Press Releases

Thursday, November 3, 2011 6:11 PM
Dr. Barry L. Purvis, PA Principals Association president, and Joseph P. Acri, PA Principals Association assistant executive director, attended a public hearing of the House Education Committee on House Bill 1980 (amends the School Code to provide for a rating system for professional employees). Dr. Purvis provided testimony on this issue. Click here to read his testimony.
 
Thursday, November 3, 2011 6:10 PM

The Senate concurred with House amendments to SB 200, which creates the Safety in Youth Sports Act and establishes standards for the management of concussions and head injuries to student athletes. The bill is now in the hands of the governor, with Nov. 12 the last day for action. Under SB 200, the Departments of Health and Education must make information about such injuries available to students, parents and coaches. A school may hold an informational meeting for students and others. Coaches must complete a concussion management training course. An athlete must be removed from the field of play if he or she exhibits symptoms of a head injury, and may not return to play until an  "appropriate medical professional"? evaluates the student and provides written clearance to return. The definition of  "appropriate medical professional" includes a licensed or certified health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and designated by a licensed physician who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. SB 200 also imposes minimum penalties on coaches for violations.

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, Nov. 3, 2011.

 
Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:32 PM

The Pennsylvaia Department of Education (PDE) has received several requests for SAS 101 training. PDE has scheduled three SAS 101 training sessions for the fall session. To obtain information about SAS 101 and to register for training, go to http://www.iu5.org and click on the blue SAS logo.

SAS 101: This workshop is an introduction to the Standards Aligned System (SAS) and the SAS Portal for administrators, curriculum coordinators and teachers in school districts and charter schools.

SAS 101 Training Dates:

November 17              8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.       Pittsburgh PaTTAN, Pittsburgh

November 22              8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.       Harrisburg PaTTAN, Harrisburg

November 29              8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.       Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18, Kingston

Participants should plan to visit nearby restaurants for morning coffee and lunch. Meals are not available on site.
 
Monday, October 31, 2011 1:56 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will be conducting a webinar on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 2-4 p.m. to discuss the validation process for local assessments that may be used to meet the state's new graduation requirements. Under the Chapter 4 regulations, school districts may use either the state developed Keystone Exams, locally developed and independently validated assessments, or a combination of Keystone Exams and local assessments to demonstrate proficiency for purposes of graduation. The information presented in the webinar will assist schools in making the decision to use the Keystone Exams, local assessments or a combination as a graduation requirement.
The webinar will:

  1. Provide an update of the work being done by the Chapter 4 Local Assessment Validation Advisory Committee.
  2. Review the new  "Local Assessment Validity Evaluation Handbook"? that describes the validity criteria for local assessments. The  "Local Assessment Validity Evaluation Handbook"? will be available for review prior to the webinar at:   www.pdesas.org/localassessmentvalidation.  
  3. Review the proposed timeline for implementation of the validity process.

Register for PDE's webinar at:   https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/918555418

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, Oct. 27, 2011.

 
Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:30 PM

According to an article in the Patriot News, By a 27-22 vote, the state Senate passed a school voucher plan that is targeted to low-income children attending poor-performing schools. The vote on the plan, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, followed a more than four-hour debate. It now goes to the House for consideration where support remains uncertain for a taxpayer-funded voucher to allow students to attend another public or a private school where they are accepted. Click here to read the Patriot News article.

Source: myPLS Eye Opener, Oct. 27, 2011.

 
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 6:08 PM

Governor Tom Corbett today outlined his agenda for education reform in Pennsylvania.

"We are set to start work on one of the most important jobs state government can do," Corbett said, and that is to rearrange our priorities when it comes to education.

"It needs to be: child, parent, teacher... and just in that order," Corbett said, speaking at the Lincoln Charter School in York.

Joined by Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis and several legislative leaders in education, Corbett listed his top four priorities for school reform in Pennsylvania including: opportunity scholarships, expanding the Educational Improvement Tax Credits program, improved charter school quality and accountability, and more robust and comprehensive educator evaluations.

To read the full article, click here.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education Press Release, Oct. 11, 2011.

 
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 7:13 PM

By a wide margin, Pennsylvanians oppose recent state funding cuts to public education and support investments in programs that work, according to a new public opinion poll.

Pennsylvanians strongly support investing in tutoring students, reducing class sizes and making schools safer. By a similarly wide margin, Pennsylvanians oppose creating a taxpayer-funded voucher system for private and religious schools.

