Thursday, November 12, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 12: "Instead (of referendum) please support local control of school districts, revisions to charter school funding (especially the proposed state rate for cyber charters), tiered special education funding, and pension reform."

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3800 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, Superintendents, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup November 12, 2015:
"Instead (of referendum) please support local control of school districts, revisions to charter school funding (especially the proposed state rate for cyber charters), tiered special education funding, and pension reform."



Register for PSBA Budget Action Day on Monday, Nov. 16 — Join us!
Capitol Building, Harrisburg NOV 16, 2015 • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM



Educating for Citizenship
School Board Blogger by David Hutchinson Wednesday, November 11, 2015
It may seem hard to believe, but until fairly recently in our history, the main purpose of public education was preparing the next generation for the responsibilities of citizenship. In fact, initially, citizenship was the entire point of a public education.  When, in the 1740s, Ben Franklin first proposed the creation of public schools in Pennsylvania, it was to the end of “creating citizens who could make wise political decisions.”  For many years, citizenship education was prominently acknowledged as a core part of the State College Area School District’s mission. “A responsible and involved citizen” was listed at the very top of the aspirational Ten Characteristics of a State High Graduate. That list, by the way, also included attributes such as respect for self and others, personal financial acumen, environmental stewardship, participation in the arts, and competence with technology. In other words, a well-rounded person.  But in recent years, the national conversation on education has focused almost entirely on preparing students for success in the workforce. While that is important, the ability to make a living at something one enjoys is only one component of being a successful citizen. In fact, the core skills of citizenship – the ability to think critically, to communicate clearly and to collaborate with others - are precisely the skills most sought after by employers in the modern economy. (By the way, those skills are also on that list of ‘ten characteristics’.)

Unequal funding, and it's delayed: McCaskey students seek answers on state budget
Lancaster Online by Kara Newhouse Staff Writer November 11, 2015
To most teenagers, state politics is, at best, an abstract topic.
But for some students at School District of Lancaster — where the state budget stalemate could force the board to borrow $30 million in January — what happens in Harrisburg is very real.  "So far we haven't seen a lot of extreme impacts (from the delayed budget), but we've all been in the district long enough to remember when there were really drastic cuts a few years ago and how that impacted us," said senior Thea Buckwalter, 17.  To better understand the gridlock in the capital, Buckwalter and 15 of her classmates invited several state and school leaders to a discussion about the budget.  The event, held at McCaskey East High School on Tuesday morning, gave students "a chance to ask the questions they've wanted to, because it's really hard when all you have is newspaper articles," said senior Ellen Waters, 17.  During the 90-minute discussion, students asked questions about the negotiation process, local effects of state education funding and their role in politics.  Officials who participated were: state Rep. Mike Sturla, a Lancaster Democrat; state Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, Superintendent Damaris Rau; and Matt Przywara, the district's chief financial and operations officer.
Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray, state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, Gov. Tom Wolf, and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale also were invited but did not attend.

Property tax debate takes stage in state Capitol
The Associated Press  Wednesday November 11, 2015 05:00 PM
HARRISBURG — The debate over school property taxes in Pennsylvania is heating up as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican lawmakers look for ways to balance school boards' authority to increase taxes at a time the state officials are considering raising the state sales tax to finance reductions in the school taxes.  School boards, teachers' unions and other organizations that want an apolitical formula to distribute state aid to schools are pressing state officials against further restricting school board autonomy.  In a Monday letter to Wolf and top state lawmakers, the Campaign for Fair Education Funding said further restrictions would worsen already large funding inequities between Pennsylvania's richer and poorer school districts.  "Why would we lock in those inequities when we are just about to begin an unprecedented long-term effort to finally solve them?" the coalition questioned.

Their view: Bill a threat to public education
Centre Daily Times BY NATHAN MAINS November 12, 2015 
Nathan Mains is executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
The state budget is now more than five months late but talk in the Capitol is that a deal may happen before Thanksgiving. It remains to be seen if there will be much to give thanks for in schools across the state when the details of the closed-door meetings are more widely known.  The tardiness of a fiscal plan is putting much pressure on the governor and legislature to come up with a deal quickly to keep schools and social service agencies open. However, this pressure also can cause policymakers to act like cornered animals and make desperate and foolhardy decisions — one of those currently circulating is a discussion of a back-end referendum. This proposed legislation, Senate Bill 909, would take away all taxing authority of school boards across Pennsylvania by requiring that any and all tax increases go to a public vote before they can be approved. Such a legislated change would be a death knell for all public schools.

