BSE Releases 2020-21 Gifted Ed. Compliance Monitoring Schedule (September 17, 2020)

On September 16, 2020, Carole L. Clancy, Director  of the PDE Bureau of Special Education (BSE) sent a PennLink memo to all LEAs titled 2020-21 Gifted Compliance Monitoring Schedule. The contents of that memo are below.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has the responsibility to ensure that all school districts providing gifted education, whether directly or by contractual arrangements, administer gifted education services and programs that are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. To fulfill this responsibility, PDE has established administrative procedures for monitoring program implementation, including evaluating the appropriateness, effectiveness, and accountability of gifted education services and programs.

PDE has developed the schedule for compliance monitoring for the 2020-21 school year, in which 10 school districts of varying sizes across the Commonwealth will be monitored. Additional monitoring, if deemed appropriate, may be designated as the school year progresses.

The Gifted Cyclical Monitoring for Continuous Improvement includes a Gifted Facilitated Self-Assessment (GFSA) completed by each school district and a virtual review by a PDE team, which may include peers who will conduct teacher/parent interviews. The process includes a review of the GFSA submitted by the school district; input from administrators, teachers, and parents; and verification activities of the information reported in the GFSA. Verification activities include file reviews of student documents, studies of service delivery, and analysis of policies, procedures, and outcomes.

School districts to be monitored will be scheduled for virtual training and a recorded presentation will be available. The training will review the virtual monitoring process, documents, and GFSA submission, and provide suggestions and checklists regarding preparation and implementation of the monitoring process. The Gifted Monitoring Manual is located on the PA Gifted web page.  School districts are strongly encouraged to review this document to prepare for the monitoring.

Questions regarding the 2020-21 monitoring schedule should be directed to Shirley Moyer, Special Education Adviser-Gifted at, 717-705-5186 or shirmoyer@pa.gov.

BSE Releases Indicator 13 Training Memo (September 17, 2020)

On September 16, 2020, Carole L. Clancy, Director  of the PDE Bureau of Special Education (BSE) sent a PennLink memo to all LEAs titled Indicator 13: What LEAs Need to Know for Compliance Monitoring for Continuous Improvement (CMCI).  The contents of that memo are below.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has the responsibility to ensure that all local educational agencies (LEAs) providing special education services, whether directly or by contractual arrangements, administer special education services and programs that are compliant with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. To fulfill this responsibility, PDE has established administrative procedures for monitoring program implementation, including evaluating the appropriateness, effectiveness, and accountability of special education services and programs.

In order to meet the federal accountability requirements for transition age students, the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) will provide a required training session specific to Indicator 13 for LEAs identified for CMCI for the 2020-21 school year.  The purpose of this training will be to prepare LEAs for the requirements of compliance monitoring as it relates to secondary transition and to highlight effective practices in secondary transition.

The targeted LEAs should plan to participate in a web-based training along with their transition support team.  These team members could include, but are not limited to, special education directors, building principals, transition coordinators, and other educational staff involved in the administration and supervision of special education programs.

The web-based training will be available no later than September 15, 2020. LEAs must complete the training by October 31, 2020.  Registration is available on PaTTAN’s website at www.pattan.net

For questions concerning the Indicator 13: What LEAs Need to Know for CMCI training, contact Hillary Mangis, Educational Consultant at the PaTTAN Pittsburgh Office, at 800-446-5607, ext. 6878 or hmangis@pattan.net.

PDH: SHARRS Deadline Extended (September 14, 2020)

In a September 14, 2020 PennLink communique to LEAs, Colleen Schultz, Chief of the PA Department of Health (PDH) Division of School Health, the 2019-20 SHARRS Reporting Window Has Been Extended to October 30, 2020. LEAs are asked to share this important reminder with staff responsible for completing the SHARRS report.

Please also note the following:

  • SHARRS programming will close the reporting window at close of business October 30.  Therefore, timely submission of information is essential in order to be reimbursed for the 19-20 School Year.
  • SHARRS can be accessed at https://apps.health.pa.gov/SHARRS/Login.aspx  An “INSTRUCTIONS” button on each page provides additional guidance to assist in completing the report.
  • If school exams/screenings were unable to be completed last year due to the closure of schools during COVID-19, please note it in the “Comments” box on the ADM page in SHARRS.

Previously, near the end of March the Division of School Health stated that it had been receiving many questions regarding the collection of the chronic disease counts, obtaining exams, screenings, etc. At that time, due to the unforeseen circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not the expectation of the Division of School Health for nurses to collect the chronic disease count information nor concern themselves with obtaining exams, screenings, etc. Instead, it was PDH’s utmost concern that all stay healthy and that more information regarding those issues would be forthcoming. Thus, the above information provides an update regarding SHARRS. More guidance is to come as needed with regard to any other items still to be addressed.

DOL Denies Approved Leave for Families that Choose Remote Learning (September 13, 2020)

On August 27, 2020. the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said in a guidance document that if a school offers both in-person and online learning options and a parent/guardian chooses the latter, the parent/guardian may not take paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). According to the DOL, FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. However, parents/guardians may use FFCRA leave on days when children are not permitted to attend school due to hybrid in-person and online arrangements, since children may be allowed to physically attend school only on their allotted in-person attendance days under such a model and schools are “effectively ‘closed'” to workers’ children on those remote learning days. For more information on this issue, visit EdDive by clicking here.

US DOJ Releases Report on School Attacks; PDE Office for Safe Schools Offers Services (September 12, 2020)

Recently, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report that highlights key practices to prevent school attacks. According to the Department’s School Safety Working Group, who compiled the findings, the report contains the 10 most essential actions officials can take to prevent mass shootings and other attacks in schools in the U.S. Among the report’s key findings is the importance of comprehensive school safety assessments. The report cites that while schools around the nation are grappling with COVID-19, they must also balance any changes with security measures and protocols to prevent violence. To view the report, click here or go to: https://cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/Publications/cops-w0891-pub.pdf
The Center for Safe Schools Certified Assessment Team conducts comprehensive safety assessments that meet and often exceed all recommendations and requirements of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The Center also specializes in All Hazards Plan review, professional development planning, exercises, and analysis throughout each school year. Our team consists of highly vetted, skilled individuals who possess a tremendous amount of expertise in these fields.
For information on how the Center can be of assistance to your school or school district, please contact me at mailto:rfox@csc.csiu.org or 717-480-7268.