PDH: SHARRS Report is Due September 30th (September 10, 2019)

PDH is reminding LEAs that the 2018-19 SHARRS is due September 30, 2019.  If not submitted by September 30, school reimbursement will be forfeited. LEAs are advised to share this reminder with staff responsible for completing the report. SHARRS can be accessed at https://apps.health.pa.gov/SHARRS/Login.aspx.  There is an “INSTRUCTIONS” button on every page to provide guidance on completing the report. The SHARRS September 30 due date is required by the PA Public School Code Section 2505.1. Reimbursement for Health Services.

BSE Memo Addresses Indicator 14 Requirements (September 10, 2019)

On September 5, 2019, Carole L. Clancy, Director of PDE’s Bureau of Special Education disseminated a memo via PennLink titled State Performance Plan Data Requirements – Postsecondary School Survey (Cohort 5 Exit). According to the memo, the accountability requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) mandates that each state determine the extent to which students are achieving transition outcomes (State Performance Plan – Indicator 14). To meet the federal reporting requirement, each local education agency (LEA) is mandated to administer Exit-and Post-School Surveys to students who have graduated, aged out or dropped out with individualized education programs (IEPs) once over a five year period, based on the LEA’s assignment to a targeted sampling year (Cohort). For 2019-2020 LEAs assigned to Cohort 5 are required to administer Exit Surveys, and during 2020-2021, these same LEAs will be required to complete the Post-School Surveys.

The following information specifically addresses Exit Survey administration for 2019-2020.  LEAs assigned to Cohort 5, as listed below, are required to address the following:

  • Administer the Exit Survey for all student leavers (graduates, dropouts and students who reach maximum age) who have IEPs.
  • Participate in the Pennsylvania Post School Outcome Survey Overview for Cohort 5 webinar, which is scheduled for September 24, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  Information concerning the administration of Exit Surveys will be addressed during the webinar.  Registration is required and may be accessed at https://www.pattan.net/Events/Webinar/Course-1838/Events/Session-33217.
  • Participate in the February 27, 2020, Exit Survey training webinar from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Registration for this event is required and can be completed when registering for the September webinar.  Information regarding accessing and entering information into the online system will be presented during this webinar. 

For questions about the Exit Survey or Indicator 14 process, please contact PaTTAN Educational Consultants Hillary Mangis at hmangis@pattan.net or Jacki Lyster at jlyster@pattan.net

BSE Releases 2019-20 Restraint Reporting Schedule (September 10, 2019)

As part of a series of memos sent to LEAs on September 9, 2019, Carole L. Clancy, Director of PDE’s Bureau of Special Education, released a PennLink communiqué titled 2019-2020 School Year Restraint Information System Collection Tracking and Training – First Quarter Reporting Window. That memo reminds LEAs that the 2019-2020 Restraint Information System Collection (RISC) is open for data entry.  The system has been enhanced and gives 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 quarterly windows of reporting for the 2019-2020 school year are as follows:

Q Begin End Last Rept
1 7/01/19 9/30/19 10/20/19 10/01/19 10/20/19
2 10/01/19 12/31/19 1/15/20 1/01/20 1/15/20
3 1/01/20 3/31/20 4/15/20 4/01/20 4/15/20
4 4/01/20 6/30/20 7/15/20 7/01/20 7/15/20

The RISC reporting design provides an “End Date” for LEAs to comply with their end of quarterly reporting. In addition, there is a two-week window date labeled “Last Day to Report” to allow LEAs to gather and report on those students that attend an out-of-district facility where they were placed in a restraint during that quarter. This two-week period is also a designated time for LEAs that had no restraints during the quarter to report zero in RISC. BSE will continue to send out reminder PENN*LINKS about this quarterly reporting requirement.

BSE will continue to monitor the restraint information reported by LEAs. RISC continues to require each LEA to report the event prior to the incident, the incident, the unsafe behavior, and the de-escalation techniques utilized. The LEA must notify the parent(s) of the use of a restraint and schedule an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting within ten (10) school days of the use of the restraint in the educational program, or after written notice, the parent agrees in writing to waive the IEP meeting. Additionally, restraints occurring during Extended School Year sessions should be reported within three weeks of the start of the school year.

In reviewing restraints submitted in RISC, the Special Education Advisers of BSE will continue to focus on LEA monitoring responsibilities as well as training of staff in de-escalation techniques; excessive time of restraint; excessive use of parent waivers; mechanical restraints; injuries; number of restraints; and 10-day window (school days) to convene an IEP after a restraint occurs.

A RISC reporting webinar is posted on the RISC site at https://apps.leaderservices.com/_risc/index.aspx. The RISC reporting webinar link is located below the login box of the Leader Services RISC sign-in page. This webinar explains the reporting process and how to use the RISC system. The webinar also shares how to update your LEA’s contact information. All parties involved with RISC are highly encouraged to view this webinar to learn how to report restraints, how to use the system, and to understand the regulatory responsibility of LEAs.

Additionally, BSE’s “Guidelines for De-escalation and the Use of/and Reporting of Restraints in Education Entities” is available for review on the RISC site.

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.