Proposed referendum worries York school officials
York Dispatch By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK 505-5438/@JessDispatch POSTED:   11/12/2015 12:46:48 AM EST | UPDATED:   ABOUT 6 HOURS AGO
The tone surrounding the passage of a potential state budget turned negative for school officials following a proposal that would require districts to turn to voters for their consent on any tax increase.  "It would cause the demise of public education as we know it," West York Superintendent Emilie Lonardi said of the referendum.  York Suburban Superintendent Shelly Merkle was also concerned.  "Public education is the cornerstone of any democracy," she said. "This referendum would set districts up for failure, and therein lies the downfall of democracy. Now, that may be a bold statement, but I believe it wholeheartedly."  Lonardi said that public education has "become an easy target. The truth is, this is the one environment that has everything, not a few things, it has everything to do with the future and well-being of Pennsylvania."

"I am asking that you advocate for the defeat of any back-end referendum bill that may come before you," McHugh said in the correspondence sent Tuesday. "Instead, please support local control of school districts, revisions to charter school funding (especially the proposed state rate for cyber charters), tiered special education funding, and pension reform."
Superintendents: 'Back-end referendums' could harm school districts
Bucks County Courier Times by Joan Hellyer, staff writer Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 11:45 pm
Two area superintendents want local state lawmakers to know that a potential "back-end referendum" should not be included in a deal to end the almost five-month-long state budget impasse.  The "back-end referendum" could mean school districts would have to go through a referendum process each time a school board attempts to raise property taxes, officials said. The potential to allow for such a referendum is outlined in Senate Bill 909, which is working its way through the legislative chamber.  "Any back-end referendum proposal will strip away financial control from our board of school directors, who is elected by the same public that would vote in a referendum process," Council Rock Superintendent Robert Fraser wrote in a letter to area state representatives. "In a district that is so reliant on local revenue sources, maintaining this balance is imperative."  A local district’s ability to meet its annual budget "would be decimated" if a back-end referendum was required, Pennsbury Superintendent Kevin J. McHugh said in a separate letter to area representatives.

Hashing out the nitty-gritty in the very tentative, detail-scarce Pa. budget framework
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY NOVEMBER 11, 2015
After a scare Tuesday, leaders in the Pennsylvania Capitol said that the framework of a state budget agreement is still intact.  The tentative agreement includes a $400 million increase to K-12 public education this year.  On Monday, Wolf administration officials claimed that a two-year agreement would boost preK-12 public education by $750 million. Republican leaders insisted that nothing had been set in stone beyond the current fiscal year.  For a few hours Tuesday, the Senate Republican leadership stirred up doubts about the structural integrity of the deal – saying everything was again "up in the air."  Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders allayed anxiety by hosting an impromptu press gaggle late Tuesday committing to the framework of a one-year pact.
Pressure has mounted to reach an agreement more than four months after the June 30 budget deadline. School districts across the state have had to borrow money just to keep their doors open. Social services agencies have been hurt, and lawmakers have expressed fatigue as the budget battle has superseded all other agendas.  Wolf and the leaders of the Republican-held House and Senate believe they can shake hands on a budget before Thanksgiving, but the deal is far from finalized and many of the details are yet to be worked out: namely, the source of the education funding boost.

Proposed state budget framework still has many details to resolve
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau November 12, 2015 1:20 AM
HARRISBURG -- There are many parts to the proposed framework to end the months-long Pennsylvania budget impasse, and with them, many unanswered questions and concerns for observers across the spectrum of politics and issues.  School business officials are applauding proposed increases of $350 million in basic education funding and $50 million in special education funding. But they worry that the proposed swap of a higher state sales tax for reductions in local property taxes could lead to a requirement that school boards secure voter approval for any increase in property tax rates. Currently, districts are allowed to increase taxes by an annual index and also seek exceptions for pension or special education costs before turning to the voters.  “We think it would be draconian,” said Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. “I don’t think people are jumping up and down to say, yes, increase my property taxes.”  Republicans say some sort of restriction should be enacted to ensure that taxpayers are not left with a permanently higher sales tax -- the framework calls for an increase in the statewide rate from 6 percent to 7.25 percent -- along with a temporary reduction in property taxes that is then gobbled up by subsequent local tax hikes.

