Thursday, February 14, 2019

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb. 14: New Commonsense Cyber Charter Funding Reform Report Recommends Single Statewide Tuition Rates Tied to Actual Costs

Started in November 2010, daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 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, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, 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, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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New Commonsense Cyber Charter Funding Reform Report Recommends Single Statewide Tuition Rates Tied to Actual Costs

Join PA Schools Work For a Webinar at Noon on Feb. 26!
Do you know how the Governor's proposed budget will impact your school? Do you know how you can effectively advocate for as much funding as possible? Grab a sandwich and join PA Schools Work on February 26 at noon as we unpack the Governor's budget and learn how to be an effective advocate for our schools and students.
What You Need to Know to be an Effective Advocate
During this hour, PA Schools Work's seasoned experts will walk you through the Governor's proposed budget allocation for education and what it means to you and your school. During this hour, we will also hone in on the tools and tips you need to ensure that you are making the biggest impact with your advocacy efforts. Join us to make sure you are equipped with all you need to know. Knowledge is power!

“…wasteful spending could be curbed by setting a single, statewide tuition for both regular and special education students in cyber charter schools that is tied to the actual costs of cyber education”.
NEW REPORT: Commonsense Cyber Charter School Funding Reform
Real reform will eliminate wasteful spending and save $250 million in taxpayer money
Education Voters PA Report February 13, 2019
In 2015, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted a new school funding formula that based funding on actual student enrollment and other cost factors. The legislature has not yet addressed similar flaws in Pennsylvania’s system for funding cyber charter schools. With a nearly $500 million annual price tag, funding of cyber charter schools remains just as flawed as the old system of funding basic education was, and has created ever worsening problems for our state’s school districts and wasted tax monies.

Blogger note: over the next several days we will continue rolling out cyber charter tuition expenses for taxpayers in education committee members and legislative leadership districts.
In 2016-17, taxpayers in Senate Ed Cmte EX-Officio .@SenatorScarnati’s districts had to send over $10.7 million to chronically underperforming cybers that their locally elected school boards never authorized. SB34 (Schwank) could change that.
Data source: PDE via PSBA

Austin Area SD            $2,875.00
Bradford Area SD        $416,092.34
Brockway Area SD       $149,942.34
Brookville Area SD      $248,130.96
Cameron County SD    $467,303.38
Canton Area SD           $219,358.83
Clarion-Limestone SD $274,246.66
Clearfield Area SD       $847,317.65
Coudersport Area SD   $261,597.67
Dubois Area SD           $781,498.59
Forest Area SD             $326,168.02
Galeton Area SD          $367,370.95
Jersey Shore Area SD  $729,876.96
Johnsonburg Area SD $259,139.74
Kane Area SD              $146,979.43
Keystone Central SD   $1,077,260.40
Northern Potter SD      $67,549.21
Northern Tioga SD       $423,039.27
Oswayo Valley SD        $75,472.38
Otto-Eldred SD             $170,310.95
Port Allegany SD         $140,633.48
Punxsutawney  SD      $1,066,764.18
Ridgway Area SD         $223,709.93
Smethport Area SD      $337,873.37
Southern Tioga SD      $650,426.40
Saint Marys Area SD    $256,147.70
Wellsboro Area SD      $472,963.79
West Branch Area SD  $323,061.45
             Total:           $10,783,111.03

Blogger note: Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 was over $1.6 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million,  $436.1 million and $454.7 million respectively.
Bipartisan, bicameral interest in saving our 500 PA school districts up to $450M/year. 
SB34 @SenJudySchwank, (D-11 Berks) referred to Senate Education Committee January 11, 2019:
“Under my legislation, a district that offers a cyber program equal in scope and content to the cyber charter school will not be responsible for the tuition costs. Instead, tuition costs will be treated in cyber situations the same as they are when resident students attend non-district brick-and-mortar schools.” …
House Education Committee Chairman Curtis Sonney (R-4, Erie) co-sponsorship memo dated Feb. 5, 2019:: 
“I am preparing to introduce legislation that will require a student or the student’s parent/guardian to pay for the student’s education in a cyber school if the student’s school district of residence offers a full-time cyber education program” …

