Press Releases

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:22 AM

The 45th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools has been released. Conducted annually by PDK International in conjunction with Gallup, the poll is the longest-running survey of American attitudes toward education and thus provides an extensive and trusted repository of data documenting how the public’s viewpoint on public education has changed over the decades.

Click here for the PDK/Gallup Poll press release, August 21, 2013.

Click here to view and print the report.

More: The Washington Post: Poll: Most Americans unfamiliar with new Common Core teaching standards

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:19 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) Standards Aligned System (SAS) Institute is scheduled for December 8 through December 11, 2013, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, Pa.

Registration details will be forthcoming from PDE.






Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:24 AM

Governor Tom Corbett has announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver request that will help make our Pennsylvania’s public schools better for our children and their families.

The approved waiver is designed to improve Pennsylvania education in three areas: making sure all our students are ready for careers or college; developing recognition and accountability standards by the state for all public schools; improving and supporting effective teachers and principals in all our classrooms.

Pennsylvania’s students need to be graduating from high school with high-quality academic credentials regardless of their career path. The state has developed high-quality assessments to make sure students achieve those academic standards.

Recognizing academic achievement and holding public schools accountable are essential to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being invested in education programs that benefit students. Beginning in the fall, students, parents, taxpayers and educators will have access to user-friendly information that shows academic progress of all public school buildings across the state.

Through the use of the recently developed School Performance Profile, which will provide a comprehensive overview of multiple measures of student achievement, Pennsylvania citizens will be able to determine the quality of the educational programs in their schools and how students are performing.

The new educator evaluation system, signed into law last year by Corbett, will assess educators on multiple measures of student achievement, will provide schools with access to comprehensive resources to improve classroom instruction and provide professional development to teachers, principals and superintendents.

The new evaluation system will be in place for classroom teachers beginning with the 2013-14 school year and for principals and specialists in the 2014-15 school year.

The waiver also abolishes the adequate yearly progress designation for each school building and school district. In its place will be the School Performance Profile that will be used to measure the academic progress of all public schools.

Title I schools, those with a high percentage of low-income students, will receive a federal designation of “Priority,” “Focus” or “Reward” based on four annual measurable objectives:

Student participation on the math and reading Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams and the algebra I, biology and literature Keystone Exams;

Student graduation or attendance rate;

Closing the achievement gap of all students – reducing the number of students who score below proficient on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) by 50 percent over a six-year period; and

Closing the achievement gap of historically underperforming students – reducing the number of students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged and English language learners who score below proficient on the PSSA, Keystone Exams and the PASA by 50 percent over a six-year period.

Schools designated as “Priority” or “Focus” will have access to intervention and support services from the state Department of Education to assist them in improving student achievement.

Schools that do not fall into a Title I category will receive a School Performance Profiles score rather than a federal designation, but will also have access to all the interventions and supports available.

For all public school buildings across the state, the School Performance Profile will provide a building-level academic score, which will be based on multiple indicators of academic achievement, including student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone Exams; closing the achievement gap; graduation rate; promotion rate; and attendance rate.

To download and print an overview of Pennsylvania’s No Child Left Behind approved waiver and Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 12:48 PM

An email will soon be sent to districts from PDE that will include a link for you to access data used in the development of the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile and detailed instructions for conducting a data review. Since the educator effectiveness building-level academic score will be derived from the School Performance Profile, it is of utmost importance that you conduct this review. This review will occur in phases with the associated data as follows:

Phase I:  August 12 – August 19, 2013 for review of PIMS/EdNA and Child Accounting

Phase II: August 29 – September 9, 2013 for review of the Data Recognition Corporation, College Board/ACT, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, School Services, and Federal Programs

Phase III: September 9 – 16, 2013 for final data review of miscellaneous data unavailable in Phases I/II

The majority of this data has been previously submitted to PIMS and verified for accuracy by your organization. This is your opportunity to review the data provided both by PIMS and other sources, and verify that it concurs with previously submitted data and matches what is currently on file.

The timeline above, absent unforeseen circumstances, provides for a proposed preliminary release of your School Performance Profile results, via your secure access link on September 23, 2013, and a public release on September 30, 2013.

Should you have questions, please direct them to

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:25 AM

Dr. Patschke began her term as director of Zone 2 on July 8. She will represent principals in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Dr/ Patschke is a committed member of NAESP and serves in numerous positions, including as a National Principal Mentor Certification coach since 2009, and as the Federal Relations Coordinator for Pennsylvania in 2010 and 2011. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary & Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association). As the Pennsylvania State Representative to NAESP, Dr. Patschke has served on PA Principals Association’s executive committee to the board of directors since 2010.

