Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:06 PM
Despite the widespread influence of the nation's 95,000 principals on three million teachers and 55 million students -- cited by the Wallace Foundation as second only to teaching among school influences on student success -- most state and district frameworks for principal evaluation do not reflect existing standards or proven practices. In the context of federal demands for increased principal accountability, more rigorous teacher evaluation systems and next generation student assessment the country's school leaders are calling for the adoption of a new set of policy guidelines and best practices that go beyond student test scores to evaluate school culture, professional growth and learning and other aspects of students' learning environments that are directly influenced by school leaders.
Monday, September 10, 2012 1:29 PM
According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the way the state measures eleventh graders' academic progress is expected to change this year. Under a plan that must be approved by the federal Department of Education, juniors will take state-developed Keystone Exams in algebra I, biology and literature instead of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test this school year. Passing the exams will be a graduation requirement for The Class of 2017, current eighth graders. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
Source: PLS Eye Opener, Sept. 10, 2012.
PDE Reminds School Administrators of Applicability of Changes to Background Check Law Under Act 82 of 2012 and Availability of REVISED PDE-6004 Form to Report Arrests and Convictions of Offenses
Monday, September 10, 2012 12:45 PM
I. Changes to Section 111 of School Code are Effective June 30, 2012
Act 82 of 2012, signed into law on June 30, 2012, amends Section 111 of the School Code, which provides for background checks for employees of public and private schools, intermediate units and area vocational-technical schools who have direct contact with children. Section 111 also applies to independent contractors and their employees who have direct contact with children and to student teachers and student teacher candidates assigned to public and private schools. The amendments clarify that the employment prohibitions contained in Section 111(e) and Section 111(f.1) of the School Code, based on conviction of certain offenses, apply to both current and prospective employees. The changes to Section 111 went into effect on June 30, 2012.
II. Expansion of Reporting Requirements to School Administrators: Reporting of Section 111(e) and 111(f.1) offenses required
Act 82 expands the requirements for mandatory reporting of arrests and convictions of school employees to school administrators for certain offenses. Under the prior version of the law, current and prospective school employees were required to report to school administrators only arrests for or convictions of offenses listed under Section 111(e) of the School Code. Section 111(e) offenses include such criminal offenses as homicide, rape and kidnapping, among other offenses. Under Act 82, the reporting requirement is expanded to include, in addition to the 111(e) offenses, arrests for or convictions of offenses listed under Section 111(f.1) of the School Code. Section 111(f.1) offenses include felony offenses not listed in Section 111(e), if less than 10 years have elapsed since the date of expiration of sentence; first degree misdemeanors not listed in Section 111(e), if less than five years have passed from the date of the expiration of sentence; and any offense relating to driving under the influence graded as a first degree misdemeanor (if the person has been previously convicted of such an offense and less than three years has elapsed from the date of expiration of the sentence for the most recent offense.) Expiration of sentence typically means completion of imprisonment, probation and parole; and satisfaction of all financial obligations required by the sentence, including restitution, which is recognized by court order.
III. Availability of REVISED PDE Form-6004 for Employees to Report Section 111(e) and (f.1) Offenses to School Administrators
As required by Act 82, PDE has revised the form (PDE-6004) to report arrests or convictions to include offenses listed under Section 111(f.1) of the School Code as well as Section 111(e) offenses.
This revised form (PDE-6004) is now available on the PDE web site at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/background_checks_%28act_114%29/7493
As required by subsection (j)(2) of 24 P.S. §1-111, the revised PDE-6004 is required to be completed and submitted by all current or prospective employees of a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school. Please note that under Act 82, any current employee who completed a PDE 6004 on or before December 27, 2011, in compliance with 24 P.S. § §1-111(j)(1) and (2) on that date, and who has never been arrested for or convicted of an offense enumerated under 24 P.S. § §1-111(e) or (f.1) is not required to complete and submit an additional form. In addition, as required by subsection (j)(4) of 24 P.S. §1-111, this form shall be utilized by employees to provide written notice within seventy-two (72) hours after an arrest or conviction for an offense enumerated under 24 P.S. § §1-111(e) or (f.1).