“I’ll be looking to increase the EITC by $25 million to $50 million,” said state Sen. Tom Killion of Chester County, who co-sponsored SB 1204 last year and is a product of Catholic education. “That’s one of the reasons I’m supporting the EITC and OSTC programs.”
Pa. lawmakers seek higher funding for private tuition plans By Al Gnoza • Posted February 13, 2019
There is a bill in the works in Harrisburg to automatically increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. That is welcome news to Catholic schools, students and parents across Pennsylvania. “This will offer a lifeline to thousands of additional students who are turned away from tax credit fund scholarship programs each year,” wrote state Sen. Mike Regan in a memo to colleagues looking for co-sponsors. The Cumberland County Republican is looking to revive Senate Bill 1204, which will automatically increase the EITC and the OSTC caps by 25 percent each year. The bill failed last year, but backers expect it to have a lot of support in the Senate and the House of Representatives. “I’ll be looking to increase the EITC by $25 million to $50 million,” said state Sen. Tom Killion of Chester County, who co-sponsored SB 1204 last year and is a product of Catholic education. “That’s one of the reasons I’m supporting the EITC and OSTC programs.” The programs are “widely successful,” said state Rep. Jesse Topper of the 78th District in South-central Pennsylvania, and they benefit “the businesses, communities they serve and also the schools. “We’re helping businesses who believe in school choice options and want to contribute to our Catholic and private schools, whether they are Catholic or any other religious or secular institution,” he said. The EITC even helps all private school students regardless if they are eligible for the EITC or OSTC programs by keeping tuition costs more accessible to families throughout the state. Regan, Topper and Killion are all Republicans, but they point to bipartisan support for increasing EITC, which has received funding increases in recent years regardless of which political party has been in power.

Wolf panned Corbett’s education policies, but inherited his charter review board without complaint: report
PA Capital Star By  Elizabeth Hardison February 13, 2019
Gov. Tom Wolf ran for the state’s top spot in 2014 promising to improve education across the Commonwealth, but he’s had a light touch on charter school regulation during his first term in office. Wolf hasn’t made a single appointment to the state’s Charter Schools Appeal Board, according to a report in The Notebook, a non-profit news source covering education in Philadelphia. All of the board’s current members are holdovers from former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration, the report says, and two of them remain on the board even though their terms expired. There are also two vacant seats on appeals board that Wolf has neglected to fill.

Op-ed: The Battle for Education – The Haves and the Have Nots
South Philly resident Gloria C. Endres, a retired public school teacher and former adjunct assistant professor at Temple University’s College of Education, discusses the current state of public school funding.
South Philly Review By: Gloria C. Endres South Philly resident February 13, 2019
The past two weeks have been eventful for school districts throughout Pennsylvania, particularly for the School District of Philadelphia. Pro-privatization advocates designated the last week of January “School Choice Week.” Newspaper columns on both sides of the issue appeared every day. One, by state Sen. and potential Philadelphia mayoral candidate Anthony Williams, addressed the debate over charter schools. Sen. Williams claims that charter schools are not only here to stay but the only viable choice for struggling families. He ignores the fact that 20 years of school choice have not increased racial or economic integration, but in fact have done just the opposite. Only families with means and mobility can access the most exclusive schools (private, magnet, charter or neighborhood). And charter schools serve proportionately fewer children who are the hardest to teach. So in many cases, it is the charter school, not the parent who has the final choice. Williams supported the original charter school law, which Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has repeatedly called “the worst charter school law in the nation.” That law allows schools to become privately managed businesses with a special license that allows them to sell their buildings to nonprofits that rent them back to the charter. The charter can then receive rent reimbursement from the state. All of this is supported by Pennsylvania taxpayers with little oversight. In other words, charters are “public” in name only. Two political action organizations that have contributed to Williams’ political campaigns, Students First PA PAC and American Federation for Children, are both in favor of expanding charter schools.

