Friday, October 23, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 23: You're kidding me - right? "New group with old connections applies for cyber charter"

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 23, 2015:
You're kidding me - right?  "New group with old connections applies for cyber charter"


"Perhaps the greatest weakness in the Auditor General's report is its inattention to the longstanding, systemic funding shortfalls that are the real threat to the Commonwealth's public schools.   We are one of just two states without an enacted 2015-16 budget, one of three states without a reliable school funding formula, and one of the lowest-ranked states with respect to state share of total education funding.   And Pennsylvania has the very dubious distinction of the nation's most disparate student funding between wealthy and poor districts.  On human resources, the story isn't any better.   A 2011 survey of state education agencies found that Pennsylvania had one of the smallest Departments of Education relative to student population."
DePasquale's schools report used flawed methods to reach wrong conclusion: Adam Schott
PennLive Op-Ed  By Adam Schott on October 22, 2015 at 1:15 PM
Adam Schott, the policy research director for Research for Action in Philadelphia. He is a former executive director of the state Board of Education.
Public education advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders have expressed increasing concerns about the heavy emphasis on standardized testing in our schools, and in particular the flawed judgments that can arise in this climate.  State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's special audit on the Pennsylvania Department of Education provides a timely and useful example.   The report uses a subjective and irresponsible standard to tag hundreds of schools as struggling, and compounds the problem by raising false expectations around the department's ability to intervene in these schools.

"State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his staff looked at 3,000 schools and found that 814 had School Performance Profile scores that fell below 70 based on results from 2013-14."
Report card: Pennsylvania doesn't make the grade in helping poor-performing districts
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 23, 2015 12:00 AM
In a recent performance audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale spotlighted what he considers to be a weakness in the state’s school evaluation system using School Performance Profiles.  That weakness is that the majority of schools with a performance profile below 70 — the line of demarcation between success and failure previously designated by the department — are not required to create improvement plans and get no financial assistance from the state to do so.  The news was not new to educators.  “I think it is a major shortcoming — the failure to provide assistance to schools, school districts and teachers who need improvement,” said Ron Cowell, executive director of the Education Policy and Leadership Center.  Mr. DePasquale said his staff looked at 3,000 schools and found that 814 had School Performance Profile scores that fell below 70 based on results from 2013-14. A score of 70 out of a possible 107 was identified as a passing grade by Carolyn Dumaresq, former acting state secretary of education.

"Feinberg favors the governor’s $410 million proposed increase to basic education as opposed to the Legislature’s proposed $100 million vetoed by Wolf, and a fair funding formula developed by the state’s bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission.  “Pennsylvania has the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts of any state in the country. We can see that clearly in Delco by driving 12 miles down the Blue Route from Radnor to Chester Upland.  Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a funding formula,” said Feinberg.  He noted that results from standardized tests administered to students consistently correlate with their family incomes and that American public schools with poverty levels of less than 25 percent lead the world on international tests.
“Our Delco districts that struggle with high levels of student poverty and have limited local resources — Chester Upland, Southeast Delco, Upper Darby, William Penn — were among the districts that received the greatest cuts over the past few years,” said Feinberg. “It is critical that we restore that funding so those students have the resources they need to meet the state’s accountability measures and get a good education.”
Delco school districts grapple with state budget standoff
By Patti Mengers, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 10/22/15, 10:38 PM EDT
As the state budget impasse between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled state Legislature is nearing the end of its fourth month, Delaware County’s 15 school districts are experiencing varying levels of financial strain.  William Penn School District, which serves middle- to low-income communities bordering Philadelphia, receives about 40 percent of its budget from states sources, said A. Jeff Cuff, William Penn’s business administrator and school board secretary. The district is currently depending on its existing fund balance and real estate taxes to stay out of debt.  “If the impasse continues WPSD will have to borrow by the end of December,” said Cuff on Thursday afternoon.  Haverford School District, which serves middle- to upper-income communities along the county’s wealthy Main Line, has barely been affected by the budget standoff, noted longtime Haverford School Board member Lawrence Feinberg.
“Haverford only gets about 13 percent of its funding from the state so the impact from the budget impasse has been negligible,” he said.

