Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) Offers Training for Assessment Coordinators (September 17, 2018)

A live webinar training entitled “2019 PASA Getting Ready” will be held on September 25, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  This training is sponsored directly by the PA Bureau of Special Education and is separate from the PASA Test Administration training provided by the assessment vendor.  LEAs and service providers are strongly encouraged to ensure participation of the PASA AC in this training.  The PASA AC receives important assessment announcements through electronic mail from the PASA vendor and serves as the point of contact with the PASA vendor and BSE.  Please ensure that contact information in the PASA digital system is current. PASA ACs and special education administrators responsible for the implementation of the PASA may register for the training session via the following link: This webinar will be presented through Zoom.  The training will be recorded and posted on both the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network websites following the training for staff who are unable to attend. Questions regarding this training opportunity may be directed to Lisa Hampe, Special Education Adviser, at or 724.425.3000; or Lynda Lupp, Statewide Assessment Coordinator, at or 800.441.3215, ext. 7233.

The Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) enrollment window is from October 1, 2018 through November 16, 2018 and will not be available after the latter date.  Only students newly identified as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and PASA eligible or new to the service provider may be enrolled through the PASA vendor after November 16, 2018.  All other requests to enroll students outside of the enrollment window will be directed to the Bureau of Special Education (BSE). The PASA test administration window is from February 25, 2019 through April 12, 2019 for all content areas.  The service provider may determine the schedule for test administration within this window, including the order in which the subject area assessments are administered.

Center for Safe Schools Promotes PCCD Grant Opportunity (September 17, 2018)

The Center for Safe Schools is promoting a new funding opportunity available through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) entitled School Safety and Security Grant Program. Act 44 of 2018 established the School Safety and Security Grant, which provides strong support for schools and districts to ensure a safe and secure environment for students in Pennsylvania. A total of approximately $52.5 million in state School Safety and Security funds are supporting this initiative. Applications are due on or before October 12, 2018. Complete grant information is available at School Safety and Security Grant Program.


State Board Provides Notice of Chapter 16 Roundtable Discussions (September 14, 2018)

At its September 12, 2018 meeting the PA State Board of Education provided public notice regarding the State Board of Education’s Committee on Special and Gifted Education scheduled series of public roundtable discussions on the current Chapter 16 (Gifted Education) regulations. The notice  can be viewed at:

Roundtable sites include Allegheny Intermediate Unit #3 (October 3rd), Montgomery County IU #23 (October 9th), and PDE (November 1st).

Roundtable meetings provide an informal but structured setting for open discussion and dialogue.

Persons interested in participating in one of the roundtable meetings should register with the State Board office at (717) 787-3787 or no later than the deadline dates and times listed in the notice.



State Board Discusses Draft Master Plan for Basic Education (September 14, 2018)

At its September 12, 2018 meeting, the PA State Board of Education presented its Draft Master Plan for Basic Education. Some highlights of the plan included the following:

  • The Board supports the exploration and trial of contemporary and innovative instructional practices that meet local needs and direction.
  • The Board applauds recent changes in testing time, but encourages continued consideration of further testing time reductions consistent with federal guidelines.
  • The Board believes that, for some students, the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) examinations provide suitable assessment alternatives for the high school graduation requirement.
  • The Board encourages periodic review of charter and cyber charter school laws and regulations to ensure these continue to meet the needs of all students.
  • The Board encourages regional approaches and voluntary sharing of resources and model curriculum.
  • The Board encourages a periodic review of the costing out study and an analysis of the suitability of the revised funding formula for possible update as economic conditions and demographic factors change.
  • The Board encourages PDE to review its staffing levels to ensure it has the capacity to support the needs of the educational community throughout the Commonwealth.
  • The Board will monitor the declining teacher supply problem, which is especially problematic in certain regions and subject areas, and make timely recommendations to the legislature and PDE.
  • The Board encourages PDE to monitor unequal investments in technology and infrastructure that could widen the college/career readiness gap for some technology and infrastructure that could widen the college/career readiness gap for some students.

The plan can be viewed in its entirety at

PA School Safety Task Force Report Includes Need for More Pupil Services Personnel (August 29, 2018)

On Monday, August 27th, the PA School Safety Task Force released its report at a press conference in Harrisburg. The report is the culmination of information gathering at six regional listening sessions held since March of this year. Governor Tom Wolf and PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale co-chaired the task force. On Monday, DePasquale stressed the need for more mental health support for students in schools, physical improvements in buildings (e.g., security cameras, door locks for classrooms, and metal detectors), trained armed professionals in schools (not to include teachers), and better means for information sharing between schools and local and state agencies such as law enforcement and social services.

The report also stressed the importance of adequate staffing in the area of pupil services. For example, the report stated that, as of the 2016-17 school year, the average student to school nurse ratio in PA schools was 809:1, the average student to counselor ratio was 387:1, and the average student to school psychologist ratio was 1,164:1. The National Association of School Nurses recommends a student to nurse ratio of 750:1, the American School Counselor Association recommends a student to counselor ratio of 250:1, and the National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of 1,000:1.

The report can be viewed in its entirety at or on the PAPSA website by going to the heading “Resources” and its drop-down “Downloads”.