Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 25: At Delco Charter Hearing: "This is about money. This is what it's all about"

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 25, 2015:
At Delco Charter Hearing: "This is about money. This is what it's all about"

Interested in letting our elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax, property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf, (717) 787-2500
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377

"The deficit is caused, according to both Barnes and his predecessor, Joseph Watkins, by huge payments to charter schools. A special education student who attends a charter school brings with them more than $40,000 from the public school district. That figure has risen from about $23,000 two years ago. Chester Upland would pay about $64 million to charter schools this year, which is more than the district’s state education subsidy.  Much of Monday’s discussions centered around the actual costs of educating a student with special needs. According to Barnes, the special education students attending the charters mostly have disabilities of the least severity.
….Haines informing the judge that Chester Community Charter School was prepared to take over operation of the public school district and could do it for $20 million less than the current budget of $139 million. Barnes and a contracted financial advisor both testified to having briefly contemplated making Chester Upland an all-charter district, but that the costs were prohibitive."
Chester Upland school battle goes to court
By Vince Sullivan, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 08/24/15, 10:28 PM EDT 
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A hearing to consider a radically amended financial recovery plan for the Chester Upland School District will continue Tuesday morning following several hours of tedious testimony Monday in front of county President Judge Chad F. Kenney.  Chester Upland Receiver Francis Barnes was questioned about his proposal to alter charter school tuition reimbursement rates for about three hours by attorneys for the Pennsylvania Department of Education and for several charter and cyber charter schools that educate children from the school district. Last week, Barnes filed his plan that calls for a halving of the reimbursement to charter schools for special education students and a reduction in the reimbursement to cyber charter schools. Most of the questions from the charter attorneys centered around Barnes’ thought process in coming up with the proposal, which also calls for a forensic audit and the hiring of a financial turnaround specialist. Without the recommended changes, Barnes estimates that a $22 million deficit will cause the district to run out of money sometime in December of January.

"About 300 staffers from Chester Community, some carrying signs such as "No Funding, No Peace," rallied outside the courthouse before the gavel came down. Many wearing T-shirts with the slogan "#chesterstudentsmatter" filled the courtroom, but filed out when the clock struck 3 p.m., the end of their workday, even as the hearing continued.
Chester Community is managed by Montgomery County attorney and entrepreneur Vahan Gureghian, the largest single donor to the campaign of former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, whom Wolf, a first-term Democrat, defeated last November.
Among Chester Upland's supporters at the hearing were school board members. One, William Riley, said the board agrees the formula for paying charters needs to be reduced. If it isn't, the district will never be able to balance its budget.
"This is about money. This is what it's all about," he said."
Delco judge hears Wolf's charter school challenge
KATHY BOCCELLA, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 1:06 AM POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2015, 9:29 PM
During a hearing that could determine the future of the financially embattled Chester Upland School District, lawyers for the district's major charter schools on Monday hammered at the Wolf administration's rescue plan, which hinges on a $24.7 million cut in state payments to the charters.  Before a Delaware County Court judge, the attorneys spent about 21/2 hours grilling the district's state-appointed receiver, Frances Barnes, about the need for such steep cuts.  Barnes, along with Gov. Wolf and top officials of his administration, has said the way that charters are reimbursed for students in special education or online academies is so unfair that Chester Upland will not be able to afford to open in September without changes. He said the ailing district already has an accumulated deficit of $23.7 million, in part because of an unfair funding formula that has led to a spike in charter school payments.  "It has crushed the budget of Chester Upland School District," Barnes said.  He and other witnesses said that special ed students at the district's three charter schools are less severely disabled than those in traditional district schools, and therefore cost less to educate.

