Press Releases

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 7:23 PM
Your retirement may be affected if you are retiring after July 1, 2013. By law, the Pennsylvania Employees Retirement System (PSERS) has an actuarial review completed every five years on the mortality rates of future retirees. As a result of that study, adjustments on benefit amounts of beneficiaries are determined. Because people are living longer, the amount you or your beneficiary, in event of your death, receives is adjusted based on these mortality tables. If you are retiring and plan on taking Option 2 or 3, there is a likelihood your benefits will be reduced if retiring after July 1, 2013. How much will depend on your age and the age(s) of your beneficiary. Because PA Principals Association staff members are not financial planners, we suggest you contact your school district business office, your financial planner and/or PSERS to determine the impact on your personal finances.

PA Principals Association will continue to work with PSERS and other education associations to better determine the impact of this change on school employees.


PSERS has added information to its web site to assist in helping members to understand this a little better. This information will also be shared with PSERS' contacts within each of the school districts. You may find the information by following the link under Hot News on the PSERS web site, or directly at:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:18 PM

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis has announced that 31 grants, totaling $1.64 million, have been awarded to 25 career and technical education programs through the Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant program.

Through a competitive grant process, the Department of Education administers the Equipment Grant program to provide funding for the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment to better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

This grant program provides funding that must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the school for the purchase of equipment that meets industry standards, which will be used to train students in approved career and technical education programs in Pennsylvania's high-priority jobs.

The department received 63 applications from school districts and career and technical centers requesting more than $2.94 million in grants. Each application was reviewed and scored based on the program's plan to integrate the new equipment into its curriculum and a professional development plan to ensure instructors know how to use the new equipment.

Below is the list of schools that have been awarded a grant, the county and the amount of the grant.

AW Beattie Career Center, Allegheny County, $43,953
Bedford County Technical Center, Bedford County, $10,000
Berks Career and Technology Center #2, Berks County, $50,000
Berks Career and Technology Center #3, Berks County, $50,000
Bucks County Technical High School #2, Bucks County, $50,000
Central PA Institute of Science and Technology, Centre County, $50,000
Delaware County Technical High School #2, Delaware County, $48,584
Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, Westmoreland County, $34,112
Fayette County Career and Technical Institute, Fayette County, $41,182
Greater Altoona Career and Technical Center #1, Blair County, $46,375
Greater Altoona Career and Technical Center #2, Blair County, $37,240
Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center, Cambria County, $3,920
Jersey Shore Area School District, Lycoming County, $5,625
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center #2, Lancaster County, $50,000
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center #3, Lancaster County, $50,000
Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Lehigh County, $200,000
Lenape Technical School, Armstrong County, $50,000
Middle Bucks Institute of Technology #1, Bucks County, $50,000
Middle Bucks Institute of Technology #2, Bucks County, $50,000
Monroe Career and Technical Institute, Monroe County, $32,728
North Montco Technical Career Center #1, Montgomery County, $50,000
North Montco Technical Career Center #2, Montgomery County, $49,500
Northern Tier Career Center, Bradford County, $32,000
Philadelphia City School District, Philadelphia County, $250,000
Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Berks County, $100,000
Schuylkill Technology Centers, Schuylkill County, $28,193
SUN Area Technical Institute, Union County, $23,878
Upper Bucks County Technical School, Bucks County, $50,000
Upper Dauphin Area School District, Dauphin County, $12,000
York County School of Technology #2, $50,000
York County School of Technology #3, $50,000

Source: PDE Press Release,, Jan. 15, 2013.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:40 PM

As a shocked nation struggles to come to terms with the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., policymakers, school leaders and the public alike have renewed their attention to the need to ensure a safe and secure environment in which students can grow and learn, and in which educators can teach. At the same time, policymakers and school leaders are focusing intently on the full range of factors that contribute to an academically successful school climate—strong peer and student-teacher relationships, effective and positive ways to address student misbehavior, supports for social and emotional development, and the involvement of parents and community groups. These issues are at the heart of the 2013 edition of Education Week's Quality Counts report: Code of Conduct: Safety, Discipline and School Climate.

A collaboration between the Education Week newsroom and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, Quality Counts 2013 investigates the impact of a school's social and disciplinary environment on students' ability to learn and on the teachers and administrators tasked with guiding them. The report's journalism takes an in-depth look at a range of school-climate factors—including strong and positive peer interactions, a sense of safety and security, and school disciplinary policies and practices—that help to lay the groundwork for student achievement.