BSE Releases a Pair of Memos on PA Alternate Assessment (September 10, 2019)

PASA Updates and Training Announcement

On September 9, 2019, Carole L. Clancy, Director of PDE’s Bureau of Special Education, released a PennLink memo titled Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA): Updates and Training Announcement. The memo states that the PASA enrollment window opens September 30, 2019, and closes November 15, 2019.  The enrollment window will not be available after he deadline has passed.  Only students newly identified PASA eligible and/or new to the service provider may be enrolled through the PASA vendor after November 15, 2019.  All other requests to enroll students outside of the enrollment window will be directed to the Bureau of Special Education (BSE).

Also, the PASA test administration window is from February 24, 2020, through April 10, 2020, 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.

A live webinar training entitled “2020 PASA Getting Ready Annual Updates” will be held on September 25, 2019, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  This training is sponsored directly by BSE and is separate from the PASA Test Administration training provided by the assessment vendor.  The 2020 PASA Getting Ready Annual Updates training is designed for special education administrators and/or the PASA Assessment Coordinator (AC).  Guidance from BSE is that the PASA AC continue to be an administrator with decision making authority on behalf of the local education agency (LEA) or service provider.  The training session will provide a high-level overview of important factors in the assessment cycle – enrollment, training, administration, accountability and reporting. 

BSE will also provide updated information regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act requirements pertaining to the 1.0 percent threshold of students who participate in the alternate assessment.  Pennsylvania received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2019 placing grant conditions on the state’s fiscal year 2019 Title 1, Part A award contingent on a plan to reduce the number of students in the state who participate in the alternate assessment.  In accordance with Pennsylvania’s 1.0 Percent Threshold Compliance Plan of Action, the justification process required of LEAs who anticipate exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold has been updated.  The new form and updated submission requirements will be reviewed during this webinar.

LEAs and service providers are strongly encouraged to ensure participation of the Special Education Administrator 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 Assessment Coordinators and special education administrators responsible for the implementation of the PASA may register for the training session by clicking here.

The webinar will be presented through Zoom.  The training will be recorded and posted on both the PDE and Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network websites following the training for staff who are unable to attend the live webinar. 

Questions regarding this training opportunity may be directed to Lisa Hampe, Special Education Adviser, at lihampe@pa.gov or 742.425.3000 or Lynda Lupp, Statewide Assessment Coordinator, at llupp@pattan.net or 800.441.3215, ext. 7233.


PASA 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold

Also, on September 9, 2019, Carole L. Clancy, PDE’s Director Bureau of Special Education, released a second PennLink titled Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification. That memo announced that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 1.0 percent participation threshold requirements for local education agencies (LEAs) administering the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) for students with significant cognitive disabilities continues to be in effect for the 2019-20 school year. ESSA requires Pennsylvania to ensure that the total number of students assessed in each subject, using the alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, does not exceed 1.0 percent of the total number of all students in the state assessed on the statewide assessments.  In accordance with 34 CFR 200.6(c)(3), a State must require an LEA that assesses more than 1.0 percent of its assessed students in any subject with an alternate assessment to submit information to the state justifying the need to exceed the 1.0 percent threshold.  States must provide appropriate oversight of each LEA that is required to submit such a justification and must make the justification publicly available, provided that it does not reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student.

The PASA 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification process has been updated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE) in accordance with the regulatory requirement under ESSA. If the LEA anticipates exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold for the 2019-20 testing cycle, justification must be submitted to BSE by October 15, 2019.  Please note the due date for the 2019-20 justification submission is earlier than previous years.  Additionally, LEAs should be aware of the updates to the required submission process for the 2019-20 school year to include completion of the form and a survey submission:If the LEA anticipates that more than 1.0 percent of students will participate in the 2019-20 PASA testing cycle, the LEA must complete the PASA 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification.  The updated document can be accessed on the PDE website. – Once the LEA has completed the 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification, the contents of the document must be submitted to BSE by October 15, 2019, via Survey Monkey. The survey is mandatory for all LEAs that anticipate exceeding the threshold and serves as LEA’s formal   submission of their justification to PDE.  – The LEA must retain a copy of their completed justification form with the necessary signatures of assurance.  The LEA must make their justification information publicly available, without disclosing any personally identifiable  information about a student.  – PDE will post a list of LEAs who anticipate exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold to the PDE website prior to the start of the testing window.  Public requests to view specific LEA justifications will be referred to the contact person on the LEA’s justification document.  

LEAs are reminded that the state cannot grant approval for an LEA to exceed the federally mandated 1.0 percent participation threshold. Any LEA that exceeds the threshold may be subject to further review by BSE.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Lisa Hampe, BSE Special Education Adviser, at lihampe@pa.gov or 724.425.3000 or Lynda Lupp, Statewide Special Education Assessment Coordinator, at llupp@pattan.net or 800.441.3215 ext. 7233.

HR2527 Would Make School Vaccinations Federally Mandated (September 1, 2019)

In the wake of the largest outbreak of measles in the US in two-and-a-half decades, H.R. 2527 has been introduced to the US House of Representatives by Rep. Fredrica Wilson (D-Fla). Wilson’s proposed legislation, titled the “Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019,” would make it mandatory for children enrolled in public schools to be vaccinated. The bill would become federal law, usurping state authority in the matter of required vaccinations.  Failure to comply with the law would result in a state’s ability to receive certain federal grants.

However, if a physician determines that a child’s health would be jeopardized by a required vaccination, an exception could be made as long as the school district’s physician or other designated school health official would need to concur with any such determination.

As of September 1, 2019, the bill is in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.