Press Releases

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 1:51 PM

Governor Tom Corbett today announced that Ronald J. Tomalis will leave his post as Secretary of Education on May 31 to become Special Adviser to the Governor on Higher Education.

Tomalis, who has been with the administration since January 2011, will be responsible for overseeing, implementing and reviewing the recommendations made by the Governor’s Postsecondary Advisory Commission. 

To replace Tomalis, the governor will be nominating Dr. William E. Harner, superintendent of the Cumberland Valley School District in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. His nomination will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Following a 20-year military career, Harner served in several educational capacities, from middle school principal to school superintendent in South Carolina to deputy chief executive officer of the School District of Philadelphia.

Click here for the full press release (from the Office of the Governor).


Wednesday, May 15, 2013 11:21 AM

PA Principals Association congratulates Principal Vincent Mascia and Southmoreland Middle School on being chosen as a 2013 Met Life Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School. Only 10 schools across the country were selected for this prestigious honor.

According to NASSP, the goal of the project is to identify, recognize and showcase middle level and high schools that serve large numbers of students living in poverty and are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement.

Click here to read more about their successes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:07 AM

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a central Pennsylvania school superintendent who worked briefly as a Philadelphia School District administrator has emerged as the favorite to succeed Gov. Corbett’s outgoing education secretary. Administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said William Harner, superintendent of the Cumberland Valley School District just outside Harrisburg, is the front-runner to replace Ron Tomalis, who has run the Education Department since Corbett took office in 2011. Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley could not be reached for comment. Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Source: myPLS The Eye Opener, May 15, 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013 1:40 PM

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, another member of Gov. Corbett’s cabinet is on his way out. Education Secretary Ron Tomalis is looking for another job and does not intend to stay past summer, two senior administration officials have told The Inquirer on condition of anonymity. An official timetable has yet to be set for his exit, but the sources said Tomalis would likely stay in his $149,804 job until after the July 1 deadline for getting a state budget passed and signed into law. Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Source: myPLS The Eye Opener, May 13, 2013.


Friday, May 10, 2013 10:15 AM

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) told the State Board of Education that it is preparing to publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin its rating tool for teacher effectiveness in the coming weeks. The tool includes the classroom teacher rating form and instructions. Act 82 of 2012 requires PDE to publish the rating tool by June 30 on a fast-track process that exempts it from the regulatory review requirements and review by the state attorney general. However, the document must be approved by the governor’s office of general counsel, budget office and policy office prior to publication. Electronic versions of the tool will be available on PDE’s web site that will compute the rating calculations for school districts; training and information will be made available through PDE’s SAS section of the web site.

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, May 9, 2013.

Monday, May 6, 2013 4:03 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will be requesting a waiver of the limitation in section 1127(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) that prohibits a State educational agency (SEA) from granting to a local educational agency (LEA) a waiver of the 15% carryover limitation of Title I, Part A funds (in section 1127(a) of the ESEA) more than once every three years.

The approval of this waiver would provide the SEA with the ability to grant an LEA permission to carry over more than 15% of their fiscal year 2012 Title I, Part A allocation into the 2013 fiscal year.  The requested waiver may help more schools and LEAs within the State meet their annual measurable objectives (AMOs) by enabling them to direct their funds to activities that are most likely to increase the quality of instruction and improve the academic achievement of students in the face of a likely reduction in its fiscal year 2013 Title I, Part A allocation due to the sequester.
If you have any comments on this waiver request, please submit them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it no later than May 31, 2013.

Monday, May 6, 2013 4:02 PM

The Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) Attribution System will be available to LEAs May 20 - 24, 2013 at to verify and correct, if necessary, all student attribution information and to update PAsecure IDs and birthdates for students who did not use precode labels. In preparation for the opening of this important window, PDE and DRC will provide online training covering PDE's Attribution Map, examples of HOW and WHY a student should be attributed, demonstrations of attribution using the DRC website, examples of when NOT to attribute a student in the system and additional information related to training for the 1% Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) Cap.