"A proposal to require voter approval of all school district property tax increases would have “a devastating impact” on delivering the “kind of public education that Pennsylvanians want and that their students need,” said a letter to Wolf and leaders from the Campaign for Fair Funding, a coalition of education, union and religious groups."
Tax proposals in Wolf's Pa. budget remain contentious
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, 11:12 p.m.
HARRISBURG — The complex budget package that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders are considering will be a tough sell in the General Assembly, legislators and analysts said Wednesday.  It includes a higher sales tax, property tax cuts, more education funding and undefined plans to reform public pensions and liquor sales.  “I started getting messages on Facebook and on my cellphone: ‘Don't do it,' ” said Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield. “They don't want their taxes increased.”  Ward thinks a stopgap budget to help nonprofit groups and school districts is necessary while leaders work out a deal to end the budget impasse, which is in its fifth month.

#‎PABudget update from Majority Leader Dave Reed
HERD in the House PA GOP Blog November 11, 2015 
The framework for a budget agreement was announced at the Capitol last evening. An awful lot of details still need to be worked out and it will take a couple weeks for everything to be passed, but included in the framework are pension reform, liquor privatization, an increase of $350 million for basic education, property tax reform as well as tighter controls on future property tax increases. There will also likely be a vote on SB/HB 76 for complete elimination of property taxes to gauge support to go further than the reductions on the table, whether it be with the budget or not; I am supportive of this proposal as well.  With divided government, compromise can sometimes be elusive and I have yet to see the perfect budget deal, but a lot of issues that have been talked about for decades are hopefully about to become reality.

Editorial: Forward progress: Is the season of agreement afoot in Harrisburg?
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board November 11, 2015 12:00 AM
With the state budget impasse grinding into its fifth month, the governor and legislative leaders say they have agreed to a tentative framework for next year’s budget. It’s about time.  Although only a few sketchy details are known and much work remains to reach an accord, this sign of progress fits in with positive steps on other fronts last week. Who says Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg can’t agree on things?

From the budget table: Pennsylvania's proposed pension deal trades cuts in future workers' benefits for hoped-for taxpayer savings
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 11, 2015 at 10:33 PM, updated November 12, 2015 at 1:26 AM
The pension reform department of the final state budget talks is aimed toward producing a new benefit plan for future state and public school employees that's come to be known as a "side-by-side hybrid."  That's side-by-side, as in it's really two distinct pension plans working for the employee from their first day on the job: one part a traditional defined benefit with payouts based on annual salary and years of service; the other a 401(k)-style plan more dependent on the worker's contributions in and investment choices.  Because Harrisburg is a company town, and government is our company, here's PennLive's in-the-moment look at what we know about this issue so far, what's still being negotiated, and a little about what it may mean for public sector workers and taxpayers in the long run.

Wolf's sales-tax compromise a bad deal for consumers | Editorial
Lehigh Valley Live By Express-Times opinion staff on November 11, 2015 at 4:02 PM, updated November 11, 2015 at 4:11 PM
Ow. Ow. Ow.
Pennsylvania consumers would pay a 7.25 percent sales tax on everything (except food, clothing, prescription drugs) under a regressive budget compromise being touted in Harrisburg as the only way out of a bull-headed, four-month budget stalemate between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders.  While all of us would pay more for most purchases, Wolf inexplicably gave up on the centerpiece of his budget plan — an extraction tax on shale gas production, meaning the energy flowing up (and to some extent, out of Pennsylvania) won't be chipping in for a big boost in education and pension funding.  This makes no sense, except in the rarified arrogance of lawmaking. This budget compromise is progress only in the sense that it is movement.

"Barrar said the proposal details continue to be developed this week and that state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County, has ordered that legislators work Monday through Thanksgiving to get the budget resolved.  In addition to an increased sales tax, the deal includes some kind of pension reform, property tax relief and liquor privatization, although the specifics are being worked out."
Will Pa. sales tax hike drive shoppers over the border?
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 11/11/15, 10:14 PM EST 
Members of the Delaware County business community and elected officials on Wednesday had mixed reactions to a proposed increase in the state sales tax.  On Monday, some details of a budget deal in Harrisburg were announced — and they included an increase in the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7.25 percent to generate $2 billion to be used to fund education. Philadelphia’s sales tax would increase from 8 to 9.25 percent.  According to the Tax Foundation, only California has a higher sales tax rate at 7.5 percent. Five other states — Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Tennessee — have a sales tax rate that is 7 percent.  Trish McFarland, president of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, said she is staying in communication with their business members on the issue.

