Press Releases

Monday, November 21, 2011 2:56 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently conducted a webinar for school districts that wanted to learn more about the process for the development and validation of local assessments that would supplant or supplement the use of Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement. The webinar and all of the accompanying documents are posted on the SAS portion of PDE's web site. Click on these links for the audio of the webinar, the PowerPoint presentation, the summary of requirements and the evaluation handbook. PDE will update this information as more information about costs and timelines are better known.   

Here is the tentative timeline:
School entities will have time between now and June 2012 to review the requirements and decide if they want to pursue this option, and if so, what type of technical assistance they may need from PDE.

By July 30, schools will inform PDE if they will pursue the local assessment option, and have between August 2012-June 2013 to develop and refine their local assessments and gather validity evidence.   

No tentative date has been scheduled for schools to finalize and administer their assessments, as PDE will wait to see how the process unfolds and the amount of funding in next year's state budget that may be available.

Questions are welcome and should be directed via email to PDE will post questions and answers on its web site.

Source: PSBA Legislative Report, 11/18/11.

Monday, November 21, 2011 2:53 PM
The PA Senate Education Committee held a hearing recently regarding the implementation and compliance with criminal history provisions in Act 24 of 2011. Comments at the hearing focused on specific requirements in question pertaining to incumbent teachers who must report past arrests or convictions of certain offenses by Dec. 27, 2011. During the hearing, Carolyn Dumeresq, deputy secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, stated that the intent of the legislation was to include the collection of information on arrests and that the Department of Education plans to issue a Basic Education Circular to provide guidance regarding the reporting requirements and criminal history provisions within Act 24 of 2011.
Friday, November 18, 2011 7:59 PM
The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been selected to participate in a national initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help build awareness of a new, free online learning platform called ASSISTments.

The ASSISTments are most widely used for middle-school math courses and offer a high-value, tangible service to middle-level principals. One of its key benefits is that it provides principals and teachers with immediate, actionable data to strengthen student achievement.

NAESP joined in this effort because of the platform's value in strengthening the instructional leadership of principals, especially for grades 4-8.

ASSISTments has received substantial support from several sources, in addition to the Gates Foundation: Carnegie Mellon University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, National Science Foundation and the Department of Education.

The software was developed by two former math teachers, Neil and Christina Heffernan, who are working to disseminate ASSISTments and train teams of principals and teachers. Though they are based in the Boston area, Neil and Christina are available to give presentations, professional development and demonstrations elsewhere. They're scheduled to conduct a concurrent session and to host a Technology Learning Center at NAESP'ss upcoming conference in Seattle, March 22-24, 2012.

You can find additional information about the Heffernan's and ASSISTments here:

Teacher and Principal support:

Up-to-date information about usage statistics:

Three-minute video featuring educators from Massachusetts:

If you're interested, you can contact them directly at:
Neil Heffernan:; Christina Heffernan:
Friday, November 18, 2011 4:03 PM

The House Education Committee amended and approved HB 1980 earlier this week, which creates a comprehensive new rating system for teachers, principals and non-teaching professional employees. The committee also approved two amendments to the bill. The first amendment moves all dates within the bill back one year, makes several technical corrections, clarifies that previous evaluations will be discontinued from use, but does not make them "null and void,"? ensures that  "at least"? is removed from the provisions regarding percentage of teacher performance based on student achievement and ensures that any changes made to the teacher evaluation after the original design must go through the regulatory review process. The second amendment provides for inclusion of cyber and charter schools, intermediate units and area vocational technical schools in the use of the evaluation created by the bill. This amendment also makes the technical changes necessary to allow for inclusion of chief administrative officers from the school entities.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:35 PM

Former Governor Edward Rendell was joined by Democratic leaders [yesterday] to discuss the 2011 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for Pennsylvania public education students. Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said he believes that former Governor Rendell made significant changes through the investments made in public education during his eight years as governor. He further stated that the gains in education have been significant and are backed by the evidence. Sen. Costa gave an overview of the results for the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) -- known as The Nation's Report Card™ -- noting that Pennsylvania was one of a few states with "significant progress"? from 2003 to 2011 in all grades and subjects. He also stated that score gaps between higher and lower income students narrowed as well. He closed by stating that Pennsylvania cannot continue to not make investments in education or change course. Sen. Costa questioned what test scores may look like under continued education budget cuts.

Click here to download or browse the full report for reading and or mathematics or Pennsylvania'ss reports. Click here for the summary report.

Source: myPLS, The Eye Opener, Nov. 16, 2011.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:07 PM
In addition to Facebook, PA Principals Association is now on Twitter and Linked In. Follow us for timely news and important updates!
Monday, November 14, 2011 2:03 PM

Nov. 10, 2011 - State Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola (R-15) [chairman of the Senate Education Committee] has said he is not going to run for re-election, emailing this statement to media [today]:

"I hereby announce that I will not be a candidate for reelection to the 15th Senatorial District in 2012. I have thoroughly enjoyed my service in the state Legislature, and I count as one of my many blessings the privilege of representing the citizens of Dauphin and York counties in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their support."

"During the year remaining of my term, I will work as chairman of the Senate Education Committee to advance measures to reform and improve the commonwealth's educational system and continue to strive to best represent the people of the 15th Senatorial District."

