EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, September 13, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    PA Department of Education
    Research and Reports

    The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.


    House of Representatives

    • The following legislation was recently introduced:

    House Resolution 907 introduced by Rep. Bryan R. Lentz (D-161) urges the Secretary of Education to direct the Commonwealth's school districts to provide training in the playing of "Taps." HR 907 has been referred to the House Education Committee.


    • The PA Department of Education will distribute $85 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in combination with $16 million in regularly-allocated federal Title I SIG, to 57 schools.  The grants are to implement specific, aggressive reforms designed to substantially improve student performance in schools that have a high percentage of students performing below grade level, and where insufficient progress has been made over the past 5 years.

    Had Pennsylvania been among the states selected to receive federal Race to the Top funding, funding for these same reforms would have been more widely distributed across Commonwealth schools.  Grant awards were based on a competitive process according to federally-established guidelines.  Grantees will have three years to use the funds.

    The federal guidance established four bold school reform models.  Eligible schools had to commit to one of the four school intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, School Closure or Transformation.

    • The Turnaround model goal is to "turn around" schools through the implementation of nine broad strategies, including replacement of the principals, high-quality professional development, adoption of new governance, and replacement of at least 50 percent of staff.
    • The Restart model enables a district to re-open a school as a charter school or elect to have an education management organization run the school.
    • School Closure enables districts to transfer students to other, higher-achieving schools within the district's boundaries, within a reasonable proximity.
    • The Transformation model includes the use of rigorous, transparent, and equitable evaluation systems for teachers and principals, high-quality professional development and design and development of curriculum with teacher and principal involvement.

    Schools eligible for SIG included the lowest performing Title I schools whose Adequate Yearly Progress status is School Improvement or Corrective Action, and Title I-eligible schools that are the lowest achieving and have not made satisfactory progress on state assessments.  Title I-eligible schools are those that have a high percentage of economically-disadvantaged students.

    The awards were competitive, and Pennsylvania's criteria for selecting schools required federal approval.  Applications were scored by outside peer reviewers and funding priority was given to schools that met the criteria to be identified as Persistently Lowest Achieving, a federal category of schools.  For more information, click here.


    Education Policy Fellowship Program

    The Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program, sponsored by EPLC, kicks-off its 2010-2011 sessions with a two-day retreat in Harrisburg this week with a new class of thirty fellows.  This is the 12th year for the Fellowship Program, affiliated with the Washington-D.C.-based Institute for Educational Leadership and a network of more than ten other state programs.  More than 300 Pennsylvania Fellows have completed the rigorous ten-month professional development program during the past eleven years.

    Save these Dates!

    EPLC will host its 2010 Education Policy Leadership Awards Reception on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.  More details soon.
    EPLC’s 2010 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will take place Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.  More details soon.


    Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania is seeking individuals to serve as AmeriCorps members in the Harrisburg School District.  This Capitol Region Initiative will provide integrated student support services geared towards school-wide service learning projects and individual student achievement goals.  Interested individuals should contact Andrea Niedererr at (717) 233-4330 ext.13 or aniedererr@cis-pa.org.  For further information on the Integrated Student Services Provider positions through the AmeriCorps program, also visit http://www.nomoredropouts.com.
    On Wednesday, September 22, Gov. Ed Rendell will proclaim October as Parent Involvement Month in Pennsylvania.  The Governor will stand with parents and representatives of the Pennsylvania Parent and Information Resource Center (PIRC) at the State Capitol to celebrate the importance of parent engagement in their children’s academic achievement.  For more information about resources available to parents in Pennsylvania, contact PIRC at http://www.center-school.org/pa-pirc/.
    The Pennsylvania Art Education Association is holding its annual conference: Art Bridges Community in Pittsburgh from October 28 – 31.  Please click here for more information or to register.

    The Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations is holding its annual conference Pennsylvania Museums: Rebuilding and Rebounding on November 8 – 9 in Williamsport.  Please click here for more information.


    This week…

    • The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will reconvene at 1:00 PM on Monday.

    The House Education Committee meets Wednesday to consider HB 2425, HB 2670, HB 2680, and SB 929.

    • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education holds its regular bimonthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday at the Pittsburgh Public Schools Administrative Offices in Pittsburgh

    • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education will hold a roundtable on the Common Core State Standards on Wednesday from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM at the Pittsburgh Public Schools Administration Building, Pittsburgh.

    • September 12 – 18 is National Arts in Education Week.

    Next week…

    • The Pennsylvania Senate will reconvene at 1:00 PM on September 20.

    • Better Choices for Pennsylvania, the CLEAR Coalition, and the SEPA Budget Coalition will hold a rally to “oppose cuts and close loopholes” at noon on September 22 at the State Capitol.
      • The Association of School Business Officials International will host its annual meeting in Orlando, FL from September 24 – 27.
EPLC Education Notebook is published by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Permission to reprint or electronically redistribute the Notebook in whole or in part is granted provided attribution to EPLC is provided.

The Education Policy and Leadership Center is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization. The Mission of EPLC is to encourage and support the enactment and implementation of effective state-level education policies in order to improve student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages.

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