Five questions about the #PaBudget framework: Wednesday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 11, 2015 at 8:55 AM
THE MORNING COFFEE
Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Well now that it looks like the budget framework is back on -- after some histrionics on Tuesday -- here are few questions we have about the emerging spending plan. Hopefully, details will emerge over the next few days.

RFA: Creating a Comprehensive Picture of School Performance:
A PACER Brief from Research for Action by Mark Duffy and Della Jenkins November 2015
For more than two decades, states have been required to report publicly on the academic performance of schools and districts. These school rating systems have received increased public attention amid growing concerns about the prevalence and cost of standardized testing in schools. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 64 percent of the public overall, and 67 percent of public school parents, said there is too much emphasis on standardized testing in education.  These perceptions have been widely acknowledged by policymakers at both the state and federal levels. As deliberations on the future of Pennsylvania's school rating system, the School Performance Profile, gather steam, RFA is pleased to provide background on the existing research related to best practices in reporting on school performance. We also offer examples of reporting systems from neighboring and high-performing states.

AERA Issues Statement on the Use of Value-Added Models in Evaluation of Educators and Educator Preparation Programs
American Educational Research Association WASHINGTON, D.C., November 11
In a statement released today, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) advises those using or considering use of value-added models (VAM) about the scientific and technical limitations of these measures for evaluating educators and programs that prepare teachers. The statement, approved by AERA Council, cautions against the use of VAM for high-stakes decisions regarding educators.  In recent years, many states and districts have attempted to use VAM to determine the contributions of educators, or the programs in which they were trained, to student learning outcomes, as captured by standardized student tests. The AERA statement speaks to the formidable statistical and methodological issues involved in isolating either the effects of educators or teacher preparation programs from a complex set of factors that shape student performance.  This statement draws on the leading testing, statistical, and methodological expertise in the field of education research and related sciences, and on the highest standards that guide education research and its applications in policy and practice,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine.
http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/NewsReleasesandStatements/AERAIssuesStatementontheUseofValue-AddedModelsinEvaluationofEducatorsandEducatorPreparationPrograms/tabid/16120/Default.aspx

Op-Ed: Join the Grassroots Movement to Support Philly’s Neighborhood Schools
Friends groups across the city are working to ensure a quality education for every child.
Citified BY CHRISTINE CARLSON, JEFF HORNSTEIN AND IVY OLESH  |  NOVEMBER 10, 2015 AT 1:15 PM
(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writers Christine Carlson, Jeff Hornstein and Ivy Olesh.)
Mayor Michael Nutter said in a recent policy address that Philadelphia needs “more parental and community involvement in our schools” and the “formal establishment of School Advisory Councils at every neighborhood school.”  As leaders in a growing citywide network of friends groups emerging to support our neighborhood public schools, we wholeheartedly support the intention behind the mayor’s proposal: to establish robust, community-driven support structures for every school, composed of stakeholders that include parents, teachers, community members and businesspeople working to ensure a quality education for every child in our city.  But what Nutter has proposed is already happening from the ground up. A number of community-organized groups have evolved organically over the past five years or so, thus far largely following the trajectory of gentrifying areas of the city. Additionally, there are numerous long-standing communities where families have for many years supported their schools.

A $250k gift to change the conversation about Philly schools
by Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 12, 2015 — 1:08 AM EST
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation wants to change the conversation about Philadelphia public schools to keep talented millennials from leaving the city once they have school-age children.  The Miami-based philanthropy was scheduled to announce Thursday that it had awarded $250,000 to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to promote what is working in district schools and highlight student achievement.  "It's a one-year grant, and it's really designed to help us do things that nonprofits often don't get the money to do," said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and chief executive of the fund, created in 2003 to secure and manage financial gifts to the district.  The new project is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and reports by the Pew Charitable Trusts showing Philadelphia has been successful attracting educated young residents but loses many to the suburbs when they have children.  A 2014 Pew study, for example, found that the city's population of 20- to 34-year-olds had surged, but 56 percent said they would not recommend Philadelphia as a place to raise young children.
"This is going to allow us to help tell the story of the School District and the great students and the good work that happens," Frisby-Greenwood said.

Proposed Pittsburgh schools budget contains no tax increase
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 12, 2015 12:00 AM
A preliminary budget for Pittsburgh Public Schools released Tuesday includes a decrease in deficit spending and holds the line on taxes.  The $567.9 million budget has a 2 percent increase from last year’s adopted budget and includes a long-term deficit of $21.8 million, a $5.1 million drop from the previous year.  Chief Operations Officer Ronald Joseph said the decrease in deficit spending is due in large part to increased earned income tax revenue, decreases in salaries, medical insurance and debt service payments. The district is projected to end the year with an operating surplus of $900,000.