Source: The Patriot-News, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 8:58 PM


The Pennsylvania Department of Education'ss (PDE) SAS Institute, Defining and Aligning for Student Achievement, is scheduled for December 4-7, 2011.   
The Institute will focus on three overarching goals:
•    Introduce and explore the components and purpose of the newly developed PA Teacher Evaluation System
•    Introduce and explain the components of PA School Report Card
•    Update SAS users on the redesign of SAS elements and enhanced SAS features

Open registration will be available November 10 and 11 via Should you be unable to register, you may view the general sessions via live streaming. Prior to the Institute, the RSS feed on SAS will provide detail on accessing the live streaming.   Additionally, sessions will be archived for viewing at a later date.

Location:   Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, guaranteed check in is 4:00 p.m.
Registration Fee: $99/per person (non-refundable)
PDE will provide double occupancy lodging for any attendees who reside more than 50 miles from the conference location. Single occupancy is at attendee's own cost of $130 per night plus tax; single occupancy registrants are responsible for making their own reservations.
Total Number of Participants:   950
Attendance Considerations: Local Education Agencies (LEAs) may send up to two participants. Intermediate Units (IUs) may send two additional participants. Higher education institutions may send up to two participants. Participants are requested to bring their own laptops.

Questions: Contact Karen Reagan at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:41 PM
November 7, 2011

TO:         News Editor/News Director

CONTACT:     Sheri L. Thompson, Director of Communications, Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals
122 Valley Road, P.O. Box 39, Summerdale, PA 17093
(717) 732-4999 (Office)
(717) 395-6814 (Cell)
(717) 732-4890 (Fax)


Dr. Barry L. Purvis Assumes Presidency of State Principals' Association

(Harrisburg, Pa.) — Dr. Barry L. Purvis, principal of Chambersburg Area Senior High School, Chambersburg Area School District, recently assumed the Presidency of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PA Principals Association), headquartered in Summerdale, Pa.


PA Principals Association's membership of approximately 4,000 is comprised of elementary, middle level and secondary school principals, assistant principals and other educational leaders and is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Dr. Purvis assumed the association reins following the association's annual business meeting held Oct. 25, 2011 during the annual PA Principals Association state conference.

"I am proud and honored to represent PA Principals Association as its new President. I have benefited from PA Principals Association through expert advice, superb professional development and networking with some of Pennsylvania'ss finest principals. I look forward to serving principals from this great state and welcome their input on how we can continue to keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of student learning, while also supporting school leaders and the numerous challenges they encounter each and every day."

Dr. Purvis began his education career as a physical education teacher in the Chambersburg Area School District. He then became the assistant principal of the Chambersburg Area Middle School and the Chambersburg Area Senior High School. In 1996, he became the principal of the Chambersburg Area Middle School and is now in his ninth year as principal of the Chambersburg Area High School. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania since 2002.

Dr. Purvis has been a member of PA Principals Association for 22 years. He most recently served the association as President-Elect. He also served as the chairman of PA Principals Association's Secondary Awards Committee (2004-2010) and as the Central II Secondary Regional Representative on the PA Principals Association Board of Directors (2004-2010). In 2006, he was selected as Pennsylvania's High School Principal of the Year in the MetLife/ NASSP Principal of the Year Program.

Known in his district as "Dr. P.," he has worked tirelessly to improve the school environment and to share his clear vision and expectations for his school. He is a strong leader who seeks the development of well-rounded individuals and acknowledges the accomplishments of the students and the staff.

While Dr. Purvis was principal at the Chambersburg Area Middle School, they received the "National Blue Ribbon Award" in 2002, and the school was a finalist for the Pennsylvania Middle School of the Year in 2003. He also coached girls' varsity basketball at Chambersburg from 1979-1996 and was selected Coach of the Year twice.

Dr. Purvis received a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education from East Stroudsburg University. He then received a master's in educational administration and has a superintendent's letter of eligibility from Shippensburg University, as well as a doctorate in educational administration from Widener University.

He resides in Chambersburg with his wife Joyce, daughter Kia and granddaughter Kiana.


PA Principals Association's Mission: To ensure a quality education for every child by comprehensively supporting the educational leaders of our schools.

PA Principals Association's Vision: To be the best service organization of its kind in the United States.


Dr. Joshua A. Doll Named President-Elect
of State Principals' Association
Monday, November 7, 2011 8:01 PM
EF Professional Development Tours are a unique way to earn professional development hours and allow you to learn about educational practices in other countries with colleagues from your school and schools around the world. EF's Education in China tour features educational visits and activities that allow you to compare different approaches to teaching and learning. In addition to the tour, they offer a pre- and post-tour online course which provides content about China and helps teachers and administrators find rewarding and innovative ways to bring global perspective back to their classrooms and communities.   

The trip itself is 10 days: 3 days in Beijing, 2 days in Xi'an and 3 days in Shanghai. The tour dates are 7/16/2012 - 7/25/2012. Click on the link below for the detailed itinerary or visit the EF web site at

All accommodations and materials, including a private bus and tour director -- who will serve as a guide, organizer and translator -- are included in the cost.

Enroll at or call Andrew Hagopian at (800) 872-8439, ext. 3141. Use tour number: 114 5583.

Click here for the pricing flyer.     

To view informational video, click on this link:   Professional Development in China - Continuing Education for Educators (best viewed full screen with sound).
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P.O. Box 39, 122 Valley Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 Phone: (717) 732-4999 Fax: (717) 732-4890