Press Releases

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 5:26 PM

The PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is a well-known research instrument. Conducted annually, it allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about one of this nation's most important institutions, its public schools.

Source: http://www.pdkintl.org/poll/index.htm.

 
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 4:21 PM

In response to feedback from LEAs, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has changed the Pre-Code Winter Keystone Exams PIMS collection window that was originally scheduled for August. Districts planning to participate in Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) and/or the 2012-2013 Winter Keystone Exams are encouraged to upload student files into the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) during the 2012-13 Pre-Code for Winter Keystone Exams and CDT student upload collection window that is now planned for Sept. 12- 25, 2012. Participating in this collection and uploading as many of the optional templates as possible during this window will benefit your district and school users when adding students to test sessions in DRC eDIRECT during the test setup process.

Please note: In addition to the September collection window described above, there continues to be an optional monthly PIMS collection that enables LEAs to upload student data specifically for the ongoing use of the Classroom Diagnostic Tools. This option will support monthly uploading of students that LEAs plan to assess using the CDTs.  PDE/DRC will receive updated files on the first of every month as long as the upload is completed prior to the last day of each month.

The Templates collected are as follows:

Required Templates:
Student
Student Snapshot (9/25/12)

Optional Templates:
Course
Course Instructor
Student Course Enrollment
Staff
School Enrollment
Program Fact

An additional field has been added to the Student and Student Snapshot templates for the 2012-13 school year. The Assessment Participation, now field 202, is an identifier indicating which test(s) students will be taking at any time during the school year.  Below are the Valid Values for this field:

A  - PASA only
B  - PSSA only
C  - Keystones only
D  - CDTs only
E  - PSSA and Keystones
F  - PSSA and CDTs
G  - PSSA, Keystones, and CDTs
H  - Keystones and CDTs
I  - N/A; not participating in an assessment


If you have any questions concerning CDT or Keystone assessments in 2012-13, please email pacustomerservice@datarecognitioncorp.com or call a DRC PSSA Customer Service Representative at 1-800-451-7849.

 
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 2:53 PM
The Career and Technical Education System (CATS) serves as the official record of a school entity'ss approved career and technical education program and is used to verify the data which forms the basis for the Secondary Career and Technical Education Subsidy (SCTES) calculation. As the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) reviews the information submitted in CATS, there are noticeable inconsistencies between the information in CATS and the information found in the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS).

OVER REPORTING STUDENTS-ONE EXAMPLE/POSSIBLE SCENARIO:
In some instances schools hold approval to operate a two-year program or programs, but are delivering programs to three grade levels and are seeking SCTES for each of those grade levels. If, for example, schools are actually operating a three-year program when the school only holds approval to operate a two-year program, the school must either seek approval for a three-year program or change its delivery practices. This holds true for all delivery models: one-year, two-year, three-year and four-year. Simply stated, the information in CATS must reflect the actual delivery at the school level.  

UNDER REPORTING STUDENTS-ONE EXAMPLE/POSSIBLE SCENARIO:
In some instances schools who hold approval to operate a four-year program are delivering the program to only three grade levels. Again, this holds true for all delivery models; one-year, two-year, three-year and four-year. The information in CATS must reflect the actual delivery at the school level.  

Please review the information submitted into the CATS system and, based on your review, make any revision or seek new program approvals, as appropriate. For funding purposes, ensure that the number of years noted in the CATS system is equal to the number of years the program is being delivered at the school.  

Please direct any questions about the above information to Lee Burket, PDE'ss bureau director for Career and Technical Education at lburket@pa.gov or 717-787-5530.
 
Monday, August 6, 2012 12:39 PM

Act 85 of 2012 created the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program, which enables eligible students, who reside within the attendance boundaries of a low-achieving school, to apply for a scholarship through an opportunity scholarship organization to attend a participating public or nonpublic school.

The program is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development and additional information can be obtained by visiting www.newpa.com/ostc, or by calling 717-787-7120.

An eligible student may receive an opportunity scholarship of up to $8,500 for students without a disability or up to $15,000 for students with a disability.

Districts that are interested in participating in this program by enrolling opportunity scholarship recipients should visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education's web site at www.education.state.pa.us and click on the  "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program"? icon to fill out the intent to participate form.

Note: Low-achieving schools are not permitted to participate as a receiving school, and students from a low-achieving school are not permitted to transfer to another building within their home school district.

The intent to participate is required to be submitted to the Department of Education no later than August 15, 2012.

If you have any questions, please email ra-ostcp@pa.gov.

