Wednesday, August 17, 2011 4:22 PM
According to a Patriot-News article (August 17, 2011, pennlive.com): A line-up of heavy hitters, including national education reform experts and staunch public education advocates, will testify before the House Education Committee today and tomorrow to provide testimony on reform initiatives under consideration.
Click here to read the full article.
Monday, August 15, 2011 2:00 PM
Reports and data files for the Spring 2011 Keystone Exams will be available for all participating schools and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) as follows:
Monday, August 8, 2011 1:58 PM
According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, federal officials, state governments and school districts from coast to coast agree that current teacher evaluations, which are usually administered by principals, are missing the mark. Last week, Pennsylvania became the latest state to express interest in a serious overhaul of the system used to determine which teachers are making the grade and which are under-serving students. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article. (Source: myPLS The Eye Opener, August 8, 2011.)
Friday, August 5, 2011 1:01 PM
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) invites all school districts, charter schools, intermediate units and career and technical centers to join them in the development of a new teacher evaluation system to be introduced in the 2012-13 school year.
Pilot sites will have the opportunity to provide recommendations, based upon their experience, into the final design of the new teacher evaluation form and rubric. In addition, pilots will be able to offer recommendations for the evaluation guidelines that will include local flexibility, practice components and evidence recommendations.
Thursday, August 4, 2011 5:51 PM
Act 24 of 2011 provided for a two-year suspension of the Act 45 and Act 48 continuing professional education requirements for school and system leaders and educators. The following list of frequently asked questions along with their answers is provided for your information
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Under what authority has the Act 45 and Act 48 suspension/moratorium been instituted?
Act 24 of 2011 amended section 1205.1 of the Public School Code of 1949 by adding subsection (F); section 1205.2 of the Public School Code of 1949 by adding subsection (N.1); and section 1205.5 of the Public School Code of 1949 by adding subsection (H). These amendments suspended Act 45 and Act 48 continuing professional education requirements for school and system leaders and educators until June 30, 2013. 24 P.S. § § 12-1205.1(F); 12-1205.2(N.1); 12-1205.5(H).
2. When do the Act 45 and Act 48 moratoriums take effect?
The Act 48 suspension/moratorium period takes effect on August 29, 2011. The Act 45 suspension/moratorium was effective on June 30, 2011.
3. May I complete Act 45 or Act 48 courses, programs or activities and receive credit hours during the suspension?
Yes, no one is prohibited from taking Act 45 or Act 48 courses, programs or activities if they choose to do so during the suspension period. Any educator or school or system leader may continue to acquire Act 45 or Act 48 credits and/or hours during the statutorily prescribed two-year suspension period. Hours accrued during this time will be credited to the compliance period in effect at the time of the suspension/moratorium.
4. Have all of the professional education requirements for Act 45 and Act 48 been suspended for two years?
No, not entirely as all administrators currently identified as school and system leaders in Act 45, 24 P.S. § 12-1205.5, as listed below, must complete the induction program within FIVE years of serving in that capacity for the first time in Pennsylvania. Those needing to complete the induction program are:
* Vice principal
* Assistant principal
* Assistant Superintendent
* Intermediate Unit Executive Director
* Director of an Area Vocational-Technical School
* Those converting an administrative certificate from a Level I certificate to a Level II certificate.
5. Will individuals facing inactivation of their certification as of June 30, 2011, have their certificate inactivated?
The Department will inactivate the certificates of educators that have not met their Act 48 continuing professional education requirements as of June 30, 2011, as the suspension/moratorium for Act 48 does not take effect until August 29, 2011. Certificates of school and system leaders that were pending inactivation for failure to complete their Act 45 continuing professional education requirements will remain "pending inactive" during the course of the suspension/moratorium period, as the moratorium/suspension for Act 45 was effective on June 30, 2011.
6. May currently approved Pennsylvania Inspired Leaders (PIL) courses continue to be offered during the suspension/moratorium period?
Yes, courses and programs approved through the ITQ process prior to the suspension may be offered throughout the period of the suspension/moratorium.
7. Will the provider approval process continue for Act 48 during the suspension/moratorium period?
Yes, providers that wish to apply for initial Act 48 Approved Provider status may submit new applications for review by the Department of Education.
8. Will the Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) approval process continue for new PIL courses and programs during the suspension/moratorium period?
Yes, the Department of Education will continue to approve PIL courses and programs.
9. Will principals have to complete the induction process to receive Level II certification?
Yes, Principals are required to participate in the PIL induction program in order to receive Level II certification during the moratorium.
10. During the suspension/moratorium period does it matter that educators have "inactive" certificates?
Yes, those with inactive certificates, as of June 1, 2011, will remain inactive (currently 600,000 educators's certificates are inactive).
11. Will any certificates be inactivated during the suspension/moratorium period?
No, those with "active" status will not be subject to inactivation during the suspension/moratorium period.
12. Will educators with inactive certificates be able to reactivate their certificates during the suspension/moratorium period?
Yes, a certificate(s) will be re-activated if the individual completes the required 180 hours or six college credits of continuing professional education during the course of the suspension/moratorium period.
13. Will four-year notices be sent to those with one year or less remaining in their compliance period during the suspension/moratorium period?
No, four-year notices will be discontinued during the suspension/moratorium period.
14. Will educators with compliance periods that ended in May 2011 receive inactivation notices?
Yes, those inactivation notices were processed in July 2011; however, inactivation will not occur until August 20, 2011. Note: inactivation will not occur if continuing professional education requirements are fulfilled.
15. Will all reporting of hours continue during the suspension/moratorium period?
Yes, all providers will be able to report Act 45/Act 48 hours during the suspension/moratorium period.