"Let’s look at Chester Upland’s special education enrollment, while considering that, in general, special education students diagnosed with autism, emotional disturbance and intellectual disability require the highest expenditures, while those with speech and language impairments require the lowest expenditures.
Special education students on the autism spectrum – generally requiring high expenditures - make up 8.4 percent of the entire special education population at the school district, compared to 2.1 percent at Chester Community Charter School and zero percent at Widener Partnership and Chester Community School of the Arts.
In the emotional disturbance category, another often requiring high expenditures, 13.6 percent of all special education students are categorized as emotionally disturbed in the school district, compared to 5.3 percent at Chester Community Charter, none at Widener or Chester Community School of the Arts.
For the intellectual disability category, the final category generally requiring high expenditures, the school district again serves a much larger percentage of this category: 11.6 percent for the school district, 2.8 for Chester Community Charter School and none for the others.
Conversely, for special education students requiring the lowest expenditures, the speech and language impaired, only 2.4 percent of the school district’s special education population falls into this category, compared to 27.4, 20.3 and 29.8 percent, respectively, at the charters.
Clearly the lion’s share of the need requiring the highest expenditures remains with the school district, but an exorbitant amount of funding goes to charters, where most special education needs can be addressed for comparatively low cost."
Guest Column: The case for the Wolf recovery plan
Delco Times Letter by Frances Barnes POSTED: 08/24/15, 10:24 PM EDT
To the Times:
This is an open letter from Chester Upland School District Receiver Francis V. Barnes.
This afternoon (Aug. 24), Chester Upland School District and the Pennsylvania Department of Education will appear before President Judge Chad Kenney seeking approval of an amended Financial Recovery Plan to restore financial integrity and balance the books, which is vital for the district and the charter schools it funds. The plan treats charters fairly by not reducing payments made for about 70 percent of charter students, but it does reduce unreasonable special education and cyber payments to charter schools.  Reducing unreasonable payments will make the allocation of funds more equitable for all students in the Chester, Chester Township, and the Upland geographical area, regardless of which school they attend.  Under the current formula, funds for special education students are not allocated equitably. The district is required to pay charter schools more than $40,000 per special education student, regardless of the actual cost to educate that student, while the district receives less than needed to educate its own special education students.

Guest Column: The case for Chester’s charter schools
Delco Times Letter By Dr. David Clark Jr., Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 08/24/15, 10:22 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
The most uncomfortable aspect of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s recently announced crusade to dramatically reduce charter school special education funding in the Chester Upland School District is that it seems designed to ensure that young, disadvantaged school students in the city of Chester remain disadvantaged into adulthood, and beyond.  In addition, the entire, highly politicized campaign is, once again, based on the specious concept that there is some kind of natural tension among charter school and traditional school families in Chester.  The city’s residents say otherwise.  In fact, we found, two years ago, that 40 percent of Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) parents also had at least one other child attending a traditional Chester Upland public school, and that they wanted their students at both schools to benefit by appropriate funding levels.  Chester’s families do not believe that Gov. Tom Wolf’s extended budgetary impasse, with members of the state House and Senate, is a justification for depriving underserved students, in an historically underfunded school district, of their right to academic access and life-altering academic opportunity.

Poll: Low marks for grading teachers based on kids' tests
WASHINGTON (AP) - Many Americans, especially public-school parents, give low marks to rating a teacher based partly on how students perform on standardized tests, according to a survey.  The Gallup Poll released Sunday found 55 percent opposed linking teacher evaluations to their students' test scores. Among those with children in public schools opposition was stronger, at 63 percent.  Standardized tests are necessary, but there's an overreliance on them, said Joshua Starr, CEO of Phi Delta Kappa International, an association for educators, and a former schools superintendent. PDK, which supports teachers and educational research, paid for the poll conducted by Gallup.

Wolf tells GOP not to waste negotiating time with override votes
Philly.com by ASSOCIATED PRESS POSTED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 1:06 AM
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf blasted Republican lawmakers Monday over a plan to force piece-by-piece override votes of his budget-bill veto, saying GOP leaders cannot negotiate in good faith while staging what the Democrat called an unconstitutional and unproductive move.  Wolf's comments in a letter to lawmakers came a day before Tuesday's planned veto override votes, and the resumption of talks on an eight-week-old budget stalemate that has shut off funding to schools and a range of safety-net services.