Blogger Rant: Not one of Pennsylvania's cyber charters achieved a passing score of 70 on the School Performance Profile either this year or last year, and most never made Adequate Yearly Progress during all the years of No Child Left Behind.  Why would we consider sending more tax dollars from all 500 school districts to yet another cyber to pay for more advertising and profits for Pearson P.L.C.?
New group with old connections applies for cyber charter
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Thursday, October 22, 2015, 5:01 PM
After rejecting all new cyber charter applications in the past three years, the state Department of Education received just one cyber proposal this fall.  And the founding group is lead by a former board president of one of the state's 14 existing cybers.  David N. Taylor last month submitted the application for the Advance Cyber Charter School, an online school that would launch next fall with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math.  Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association, is a past board president of Commonwealth Connections Academy Charter School, a K-12 cyber based in Harrisburg that opened in 2002 and enrolls 8,800 students statewide.  Advance would also be based in Harrisburg, and its six-member board also includes Gail Hawkins-Bush, a veteran charter educator who is also a former member of Commonwealth Connection's board.  And, as is the case with Commonwealth Connections, Advance plans to contract with Connections Academy of Pennsylvania L.L.C., for management, curriculum, technical support and other services. The for-profit company is a subsidiary of Connections Education L.L.C., which is based in Baltimore and is involved with 30 public online schools in 26 states.
Connections Education is owned by Pearson P.L.C., a multinational corporation with headquarters in London.

"The only way this situation will truly be resolved is when Harrisburg passes a new state budget.  Dinniman proposed requiring legislators work through the three week recess the legislature receives for the election. He also suggested placing the General Assembly on six hour call, meaning they are required to come to Harrisburg within six hours of receiving a notification.  “Everyone is hurting from this budget impasse,” Dinniman said. “This is just another indication we need to end this as soon as possible. People have to get reasonable and compromise. Compromise means neither party walks away happy.”
Protests stall Pennsylvania charter school payments
Times Herald By Eric Devlin, edevlin@21st-centurymedia.com@Eric_Devlin on Twitter POSTED: 10/22/15, 10:22 AM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
In an ongoing dispute rooted in the state’s failure to pass a budget, Senate Democrats and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association persuaded the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury Wednesday to stop payments to charter schools using gambling revenues. The money was scheduled to be sent to charter schools today.  The school boards association filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Education and state Treasurer Timothy A. Reese Wednesday, claiming an interpretation of a law — which allows property tax relief revenue to be used to fund charter schools — was illegal. The lawsuit further asks that the money be sent to public school districts, where it was originally allocated.  The money, collected from a tax on slot-machine gambling, is used to help reduce taxpayers’ property tax bills. Many school districts across Pennsylvania have stopped making scheduled payments to charter schools as the state’s four-month-old budget impasse drags on.  “It is outrageous that the administration would resort to diversion of funds intended for taxpayers in order to immunize charter schools from the fiscal pain all other public schools are experiencing,” the school boards association’s attorneys said in a press release, “and put charter schools in line ahead of other public schools for available state funds.”

"One of the points we would like to make is that this would not be happening if the governor and the General Assembly had passed a budget and money was coming to the districts," Fayfich said.
Charter school group wants state money restored
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Friday, October 23, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Thursday, October 22, 2015, 6:21 PM
The executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools says he disagrees with the state Treasury Department's decision Wednesday to withhold money from charter schools during the budget impasse that has denied to all schools billions in state aid.  Robert Fayfich said Thursday that his organization believes that Gov. Wolf and the Department of Education were correct in their original reading of the law, that the department was required to divert gaming revenue to charter schools if school districts were not paying their students' tuition during the impasse.  He said the coalition was considering filing a response to the suit the Pennsylvania School Boards Association filed Wednesday in Commonwealth Court. The association sued to block the payments to the charter schools, calling them illegal.
Wolf originally said that state law requires the payments to

