Press Releases

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:38 PM
According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said his department will seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which in its current form calls for all students to test proficient in reading and math on annual state achievement exams by 2014. Mr. Tomalis previously had resisted applying for a waiver -- an option made available by the Obama administration in September 2011 when it became apparent that Congress would not be able to agree on a reauthorization of NCLB before the 2014 deadline. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article.

Source: MyPLS The Eye Opener, Nov. 28, 2012.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:18 PM

According to an article in the Morning Call, faced with a $41 billion unfunded pension liability, the Corbett administration Monday set the stage for negotiations on overhauling the state'ss retirement systems with a report suggesting current employees could face cuts in benefits they have not yet accrued. The imbalance between the liabilities and assets of the two state pension systems -- one for state employees and the other for public school employees -- gives them a combined funding ratio of just under 68 percent, well below the 80 percent that is considered healthy, according to the report released Monday by the state Office of the Budget. Gov. Tom Corbett has spoken of the urgency of overhauling the retirement systems, and the report says he intends to address pensions as part of his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Click here to read the Morning Call article.

Click here for the Keystone Pension Report.

Source: MyPLS The Eye Opener, Nov. 27, 2012.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:15 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
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:12 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been awarded a $6.5 million federal grant to provide professional development for educators who provide special education services to students with disabilities.

"Ensuring that educators who work with children with disabilities have the resources and training necessary to focus on the needs of their students is of the utmost importance,"? Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said. "I am pleased Pennsylvania has received this funding, which will ultimately benefit students across the state."

The five-year program provides funding to states to enhance professional development for special education personnel.

Pennsylvania educators and school leaders will receive intensive and ongoing training to establish goals, provide effective instruction and ensure that all Pennsylvania students graduate from high school with the skills to be successful.

The professional development provided will ensure that:

  • Educators know and can effectively teach to the Pennsylvania Common Core academic standards;
  • Educators plan and deliver effective instruction that meet the needs of Pennsylvania's students;
  • School leaders have the ability to implement policies, practices and procedures that support the learning of all students;
  • Students demonstrate growth and achievement in English, language arts and math;
  • Students can effectively participate and engage in learning, using communication supports and technology;
  • Parents have high expectations of achievement for students; and
  • Institutions of higher education prepare future educators and leaders with the necessary training.

Source: PDE Press Release, Nov. 20, 2012 -

Friday, November 9, 2012 7:02 PM
Who must participate in the Keystone Exams in 2012-13 -- For purposes of AYP, all 11th-grade students will be counted for the high school accountability calculation. Results for every 11th-grade student will determine a district's/school's AYP status. If a 2012-13 11th-grade student participated in any Keystone Exam in 2010-11, that student does not have to participate in 2012-13. All scores from 2010-11 have been banked and the score attained in 2011 will be the score used for AYP if the student does not test again in 2012-13. Thus, any student who scored Proficient or Advanced in 2011 may not retest. Students who did not score Proficient or Advanced may retest in 2012-13 for the purpose of achieving a higher score to be used in the district's/school's AYP calculation.  

Remember that AYP calculations are based only on Algebra 1 and Literature results; therefore, a student who did not score Proficient or Advanced in 2011 on the Biology Keystone Exam may retake the exam, but the new results will have no impact on a district's/school's AYP. The NCLB requirement for science is only participation in the assessment, and these students will have met the participation requirement for science.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 8:14 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has issued information and a revised timeframe for schools to review data to be included in its new PA School Performance Profile web site (SPP). The profile on the web site will contain the building level data necessary as a component of the state's new teacher evaluation system under Act 82 of 2012. Since the Educator Effectiveness academic score will be derived from the SPP, it is of important that schools take the time to verify the data. PDE compiled the data from information previously submitted by schools to PIMS. The initial release to schools is expected to be in December with finalization and a public release of the website in spring of 2013.

Each LEA Superintendent/CEO was to receive an email signaling the opening of the verification window. The email includes a link to the LEA's data elements, as well as instructions to conduct verification and provide an electronic signoff by the LEA Superintendent/CEO.