Education Secretary Rivera talks budget impasse, student testing
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on August 24, 2015 at 3:36 PM
The ripple effects of Gov. Tom Wolf's budget veto are beginning to touch school districts, causing some to begin exploring what their Plan B will be until the now 55-day state budget impasse gets resolved.  Districts are looking at borrowing money or making plans as to when that might be necessary as well as prioritizing what bills they have to pay, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera told the crowd gathered on Monday for the Pennsylvania Press Club.  "As a department, we provide technical support needed to help the school districts navigate that system of accounting," he said.  But speaking from his own experience as the former superintendent of the School District of Lancaster, Rivera added that school officials "start to get nervous about this time of year" when there is no finalized state budget in place.  However, he added that he knows of no district that won't be able to open because of the impasse. But of the state's 500 school district, Chester-Upland in Delaware County, which he said has a $22 million structural deficit, is probably the one most at risk of facing that reality.

State education secretary says budget impasse is straining school districts
By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau August 24, 2015 2:32 PM
HARRISBURG -- As the state's budget impasse approaches the end of its second month, school districts are starting to get nervous about a lack of funds flowing from the state, said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera.  "There are a number of school districts that are already planning, really digging in terms of researching alternative ways to borrow, or to bring in revenue, or starting to align or prioritize bills that they will have to pay," Mr. Rivera said today, speaking at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg.  "Whether a budget impasse is a week old or months old, it creates a level of uncertainty [for districts]. As a department, we provide the technical support needed to help school districts navigate that system of accounting. But schools do...start to become nervous."  He said he was not aware of any districts that had yet had to take out revenue anticipation notes yet, but some "are investigating that and preparing to take them out," he said.

House Education Chair: 95 percent of school districts able to stay open until October
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Monday, August 24, 2015
As Pennsylvania’s state budget impasse continues to drag on into the start of the school year and districts begin to plan for contingencies in case the stalemate continues, House Education Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) said Monday that around 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts will likely to survive until October without state funding.  “Statewide I have not seen a school district that can’t open [on time],” he told a small group of reporters following Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon featuring Education Sec. Pedro Rivera. “I think the school districts as a whole, the majority—I mean great majority—I’m going to say 95 percent of them probably can survive into October without taking a loan, possibly.”  He added those that are more financially distressed might have to go out for a line of credit a little sooner.  Currently, he noted school districts have already started to collect property taxes and other sources of their own revenue.  “They all have borrowing capacity,” he stated. “My hope is that here in September we’ll get [the budget] done.”

State budget tardy for beginning of school year, and that hurts Pennsylvania students: Nathan Mains
PennLive Op-Ed  By Nathan Mains on August 24, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Nathan Mains is executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Students and educators may be ready for the return to the classroom, but it appears that the Pennsylvania state budget will be tardy when the bell rings. Despite weeks of negotiations, the budget is almost two months late — a major cause of concern for school districts who must figure out how to cover operational costs before knowing what funding they will receive.  As the budget impasse continues, school districts' expenses continue to rise for pensions, health care and utilities — all costs that are out of districts' control. Total employer pension contributions for 2015-16 equal 25.84 percent, marking the fifth year of planned increases under Act 120 of 2010. And those numbers are slated to climb to a staggering rate of 32.2 percent by 2019-20.

Pittsburgh-region schools plan around Pennsylvania budget stalemate
By Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau August 24, 2015 11:27 PM
HARRISBURG — As the state’s budget impasse approaches the end of its second month, at least two school boards locally have authorized borrowing to cover costs until state dollars are available.  “There are a number of school districts that are already planning, really digging in terms of researching alternative ways to borrow, or to bring in revenue, or starting to align or prioritize bills that they will have to pay,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, speaking Monday at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg.  Clairton School District spokeswoman Alexis Trubiani said the district’s board recently approved taking a loan to cover costs until the state budget is passed.  In the Sto-Rox School District, the school board last week approved a line of credit since it did not get its basic education funding from the state, superintendent Terry DeCarbo said.

School districts look to save money, provide better education with their own cyberschools
Observer Reporter By Francesca Sacco Staff writer Published: August 23, 2015 - Updated: August 23, 2015 10:58 pm
Bentworth Assistant Superintendent George Lammay is feeling both frustrated and hopeful as the new school year is set to begin. Like many other school officials throughout Washington and Greene counties, Lammay is tired of seeing such a large portion of Bentworth School District’s yearly budget disappear to cover cyberschool costs.  Last year alone, the district paid more than $300,000 for about 25 students living within the district who instead attended a cyberschool of their choosing.  Lammay said the budgetary strain, and the fact students who return to the district from cyber programs are often unprepared or have fallen behind, has led the district to introduce the Bentworth Cyber Academy. The cyber program – Bentworth contracted with Fuel Education – will offer online curriculum for students in grades five through 12. Aspects of the program will also be used with traditional students to offer more electives and to expand the district’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math initiative.  Bentworth is not alone. Many school districts within the two-county region are starting to offer their own cyber programs to combat similar problems.