Guest Column: Why charter school reform will benefit Pa. taxpayers
Delco Times Opinion By James Roebuck, Times Guest Columnist 10/22/15, 10:27 PM EDT
State Rep. James Roebuck (www.pahouse.com/Roebuck) of Philadelphia is Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee.
You wouldn’t pay $10 for an apple or a loaf of bread. So why should you overpay for tax-funded, privately run charter schools?  The urgency of passing strong charter school reform in Pennsylvania has only grown in recent weeks, due to two major news stories:  IThe state budget impasse; and Revelations that charter schools in Philadelphia alone have racked up nearly $500 million in debt, all of which could ultimately be the responsibility of taxpayers.  I recently issued my third annual report on charter schools, outlining the problems and potential solutions. You can read it at http://is.gd/2015CharterReport.  The good news is that the $160 million or more in potential savings from passing strong charter school reform could help fill the gap that has left Pennsylvania without a budget for more than three months. It would be a sizable step toward closing the structural deficit and restoring school funding. It would also amount to at least six times more than the savings from a Republican bill (H.B. 530) the House passed on party lines in March.

PA Cyber out $10 million after state treasurer stops charter school payments
Beaver County Times By J.D. Prose jprose@calkins.com October 22, 2015
MIDLAND -- Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese effectively snatched nearly $10 million from the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School when he decided Wednesday to halt payments to charter schools the day before they were supposed to receive funding.  “It’s quite disappointing,” said PA Cyber chief executive officer Michael Conti on Thursday. “It’s disheartening.”  Conti said he was initially unaware that the Midland-based online school was slated to receive $9.85 million until a colleague happened to see a list last week. “It was a surprise,” Conti said, “and it would’ve been a welcomed one.”  Instead of receiving the money Thursday, though, PA Cyber and other charter schools were digesting the news that Reese had stepped in and decided to stop paying charters that have had school districts withhold payments during the budget stalemate. “At this time, it would not be prudent for state Treasury to permit the expenditure of public funds that may be determined by Commonwealth Court to be unlawful,” Reese said in a statement.

Fell Charter teachers face payless paydays
Scranton Times Tribune KATHLEEN BOLUS, STAFF WRITER Published: October 23, 2015
Starting next month, employees at Fell Charter Elementary School will work without pay and the school week likely will be shortened because of the severe toll the lack of a state budget is taking on public education.  “It’s a crisis,” said Mary Jo Walsh, Fell Charter principal. “I don’t know how it’s going to get fixed but we’re going to keep coming up with solutions.”
The board will officially vote Monday at 6 p.m. on starting a four-day school week with an early daily dismissal at 2:15 p.m., said Ms. Walsh, who anticipates the vote will pass. While the early dismissal, which would start Nov. 2, will help save on bills, it also helps the 25 unpaid teachers, administrators and staff, many of whom will have to find a second job, she said. Teachers at the school made an average of $35,000 a year in 2013-14, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Assuming the measure is approved, Ms. Walsh is unsure whether students would have to make up the days missed. Fell Charter, which has about 180 students, holds classes for 195 days each year.  Now in its 115th day, the budget stalemate has forced Ms. Walsh and her staff to think creatively about how to conserve funds. Leaving the lights and heat off on Fridays will help the school save money. While having classes Monday through Thursday keeps students learning and preparing for state-mandated tests in the spring.