Why are there so many superintendents in Pennsylvania? Here are four reasons
PA Post by Ed Mahon FEBRUARY 13, 2019 | 04:00 AM
Jane Higdon worked and lived in Maryland for decades. She spent 33 years in education, much of that time as a high school English and special education teacher. Then she moved north, to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She wanted to be closer to her grandchildren. And she noticed something. Each of Maryland’s 23 counties and the city of Baltimore have one school district with one superintendent or CEO at the top. But in Lancaster County alone, there are 17 school districts — each with its own superintendent who had a salary above $100,000 last year. So she wondered: Why are there so many? Higdon submitted her question our Listening Post.
Higdon wrote: “Why are there SO many highly paid school superintendents within each county? I’m from Maryland where each county has ONE superintendent. Their Ed system is ranked high. Money is spent on students.” One reason Higdon asked the question is the same reason she moved to Pennsylvania: her grandchildren. “I just want to make sure that they get the best education they can,” she said in a follow-up phone call. “… I just worry that the money is not being spent on students.” Pennsylvania has 500 school districts — nearly every one with its own full-time superintendent, hired by locally elected school board members. The median salary for a Pennsylvania superintendent last year was a little under $140,000. In Maryland, the median superintendent salary is higher. It’s a little over $203,000. Here are four reasons why it would be so hard to reduce the number of school districts and superintendents in Pennsylvania.

Dinniman, Wolf Call for Updating School Code to Ensure Kindergarten Programs
HARRISBURG, PA — Support from Governor Tom Wolf may help push the legislature to lower the age at which Pennsylvania children must enroll in school – a move that is long overdue – state Senator Andy Dinniman said this week. While most school districts in Pennsylvania offer at least half-day kindergarten, the Pennsylvania Public School Code does not require students to attend school until age 8. “It sends the wrong message about our commitment to early childhood education,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “Frankly, for us to continue to follow a law that says the beginning of a child’s educational pursuit can begin at age eight is an embarrassment.” In his budget address on Tuesday, Wolf called for lowering the age of compulsory attendance to age 6 to bring “our commonwealth in line with the vast majority of other states.” Wolf also called for “a careful study of the costs and benefits of moving to universal free full-day kindergarten” for every child in Pennsylvania. Dinniman, who has reintroduced legislation to lower the compulsory age to children who turn 5 years old as of September 1 of the school year, said the move is a necessary precaution.

Base the funding of Pa. school safety on financial need, not political power | Opinion
Penn Live Opinion By Dr. John W. Zesiger, guest contributor Updated 5:17 PM; Posted 6:32 PM
Dr. John W. Zesiger is the Moshannon Valley School District superintendent.
As the superintendent of the Moshannon Valley School District in rural Clearfield County, I wanted to express concerns with both the current process for distributing school safety grant money, and the proposed cut to school safety funding in the Governor’s budget proposal. For far too long, Pennsylvania has created winners and losers in school funding, but that argument can be made another day; providing school safety funding on a competitive grant basis is just bad politics and bad governing. I commend Senators Wayne Langerholc and Mike Regan, and all who prioritized school safety, for their efforts to bring funding to make our school, and others in the Commonwealth, safer, it was certainly a step forward. But should schools compete for safety, and even more concerning is how is the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency [PCCD] going to “award” the winners? A recent statement from PCCD asked school districts to go back and prioritize their grant requests because they have roughly $40 million in available funding and the requests totaled $318 million. What do District Superintendents tell the families in their communities when a grant is not funded – that PCCD doesn’t think our students’ safety is that important! What about when the list comes out of successful recipients, and wealthier districts who probably have the resources to fund projects without the grant money, are named as “winners”?

Pa.’s top education official talks STEM grant at Penn Highlands
Johnstown Tribune Democrat By Mark Pesto February 13, 2019
Pennsylvania’s top education official visited Pennsylvania Highlands Community College on Wednesday morning, the latest of several trips he’s made to the Johnstown region in the past four months, to hear how local educators will use $498,000 in state funding to address the region’s workforce needs. Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said after Wednesday’s roundtable discussion that he expects that the money will be used “to help create partnerships here locally that will support the creation and the training of the next generation of workers.” “I wanted to come here,” he added, “and hear from them about their process in creating the grant, to discuss what they see as the next steps in developing career and technical education opportunities … in creating a community that supports teaching, learning and supporting the next-generation workforce.” The grant to the Southern Alleghenies STEM Ecosystem – a coalition of education institutions from Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Blair  counties, including colleges, school districts and Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 – was one of several education-related grants announced Monday by Gov. Tom Wolf and intended to “enhance science and technology education in schools statewide,” according to a press release issued after Rivera’s visit by the Department of Education. A total of $9.6 million in “advancing grants” was handed out through the Wolf administration’s PAsmart initiative, described by the Department of Education as “a groundbreaking approach to prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow through STEM and computer science education, apprenticeship and job training.”