Radical changes for popular charter school ordered by state
Inquirer Philly School Files Blog by Kristen Graham POSTED: MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2015, 11:03 AM
Weeks before the start of school, the state education department dropped a bomb on a unique charter school popular with Philadelphia-area families: stop using physical facilities for face-to-face learning, or risk being shut down.  The order means that 500 Philadelphia-area families — half the school’s population — will likely be scrambling for new places to learn in September. The changes forced the school, Education Plus Academy, to lay off or slash hours for half its staff, some of whom were just hired or promoted.  Shocked parents and the school’s CEO say the abrupt move, which came the same day as Gov. Wolf asked a Delaware County court to dramatically curtail funding for a large Chester charter school, is further evidence that the governor’s administration is out to get charters.  “Everybody knows the governor doesn’t support charters,” said Nicholas Torres, the school’s CEO and one of its founders. “He specifically doesn’t support cyber charters.”  Parent Amy Millar, whose three children were set to start first, third and fifth grades at Education Plus on Sept. 8, was more blunt.  “It was a kill order,” Millar said. “I feel like there’s been a death in the family.  EdPlus, which opened in 2012, operates on a blended model. It is a cyber school aimed primarily at special-education students, but it also has offered face-to-face learning opportunities with teachers and other education staff at “learning centers” throughout the state, including six in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

School district administration grows under new plan
WHEN SCHOOLS open this fall, many of them will lack much of what they have been lacking in recent years: streams of paper, counselors, hand sanitizer, secretaries, Band-Aids and nurses.  The district, however, has found nearly $1.2 million to expand the administration by adding eight well-compensated administrators as part of Superintendent William Hite Jr.'s $309 million proposal to improve schools.  That's the equivalent of a year's salary for 10 school nurses or counselors. Or seven assistant principals. Or 28 school aides.  "How dare [the district] justify the reform that requires so much personnel and personnel that's not working in the schools?" said Robert McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, the union that represents principals.

Mismanagement and rising debt ensures teacher pension gap widens
Beaver County Times By Daveen Rae Kurutz dkurutz@timesonline.com |4 comments Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 4:15 am
This is part one of a three-part Times analysis of Pennsylvania's teachers pension fun. Click here for part two and here for part three.
Poor management. Lost opportunity. Burgeoning debt. 
The state educators' pension fund is bleeding billions each year. Across the state school districts aren't able to pay half of what their retirees are collecting in pensions, a Times analysis showed -- and that's not taking into account more than $35 billion in debt.  In Beaver and Allegheny counties, retirees were paid triple the amount that schools contributed to the fund. Of the 603 school districts, community colleges, and career and technical schools across the state that contributed to the fund during the 2013-14 school year and had former employees collect pensions, just nine -- less than 1.5 percent -- contributed more to the fund than was paid out to their retirees.

Advocacy groups file federal lawsuit against school district
Philly Daily News by REGINA MEDINA, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, MEDINAR@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5985 POSTED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 12:16 AM
…."The District has systematically and with deliberate indifference denied essential translation and interpretation services to LEP [Limited English Proficient] parents of children with disabilities as well as to the children themselves," according to the complaint.  The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by the Public Interest Law Center, the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.  The complaint alleges that the school district refuses to sufficiently interpret or provide parents with translated documents in a timely manner. This prevents parents "from participating in meetings and making informed decisions regarding educational placements and services," according to the filing.

District sued over translation services for families of students with disabilities
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 24, 2015 05:12 PM
The School District of Philadelphia is facing a lawsuit alleging that thousands of children are denied special education services due to a lack of translation and interpretation services for families that don’t speak English.  The class action suit was filed in federal court on Friday. Plaintiffs are represented by the Education Law Center, the Public Interest Law Center, and the private firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.  District spokesperson Fernando Gallard said it is the District's practice not to comment on active legal cases.   The complaint says that the District repeatedly fails to translate documents in a timely manner so that parents can participate in meetings concerning their child’s Individual Education Plan, or IEP.  In addition, the District does not provide adequate interpretation services at the meetings.