Dr. Patschke began her education career in 1988 as a special education teacher in the Reading School District. Patschke accepted an assistant principal position in 1996, serving at both Lemoyne Middle School and Allen Middle School, both in Camp Hill. She went on in 1997 to serve as principal of Amity Elementary Center in Birdsboro. Since 2002, she has served as principal of Upper Providence Elementary School in Royersford.

Dr. Patschke earned her B.S. in education from Kutztown University, her M.A. in education from Millersville University and an Ed.D from Immaculata University.


Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.



Source: NAESP Media Advisory
June 30, 2013.
Contact: Kaylen Tucker, NAESP

Thursday, July 25, 2013 8:26 AM

As a result of Act 82 and Pennsylvania's Educator Effectiveness System, significant changes to the Pennsylvania Information Management Systems (PIMS) application are required. The proposed enhancements to the PIMS application were published for review and comment to all PIMS Administrators on June 6, 2013 requesting LEA comments to PDE by June 27, 2013. School Administrators were notified of upcoming changes to PIMS through a Penn*Link distributed June 17, 2013 titled "Instructions prep for LEA staff and info systems for school year (SY) 2013-14 enhancements to PIMS for PVAAS teacher reporting." The finalized PIMS application changes follow this Penn*Link. The major portion of the PIMS enhancements are focused on making sure students are linked to the correct teachers for the Pennsylvania tested grades/subjects/courses to ensure accurate reporting of the proportion of instructional responsibility to PIMS.  

In an effort to help LEA's prepare for this year's changes, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been providing webinars to help explain the changes and impact to various levels of LEA staff. LEA staff have been encouraged to begin advanced planning, including contacting their Student Information System vendor to discuss development of an overall plan for meeting SY 2013-14 PIMS data collections for educator effectiveness. Alignment of LEA Student Information Systems to PIMS as early as possible in SY 2013-14 will save LEA teachers and principals significant time, when they need to verify rosters for Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) teacher specific reporting in the spring of 2014. If LEA data provided to PIMS is accurate, teachers and principals will NOT need to search for students for PVAAS rosters, add students to rosters, remove students from rosters and/or change the percentage of instructional responsibility for each student. Again, advance planning by LEA staff will ensure this is a verification process and not a data correction or data entry process by LEA teachers and principals

At this time, PDE's PIMS team is providing two opportunities for LEA staff to attend a webinar presenting the major changes to PIMS. LEA staff are being asked to invite their Student Information System (SIS) vendors to the web events listed below.  The webinar presenters will go over the major PIMS application changes which are listed below. The webinars do not replace the official release of the annual PIMS updates, but supplements the explanation.

Webinars:  - How to prepare your Student Information System for 2013-14 Annual PIMS Updates (Highly Qualified Teachers and Course Data Collection Revisions)

For District Technology/Data/Student Information System vendor staff)

August 6 - 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
August 7 - 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

To Join a Webinar - no registration is necessary!  

A link for joining a live webinar will become active 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. To join a session, go to Please contact PDE at should participants experience difficulties in accessing this site or the webinar session. By default, the schedule of sessions will be displayed. Click through the pages of session titles until you see the title of the session you would like to join.

PIMS Application Changes:
This year's PIMS changes will facilitate collecting and reporting, accurate and complete data for the Highly Qualified Teachers, the Educator Effectiveness and School Performance Profile Initiatives. Keep in mind; changes to the PIMS Data Warehouse are necessary to support both initiatives. Therefore, it is important to gain an understanding of future needs and to prepare LEA local systems for those needs.

* Student Course Enrollment template is being replaced with a new template - Staff Student Course  

o For 2013-14, the Highly Qualified Teachers and Course Data Collection revisions include LEA staff reporting the teacher's percentage of instructional responsibility for each student enrolled in their courses. With the introduction of the Student Course Enrollment template changes in reporting will provide a direct link to the students enrolled in the teacher's courses, the teachers instructing the course, and the concurrent enrollment of students and teachers, regardless of the student's district of residence or the teacher's employer. Students will need to be attributed to teachers for the courses students are enrolled.

o LEA staff are responsible for determining the formula to calculate the percentage of teacher instructional responsibility. This formula calculates the percentage of time the student and teacher are together in a course. For example, if the teacher and student are present for the entire course and the teacher is the only teacher, it is 100 percent. If the student is present for one-half of the course, and the teacher is present for the entire course, 50 percent of the student performance is attributed to the teacher.  Please note that this example is a relatively simple example. PDE is aware much more complicated scenarios exist in LEAs today. It is recommended LEA staff take the time to review the guidelines for calculating Instructional Responsibility posted on the SAS Inc. web site. The guidelines can be found in the FAQs document: The potential complexity of calculating instructional responsibility, given the variety of factors that are to be considered, is an important concern from both administrative and technical perspectives.  

o PDE anticipates that SIS vendors will implement configurable solutions to assist LEA staff in applying the instructional percentage formula and reduce manual calculations. SIS vendors should consider additional data quality review reports to help streamline the SIS data review prior to data being uploaded to PIMS.  

