Press Releases

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 1:34 PM
To recognize the essential role that principals play in preparing today'ss students for the challenges of tomorrow, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals have declared October 2012 as National Principals Month.

Principals are among the hardest working, yet often least recognized individuals in education. Principals set the academic tone for their schools, and it is their vision, dedication and determination that provide the mobilizing force behind any school reform effort. National Principals Month seeks to honor these unsung heroes for their tireless efforts in pursuit of excellence in education.

Click here to view PA Principals Association's Senate Resolution 349.

Click here for National Principals' Month Activities.
 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 7:02 PM
In an effort to provide additional support to the Commonwealth's PK-20 education system, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has contracted with Parchment Inc. to implement the Pennsylvania Electronic Student Transcripts And Records System (PA eSTARS), a statewide network for schools to exchange student records and transcripts at all grade levels, including postsecondary education.  

This unified digital system has the potential to increase schools' operational efficiencies and provide Commonwealth schools safer and faster access to complete student records -- essential at the preK-12 level for ensuring that students are placed into the correct classes and receive the supports they need to thrive.  

At the postsecondary level, Parchment's Docufide platform facilitates the quick and confidential delivery of transcripts to admissions offices and notifies students that their applications are received and their coursework is applied to their program of study.

Nearly 1,000 local education agencies (LEA) and institutions of higher education (IHE) in Pennsylvania are eligible to benefit from this voluntary initiative. A federal grant awarded to PDE will be used to cover the initial implementation costs for eligible schools that sign up prior to July 1, 2013. 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. Over the coming weeks, Parchment will be contacting you directly with instructions on how you can participate in this grant opportunity.

For additional information about PA eSTARS, please contact PAeSTARS@parchment.com.
 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 1:32 PM

In his 17 years as executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Jay Himes can'st recall a time of bigger cuts in education than last year and the current year.  "I can'st think of anything even close," he said, commenting on a survey released Monday on the impact.
The electronic survey, done by PASBO and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators in August, was answered by 264 of the state'ss 500 school districts.

More than $900 million in public school funding was reduced in 2011-12, largely as a result of the end of the federal economic stimulus.
That money was not restored in the 2012-13 state budget.

Click here to read the full article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

 
Monday, October 1, 2012 2:20 PM

A great resource - for each county in Pennsylvania, your state senators and state representatives along with their contact information, committee assignments and the school districts that they represent, are listed in this guide.

A full list of legislative guides can be viewed and downloaded for FREE here: http://www.educationvoterspa.org/index.php/site/take-action/legislative-guide7/.

 

 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:32 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is providing the following training opportunity: GETTING READY for the 2013 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone Exam.

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

Winter Wave 1 Keystone Exams to be administered Dec. 3-14, 2012.
Winter Wave 2 Keystone Exams to be administered Jan. 9-23, 2013.
PSSA Grades 3 through 5 Writing Field Test to be administered Feb. 4-15, 2013.
PSSA Grades 5 and 8 Writing Assessment to be administered March 11-15, 2013.
PSSA Grades 5 and 8 Writing Assessment Make-Ups to be administered March 18-22, 2013.
PSSA Grades 3 through 8 Math and Reading Assessments to be administered April 8-19, 2013.
PSSA Grades 4 and 8 Science PSSA to be administered April 22-26, 2013.
PSSA Math, Reading, and Science make-ups to be administered April 29 through May 3, 2013.
Spring Keystone Exams to be administered May 13-24, 2013.
Summer Keystone Exams to be administered July 29-Aug. 2, 2013.

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, click on the link provided for each session:        

A recording of one of the sessions, along with the PowerPoint, will be posted to https://pa.drcedirect.com and to PDE's web site as soon as possible following the sessions.

For more information, contact PDE'ss Bureau of Assessment and Accountability: 717-265-7655 or go to www.education.state.pa.us.

 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 1:34 PM

The Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has named Thomas J. Gentzel as its next executive director. Gentzel is the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).

As executive director of PSBA since 2001, Gentzel represents and serves more than 5,000 school directors, administrators and other officials from school entities throughout Pennsylvania.  He joined the PSBA staff in 1980 as a lobbyist and, five years later, was promoted to head the organization's Office of Governmental and Member Relations -- a position he held for more than 16 years. Gentzel also is the immediate past chair of NSBA's Organization of State Association Executive Directors. 

NSBA's executive director reports directly to  the organization's board of directors and is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of the strategic plan, programs, policies, and practices of the association. The executive director is responsible for the management and development of nearly 100 employees and an annual budget of more than $20 million.

Gentzel will join NSBA on December 1, 2012.
 
Monday, September 24, 2012 1:14 PM

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, public schools and school districts across the state got hit with a one-two punch when statewide test scores were released Friday. Scores have dropped, resulting in dramatically fewer schools and districts making adequate yearly progress, known as AYP. On top of that, state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the reason is past scores were inflated due to cheating and fell because of increased test security. While 94 percent of school districts in 2011 made AYP, only 60.9 percent did so this year. In 2011, 75 percent of schools made AYP, but this time it was 50.3 percent. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article.

Source: PLS The Eye Opener, Sept. 24, 2012.

 
Friday, September 21, 2012 3:04 PM
Senator Al Franken (D-MN), a constant champion for principals, introduced and successfully passed on September 12, S. Res 552, a bipartisan resolution recognizing the month of October 2012 as "National Principals Month." This resolution was cosponsored by Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Carl Levin (D-MI), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jim Webb (D-VA).

A Congressional resolution has officially recognized the month of October as National Principals Month since 2009, when the honor began. NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals worked collaboratively on the Senate resolution as well as the House resolution, H. Res. 781, which also recognizes October 2012 as National Principals Month thanks to the strong support for principals from Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA).

 
 
Friday, September 21, 2012 2:27 PM

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis will announce the results of the 2011-12 PSSA exams during a press conference at 11 a.m. today in the state Capitol Media Center.

At the same time, the department will post on its web site the 2011-12 PSSA results and Adequate Yearly Progress status by local education agency and school. Files can be accessed by visiting www.education.state.pa.us and clicking on the "2011-12 PSSA" icon.

In addition, the state, local education agency and school report cards will be available for viewing and download at http://paayp.emetric.net.

 
Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:52 PM
According to an article in the Scranton Times, investment returns for the Public School Employees's Retirement System (PSERS) were half of what was budgeted for the fiscal year ending in June. The lower rate of return means that the pension system'ss unfunded liability increases, Jeffrey B. Clay, PSERS executive director, said during an editorial board meeting with The Times-Tribune on Tuesday. And with returns of 3.43 percent instead of the 7.5 percent the fund budgeted, the loss will eventually need to be covered by additional earnings or an increase in contributions by employees or school districts. PSERS unfunded liability is now $26.5 billion. Click here to read the Scranton Times article.

Source: PLS Eye Opener, Sept. 20, 2012.
 
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