Homeland Security to Award $1.8 Million in Grants (August 18, 2018)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to award $1.8 million in grants for the development of “School-Age Trauma Training” programs. These programs are designed to teach students how to respond to traumatic hemorrhaging during mass casualty events.

Reportedly, the focus of the program is to control bleeding in an injured person in order to increase their chances of survival. The training is aimed at preparing bystanders to effectively react to traumatic events, including school shootings, while they await the arrival of first responders. However, the program has stirred controversy with those who support tighter gun restrictions in the wake of school shootings, including some parents who’ve lost children in such attacks and have expressed their displeasure with legislators who do not look at controlling the use of guns and instead appropriate funds for teaching schoolchildren how to stop bleeding for someone who is shot while in school.

State Board of Ed. Makes Terminology Change (August 14, 2018)

On August 1, 2018 Ann Hinkson-Herrmann, Director of the PA Bureau of Special Education sent notice to all LEAs of the change in terminology replacing the term mental retardation with intellectual disability located in 22 PA Code Chapter 14 titled Special Education Services and Programs. To align the Commonwealth’s special education regulations in Chapter 14 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act regulatory revisions resulting from Rosa’s Law, the State Board of Education through final-omitted rulemaking amended 22 PA Code §§ 14.123, 14.124, 14.125, 14.132, 14.143 and 14.162, by replacing the term mental retardation with the term intellectual disability.  The change in terminology does not affect the meaning or the eligibility determination associated with the term.

The final-omitted rulemaking affects public, private, parochial, or nonpublic schools, including vocational schools, intermediate units, and special education and home education programs and their employees.  The final-omitted rulemaking also affects citizens of the Commonwealth with school-aged children and their children.

In addition to the Chapter 14 terminology changes, documents issued from the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) located on the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) website will be amended.  Local educational agencies are advised to update the forms they currently use to reflect those on the PaTTAN website. BSE intends to have the forms ready for use with the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Use of Keystones as Grad Requirement Delayed (August 14, 2018)

Per Act 39 of 2018, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment has been delayed until the 2020-2021 school year. For schools that previously submitted project-based assessments for evaluation, PDE employed evaluators through June 30, 2018 to evaluate all projects submitted through May 31, 2018.  Projects scored as unsatisfactory have been returned to tutors and may be resubmitted once corrections have been made. While a timeline for ongoing evaluation of projects has not been determined, projects submitted will be evaluated as follows:

  • Projects submitted for students graduating in 2019 or 2020 will be evaluated by a single evaluator.
  • Projects submitted for students graduating in 2021 and beyond will be evaluated by at least two evaluators; a third evaluator will be engaged if the two evaluators are not in agreement.

Questions may be directed to c-jdyszel@pa.gov.

PA Receives Highest Level of Determination Under Part B of IDEA (August 14, 2018)

PA Education Secretary Pedro Rivera has announced that the US Department of Education’s (USDE) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) notified him that Pennsylvania has received the highest level of determination – “Meets Requirements” – that the federal government awards to states under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Pennsylvania was one of only 22 states and territories that received the distinction this year.  This is the 11th out of 12 years that PA has been recognized with the “Meets Requirements” designation since the USDE has been issuing its determinations.

This determination is based on the totality of the state’s special education data and information, including the federal fiscal year 2016 State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), other state-reported data, and additional publicly available information.  Consistent with the USDE’s Results Driven Accountability, 2018 determinations were based on PA’s compliance with the regulatory requirements of the IDEA as well as the extent to which positive outcomes are being achieved for students.  In making Part B determinations in 2018, the OSEP considered the following results data for students with disabilities: (1) participation on regular statewide assessments; (2) participation and performance on the most recently administered (school year 2016-17) National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); (3) graduation with a regular high school diploma; and (4) dropout rates.

PA’s Part B SPP/APR is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website or the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network website.  The USDE has developed state profiles as a resource for IDEA-related, state-specific information.  Persons interested in reviewing that information may visit the Office of Special Education Programs GRADS360 website and click on Pennsylvania.

NAPSA’s Fausnaught Announces Retirement (August 13, 2018)

NAPSA Executive Director Wayne Fausnaught has announced that he is retiring as of June 30, 2019. Fausnaught is a lifelong educator and strong advocate for students, for the services they need to be successful, and for those who administer those services. Since 2006, Wayne has been the Executive Director of NAPSA. Prior to serving as its executive director, Wayne also served NAPSA since 1997 as a trustee, president-elect, president, and past-president. He has been a member of NAPSA since 1980.

NAPSA is accepting applications from those interested in the position. A minimum of five (5) years of experience in a supervisory capacity in the field of Pupil Services or one of its constituent services is required. Interested parties should submit a resume and letter of interest by September 14, 2018 to: Dr. V. Keith Wilks, Executive Director of Student Services, Rock Hill Schools, 386 East Black Street, PO Drawer 10072, Rock Hill, SC 29731.