Budget impasse forces Erie charter to borrow
By Erica Erwin  814-870-1846 Erie Times-News October 23, 2015 01:01 AM
ERIE, Pa. -- School districts and charter schools are finding themselves united in a plea for the same thing as the state budget impasse continues: money.  Kathryn Olds, co-chief executive of Erie's Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School, said Thursday the school is in the process of applying for a line of credit to help fund operations.  Without tuition payments from school districts that are waiting for their own state funding, the charter has been relying on cash reserves for three months, Olds said.  "We just think (opening a line of credit) is a prudent thing to do," she said. "We've let our families know we won't close school and will continue to pay our staff."  Exactly how much the school will borrow hasn't been decided, she said.  Olds' comments followed a decision by the Pennsylvania Treasury to halt payment of gaming revenue to charter schools. That decision came after Senate Democrats raised legal questions and some said charters should not be funded when school districts aren't.  "I don't think it's fair to satisfy the needs of a certain few when a greater number of students across the commonwealth are in jeopardy," said state Sen. Sean Wiley, of Millcreek Township, D-49th Dist.

Treasury holds up payment to charter schools amid budget stalemate
Lancaster Online STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS October 22, 2015
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department says it won't make any payments to charter schools using dollars that are normally sent directly to public school districts.  That's a reversal of plans reported earlier this week. School districts around the state are receiving payments from gambling taxes this week, but some were told part of their payments would be diverted to charter schools.  Those districts were ones that have cut off monthly payments to charter schools. School District of Lancaster was among them.  A Lancaster official said Monday that he was told about $58,000 would be deducted from the district's $2.5 million gambling revenue payment. The city school board voted last month to withhold partial payments to cyber charter schools during the state budget impasse.  The district hasn't withheld payments to La Academia Partnership Charter School, the only brick-and-mortar charter school in its boundaries.

Hollidaysburg Area Board withholds charter payments
By Russ O’Reilly (roreilly@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror October 22, 2015
HOLLIDAYSBURG - Hollidaysburg Area School Board voted to withhold a portion of its monthly payments to charter schools because of the state budget impasse.  With its unanimous 9-0 vote on Wednesday night, the board joins other districts' boards signing on with a statewide resolution telling legislators and the governor that districts can't pay charters until they get state funding.  Charter schools and cyber charter schools are public alternatives to traditional residential public schools.  Instead of the state directly funding charters, the state mandates districts pay charters for each of its students who choose it. In that way, the "tax money follows the child."  However, the position taken by Hollidaysburg and districts statewide is that there is no money to follow the child until the state releases it.

Elizabeth Forward eyes potential school closures as state budget impasse drags on
Trib Live By Patrick Cloonan Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, 4:16 a.m.
Three top Elizabeth Forward officials will research what would happen if district schools are forced to close for lack of state funding as the prolonged budget standoff drags on.
“I would think by Dec. 1 we would have to shut the doors,” school board secretary Jamie Evans said during a Wednesday discussion of the effects of a continued budget impasse in Harrisburg.  “There have been discussions across the state about doing that,” said Solicitor Gary Matta, who will be studying the matter along with board president Philip Martell and director of finance and operations Richard Fantauzzi.  Fantauzzi was going through budgetary matters, reporting that the district ought to receive nearly $4 million as of Oct. 31 and $7.5 million as of Dec. 31 in state basic education subsidies.  Instead, Fantauzzi told the board, “The only bills we are paying are the operations expenses and the teacher salaries.”  That means other vendors haven't been paid. While “most of the vendors have been very cooperative,” Fantauzzi said, he wonders when that cooperation will end.

Allentown School District to borrow $50 million, withhold charter school payments
Jacqueline PalochkoContact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 22, 2015
Allentown School Board takes measures to deal with state budget stalemate
The Allentown School Board, feeling the strain of a state budget stalemate that's entering its fifth month, will take several measures to deal with not getting any funding from the state.  At its Thursday board meeting in separate motions, directors voted to take out a $50 million loan that will help run schools until February and to withhold 54 percent of its tuition payments to charter schools.  Director Scott Armstrong also introduced a resolution calling on local lawmakers in Harrisburg to vote on a continuing resolution that would allow agreed-on funds to flow to the district until a budget is passed.  Armstrong's resolution was unanimously approved.  Unveiled in March, Gov. Tom Wolf's budget made good on a campaign promise that ushered him into office. He allocated an additional $400 million for basic education funding in 2015-16, bringing the total to $6.1 billion. He vowed to raise the level by a total of $2 billion over four years using a new Marcellus Shale tax to pay for it.