Upper Darby teachers get new contract with pay raise
Delco Times By Kevin Tustin February 13, 2019
UPPER DARBY — The 1,000-member teachers union in the Upper Darby School District is now working with a new contract - and a pay hike - after school board ratification of a tentative agreement Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the four-year agreement with the Upper Darby Education Association. The deal is retroactive to July 1, 2018, and runs through June 30, 2022. Union members voted in favor of the agreement in late January with 73 percent approval, according to union President Melanie Masciantonio. According to the new salary schedule, teachers are due for raises of about 3 percent in each year of the contract. The new salary schedule also was used by the board at their Tuesday meeting to retroactively approve increases for 70 teachers this school year as well The minimum salary for a district teacher also gets a boost under the deal. Starting with the current school year a teacher with a bachelor’s degree will start at step 16 in the salary schedule at $45,369. By 2021-22 the teacher will be earning $47,024. Union members with doctorate degrees at the top step will start at $95,200 for the current year and increase to $96,789 in 2021-22.

Students at YouthBuild learn about themselves through writing
"They don’t feel like presentations so much," their teacher said. "They feel like sort of a threshold of vulnerability."
The notebook by Naomi Elegant February 12 — 7:18 pm, 2019
Perched on a stool in front of her classmates, reading aloud a poem she wrote about her community in Point Breeze, Nykera Simmons began to cry. The 21-year-old was reading from her autoethnography project, which she and her classmates at YouthBuild Charter presented in class earlier this month. The assignment, part of their language arts class, required them to blend personal and analytical writing and investigate a place with which they have a connection. YouthBuild language arts teacher Willa Deitch conceived of the autoethnography (as in autobiography) project eight years ago and said that it is her favorite part of her job. “I think that allowing students a chance to reflect on their relationship with place can open up a whole new insight into themselves that they may otherwise not connect to without the opportunity to reflect on it,” Deitch said, adding that she is “beyond proud” of her students. Students at YouthBuild are typically 18 to 20 years old and spend one year there working toward their high school diploma. In addition to academics, they follow one of four vocational tracks to gain work experience and professional skills. YouthBuild Philly enrolls about 225 students each year.

Pa. lawmaker to unveil bill for separate high school playoffs
Penn Live By Ron Southwick | Updated 5:31 PM; Posted 2:12 PM
Some school officials have been pining to establish separate high school sports playoffs for public schools and private schools, and a state lawmaker is aiming to make it happen. State Rep. Scott Conklin, a Centre County Democrat, plans to introduce a bill that would create separate playoffs for public schools and private schools. He will discuss the bill at a news conference at the Penn Stater Hotel and Convention Center in State College Thursday night. Some public school leaders have said the current system is unfair because private and parochial schools aren’t confined by geographic boundaries to recruit top players, while public schools must stay within their own area. As a result, some parochial and private school programs have emerged as powerhouses that are dominating state playoffs, public school leaders say. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, the governing body that operates all state championship tournaments, has resisted calls to change the playoff system. The PIAA has maintained that a 1972 state law requires private schools and charter schools access to state playoffs with public schools.

Alexa, can you help kids learn and teachers manage a classroom? At Garnet Valley, the answer is: ‘Yes’
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Updated: February 13, 2019- 1:04 PM
After an assistant in the third-grade classroom at Garnet Valley School led the kids in stretching exercises, counted down the time for their writing assignment, and finally blared the Village People’s “YMCA” from a speaker for a fast and furious dance break, a student blurted something out. “I love her!” said Kaidyn Potochar, one of the third graders.  “I love her, too,” agreed her teacher, Meredithe Stefanowicz, but the assistant fell silent. She sat perched on a small counter, less than a foot tall. You’ve probably heard of her: Alexa. The Delaware County school is considered a trailblazer in using the fast-growing technology of digital voice assistants — like Amazon’s Alexa, the most popular, or Google Assistant — as a classroom learning tool that can answer a student’s question or spell a word, conduct learning drills, or play soothing background music while timing out a quiz.

