.  It is being developed with significant input from the Pennsylvania Special Education Advisory Panel, the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention, and other stakeholders. PDE and DPW are requesting stakeholders’ input on targets and improvement activities for the following indicators:

School-Age Indicators

Indicator 2                     Dropout Rates

Indicator 3B                   Participation in Statewide Assessment

Indicator 4A                   Suspension and Expulsion Rates

Indicator 5                     Educational Placement (Least Restrictive Environment, or LRE)

Indicator 8                     School Facilitated Parent Involvement

Indicator 14                   Postsecondary Employment and/or Education

Indicator 15                   Due Process Resolution Session Agreements

Indicator 16                   Mediation Agreements

Indicator 17                   State Systemic Improvement Plan

Persons interested in submitting comments in writing will be able to do so by visiting the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network’s website at www.pattan.net through Sept. 19, 2014.

Questions regarding the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report may be addressed to Sandy Zeleznik, Special Education Adviser, at szeleznik@pa.gov.

 
Monday, August 25, 2014 1:03 PM

Almost a year since the state bungled its disclosure of school performance profiles, Pennsylvania lacks an official release date for its latest batch, Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said on Friday. “We're thinking late September, but we won't have anything set in stone for at least another week,” he said.

Click here for the full article

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Aug. 23, 2014.

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