"Kenney, who's backed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, has privately pushed Hite to reconsider.  He said he doesn't agree with any expansion until the state brings back the budget item that used to help districts pay for the added costs of charter schools.  This "charter reimbursement" line was cut by former Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011, stripping the district of more than $100 million each year."
Philly mayoral candidates diverge on charter schools
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY OCTOBER 23, 2015
As Election Day nears, the two top Philadelphia mayoral candidates have separated widely in their thoughts on charter school expansion.  Democrat Jim Kenney, a former board member of Independence Charter School in Center City, believes Harrisburg Republicans have pushed charters as a way to starve the traditional system.  "The commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a constitutional responsibility to provide a thorough and efficient education, and they do not do it, because I believe in my heart there was an effort to make everybody a charter school," said Kenney at a forum held this week. "They were taking money away from the public schools in order for the public school to look as if they were failing, so that charter schools could come into vogue."  Philadelphia District Superintendent William Hite is currently pushing for three city elementary schools to be converted into neighborhood based charter schools, which would force all teachers to reapply for likely nonunion jobs.

Source4Teachers is paid only for teachers it places, according to contract
The District can cancel its deal with the company to provide substitutes with just 14 days' notice.
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa and Greg Windle on Oct 22, 2015 01:20 PM
The above image comes from a copy of Source4Teachers' proposal to the School District.
Critics may get small consolation from the news that Source4Teachers, the firm hired to provide the District's substitute service, is not getting paid by the District for the teachers that it is failing to place in city classrooms.  And the District has incorporated standard language into its contract terms allowing it to terminate its agreement with Source4Teachers "for its convenience" and without penalty, simply by providing the company with 14 days' notice.  Asked whether contract cancellation was imminent, District spokesman Fernando Gallard said, “We are keeping a close eye on the contract and are continuing to demand better performance. ... We will continue to do that till our expectations are met.”

Contract for substitute teachers allows Philly school district to cancel without penalty
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER LEACHS@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5903 POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2015, 12:16 AM
AS PRESSURE MOUNTS on Philadelphia School District officials to dump the firm responsible for hiring substitute teachers, details of the agreement have been revealed.  Source4Teachers, the Cherry Hill, N.J.-based firm contracted in June, was required to staff 75 percent of vacant classrooms by the first day of school, but the firm has fallen well short of that, hovering around 20 percent daily over the first seven weeks.  According to the contract, a copy of which was obtained and published online by the Public School Notebook, the district can terminate the deal with or without cause with 14 days' prior written notice to the company and not incur any penalty. Source4Teachers will begin incurring penalties of up to $6,400 a month in January, with those fines escalating to $9,600 in September if it fails to meet certain staffing levels or receives poor marks on a survey for principals.  Superintendent William Hite has said the firm is on notice that the contract could be canceled if its performance doesn't improve.

For Supreme Court - Christine Donohue, Judith Olson and David Wecht: Penn Live Editorial
PennLive Editorial Board on October 22, 2015 11:39 AM, updated October 22, 2015 at 4:25 PM
It's one of the great political cliches that elections matter. But when Pennsylvania voters head to the polls on Nov. 3, they will be faced with a choice of historic consequence.  For the first time since the Keystone State was an English colony, voters will be asked to fill three vacancies on the seven-member Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Given the court's recent history, the stakes could not be higher.