Wyclef Jean visits South Philadelphia High School, announces music technology grant
Inquirer by TyLisa C. Johnson, Updated: February 13, 2019- 6:59 PM
Draped in a knee-length gray-and-white Chinchilla fur, the Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean roamed the aisles of South Philadelphia High School’s auditorium Wednesday afternoon, taking questions from any student bold enough to ask, and freestyling in four languages. Students’ eyes were fixed on the Fugees founder — some of whom seemed perplexed by who he was.. Jean was in South Philly to present a $50,000 grant from Toyota in partnership with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation that will be spent on technological upgrades to aid students in beat-making, songwriting, audio engineering, and DJ’ing. While other schools have received grants for traditional musical instruments, Southern is the first to receive a music technology grant through the program. When Jean first took the stage, students turned to each other asking about his claim to fame, but that chatter ceased when Jean mentioned the Young Thug song named in his honor.  “When y’all are listening to Young Thug, and his song is called ‘Wyclef Jean,’ I am Wyclef Jean,” he said to audience cheers. He told the students of how he came from the New York City projects, eating “government cheese,” to watching his name being announced as a winner at the Grammy Awards. “Education is important,” Jean told the audience of about 600 students. “Sounds corny, don’t it? You have to be educated for this new world. If not, you’re going to get robbed in the worst way.

Pittsburgh Public Schools adjusts suspension policy for marijuana possession
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette FEB 13, 2019
Lollipops. Gummy bears. Rice cereal treats. E-cigarettes that look like pens or USB drives.  Students find all kinds of clever and creative ways to sneak marijuana into their school building, and Pittsburgh Public Schools has changed its suspension policy for marijuana possession in an effort to get more of those students in front of substance abuse counselors.  Beginning March 1, students in possession of fewer than 5 grams of pot for the first time will have the option to attend drug counseling sessions on weeknights or Saturdays in exchange for a shorter out-of-school suspension. Under the prior policy, marijuana possession — a violation of the student conduct code — meant an automatic 10-day suspension. Now, students will have the option to take a five-day suspension if they also attend the counseling sessions. If they don’t complete the counseling requirement within 60 days, they will be suspended for the other five days.

Parkland: A Year After the School Shooting That Was Supposed to Change Everything
Those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School knew their lives would be transformed by the massacre. Many had no idea of the many ways that would happen.
New York Times By Patricia Mazzei Feb. 13, 2019
PARKLAND, Fla. — The name “Parkland” has become a shorthand for the tragedy that many hoped would mark the beginning of the end of school massacres. But ask the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in more quiet moments about the awful year since last Feb. 14, and they tell you a different, more personal story. About innocence lost. Dreams undone. Grief delayed. There’s the boy who took five bullets to protect his classmates. A hero, the headlines proclaimed. He wanted to be a professional soccer player. “Now I don’t do anything,” he said. There’s the young woman who tells people about her best friend, because if she calls him her boyfriend, it doesn’t seem sufficient to convey what they were. Soul mate: That’s what he’d told her she was to him. Told her before he died. And there are the famous faces, the students everyone thinks they know, who on a recent morning stood at a nearby elementary school where a local charity quietly unveiled a mural, the last of 17 community service projects created to honor each of the victims. David Hogg, the one who went on CNN and dared adults to act like one, lay on a basketball court and painted in a hibiscus flower. Emma González, the one who “called B.S.” on politicians who weren’t serious about gun control, crouched barefoot before the wall, cut out a paper stencil and sang along to the Beatles’ song, “Here Comes The Sun.”