Against this backdrop, the annual Quality Counts report card—the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education—also chronicles the challenges the nation and many states continue to face in delivering a high-quality education to all students. For 2013, the nation receives a C-plus when graded across the six distinct areas of policy and performance tracked by the report, marking a slight improvement since last year. For the fifth year in a row, Maryland earns honors as the top-ranked state, posting the nation's highest overall grade, the only B-plus awarded.

New findings from the report's annual Chance-for-Success Index—which captures the role of education in a person's life, from cradle to career—show the country struggling to provide opportunities to succeed and many states lagging far behind the national leaders. The U.S. as a whole receives a C-plus on the index.

The national grade for school finance held nearly constant at a C for 2013, with little change in either of the dimensions of educational finance tracked by Quality Counts—spending and equity. Wyoming, a longtime leader in this category, has gained almost four points since last year and earns the only grade of A awarded for school finance in 2013.

This year's report also updates progress in the area of transitions and alignment, which tracks state-policy efforts to better coordinate the connections between K-12 schooling and early-childhood education, postsecondary schooling, and the workforce. The nation as a whole earns a B-minus in this category for Quality Counts 2013, up from a C-plus two years ago, when the analysis was last updated. Eight states earn grades of A for transitions and alignment, with Georgia posting the first perfect score in this category for enacting all 14 policies tracked by the report.

The full Quality Counts 2013 report and interactive state report cards:

Source: Quality Counts 2013 Press Release,, Jan. 10, 2013.

Friday, January 4, 2013 3:15 PM
The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association) and EF Tours have partnered to host a tour of Europe for principals that provides PIL credits. Coming this summer (2013), principals can learn about Global Leadership as they tour the cities of London, Normandy, Paris, Berlin, Munich and Salzburg. Dr. William Ziegler, PA Principals Association president-elect and principal of Pottsgrove Middle School, will be teaching a PIL-approved course on the trip titled "Global Education." The group will be visiting a school in Munich and talking with educators in that city.   

The PIL portion is optional and other educators may attend at the discounted rate; however, your spouse or special guest is welcome to attend but they will need to pay the non-discounted rate. The price for educators is the most discounted rate given by EF Tours.

This trip promises to be amazing as you explore the streets of Churchill'ss city, walk the battlefields of Normandy, climb the Eiffel Tower, learn from the STEM education in Germany and so much more.

Seating is limited on this trip, so please be sure to reserve your spot by registering now.  Go to this web site to learn more and register for the trip:

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Ziegler at

Reserve your spot today!

William T. Ziegler, Ed.D.
PA Principals Association President-Elect
Pottsgrove Middle School
1351 N. Hanover Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Friday, January 4, 2013 2:26 PM

Within this week, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) will be sending, via email, to all schools a survey to be completed regarding the 1975 Commonwealth Court permanent injunction barring PIAA from prohibiting boys and girls from participating together in interscholastic athletics. They are requesting that the court modify the permanent injunction to address changes in society and the law in the past 37 years. In particular, the issue of boys playing sports designated as being for girls will be evaluated. We are  asking the member schools for input on this issue.

To access the survey, please use your school's access code listed below and complete the survey by no later than Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  

PIAA respectfully requests that each member school Principal, or Principal's designee, complete the Gender Equity Survey online, using the member school's Access Code, in accordance with the following instructions:
1.    Log onto the PIAA Web site (
2.    Select "Account Sign-in"
3.    Enter your school's access code (shown above)
4.    Select "2013 Gender Participation Survey"
5.    Complete entire survey, select  "submit"

Friday, January 4, 2013 12:00 PM

The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association) Board of Directors has announced the upcoming retirement of Joseph P. Acri as the assistant executive director, effective June 30, 2013. Mr. Acri has advocated for principals and public education in Harrisburg more than three decades -- first as the senior consultant for management services for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for 17 years, followed by his current position as assistant executive director of PA Principals Association.

Mr. Acri is a Viet Nam veteran who achieved the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He then went on to receive his bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania State University in business administration, followed by his master's degree in industrial/labor relations and personnel administration from St. Francis University.

In 1997, Mr. Acri was hired by PA Principals Association. During his tenure, he has worked diligently for association members, while forming effective liaisons with legislators in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) leadership, the State Board of Education and other education associations.

He has been recognized for his professional achievements over the years with the most recent being the Pennsylvania Middle School Association Advocate for Public Education Award in 2011.

Following retirement, Mr. Acri plans to spend more time pursuing his hobby of restoring cars and traveling. He resides in Enola, Pa., with his wife, Rita, a teacher at East Pennsboro School District. They have two grown daughters, Joanna and Jeannine, who are both teachers.