 
Thursday, August 2, 2012 12:18 PM

On July 23, 2012, school districts and schools were able to access Preliminary District Student Data Files at www.drc-web.com/reportdelivery and the Preliminary AYP System at www.drc-web.com/aypappeals. Due to continued concerns about incorrect AYP data, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has determined that it is of the utmost importance that AYP data be corrected. Therefore, it will be implementing the following process and procedure to deal with the correction of data affecting AYP this year:

1)  School districts and schools with incorrect data must download and complete the 2012 AYP Data Correction Forms found at:
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/2012_ayp/20803/2012_appeals_process/1195455

NOTE:  This process is separate and distinct from the AYP Appeal Procedure. If you believe your AYP status is incorrect for statistical or other substantive reasons, not because of incorrect data, these issues should be addressed in an AYP appeal and are subject to AYP appeal review. Also, note that incorrect attribution of students is NOT considered a data correction. Attribution issues must be handled via the 2012 AYP Appeals Process using the appropriate AYP Appeal Forms found at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/2012_ayp/20803/2012_appeals_process/1195455

2) To complete the data correction the following must be included:

2012 AYP Data Correction Form

  • Including evidence to support the data correction  EXAMPLE:  Proof that a student who is incorrectly coded as not having an IEP does have an IEP.

2012 AYP Data Correction Contact Information and Accuracy Certification

2012 AYP Data Correction Calculation Worksheets - ALL of the following must be completed and included:

  • Status Calculation
  • Confidence Interval Calculation
  • Two-Year Uniform Average Calculation
  • Confidence Interval for Two-Year Uniform Average Calculation
  • Safe Harbor Calculation
  • Safe Harbor Confidence Interval Calculation
  • Growth Calculation

Complete ONLY the worksheets for each subject and group/subgroup affected by the data correction.

REMINDER: Changing the data for one group/subgroup may affect additional groups/subgroups, therefore, the submission of the Calculation Worksheets for those affected groups/subgroups is also required.

2012 PIMS Request for Override of AYP Data Form


Completed Data Correction Electronic Template with corrected data inserted. Please copy and paste the incorrect data directly from your District Student Data File found on the DRC Report Delivery website into the template and then make the correction. Email the completed Data Correction template by Aug. 7, 2012 to Dana Klouser at dklouser@pa.gov with your LEA or LEA/school in the subject line of the email.

3) The 2012 AYP Data Correction Packet must be completed in its entirety (original signature is required) and mailed to:  


Dana Klouser
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Assessment and Accountability
333 Market Street - 9th Floor
Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333


Incomplete Data Correction Forms will NOT be reviewed and processed.


DATA CORRECTIONS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY AUGUST 7, 2012
Data Corrections with a postmark after August 7, 2012 cannot be accepted.

 
Monday, July 30, 2012 2:54 PM
Under new legislation, school districts will have to file annual reports starting in 2013 detailing how boys's and girls's sports opportunities match up in middle and high schools. These reports will need to include numbers of participants and teams, coaches and trainers's compensation and spending on equipment, travel and uniforms. It might be helpful to review procedures this year to make implementing the reports go more smoothly next year. Click here for the full article.

Source: PenSPRA e-Comm Alerts, July 26, 2012 — Volume 7 #20.
 
Monday, July 30, 2012 2:54 PM
Under new legislation, school districts will have to file annual reports starting in 2013 detailing how boys's and girls's sports opportunities match up in middle and high schools. These reports will need to include numbers of participants and teams, coaches and trainers's compensation and spending on equipment, travel and uniforms. It might be helpful to review procedures this year to make implementing the reports go more smoothly next year. Click here for the full article.

Source: PenSPRA e-Comm Alerts, July 26, 2012 — Volume 7 #20.
 
Monday, July 30, 2012 2:05 PM
s part of the 2012-13 state budget, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law several bills that affect the Public School Code of 1949. These bills were passed in addition to Act 82 of 2012. Please note that this is a summary and further guidance on the implementation of these provisions will be forthcoming.

SCHOOL EMPLOYEES


Act 31 of 2012 exempts a person who holds the qualifications of a teacher under Section 4(2) of the Private Driver Education or Training School Act from an Article 12 certification provided that the employing school district has posted the vacant position for a minimum of 10 days on the district'ss web site and no qualified candidate certified by the Department of Education to teach driver and safety education is available. For additional information, contact Terry Barnaby at tbarnaby@pa.gov.  

Act 126 of 2012 requires school entities and independent contractors to provide their employees, who will have direct contact with children, with mandatory child abuse recognition and reporting training. Employees shall complete three hours of training every five years. Employees required to undergo continuing professional development under Section 1205.2 shall receive credit for the training provided that the program is approved by the department. For more information, contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov.  

SCHOOL SAFETY

Act 59 of 2012 requires information about the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest to be handed out to parents of children wishing to participate in interscholastic athletics. An informational meeting on this subject is required. A student-athlete displaying the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest must be removed from play and coaches must participate in annual training on the subject. For more details, contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov.