One Year After Parkland, What’s Changed?
Education Week February 12, 2019
On February 14, 2018, a former student entered a Parkland, Fla., high school with an AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. A year later, students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continue to search for a sense of normal. Young activists from Parkland have launched a national movement, and policymakers around the country continue to scrutinize the details of the attack, searching for ways to make schools safer. Education Week asked those involved in conversations about safety, guns, and youth engagement how Parkland has changed the debate. And we asked those directly affected by the shooting how it continues to shape their lives. Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.

House panel backs bill expanding gun-sale background checks
Inquirer by Matthew Daly, Associated Press, Updated: 32 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — A key House committee approved a bill Wednesday to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first step by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule. The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill, 23-15, sending it to the House floor. If approved by the full House, the bill would be the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade. Democrats have pledged additional gun legislation, including restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) called the background checks bill long overdue to address a “national crisis of gun violence” that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in 2017. "Our country is awash in guns, and we have the shameful death toll to show for it," he said. The vote on the bill came after a contentious, daylong hearing in which Republicans offered a series of amendments, all of which were blocked by Democrats. Republicans said they were ready to offer additional amendments when Nadler shut off debate around 8 p.m., 10 hours after the hearing began.

3 States Tried to Shutter Failing For-Profit Online Charter Schools. A Suspicious Pattern of Allegations, Accusations, and Legal Complaints Quickly Followed
The74 by  BETH HAWKINS February 12, 2019
On their face, the allegations describe public officials being bought — and for a pittance. Drinks in a hotel lobby. Airfare reimbursement for a meeting. A $4,000 “personal payment” appearing just before a mid-level functionary inks a government contract for the consultant offering the so-called perks. Indeed, the legal complaints filed in South Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada have resulted in a string of juicy headlines. And later, though ostensibly unrelated, in the resignations of two of the state employees named. But, as a 74 investigation has found, layer in context and identify patterns that emerge in each state, and it’s possible to paint a very different picture: The officials accused were all attempting to enforce rules that could shut down for-profit online-only charter schools that posted abysmal academic outcomes year after year. Truthful or not, the accusations succeeded in emboldening critics of those oversight efforts. The consultant is the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a national nonprofit organization made up of state agencies and independent groups working for higher standards and to ensure greater accountability in the charter school sector. Most recently it has focused on helping states devise rules for overseeing virtual schools.

PSBA Members - Register for Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Harrisburg Monday April 29, 2019
All PSBA-members are invited to attend Advocacy Day on Monday, April 29, 2019 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. In addition, this year PSBA will be partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) to strengthen our advocacy impact. The focus for the day will be meetings with legislators to discuss critical issues affecting public education. There is no cost to attend, and PSBA will assist in scheduling appointments with legislators once your registration is received. The day will begin with a continental breakfast and issue briefings prior to the legislator visits. Registrants will receive talking points, materials and leave-behinds to use with their meetings. PSBA staff will be stationed at a table in the main Rotunda during the day to answer questions and provide assistance. The day’s agenda and other details will be available soon. If you have questions about Advocacy Day, legislative appointments or need additional information, contact  Register for PSBA Advocacy Day now at
PSBA members can register online now by logging in to myPSBA. If you need assistance logging in and registering contact Alysha Newingham, Member Data System Administrator at or call her at (717) 506-2450, ext. 3420

Board Presidents’ Panel
Learn, discuss, and practice problem solving with school leader peers facing similar or applicable challenges. Workshop-style discussions will be facilitated and guided by PSBA experts. With the enormous challenges facing schools today, effective and knowledgeable board leadership is essential to your productivity and performance as a team of ten.
Locations & Dates
Due to inclement weather, some dates have been rescheduled. The updated schedule is below.
Feb. 12, 2019 — Parkland High School (Section 8) Cancelled.
Feb. 12, 2019 — Lackawanna CTC (Section 4) Cancelled.
Feb. 13, 2019 — Bedford CTC (Section 6)(Rescheduled from Jan. 29)
Feb. 21, 2019 — Danville Area High School (Section 3)(Rescheduled from Jan. 31)
Feb. 28, 2019 — St. Marys Area High School (Section 2)(Rescheduled from Jan. 31)
Mar. 28, 2019 — Crawford Cty CTC (Section 1)(Rescheduled from Jan. 30)

PSBA Sectional Meetings - Ten convenient locations in February and March
School safety and security is a complex, multi-perspective topic impacting school entities in dramatic ways. This complimentary PSBA member meeting featured in ten locations will offer essential updates and information on Safe2Say reporting, suicide awareness related to student safety, school climate, and emergency preparedness planning. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office, PEMA, and a top expert in behavioral health will be presenting. Updates on legislation impacting your schools will be presented by PSBA staff. Connect with the experts, have your questions answered, and network with other members.
Locations and Dates
Section Meetings are 6-8 p.m. (across all locations).
Register online by logging in to myPSBA.