School administrators are advised to distribute a copy of the revised PDE-6004 to all current and prospective employees as soon as possible, as well as inform their employees as to whom the form must be returned.
Such employees should be informed that they must complete and return to the school administrator the new form if: (1) they did not complete a PDE-6004 on or before December 27, 2011, or (2) if they ever have been arrested for or convicted of a Section 111(e) or Section 111(f.1) offense (whether or not such reportable arrest or conviction occurred before, on or after such date).
School administrators are required to have the revised PDE-6004 completed and returned by independent contractors and their employees (contract employees), if the contract employees did not complete a PDE-6004 on or before December 27, 2011, or if the contract employee has been arrested for or convicted of a Section 111(e) or a Section 111(f.1) offense. To assist PIAA-registered sports' officials in this process, the PIAA has developed an interactive revised PDE-6004 for submission to the PIAA Officials' database and is available by clicking on this link; www.piaa.org/officials. This form will be saved in the PIAA Officials' database and will be able to be accessed by all PIAA member schools.
Higher education administrators are also required to have the form completed and returned by student teachers and student teacher candidates (student teachers) if such student teacher did not complete a PDE-6004 on or before December 27, 2011, or if the student teacher has been arrested for or convicted of a Section 111(e) or 111(f.1) offense.
IV. School Administrator Required to Order Background Check Upon Reasonable Belief That Employee was Arrested or Convicted of a Section 111(e) or Section 111(f.1) Offense
Act 82 requires that if a school administrator has a reasonable belief that an employee was arrested or convicted of a Section 111(e) or Section 111(f.1) offense and the employee has not notified the school administrator of such arrest or conviction, the school administrator must require the school employee to submit to a current Section 111 background check at the expense of the employing entity.
V. School Districts Advised to Report Crimes Noted on PDE-6004 to Department
The superintendent, assistant superintendent, executive director of an IU, chief administrator of an AVTS, or career and technology center, administrator of a charter school, or their designees, currently are required to report to the department all instances of certificated employees or charter school staff members (as such term is defined in the Professional Educator Discipline Act) reporting an arrest or conviction for offenses listed under Section 111(e) and crimes involving moral turpitude which have been disclosed on the revised PDE-6004 or which is otherwise known to them as the result of background checks or otherwise. (See a non-exclusive list of such crimes at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/educator_discipline_system/11389/educator_misconduct/529147). It is strongly recommended that any other arrest or conviction, noted by certificated employees or charter school staff members on a PDE-6004 or which is otherwise known to them as the result of background checks or otherwise, be reported to the department. The report should be made on a mandatory report form which can be found on the department's website at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/professional_standards_practices_commissions/8829. For Section 111(e) offenses or for offenses involving moral turpitude, the report form is required to be filed within 30 days of the receipt of information concerning the arrest or conviction and must include all available information concerning the indictment or conviction. The completed mandatory report form with supporting documentation should be sent to: Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Chief Counsel, 333 Market Street, 9th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333.
For additional information, please contact the School Services unit at 717-783-3750 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 7, 2012 2:08 PM
Dear PA Principals Association Member: As of yesterday, we have found there may have been a compromise to our web site, www.paprincipals.org. The potential illegal access in personal membership information is certainly there, such as names and email addresses. Our hosting vendor will be investigating this issue further and we will report back to you on the findings.
We want to make it clear that the compromise was on the hosting vendor's server and not on PA Principals Association's internal server or computer files, so any private association/member files and membership records are completely safe and have not been compromised.
In addition, if you encountered any problems recently when registering for our October state conference or completing a membership application online, please contact email@example.com (conference registrations); or firstname.lastname@example.org (membership applications).
Thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter.