"The program matches volunteers with students for one-on-one reading time during the school day, and provides low-income children who might not have books at home with books they can keep and read even when not at school."
Tutoring program pays dividends for elementary students across Southwestern Pa.
Trib Live By Chris Togneri Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
When the Rev. Larry Homitsky took over as pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh's North Side in 2008, he called local school principals and offered his services.  Tell me what you need, he told them, and I'll do what I can.  Many did not respond. They were too busy getting ready for another school year.  But Theresa Cherry, principal of Pittsburgh Public's Manchester elementary school, told Homitsky that many of her students lacked basic school supplies. A few days later, Homitsky showed up with a pickup truck full of 300 backpacks, all filled with school supplies.  “That got her attention; then she knew I was serious,” Homitsky recalled. “After that, I said, what else can we do?”  Shortly after, the Reading and Mentoring Program was born.

Phoenixville district reacts to School Performance Profile score drop
By Eric Devlin, The Mercury POSTED: 11/11/15, 6:58 PM EST
Phoenixville >> Phoenixville Area High School saw a slight dip from last year in the latest School Performance Profile scores and district officials say they are working hard to prevent that from happening again next year.  “We always want to keep improving,” said Superintendent Alan Fegley. “We’re not satisfied but we’re not dissatisfied.”  The high school scored a 75.7 in the latest scores released by the state for the 2014-15 school year, representing of 0.2 percent drop from the previous year. A score of 70 is considered “passing.”  Last year district officials expressed “disappointment” with the school’s results, which only rose 1.75 percent from the 2012-13 scores.
The School Performance Profile is the state’s newest way of evaluating all schools. Schools that use the Keystone Exams, primarily high schools, were the only ones to receive scores based, in part, on those results, this year.


Feds spent $7 billion to fix failing schools, with mixed results
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown November 12 at 6:00 AM   
A national program that pumped a record $7 billion into failing schools — and became one of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s signature policies — has yielded mixed results, according to a new federal analysis released Thursday.  Students in about two-thirds of the schools studied posted gains on math and reading tests, but one-third showed no improvements or even slid backwards.  Schools that participated in the program the longest showed the strongest improvements in math and reading. The average high school graduation rate also increased for schools that received School Improvement Grants (SIG).
But the government analysis is incomplete.


PSBA New School Director Training
School boards who will welcome new directors after the election should plan to attend PSBA training to help everyone feel more confident right from the start. This one-day event is targeted to help members learn the basics of their new roles and responsibilities. Meet the friendly, knowledgeable PSBA team and bring everyone on your “team of 10” to get on the same page fast.
  • $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN PassNote: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
  • One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
  • Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
  • Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class
Nine locations for your convenience:
  • Philadelphia area — Nov. 21 William Tennent HS, Warminster (note: location changed from IU23 Norristown)
  • Pittsburgh area — Dec. 5 Allegheny IU3, Homestead
  • South Central PA and Erie areas (joint program)— Dec. 12 Northwest Tri-County IU5, Edinboro and PSBA, Mechanicsburg
  • Butler area — Jan. 9 Midwestern IU 4, Grove City (note: location changed from Penn State New Kensington)
  • Allentown area — Jan. 16 Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Schnecksville
  • Central PA — Jan. 30 Nittany Lion Inn, State College
  • Scranton area — Feb. 6 Abington Heights SD, Clarks Summit
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield

Register for PSBA Budget Action Day on Monday, Nov. 16 — Join us!
Capitol Building, Harrisburg NOV 16, 2015 • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
For more than four months Pennsylvanians have gone without a state budget, and school districts are feeling the pain.  As the budget stalemate continues, many school districts across the state are depleting savings or borrowing to meet expenses. In addition to loan interest payments and fees, schools are taking many other steps to curtail spending and keep school doors open.
PSBA is asking you to join us at the Harrisburg Capitol on Monday, Nov. 16 to take action. Let our legislators know that a state budget is critical to the education of our public school children in Pennsylvania.  Budget Action Day, Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA; Monday, Nov. 16, 2015; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  Meet at 9 a.m. in the Majority Caucus Room, Room 140, to hear from legislators on top issues that are affecting the budget stalemate and receive packets for your legislative visits. 

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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