Phillips-Hill pension bill gains bipartisan support
York Dispatch By GREG GROSS 505-5433/@GGrossYD 10/21/2015 12:39:08 PM EDT
When Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill would bring up the topic, even some of her fellow state legislators didn't know that employees of an association that lobbies lawmakers on behalf of school boards are included in the state pension system.  But when lawmakers learned the statewide nonprofit Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) employees are entitled to a state pension, some jumped on board with a measure, House Bill 1084, to keep all future association employees from receiving a state pension, said Phillps-Hill, R-York Township.  "It's just not appropriate for them to be on our pension system," she said.
Support: The PSBA is throwing its support behind Phillips-Hill's bill — even though it would exclude its future employees from the pension plan — and previously backed similar ones proposed during past legislative sessions, said Steve Robinson, an association spokesman.
"We're supported those bills and we're backing this one as well," he said.  PSBA employees have been included in the state pension system since 1939, when the state attorney general added the association's then lone full-time employee to the system, Robinson said.  Now it will take an act of the Legislature and a signature from the governor to remove all future employees from being part of the system. PSBA has 58 employees enrolled in the system, he said.

Panel celebrates 10-year anniversary of Dover intelligent design trial
York Dispatch By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK 505-5438/@JessDispatch POSTED:   10/23/2015 01:10:21 AM EDT | UPDATED:   ABOUT 6 HOURS AGO
Even 10 years later, nothing can compare to the now- famous intelligent design trial, Kitzmiller v. Dover, for those who were members of the victorious legal team.  "It was billed as 'Scopes 2,' and that really says a lot ... Bruce Springsteen was talking about it at his concerts. I mean you don't get any more high profile than that," said ACLU-PA Legal Director Vic Walczak, who oversaw the 2005 challenge to the Dover Area School District's policy requiring the teaching of intelligent design.  Attorney Eric Rothschild and his firm, Pepper and Hamilton LLC, partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union to serve the parents battling the notion of intelligent design as a viable topic for science class.  "It is probably the most unique professional experience in my life," he said. "It was just a very dramatic and celebrated trial with tons of attention regarding this important cause that I also felt very strongly about."  Rothschild dubbed his nearly eight-hour cross examination of Michael Behe, a Lehigh University professor and intelligent design advocate, among "the most successful and competent moments of lawyering that I have ever done."


Register Now for the Fifth Annual Arts and Education Symposium Oct. 29th Harrisburg
Thursday, October 29, 2015 Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Act 48 Credit is available. The event will be a daylong convening of arts education policy leaders and practitioners for lively discussions about important policy issues and the latest news from the field. The symposium is hosted by EPLC and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network, and supported by a generous grant from The Heinz Endowments.

SCHOOL CHOICE: THE ROLE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE COURTS IN IMPROVING EDUCATION
Constitution Center, Philadelphia Monday, November 2, 2015 at 4 p.m.
Free for Members • $7 teachers & students • $10 public
Become a Member today for free admission to this program and more!
Click here to join and learn more or call 215-409-6767.
Does the Constitution guarantee an “equal education” to every child? What do the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions say about school choice, teacher tenure, standardized testing, and more? The Constitution Center hosts two conversations exploring these questions.
In the first discussion, education policy experts—Donna Cooper of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Mark Gleason of the Philadelphia School Partnership, Deborah Gordon Klehr of the Education Law Center, and Ina Lipman of the Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia—examine the state of Philadelphia public education, what an "equal education" in Philadelphia would look like, and their specific proposals for getting there. They also explain what, if anything, the Pennsylvania state constitution says about these questions, and how state government interacts with local government in setting education policy.
In the second discussion, James Finberg of Altshuler Berzon and Joshua Lipshutz of Gibson Dunn—two attorneys involved in Vergara v. California, a landmark dispute over the legality of teacher retention policies—present the best arguments on both sides and discuss what's next in the case. They also explain what the U.S. Constitution and major Supreme Court cases like Brown v. Board of EducationSan Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 say about education and our national debates.

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/>

NSBA Advocacy Institute 2016; January 24 - 26 in Washington, D.C.
Housing and meeting registration is open for Advocacy Institute 2016.  The theme, “Election Year Politics & Public Schools,” celebrates the exciting year ahead for school board advocacy.  Strong legislative programming will be paramount at this year’s conference in January.  Visit www.nsba.org/advocacyinstitute for more information.

PASBO 61st Annual Conference and Exhibits March 8 - 11, 2016
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

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

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