Thursday, September 6, 2012 3:11 PM
Districts were notified over the summer as to an earlier testing date for the Keystone Exams. Although passing grades on the exams aren't required for graduation until the class of 2017, current 11th graders will take the exams this year in place of the PSSA's. Students will be tested in Algebra 1, Biology and Literature. Keystone Exams are likely to result in a good number of questions from students and parents, because two of the subjects tested are often taken well before the junior year. There could be 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th graders taking these tests. Some online resources about the Keystone Exams are shown below.
This blog has a good summary of the Keystones testing schedule.http://chalkandtalk.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/keystone-exam-to-replace-pssa-in-2013/
This is an FAQ for parents about Keystone Exams: http://static.pdesas.org/Content/Documents/Information_for_Parents_or_Guardians_PA_Keystone_Exams_Aug_2012_final.pdf
This article discusses some of the challenges being faced by districts due to the sudden shift in testing dates: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/parkland/mc-state-keystone-exams-20120903,0,205928,full.story
Source: PenSPRA e-Comm Alerts, Sept. 5, 2012.
Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:58 PM
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has chosen Teachscape, the leader in delivering Web-based professional learning content, innovative technologies, and expert services to improve teaching practice, to provide a system by which to train and assess the state's 5,350 teacher evaluators. PDE will use Teachscape's Framework for Teaching Proficiency System, an online system to train and assess teacher evaluators, to help ensure evaluator accuracy as the state rolls out a five-year comprehensive statewide teacher evaluation system based on Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching (FFT).
"The Pennsylvania Department of Education has been using Charlotte Danielson's Framework as a model for great teaching for years due to its defensible research base," said Dr. Carolyn Dumaresq, deputy secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. "We were looking for best-in-class evaluator training for the assessment of teaching practice based upon the Framework; scalable, rigorous and affordable training to help ensure that Pennsylvania's teachers are observed fairly and accurately. Teachscape's Framework for Teaching Proficiency System is that solution."
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 7:12 PM
On behalf of all middle and high school leaders, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) needs your help to prevent funding cuts that will affect all schools across the country. NASSP is working hard to prevent something called sequestration - drastic, across-the-board cuts to education and other federal programs scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013 - but your Members of Congress need to hear from YOU, fellow school leaders on the ground. As Pennsylvania state coordinator for NASSP, I engage in advocacy at the federal level on behalf of school leaders like yourselves, and I strongly encourage you to lend your voice with me on this critical issue.
Friday, August 24, 2012 2:55 PM
In July, Dr. Joshua Doll our president-elect, was appointed by the Dallastown Area School District as the assistant superintendent, therefore it became necessary, in accordance with PA Principals Association'ss by-laws, for Dr. Doll to resign as president-elect.
Business, Computer and Information Technology Standards Are Now Available on the Standards Aligned System (SAS) Portal
Thursday, August 23, 2012 5:58 PM
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), as required by Act 104 of 2010, has developed Business, Computer and Information (BCIT) standards. PDE commissioned a team of nine business educators representing Pennsylvania'ss elementary, middle, high and postsecondary schools, to create comprehensive academic standards for BCIT.
BCIT standards were developed in the areas of: (1) Accounting; (2) Career Management; (3) Communications; (4) Computer and Information Technologies; (5) Economics and Finance; (6) Entrepreneurship; (7) Global Business; (8) Management; and (9) Marketing.
The standards offer a PreK-12 perspective to support curriculum development, facilitate the integration of this critical content, and prepare students to gain a competitive advantage.
To view the standards, go to the SAS Portal at: www.pdesas.org. Click on Standards, scroll down to Select a Subject, choose Business, Computer and Information Technology from the dropdown menu and Select a Grade or band.
You can also click on Standards, then Keyword Search and type a term to see the BCIT standards along with any other academic standards that correspond to that particular topic.
If you choose to view the BCIT standards in a PDF, click on Standards, select Download PDFs and select Business, Computer and Information Technology.
Questions regarding the development of business education standards may be directed to Tamalee Brassington in the Bureau of Career and Technical Education at email@example.com or 717-783-6972.
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.
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