Act 101 of 2012 requires information about the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries to be handed out to parents of children wishing to participate in interscholastic athletics. An informational meeting on this subject is required. A student-athlete displaying the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries must be removed from play and coaches must participate in training on the subject. For more information, contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov.  

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION/FINANCES


Act 141 of 2012 requires PDE to develop and implement an early warning system to identify school districts experiencing mild financial difficulties.  Districts that meet the criteria established by PDE would be declared in Financial Watch Status based on data provided to the Department by the districts. PDE will notify districts that they have been designated in Financial Watch Status and provide these districts with technical assistance. The act also provides for the Secretary to declare a school district in Moderate Financial Recovery Status or Severe Financial Recovery Status. School districts in financial recovery status may apply for an interest-free loan through PDE'ss financial recovery transitional loan program to implement components of their financial recovery plan. School districts may only receive one loan from this account per fiscal year. For additional information, contact Amy Morton at ammorton@pa.gov.   

HIGHER EDUCATION

Act 69 of 2012 allows a private, nonprofit college or university to offer an additional degree or to institute an additional major or program as long as the college or university is accredited and has operated continuously in the commonwealth for 10 years, or the department approves the additional degree, major, or program. Contact Jill Hans at jhans@pa.gov for additional information.

Act 132 of 2012 authorizes state-owned universities and system employees to enter into economic development agreements that benefit the State-owned universities and system employees. "Economic development agreement" is defined as an agreement that allows a State-owned university to develop and market intellectual property owned or created by a State System of Higher Education employee. For more information, contact Jill Hans at jhans@pa.gov.   

Act 134 of 2012 authorizes the State System of Higher Education to enter into an agreement with any entity for the cooperative use of supplies or services. All purchases and agreements made pursuant to this subsection must be the result of a system of competitive bidding and in accordance with Pennsylvania law. For more information, contact Jill Hans at jhans@pa.gov.  

OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS

Act 85 of 2012 established the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program to provide low- and moderate-income students in low-achieving schools the option to apply for a scholarship to attend a participating public or nonpublic school. PDE will notify districts that have one or more low-achieving schools by Aug. 1, 2012, and by Feb. 1 of each year thereafter. For additional information, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.
 
Monday, July 30, 2012 1:54 PM
As part of the 2012-13 state budget, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 1901, which made several changes to the Public School Code of 1949. Below is an overview of the changes made by Act 82 of 2012.

Please note, this is a summary and further guidance on the implementation of these provisions will be forthcoming.

SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

Clarifies that the employment prohibitions contained in Sections 111(e) and 111(f.1), based on conviction of certain offenses, applies to both current and prospective employees.  The requirements to report arrests and convictions are expanded to include, in addition to the 111(e) offenses, arrests for or convictions of offenses listed under Section 111(f.1). The department will revise the report form required by Section 111 and publish the revised form in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the department'ss website. For more information, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.  

Allows for the addition of a graduate degree in management to qualify individuals for election or appointment of superintendent and also, for the next three years, permits a person with a Juris Doctorate degree and at least four years of relevant work experience in law to serve as a superintendent or assistant superintendent. The department will review and confirm that individuals meet the new statutory requirements for appointment. A request for review of the qualifications may be made by a form that the department will develop, which will be made available on the department'ss web site. The department will also issue a commission upon hiring. For more details, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.  

Provides for superintendent contract transparency, requiring that superintendent and assistant superintendent contracts include specific provisions/limitations, such as all provisions for compensation and benefits to be paid; termination, buy out and severance provisions; limitations related to compensation for unused sick leave from previous employment; post-retirement benefits and benefit duration; and objective performance standards. It further provides for annual performance reviews and subjects the contracts to the Right to Know Law. For more information, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.  

Provides for the creation of a new rating tool for classroom teachers starting in the 2013-14 school year and for principals and nonteaching professionals starting in the 2014-15 school year. The tool for classroom teachers needs to be developed, issued and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by June 30, 2013. The tools for principals and nonteaching professionals need to be developed, issued and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by June 30, 2014. For more information, contact Carolyn Dumaresq at cdumaresq@pa.gov.

Allows schools to suspend/furlough employees based on curtailments or alterations of educational programs without the department'ss approval of the programmatic change.  The district must still notify the department and the information will be posted online. For more information, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.

SCHOOL FINANCES

Provides for Accountability Block Grants (ABG) in the 2012-13 fiscal year to be distributed by a formula and prorated if sufficient funds are not available.  The funds are to be used for ABG eligible expenses as defined in Section 2599.2. For additional information, contact Ed Vollbrecht at edwvollbre@pa.gov.  

Allows school districts to reopen their 2012-13 budgets to reflect state and federal appropriations for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years. In addition, budgets may be reopened for an increase in local revenue if the change is due to legislation enacted during the 2011 regular session. Contact Benjamin Hanft at bhanft@pa.gov for additional information.