West Chester Area School District blending together physical and digital classrooms
West Chester Daily Local By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com, @CMonhollanDLN on Twitter POSTED: 08/23/15, 7:13 PM EDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO
WEST GOSHEN >> In an effort to continue to better prepare students moving for postsecondary education, the three West Chester high schools — East, Henderson and Rustin — are offering “blended” classes, giving the students the chance to take a course that involves both time in the physical classroom and online.  In preparation for the class, students and parents flocked to the Spellman Administration Building Tuesday to sign out laptops for the year to go along with the courses.  “It has opened up a lot more opportunities for students to take more advanced classes and more electives,” said June Garwin, director of Information Technology at the district.
This year, 10 blended courses total between the three schools will be offered.

Belle Vernon school district, teachers reach tentative agreement, strike averted
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 25, 2015 6:48 AM
The Belle Vernon Area School District and the teachers have reached a tentative agreement averting the teachers’ strike planned for this morning, according to KDKA-TV.    After 17 months of working without contract the teachers had planned to set up picket lines at the district administration building and at the high school at 7:15 a.m. today, the second day of classes. Teachers voted, 129-2, in May to authorize a strike.  As the negotiations resumed last night, Matthew Horzempa, president of the Belle Vernon Area Education Association said, “Our members are willing to negotiate for as long as it takes until we reach an agreement that is fair and equitable to all parties.”  “Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, school board president Aaron Bialon announced that a tentative contract agreement was reached,” KDKA-TV said. 

Fact-finder appointed in Pennsbury negotiations
Philly.com by Chris Palmer LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 1:06 AM
FALLS TOWNSHIP A fact-finder has been appointed to assist with contract negotiations between the Pennsbury School District and its teachers' union, the Pennsbury Education Association, the district announced last week.  The fact-finder, whose role is to provide a third-party opinion on how contract impasses should be resolved, is scheduled to deliver a report on Sept. 28, the district said.  The opinion is not binding, and the district and the union can accept or reject any portion of it as negotiations continue.

Saucon Valley board to make crucial vote in teacher contract saga
By Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on August 25, 2015 at 6:30 AM, updated August 25, 2015 at 6:33 AM
Tuesday night the Saucon Valley teacher contract impasse could move a crucial step towards resolving the strife or ramp up the conflict ahead of the start of school.  The school board's labor attorney Jeffrey Sultanik is expected to offer the board's first official response to neutral arbitrator Timothy Brown's recommendations to settle a new contract.  The board is expected to then vote to reject or accept Brown's proposal.  The Saucon Valley Education Association has a meeting and voted scheduled for Thursday.

Allegheny Intermediate Unit board continues reductions in staff
Positions eliminated include 12 full-time, 4 part-time spots
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 24, 2015 11:21 PM
Job eliminations and furloughs continue among the special education staff of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, with the board on Monday night eliminating 12 full-time and four part-time positions and closing a small program for preschoolers with autism.  Four of the full-time positions — two vision teachers, a hearing support teacher, and a speech and language pathologist — were either currently not filled or the employee retired. One of the part-time positions — a speech and language pathologist — was not filled at the time of elimination.  But employees who were terminated included four full-time and two part-time educational interpreters — those who provide sign language services for deaf students.

"It is time for policymakers to step back and chart a different course. It makes no sense to cling to failed reforms. As school begins, students across the country are paying a hefty price.  How ironic it would be if the reforms based on the belief that three great teachers in a row are the key to student success, result in students not having certified teachers at all."
The real reasons behind the U.S. teacher shortage
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss August 24 at 5:04 PM  
There’s a teacher shortage across the United States — but that’s not exactly news. The U.S. Department of Education maintains an annual list — state by state — showing the subject areas in which there are too few teachers going back to the 1990-91 school year. What’s new is the size of the shortage and the reasons for it.  The official nationwide Teacher Shortage Area list for 2015-16 year (you can see the list here or below) is not a list of job postings but a reference to where states and schools are potentially looking to hire administrators and teachers. And the comparisons within many states tells a disturbing story: growing teacher shortages in key subjects.