Important considerations include:
        * STUDENTS:
        * TEACHERS:
            o DUAL INSTRUCTION
        * COURSES:
            o LENGTH OF TERM

* In addition to the Percentage of Instructional Responsibility, changes are required for:

        1. Elementary Course Codes*
            a. New Elementary Course codes are required.
            b. A new course will be added to match each PSSA tested subject for grades at the elementary level.
            c. First Grade will remain with course code 0001 - First Grade.
            d. Second Grade will remain with course code 0002 - Second Grade.
            e. Third Grade through Sixth Grade will be separated into new course codes.

        2. Departmentalized Sixth Grade Course Codes*
            a. New course codes are required for reporting departmentalized sixth graders.
            b. New codes are designed to align to PSSA testing requirements.

        3. Keystone Courses*
            a. New course codes are required for reporting students in courses that result in the student taking a Keystone Exam

        4. Specialized Course Codes*
             a. New course codes are required for reporting students in the following courses:
                i. Special Education Course Codes
                ii. ESL Course Codes
                iii. Visually Impaired Course Codes
                iv. Hearing Impaired Course Codes
                v. Alternative Education Course Codes

        5. PVAAS Roles
            a. A new, required field in Staff and Staff Snapshot templates will be added for teachers, principals and CSAs (or their delegates) who are participating  
                in PVASS.  

        6. Email
            a. Professional email addresses preferred. These will be used to create PVAAS logins when applicable.

        7. Substitutes
            a. Substitute teachers who are not filling a vacancy may be reported in course data.
            b. Substitute teachers may also be the Teacher of Record for HQT reporting.

        8. Non-Core Content Courses
            a. In an effort to alleviate LEA burden, reporting of non-core content courses will be optional beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

For more information or questions, please contact: Data Collection Team, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Center for Data Quality and Information Technology at 717.705.3969 or

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 2:50 PM

The opportunity for eligible schools to join the Pennsylvania Electronic Student Transcripts and Records System (PA eSTARS) at no cost has been extended through Dec. 31, 2013.

PA eSTARS is a federally funded initiative for the secure and confidential exchange of student records and transcripts among Pennsylvania's PreK-20 educational institutions.

Parchment, Inc. provides the technical platform for PA eSTARS. Almost 450 high schools and 100 postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania use Parchment.  

To participate in this limited-time grant opportunity, contact Tammy Baden at Parchment at 480.719.1646 ext. 1013, or

The federal grant being used to underwrite PA eSTARS has been extended to cover implementation costs for schools signing through Dec. 31, 2013. However, funding is limited and will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

Participating schools do not apply for the funding. PDE will pay these costs directly to Parchment. Once enrolled, participating schools will receive a reduced rate on student transcript fees and access to free student records exchange for the duration of their contracts.

Questions should be sent to Parchment at

Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:37 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is hosting a webinar for school administrators on the Project Based Assessment system.This webinar will provide LEAs with an understanding of Project Based Assessments, including the role of the school administrator in implementing the project work. It is critical that school administrators understand the Project Based Assessment system and what a school must do to prepare for students to work on the projects.

This approximate one-hour webinar will be offered live on three dates:

August 1 - 10:00 a.m.
August 6 - 10:00 a.m.
August 9 - 10:00 a.m.

register for one of the sessions, go to Note that enrollment is limited to 200 participants per session. Note that enrollment is limited to 200 participants per session.

For those unable to attend the live presentation, the webinar will be archived on the SAS portal. An RSS feed on SAS will announce the posting of the webinar.

Questions: Contact Rita D. Perez, Director of the Bureau of Teaching and Learning, at

Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:25 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) developed guidelines that only outline instructions for submitting modifications to the teacher observation/practice component of Pennsylvania's Classroom Teacher Rating Form published June 22, 2013 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The guidelines are available on PDE's web site,, and apply to school districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools, and career technology centers that want to only submit modifications to the teacher observation/practice component.  

Separate guidelines for modifying the multiple measures components of Pennsylvania's Classroom Teacher Rating Form will be issued at a later date.  

Submit your locally-developed alternative classroom teacher effectiveness rating tools electronically to Linda J. Benedetto at Please allow 30 days for her to review and respond to each locally-developed alternative classroom teacher effectiveness rating tool submitted for approval. Questions about the guidelines may be referred to Linda either at or 717-783-9252.

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