Open Board Positions for 2019 PA Principals Association Election
Thursday, January 10, 2019 9:05 AM
Margaret S. (Peg) Foster, principal, academic affairs, in the Crestwood School District, has been appointed by President Michael Allison to serve as the chairperson of the 2019 PA Principals Association Nominations Committee to oversee the 2019 election. Her committee consists of the following members: Curtis Dimmick, principal in the Northampton Area School District; Jacqueline Clark-Havrilla, principal in the Spring-Ford School District; and Joseph Hanni, vice principal in the Scranton School District.   If you are interested in running for one of the open board positions (shown below) in the 2019 election, please contact Stephanie Kinner at or (717) 732-4999 for an application. Applications must be received in the state office by Friday, February 22, 2019.

Pennsylvania schools work – for students, communities and the economy when adequate resources are available to give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.
Join A Movement that Supports our Schools & Communities
PA Schools Work website
Our students are in classrooms that are underfunded and overcrowded. Teachers are paying out of pocket and picking up the slack. And public education is suffering. Each child in Pennsylvania has a right to an excellent public education. Every child, regardless of zip code, deserves access to a full curriculum, art and music classes, technical opportunities and a safe, clean, stable environment. All children must be provided a level chance to succeed. PA Schools Work is fighting for equitable, adequate funding necessary to support educational excellence. Investing in public education excellence is the path to thriving communities, a stable economy and successful students.

Indiana Area School District Safety & Security Symposium March 15, 2019
Indiana Area School District Website
Background: It’s 2019, and school safety has catapulted as one of the top priorities for school districts around the country. With an eye toward providing educators with various resources and opportunities specific to Pennsylvania, the Indiana Area School District -- in collaboration with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, PA Representative Jim Struzzi, and as well as Indiana County Tourist Bureau-- is hosting a FREE safety and security symposium on March 15, 2019. This safety and security exchange will provide information that benefits all stakeholders in your education community: administrators, board members, and staff members alike. Presenters offer valuable resources to help prepare your organization to continue the discussion on safety and security in our schools.  Pre-registration is required, and you will be invited to choose the breakout sessions that you feel will have the most impact in your professional learning on these various topics, as well as overall impact on your District’s systems of operations. Please take time to review the various course breakout sessions and their descriptions.  Don’t miss this opportunity to connect and learn.
How to Register: Participants attending the Safety Symposium on March 15, 2019, will have the option to select a maximum of 4 breakout sessions to attend on this day.  Prior to the breakout sessions, attendees will hear opening remarks from former Secretary of Education - Dr. Gerald Zahorchak.  We want to empower the attendees to exercise their voice and choice in planning their day!  Please review the various break out session descriptions by clicking on the "Session Descriptions" on the right-hand side of this page.  On that page, you will be able to review the sessions offered that day and register for the symposium.

Annual PenSPRA Symposium set for March 28-29, 2019
Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association Website
Once again, PenSPRA will hold its annual symposium with nationally-recognized speakers on hot topics for school communicators. The symposium, held at the Conference Center at Shippensburg University, promises to provide time for collegial sharing and networking opportunities. Mark you calendars now!
We hope you can join us. Plans are underway, so check back for more information.

2019 NSBA Annual Conference Philadelphia March 30 - April 1, 2019
Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Registration Questions or Assistance: 1-800-950-6722
The NSBA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of the students. Join us in Philadelphia for a robust offering of over 250 educational programs, including three inspirational general sessions that will give you new ideas and tools to help drive your district forward.

Save the Date:  PARSS Annual Conference May 1-3, 2019
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Mountainview Country Club
Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools

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