On February 28, PDE submitted an application to United States Department of Education (USDoE) for a flexibility waiver. If Pennsylvania's waiver is approved in a timely fashion, PDE will not report Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on 2013 test results, but will use the School Performance Profile to identify Reward, Focus and Priority schools. If PDE is able to use the School Performance Profile, attribution rules may be slightly different from the attribution rules for AYP. In the training, DRC will demonstrate how to navigate the attribution system to attribute students; however, PDE may not yet know by the attribution window which rules, School Performance Profile (SPP) or AYP, will be used. If PDE is informed by USDoE prior to the attribution window, PDE will immediately release the SPP attribution rules; if PDE has not heard from USDoE, LEAs should continue to use the AYP attribution rules (2013 AYP Participation and Performance Attribution Map found on the PDE web site).

In order to ensure all LEAs have an opportunity to participate, PDE will be offering the same session multiple dates/times (see list below).  The presentations will be available via "GoToMeeting™."  To register, go to the link provided for each session below.  Each session has a very different, specific link associated with it.  Be sure to use the link associated with the session in which you will participate.    


May 15, 2013 from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m., to register, go to:

May 15, 2013 from 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., to register, go to:

May 16, 2013 from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m., to register, go to:

May 16, 2013 from 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., to register, go to:

For more information, contact Judith Roseborough at PDE, Bureau of Assessment and Accountability at 717-265-7655.

Monday, May 6, 2013 11:07 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) invites all school districts, charter schools, intermediate units and career and technical centers to join them in Phase III of the continued development and implementation of a new principal effectiveness system in the 2013-14 school year.  Please note that schools receiving School Improvement Grants (SIG) using the Transformation model are required to participate in Phase III unless these schools have developed an instrument which has been approved by PDE. In addition, all Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) receiving Race to the Top (RTTT) funding are required to participate in Phase III.

The major elements of this project include:

  • A detailed practice rubric based on feedback from Phase II and research collected from multiple practice models;
  • On-going study and refinement of measurable evidence and its correlation with the Principal practice rubric;
  • Detailed guidance on the effectiveness process, its components and the evidence to be considered for evaluation;
  • The refinement of a formula for determining the summative evaluation rating;
  • Participation in a training network;
  • External evaluators to analyze the second phase of the project; and
  • Utilization of an online evaluator training system to address inter-rater reliability.

Phase III implementation sites will have the opportunity to provide recommendations, based upon their experience, into the final design of the new principal effectiveness form and rubric. In addition, Phase III implementation sites will be able to offer recommendations for the evaluation guidelines that will include local flexibility, practice components and evidence recommendations.

Phase III implementation sites will also have the opportunity to receive ongoing assistance at no cost, as well as priority registration for the PDE Institute, which will be held in December 2013.  

Please join PDE in this very important endeavor.  PDE needs a broad representation of the education community across Pennsylvania to develop a strong system. You may select individual building principals (with the exception of SIG & RTTT Schools) for Phase III rather than the entire LEA.  This will be one of the last opportunities to have input before PDE finalizes the rubric and components of the system.

If you know you are ready to participate in Phase III, you can indicate your commitment by visiting the following URL and providing the requested information. The deadline for registering to participate in Phase III of the implementation process is June 14, 2013. The URL is

Friday, April 26, 2013 12:26 PM

Gov. Tom Corbett today signed legislation that will lead to overhauling the way future state funding for special education is distributed to school districts.

Click here for full story.

Source:, By Jan Murphy, April 25, 2013.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:58 PM

The results of PA Principals Association’s 2013 Election have been announced thanks to our Nominations Committee - Margaret S. (Peg) Foster, chairperson, and members, Kristopher Vancas and Robert Frioni, along with Kurt Nyquist, PA Principals Association president.

After our members voted online, we are proud to report that the following are your newly- elected President-Elect, NAESP Representative and Regional Representatives:

President-Elect (Elem. Division):     –      Gregg L. Paladina, Karns City A.S.D.

NAESP Representative (Elem. Division):   –     Dr. Melissa D. Patschke, Spring –Ford A.S.D.

Regional Representatives:

East II Elementary            –     Brian J. Gasper, Jim Thorpe A.S.D.

East III Secondary            –     Jonathan Bauer, Upper Merion A.S.D.

Central I Elementary       –     James E. Orichosky, Bald Eagle A.S.D.

Central III Secondary      –     Dr. David A. Crumrine, Spring Cove S.D.

West III Elementary        –     Heather L. Hauser, Highlands S.D.

West III Secondary          –     Dr. Zeb Jansante, Bethel Park S.D.

West IV Elementary        –     Rodney A. Necciai, Pittsburgh S.D.

West IV Secondary          –     Dr. Jeffrey J. Spadafore, Pittsburgh S.D.


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