Those are the findings of the latest Terry Madonna Opinion Research survey, released today by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA). The results are available on PSEA's web site, www.psea.org.

The Madonna poll asked Pennsylvanians for their views regarding the $860 million cut from public schools as part of the state budget Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law last June. Sixty-nine percent said they oppose or strongly oppose these cuts, while only 27 percent said they favor or strongly favor the action.

The Madonna poll then asked survey respondents to give their opinion on how state funds for education should be used if the cuts were restored.
The respondents favored or strongly favored  "more individualized student attention and tutoring"? (89 percent), reduced class sizes (88 percent), and  "programs to help make schools safer" (85 percent). They also favored: alternative placement for disruptive/violent students (85 percent); "pre- and full-day kindergarten"? (73 percent); and "programs to coordinate school, community and law enforcement programs" ?(79 percent).

At the same time, the poll results establish Pennsylvanians oppose "a voucher plan to send students to private, religious and parochial schools."   Fifty-nine percent said they were "strongly opposed or somewhat opposed"? to vouchers, while only 38 percent were in favor of such plans.

The poll presents the findings of a survey of 801 Pennsylvania adults designed by Terry Madonna Opinion Research and conducted September 2011. The sample error for the total sample is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Source: PSEA Presss Release, Oct. 5, 2011.

 
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 7:12 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been awarded $38 million through the United States Department of Education's Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program. The states winning the Striving Readers Grant are:

Georgia, $25.65 million
Louisiana, $28.5 million
Montana, $7.6 million
Nevada, $14.25 million
Pennsylvania, $38 million
Texas, $66.5 million

Pending legislative approval, the program is projected to span five years with matching awards each consecutive year. Pennsylvania was one of 35 states that applied for the award.

The Striving Readers Grant was awarded to support Pennsylvania's comprehensive approach to improving literacy outcomes for all children including disadvantaged students, limited English proficient students and students with disabilities. For more information on the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders-literacy/index.html.

Pennsylvania will hold competitions to award 95 percent of the funds as "sub grants" to school districts and early learning providers. Preliminary criteria for the sub grant competition include:

  • Need
  • Capacity
  • Comprehensive literacy plan (birth through 12th grade)    
  • Quality of proposed or existing program
  • Target population
  • Quality of data
  • Fifteen percent of funds will serve children from birth through age five
  • Forty percent of funds will support students in kindergarten through fifth grade
  • Forty percent of funds will serve middle and high school students  
  • Five percent is set aside for state administration
Funds will support programs that advance literacy skills through:
  • Professional development
  • Screening and assessment
  • Targeted interventions for students reading below grade level  
  • Research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice

Part of the 5 percent set aside for administration that PDE will incorporate into the first year implementation of the grant will include district training by intermediate units in the following areas:

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and digital technology
  • Building Blocks for Elementary Literacy
  • Successful Transitions Along the Literacy Continuum
  • Reading Apprenticeship (RA)
  • Implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC)
  • Family literacy and parent engagement
  • Supporting learners with special needs
  • Navigating content with English language learners (ELL)
  • Data analysis and decision-making

No vendor's products, services or publications are endorsed by this grant. Pennsylvania's intermediate units are the recommended service organizations that will provide training on the key elements required for the implementation of the Striving Readers Grant.

Detailed information relating to the application process is expected to be available in November.   Below is the tentative timeline for submission. This timeline is subject to change. Details will be posted on the PDE's federal programs web page when the application process is finalized.

Request for proposals released: November 2011
Application review: December 2011
Awards announced: February 2012   


For more information contact:
Jo Beth McKee
Striving Readers Project Director
Pennsylvania Department of Education
jobmckee@pa.gov or 717-787-7815

 
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 1:14 PM
The updated salary data for 2010-2011 from PDE is now on our web site. Check it out! Remember, you must log in to access this information.
 
Monday, October 3, 2011 4:31 PM

In the Sept. 24, 2011 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin a notice was published to announce that the Pennsylvania Department of Education has calculated the Act 1 base index for the 2012-13 fiscal year at 1.7%. The index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage and the employment cost index. For school districts with a market value/income aid ratio greater than .4000, an adjusted index will be posted on the department'ss web site. The department's web site also will include links to additional information and updated timelines regarding Act 1 activities. To access this information, go to PDE's web site at www.pde.state.pa.us and clink on the link from the home page called  "The Taxpayer Relief Act."

 
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