Previously, PDE had indicated that the data verification window was from Nov. 7-16; however, the timeline has been revised. The verification window is Nov. 12-19, and the data will be from the 2011-12 school year. There are approximately 110 elements per school (academic and demographic data) and approximately 40 elements per district (district level demographic data) to be reviewed.

This is an opportunity to review the data provided both by PIMS and other sources and verify that it concurs with previously submitted data and is accurate. PDE will review the responses and take appropriate action, and schools will receive a confirmation of any corrections made by PDE. Questions should be directed to Dr. Michele Sellitto, assistant director for the Bureau of Teaching and Learning, at or 717-772-0030.

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, Nov. 8, 2012.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 8:10 PM

Join the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) at noon on Friday, Nov. 16 for the second segment of the association's webinar sessions focused on critical pension issues. The series is examining the economy and its impact on the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), its investment strategy and its impact on school districts. Click on the links below to register for each.

Friday, November 16  - GASB Financial Reporting for Pensions: What You Need to Know
Speakers: Brian Carl, Chief Financial Officer, and Tony Meadows, Public Markets Reporting and Analysis Manager, PSERS
Register by clicking on this link:

About the speakers: Brian Carl, CPA, CTP is the Chief Financial Officer for PSERS. He is responsible for directing the Office of Financial Management and planning, organizing and directing a complete accounting and financial reporting system for the $48.8 billion defined benefit pension and post-employment healthcare plans. He also oversees the system's budget and is the primary financial management liaison with the system's actuary, custodian bank, financial consultants, investment advisors and other state and federal agencies.  Tony Meadows, CPA.CITP, is the Public Markets Reporting and Analysis Manager for PSERS.  In addition to his accounting manager role for the $48.8 billion pension plan, Tony also assists in the preparation of the yearly Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), provides research on various tax-related issues, and assists in the application of new standards as issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).  

Thursday, December 13  - PSERS Funding and Reform: How Changes Will Impact Your District
Speaker: Jeffrey Clay, Executive Director, PSERS
Register by clicking on this link:

About the speaker: Jeffrey Clay is the executive director of PSERS. In this role, he serves as chief executive officer responsible for the establishment, installation, and maintenance of modern management techniques to provide an efficient control of funds for and services to the active members and annuitants of the System. He was named executive director in October 2003 and was the Deputy Executive Director of PSERS beginning in January 1995.  Mr. Clay was also the Chief Legal Counsel, not only with PSERS, but also with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System.

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, Nov. 8, 2012.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 1:28 PM

According to a WITF article, the makeup of the General Assembly won'st change much when lawmakers get back to work during the next legislative session. Each incumbent from central Pennsylvania has been re-elected, as Republicans retain control of both the House and Senate. Democrat Rob Teplitz will be one of the few new lawmakers when he'ss sworn in to represent the 15th Senate District, which encompasses parts of Dauphin and York counties. Click here to read the WITF article.

Source: myPLS The Eye Opener, Nov. 7, 2012.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:04 PM
As we near the winter administration of the Keystone Exams, schools and districts are reminded that any suspected violations of testing protocol must be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education immediately. Allegations should be referred to Jay Gift at or by phone at
(717) 783-1144.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:59 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is providing an opportunity for local education agencies (LEA) to attend an online workshop which will address how the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) data accurately reflects a snapshot of the LEA prior to administration of state assessments.  Accurate PIMS data will ensure that the best possible pre-code labels are available for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Keystone Exams and Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs) assessments.  

PDE will be offering webinar presentations via GoToMeeting during the month of November. PDE and its PSSA testing contractor, Data Recognition Corporation, will present this workshop.  

To register, go to the link provided for each session:         

Nov. 14, 2012
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Nov. 14, 2012
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Nov. 15, 2012
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Nov. 15, 2012
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

A recording of the webinar, along with the accompanying PowerPoint, will be posted on the eDirect website after the last session occurs. Access eDirect at:

For more information, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Assessment and Accountability, at 717-265-7655 or go to:


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