Joseph P. Acri (left) was honored for his service to the association and his upcoming retirement at PA Principals Association's annual banquet on October 21, 2012, held in conjunction with its state conference in Pittsburgh. Pictured with Mr. Acri is 2011-2012 PA Principals Association President Dr. Barry L. Purvis, principal of human resources at Chambersburg Area School District.


Thursday, December 27, 2012 2:59 PM
The first wave of the winter window of the Keystone Exams administration ended Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. During that wave the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) was able to monitor the administration of the Keystone Exams in many schools across the Commonwealth. One of the concerns PDE heard from Local Education Agencies (LEAs) during the monitoring was that the monitors arrived unannounced. Be advised that all state assessment monitoring visits are unannounced. Also, these unannounced monitoring visits will continue during the second wave of the Keystone Exams winter window, the PSSA window and the spring Keystone Exams window.
Thursday, December 20, 2012 8:22 PM

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis announced that $479,513 has been awarded to 37 public schools through the Safe Schools Targeted Grant to establish and implement programs to prevent and reduce incidents of violence.

The focus of the grant program is to assist schools by:
•    Reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning;
•    Providing professional development to staff using research-based violence prevention and classroom management programs; and
•    Enhancing antiviolence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.

The Department of Education received a total of 97 applications, which were reviewed by a committee of four individuals.
Schools were eligible to receive up to $15,000, with the following programs considered for funding:
•    Conflict resolution or dispute management.
•    School-wide positive behavior support.
•    School-based diversion programs.
•    Classroom management.
•    Research-based violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students.
•    Training for Student Assistance Program team members.
•    Staff training in the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require          immediate intervention.

Below is the list of schools that have been awarded a grant, the county and the amount of the one-year grant.

Abington School District, Montgomery County, $15,000
Aliquippa School District, Beaver County, $15,000
Coatesville Area School District, Chester County, $10,374
Crispus Attucks Youthbuild Charter School, York County, $14,520
Dover Area School District, York County, $14,550
Downingtown Area School District, Chester County, $13,460
Ellwood City Area School District, Lawrence County, $11,250
Everett Area School District, Bedford County, $15,000
Fort Cherry School District, Washington County, $14,658
Intermediate Unit #1, Washington County, $12,000
Keystone Central School District, Clinton County, $14,280
Keystone Oaks School District, Allegheny County, 13,500
Lakeview School District, Mercer County, $14,450
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center, Lancaster County, $15,000
Laurel School District, Lawrence County, $14,000
McKeesport Area School District, Allegheny County, $15,000
Moon Area School District, Allegheny County, $9,764
Norristown Area School District, Montgomery County, $14,265
Northampton Area School District, Northampton County, $15,000
Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit #19, Lackawanna County, $15,000
Northgate School District, Allegheny County, $14,370
Northwest Area School District, Luzerne County, $10,600
Ridley School District, Delaware County, $11,209
Rockwood Area School District, Somerset County, $14,976
Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29, Schuylkill County, $2,000
Schuylkill Haven Area School District, Schuylkill County, $6,405
Selinsgrove Area School District, Snyder County, $14,950
Smethport Area School District, McKean County, $11,000
South Eastern School District, York County, $9,483
Steelton-Highspire School District, Dauphin County, $15,000
Urban Pathways Charter School, Allegheny County, $14,850
Warren County School District, Warren County, $7,000
Warrior Run Area School District, Northumberland County, $14,734
Warwick School District, Lancaster County, $13,965
West Middlesex Area School District, Mercer County, $15,000
West Shore School District, York County, $12,900
Woodland Hills School District, Allegheny County, $15,000

Source: PDE Press Release, Dec. 14, 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:29 PM

NAESP Communicator
December 2012, Volume 37, Issue 4 --

The NAESP family continues to mourn the loss of life that resulted from the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. As students in Newtown, Connecticut, headed back to school this week, many principals have asked how they and their schools can support Sandy Hook families and the community. For more, click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:52 PM

On 12/14/2012, a man forced his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.  This horrific event reminds us that active shooters can strike anywhere and at any time. An active shooter is defined as a person who is engaged in killing or attempting to kill individuals in a confined, populated venue. Often, an active shooter's intended targets are randomly selected. The incidents are unpredictable, evolve quickly and are frequently over within 10 to 15 minutes.

This event also reminds us that increased awareness and effective training can make us better prepared if we find ourselves in a situation involving an active shooter.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides information regarding how to respond to active shooters for distribution to law enforcement, emergency responders and civilian personnel.

The full document is available at:  For additional information regarding active shooters, DHS offers online resources, including independent study training, print materials, and a virtual roundtable at:  Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers an independent study course specifically designed for managers and employees.  The course can be found at:

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