PDE Informs LEAs that the 2020-2021 CATS Secondary Program Approval File is Now Open (February 18, 2020)

On February 18, 2020, Dr. Lee Burket, PDE Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, released a PennLink memo titled 2020-2021 CATS Secondary Program Approval File – OPEN.  The memo urges LEAs to share the information provided with high school principals, career and technical education (CTE) supervisors, curriculum coordinators, applicable department chairs, business managers, school counselors, CTE instructional staff, and school support personnel. It states that the 2020-21 CATS Secondary Program Approval file is now open for new secondary CTE program approval requests.  The CATS file is a series of individual pages containing data elements pertaining to various aspects of approved CTE programs.  The Bureau of Career and Technical Education recommends that approval for programs of study (POS) be sought for all programs for which a POS exists.  For programs for which a POS has not been developed, seek Career and Technical approval.  All approved programs must be delivered as POS or Career and Technical.  All industry certifications MUST be entered for the teacher and students.  The deadline for seeking new program approval is May 29, 2020. CATS can be accessed at the login on PDE’s homepage.

The memo further states that the Career Pathway Option is a program consisting of a minimum of two related classification of instructional programs (CIPs) that are POS approved programs and offer the same foundational technical curriculum the first year. The newly updated CATS Secondary Program Approval Instructions are available on the PDE website.

In addition, any secondary institution may submit a request for POS approval.  Currently, there are 43 POS available on PDE’s website. The competency/task grid for each POS is the foundational curriculum framework for the CIP.  Therefore, all competencies/tasks must be addressed in the approved program. POS competency/task grids have been revised and are posted on the PDE website. Local Education Agencies must use the most recent list available. Additional competencies should be added as recommended by your Occupational Advisory Committee.  Each course in the scope and sequence must be crosswalked to the task grid and aligned to the course where the tasks are taught. The approved POS will provide the benefit of the articulated credits indicated by the statewide group of postsecondary institutions on CollegeTransfer.net.

Questions are to be directed to Tammy Keisling, at (717) 783-6996 or email tkeisling@pa.gov.

Moses Taylor Foundation and NASN Partner with PAPSA for the Benefit of School Nurses and Students (February 16, 2020)

The Moses Taylor Foundation (MTF) was established in 2012 from the sale of Moses Taylor Health Care System. Their mission is to improve the health of people in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Their service area includes 11 Counties: Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming. Included in the Foundation’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan is a new initiative to support school nurses in their efforts to address the health needs of students in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As a first step towards this fulfilling this core strategy, the Foundation contracted with NASN (National Association of School Nurses) to conduct a needs assessment of school nurses throughout the region, identifying the barriers they face to meeting the health needs of their students, as well as potential solutions to support them in overcoming these barriers. This partnership forged with NASN provided the vast knowledge and resources of this national organization.

The MTF understood that project coordination would benefit from an understanding of the role of the school nurse. To achieve this, Christine Marcos, Program Officer of the Moses Taylor Foundation, “immersed herself”. She attended the PASNAP conference last March. By going to meetings and talking with groups of school nurses, she got a glimpse into the profession. Dr. Erin Maughan, Director of Research at NASN, was selected to spearhead the research project. PASNAP members in the NE Region were tapped to provide NASN with background on school nursing in PA and an overview of the MTF 11 county service area. To conduct the assessment, NASN deployed both an online survey for local school nurses and other district personnel, as well as in person convenings and one-on-one interviews from September 2019 through November 2019. In addition, Dr. Maughn presented free continuing education opportunities in Wilkes-Barre and Peckville in October 2019 to school nurses as a thank you for their participation.

In addition, PAPSA Executive Director Dr. Douglas Arnold provided assistance in getting the survey out to member school districts in the MTF service area, resulting in partnerships developing with both PASNAP and NASN.