Provides for payments for Basic Education Funding, Special Education Funding and intermediate units. For additional information, contact Benjamin Hanft at bhanft@pa.gov.

Provides for payments to community colleges. For additional information, contact Jessica Sites at jesites@pa.gov.

Provides for payments for libraries. For additional information, contact Eileen Kocher at ekocher@pa.gov.

Provides for a moratorium on new Part A PlanCon project applications not received by the department by October 1, 2012. The department will also conduct a review of the current process in which school building projects are reviewed and approved. For additional information, contact Nichole Duffy at nduffy@pa.gov.

Provides that contracts for work or purchase of supplies that exceed $18,500 as adjusted by CPI must be done under separate contracts.  Also provides that a school district can proceed with emergency repairs without the approval of the department, but still requires notification to the department.  The department will provide the form and manner for school districts to report these types of incidents. Contact Nichole Duffy at nduffy@pa.gov for additional information.

Eliminates the incentive program for health and nutrition.  For more information, contact Vonda Cooke at vcooke@pa.gov.

Provides that a school district is not prohibited from receiving reimbursement for approved building improvements, including the cost of acquiring a suitable site for a school building, the cost of constructing a new school building or the cost of providing needed additions or alterations to existing buildings if a school district elects not to remove any relocatable or modular classroom utilized after the completion of a building project. For more information, contact Nichole Duffy nduffy@pa.gov.  

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION

Modifies the deployment of the Keystone Exams. By the 2020-21 school year, the department will, subject to annual appropriation, develop and implement the following Keystone exams:  Algebra I, Literature, Biology, English Composition, Algebra II, Geometry, United States History, Chemistry, Civics and Government and World History. For questions regarding the Keystone Exams, contact Rich Maraschiello at c-rmarasch@pa.gov.  

Creates an open campus initiative to encourage collaboration between and among school districts to provide high-quality education through cooperative agreements. These agreements are to be developed by school districts. The department is to provide any technical assistance needed to the school districts that are establishing and operating these open campus initiatives. Contact Mike Wilson at mrwilson@pa.gov for more information.

Removes the 165-student cap for designating students to neighboring school districts in third class school districts operating under a special board of control that do not operate a high school program. Provides that the tuition rate for the 2012-13 school year and each year thereafter that a designated school district receives for each student it receives shall be the greater of $10,000 or the product of the tuition rate established for the prior school year and the greater of the percentage increase in total budgeted revenues or the index set pursuant to the Taxpayer Relief Act. For two consecutive school years following the effective date, a school district designated to receive students shall receive $500 per student reassigned and entering grades 7, 8 or 9 for transition services. This section currently only applies to the Duquesne City School District and those school districts designated to receive Duquesne'ss high school students. For questions on reassignment of students, contact Carolyn Dumaresq at cdumaresq@pa.gov. For information on district reimbursement, contact Nichole Duffy at nduffy@pa.gov.  

SCHOOL SAFETY

Requires each school entity (AVTS, charter, cyber charter, IU, nonpublic or school district) to have at each school/location one person certified in CPR during regular school hours. For additional information, contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov.  

Provides that the State Board of Education may revise the model memorandum of understanding (MOU) for school safety by publishing a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that contains the complete revised model MOU. Contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov for more information.

Permits a local board of school directors to enter into agreements with other political subdivisions to provide for safety and security of a school. For additional information, contact Mike Kozup at mkozup@pa.gov.  

HIGHER EDUCATION


Creates the Targeted Industry Cluster Certificate Scholarship Program within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). The need-based program is geared toward students enrolled in courses of study in the energy, advanced materials, diversified manufacturing, agriculture and food production fields. Eligible courses of study must be more than 10 weeks in length, less than two academic years in length and be Title IV eligible. A list of eligible programs and participation requirements can be found at www.pheaa.org/pa-tip.  

Amends the data moratorium language to provide that institutions of higher education may voluntarily provide data to the department. For more information, contact Jen Dugan at jendugan@pa.gov.

OTHER CHANGES TO THE SCHOOL CODE

Requires that schools submit to the department athletic opportunity and treatment data for male and female secondary students for the preceding year by October 15 of each year through a disclosure form established by the department. This form will be available on the department'ss web site and copies of the completed forms will be accessible on the department'ss website beginning in 2013. For additional information, contact Steve Fisher at sfisher@pa.gov.
 
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:53 PM

Attention Members: You do not need to log in to the PA Principals Association web site in order to register for the PA Principals Association Conference, Oct. 21-23, 2012, in Pittsburgh, PA. Hover your mouse over the State Conference tab on the Main Menu until you see the drop down menu and REGISTER NOW! Click on this tab and you will see the online registration form. It's quick and easy!

 
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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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