INVITATION: Twitter Chat on Pennsylvania Education Funding
Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m.
The next Twitter chat with Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations is set for Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. Use hashtag #FairFundingPA to participate and follow the conversation.  On the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m., the following organizations go to Twitter to discuss timely topics, ask questions and listen to the public’s responses:
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA);
  • The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS); and
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units
Join the conversation. Share your ideas, lurk, learn and let us know what you think about the state of support for public schools. It’s a simple, free and fast-paced way to communicate and share information. If you’ve never tweeted before, here are directions and a few tips:

The John Stoops Lecture Series: Dr. Pasi Sahlberg "Education Around the World: Past, Present & Future" Lehigh University October 8, 2015 6:00 p.m.
Baker Hall | Zoellner Arts Center | 420 E. Packer Avenue | Bethlehem, PA 18015
Free and open to the public!  Ticketing is general admission - no preseating will be assigned. Arrive early for the best seats.  Please plan to stay post-lecture for an open reception where you will have an opportunity to meet with students from all of our programs to learn about the latest innovations in education and human services.

Register now for the 2015 PASCD 65th Annual Conference, Leading and Achieving in an Interconnected World, to be held November 15-17, 2015 at Pittsburgh Monroeville Convention Center.
The Conference will Feature Keynote Speakers: Meenoo Rami – Teacher and Author “Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching,”  Mr. Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs – Founder and President of Curriculum Design, Inc. and David Griffith – ASCD Senior Director of Public Policy.  This annual conference features small group sessions focused on: Curriculum and Supervision, Personalized and Individualized Learning, Innovation, and Blended and Online Learning. The PASCD Conference is a great opportunity to stay connected to the latest approaches for innovative change in your school or district.  Join us forPASCD 2015!  Online registration is available by visiting www.pascd.org <http://www.pascd.org/>

Nominations for PSBA's Allwein Advocacy Award close Aug. 28th
PSBA July 7, 2015
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform.  The 2015 Allwein Award nomination process will close on Aug. 28, 2015. The 2015 Allwein Award Nomination Form is available online. More details on the award and nominations process can be found online

Slate of candidates for PSBA offices now available online
PSBA website July 31, 2015
The slate of candidates for 2016 PSBA officer and at-large representatives is now available online, including bios, photos and videos. According to recent PSBA Bylaws changes, each member school entity casts one vote per office. Voting will again take place online through a secure, third-party website -- Simply Voting. Voting will openAug. 17 and closes Sept. 28. One person from the school entity (usually the board secretary) is authorized to register the vote on behalf of the member school entity and each board will need to put on its agenda discussion and voting at one of its meetings in August or September. Each person authorized to register the school entity's votes has received an email on July 16 to verify the email address and confirm they are the person to register the vote on behalf of their school entity. 

Register Now for PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 14-16, 2015 Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
Save the date for the professional development event of the year. Be inspired at more than four exciting venues and invest in professional development for top administrators and school board members. Online registration is live at:

Register Now – PAESSP State Conference – Oct. 18-20 – State College, PA
Registration is now open for PAESSP's State Conference to be held October 18-20 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA! This year's theme is @EVERYLEADER and features three nationally-known keynote speakers (Dr. James Stronge, Justin Baeder and Dr. Mike Schmoker), professional breakout sessions, a legal update, exhibits, Tech Learning Labs and many opportunities to network with your colleagues (Monday evening event with Jay Paterno).  Once again, in conjunction with its conference, PAESSP will offer two 30-hour Act 45 PIL-approved programs, Linking Student Learning to Teacher Supervision and Evaluation (pre-conference offering on 10/17/15); and Improving Student Learning Through Research-Based Practices: The Power of an Effective Principal (held during the conference, 10/18/15 -10/20/15). Register for either or both PIL programs when you register for the Full Conference!
REGISTER TODAY for the Conference and Act 45 PIL program/s at:

Apply now for EPLC’s 2015-2016 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program
Applications are available now for the 2015-2016 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).  With more than 400 graduates in its first sixteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.  Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, charter school leaders, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.  The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 17-18, 2015 and continues to graduation in June 2016.
Click here to read about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

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