Moving forward, once the assessment is completed in the spring of 2020, MTF looks forward to using the results to shape its school nurse funding strategy. Time will be spent gathering feedback from the results, then considering the next steps before an anticipated public release in the fall of 2020 when findings will be shared with the rest of the community. Christine Marcos, MTF Program Officer shared these comments: “We are so appreciative of PASNAP’s significant help in making this needs assessment a success. [Their] efforts have really helped take this project far beyond our expectations. We went into this work expecting the information we needed to develop our funding strategy going forward, but now we see so many other opportunities emerging, such as the potential to use this information for advocacy efforts, for general community education about the role of the school nurses and why it is important that we all support that, as well as to educate our fellow funders about the impact school nurses have on student health.” She added that anyone who is interested in more information about this work is welcome to contact her directly at cmcos@mosestaylorfoundation.org. Stay tuned for preliminary findings of the survey when they are shared this spring.

Thanks to Kathy Verbel, M.Ed., BSN, RN, NCSN for the information provided in this article.

2019-2020 School Year Restraint Information System Collection Third Quarter Reporting Window is Open (February 13, 2020)

PDE has announced that The 2019-2020 school year Restraint Information System Collection (RISC) is open for data entry. The system has been enhanced to give local education agencies (LEAs) greater opportunity to provide both more detail about restraints and to analyze trends in reducing the use of physical restraints. The Bureau of Special Education (BSE) continues to require LEAs to report the restraints that occurred in each quarter. This reporting process permits LEAs to report restraints in a timely manner which, in turn, allows LEAs to monitor patterns of episodic behaviors and address them accordingly. The third quarter end date is 3/31/20, the last day to report is 4/15/20, the zero window opens on 4/1/20, and the zero window closes on 4/15/20.

Questions regarding RISC should be directed to either of the following Special Education Advisers: Keith Focht at 717-783-6921 or kfocht@pa.gov / Pat Haglund at 814.662.2662 or phaglund@pa.gov.

PDE Announces Meeting for Gifted Liaisons (February 13, 2020)

On February 13, 2020, BSE Director Carole L. Clancy released a PennLink memo regarding gifted education programming. The memo states that  PDE is responsible for ensuring that all local educational agencies (LEAs) providing services, whether directly or by contractual arrangements, administer gifted education services and programs in compliance with applicable state laws and regulations.  In order to fulfill this responsibility, PDE has established contracts with two Intermediate Units (Allegheny IU 3 and Montgomery County IU 23) to provide professional development and technical training across the Commonwealth.  The memo also welcomes Amy Davis (IU 3) and Patrice Semicek (IU 23) to the state level team and, along with Shirley Moyer, they are  inviting all IU Gifted Liaison’s to attend a face-to-face meeting on April 23, 2020, in the Lancaster Room at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network in Harrisburg from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. to map out the needs of the field. Questions may be directed to Shirley Moyer, 717.705.5186, shirmoyer@pa.gov; Amy Davis, 412.394.4193, adavis@aiu3.net; or Patrice Semicek 610.755.9483, psemicek@mciu.org.

PDE recognizes the time and effort required on behalf of LEAs to successfully participate in gifted education and thanks them for their cooperation in complying with this state mandated requirement.

PAPSA Partner Effective School Solutions (ESS) Offers Free Mental Health Summit (February 12, 2020)

PAPSA is proud to be a partner with Effective School Solutions (ESS) and to offer PAPSA members the opportunity to attend the upcoming free mental health summit at the Hyatt House in King of Prussia on March 27, 2020. Registration is limited to the first 30 people, so we are asking for a maximum of two (2) people per school district to attend. The summit is specially designed for Pupil Services Directors, Directors of Special Education, Assistant Superintendents, and Superintendents.

The summit will feature:

  *   Implementing an In-district Mental Health Continuum:  Learn about best practices in improving the quality of care in-district and thus reducing reliance on ODPs.

  *   Finding Hope- Addressing Suicide Prevention: Hear from Melissa Callen, suicide prevention expert, on the warning signs of suicide in young people and how to implement district-wide awareness and intervention programs that work.

  *   Keynote Speaker- Dr. Anthony Rostain: Dr. Rostain, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, will discuss how schools can instill the social and emotional skills students need to succeed in college.

We look forward to seeing you there! Please click on this link to RSVP: http://go.effectiveschoolsolutions.com/LE-2020-03-27PASummit_LP-Registration.html