16. Are Local Education Agencies (LEAs) required to submit professional education plans during the suspension period?
Professional education plans as required by section 1205.1 of the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 12-1205.1, are not required during the suspension/moratorium period; however, professional education plans associated with the federal requirements of Title I and Title II will continue in effect. It should be noted that Title I requires sustained on-going, intensive professional development as a component within mandated school improvement plans. Further, any district receiving Title I and Title II funding is required to include a professional development plan within the school improvement plan along with the requirements of 22 Pa. Code 49.17 (Continuing Professional Education).
17. Will the Department continue to analyze and approve professional education plans that are submitted by Private/Non-public Schools during the two-year moratorium?
Yes, it will be acceptable for Private/Non-public Schools to submit initial professional education plans to the Department for review.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:46 PM
As part of the 2011-12 state budget, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 1352, which makes several changes to the Public School Code of 1949. Below is an overview of the changes made by Act 24 of 2011.
Please note that this is a summary and further guidance on the implementation of these provisions will be forthcoming.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 3:52 PM
The development of the Standards Aligned System (SAS) initiative has been a signature effort of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in order to dramatically improve student achievement across the Commonwealth. Efforts, to date, have focused on identifying, organizing and disseminating high-quality resources and researched-based strategies to educators across Pennsylvania, centered on the six SAS elements.
With the overwhelming success of (SAS), the SAS Model District (SASMD) project is the next logical step to ensure that educators across Pennsylvania know the value of SAS as a tool to improve student achievement. Most importantly, educational leaders must clearly understand and implement the methods and strategies required for full SAS implementation in a school'ss daily practice so that student achievement can be significantly improved.
PDE will select a small number of demographically diverse school districts (between four and eight) to serve as model districts for the SASMD project. The kickoff event for this project is scheduled for October 16 - 18, 2011.
Benefits of district participation include:
The following application parameters below will apply:
All interested districts are invited to apply for the SASMD by accessing the application at http://video.paiunet.org/ or http://www.pdesas.org/ and submit a completed application by August 30, 2011. In addition to the application, this site includes a podcast, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other supportive materials that provide details on the SASMD.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 1:55 PM
To raise the academic bar and ensure students achieve future success, the State Board of Education adopted cut scores [on July 20, 2011] for the Keystone Exams, which are designed to increase academic rigor for students across Pennsylvania, said Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.
"After speaking with business leaders, college presidents and workforce development organizations, it has become apparent that Pennsylvania's students are not adequately prepared for the demands and expectations of the 21st century global economy," Tomalis said.
"Today's youth are not just competing with their peers at the national level; they are also competing internationally for both academic excellence and employment opportunities. When challenged, Pennsylvania's students can and will achieve academic excellence. We owe them a world-class education, which will provide them with opportunities to be successful in any future path they choose," Tomalis said.
The board adopted the scores, which range from 1200 to 1800, for the Algebra I, Biology and Literature exams. The scores were distributed among performance levels as follows:
This past spring, more than 94,000 students completed the Algebra I Exam, 46,000 completed the Biology Exam and 42,000 completed the Literature Exam statewide. Based upon the scores adopted by the board, of the students tested in Algebra I, 39 percent scored proficient or advanced; in Biology, 36 percent scored proficient or advanced; and in Literature, 50 percent scored proficient or advanced.
When the overall scores of the Keystone Exams are compared to the 2010 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) results, Tomalis noted, the rigor of the Keystone Exams were clearly evident. Statewide, 73.5 percent of students scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA while 41.8 percent of students who completed a Keystone Exam scored proficient or advanced. For comparison purposes, 40 percent of Pennsylvania's eighth-grade students scored proficient or advanced in both math and reading on the National Assessment of Education Progress.
"These results indicate the stark contrast between what students need to know for post-secondary success versus what is actually being taught in the classroom,"Tomalis said.
The Keystone Exams' cut scores were the result of lengthy review and discussion among a panel of diverse individuals who represented education professionals from secondary and post-secondary entities. These experts were chosen for their unique perspective and understanding for the need to increasingly challenge high school students in order to meet the demands of the post high school experience.
"These are exciting times in education," State Board of Education Chairman Larry Wittig said. "The Keystone Exams will ensure continuity throughout the state for end-of-course exams. These cut scores are rigorous and reflect a high level of expectation for our students."?
In 2009, the State Board of Education set new high school graduation requirements that can be met through a combination of several options, one of which is successful course completion with a Keystone Exam as the final exam. School districts that chose to use the Keystone Exams must require all of their students to participate beginning with the graduating class of 2015.
The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to evaluate proficiency in Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Civics and Government, English Composition, Geometry, Literature, U.S. History and World History. These exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards, which are aligned with the expectations for success in college and the workplace.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 6:56 PM
The State Budget, HB 1485, now Act 1A of 2011, contains the appropriations for the 2011-12 state budget. Here are important links from PDE concerning the education budget: Summary of state appropriations for education; Explanation for the distribution of the basic subsidy; District basic subsidy allocations; Special education funding; Pennsylvania Accountability Grants.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 7:00 PM
For the first time in nine years, the Commonwealth has a budget signed by the Governor before July 1, as required by the state constitution. That is the good news. Schools will receive nearly $900 million fewer subsidy dollars than in the previous year. With passage of SB 330, now Act 25, school districts will find it increasingly difficult to exceed the Act 1 index. Only three exceptions to using the referendum will now be available: pre-exiting construction, special education and employee pensions. That is the bad news. Proposed legislation that did not pass on vouchers and economic furloughs is expected to be on the Governor's and legislators' agenda in the fall.
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