PDE Reminds Identified LEAs to Submit Special Education Table 8A Data (June 7, 2019)

On June 5, 2019, Patricia Hozella, Interim Director of the PA Bureau of Special Education released a memo titled July 2019 Special Education Table 8A Submission. In July 2019, local educational agencies (LEAs) assigned to this year’s reporting cohort will submit their data for Special Education Table 8A, Report of Children with Disabilities Evaluated July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. For a list of all LEAs that are required to submit Table 8A this July. If an LEA does not appear on the list, the LEA is not required to submit Table 8A data in July 2019. The Table 8A Template for the July 2019 submission is available on the Special Education Data Reporting website at http://penndata.hbg.psu.edu under the Data Management tab in the 2018-2019 section, scroll down to Table 8A Template. Questions regarding completion and submission of Table 8A should be referred to the Intermediate Unit Data Manager. Other questions may be referred to Jodi Rissinger in BSE at jrissinger@pa.gov or 717.783.6911. LEAs assigned to this year’s reporting cohort are: Avella Area SD.  Bethlehem-Center SD, California Area SD, Manchester Academic CS, The New Academy CS, Propel CS-Northside, Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh CS, Urban Pathways 6-12 CS, Urban Pathways K-5 College CS, Allegheny Valley SD, Brentwood Borough SD, Chartiers Valley SD, Deer Lakes SD, McKeesport Area SD, Mt. Lebanon SD, Penn Hills SD, Penn Hills CS of Entrepreneurship, Pine-Richland SD, Propel CS-East, Propel CS-McKeesport, West Allegheny, West Mifflin Area SD, Westinghouse Arts Academy CS, Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania CS, Farrell Area SD, Greenville Area SD, Grove City Area SD, Wilmington Area SD, Erie Rise Leadership Academy CS, Fairview SD, Penncrest SD, Clarion-Limestone Area SD, Forest Area SD, Keystone SD, Union SD, Burrell SD, Greensburg Salem SD, Monessen City SD, Penn-Trafford SD, Yough SD, Blacklick Valley SD, Conemaugh Township Area SD, HOPE for Hyndman CS, Penn Cambria SD, Shade-Central City SD, Tussey Mountain SD, Windber Area SD, Oswayo Valley SD, Curwensville Area SD, Glendale SD, Young Scholars of Central PA CS, Southern Fulton SD, Southern Huntingdon County SD, Stone Valley Community CS, Chambersburg Area SD, Crispus Attucks CS, Dover Area SD, Greencastle-Antrim SD, Red Lion Area SD, Upper Adams SD, Waynesboro Area SD, York Academy Regional CS, York Suburban SD, Annville-Cleona SD, Donegal SD, Elizabethtown Area SD, Hempfield SD, La Academia Partnership CS, Manheim Township SD, Warwick SD, Governor Mifflin SD, Hamburg Area SD, I-LEAD CS, Oley Valley SD, Halifax Area SD, Harrisburg City SD, Lower Dauphin SD, Middletown Area SD, Danville Area SD, Milton Area SD, Shikellamy SD, Susq-Cyber CS, Jersey Shore Area SD, Southern Tioga SD, Wellsboro Area SD, Lake-Lehman SD, Tunkhannock Area SD, Riverside SD, Wayne Highlands SD, Delaware Valley SD, East Stroudsburg Area SD, Easton Arts Academy Elementary CS, Northampton Area SD, Allentown City SD, Arts Academy CS, Northwestern Lehigh SD, Bristol Borough SD, Centennial SD, Central Bucks SD, Council Rock SD, Palisades SD, Pennsbury SD, Springfield Township SD, Coatesville Area SD, Collegium CS, Great Valley SD, Oxford Area SD, Penn-Delco SD, Ridley SD, Springfield SD, Alliance for Progress CS, Eugenio Maria De Hostos CS,Freire CS, Inquiry CS, Lindley Academy CS at Birney, MAST Community CS, Mastery CS-Clymer Elementary, Mastery CS-Gratz Campus, Mastery Prep Elementary CS, Math, Civics and Sciences CS, Olney CHS, Philadelphia Learning Network 10, Philadelphia Learning Network 11, Philadelphia Learning Network 12, Philadelphia Learning Network 13, Philadelphia Learning Network Acceleration, Preparatory CS of Mathematics, Science, Tech and Careers, Universal Audenried CS, Universal Institute CS, Universal Vare CS, Young Scholars CS, Aliquippa SD, Beaver Area SD, Riverside Beaver County SD, Western Beaver County SD, Apollo-Ridge SD, Purchase Line SD, United SD, Blue Mountain SD, Gillingham CS, Pottsville Area SD, Saint Clair Area SD, and Williams Valley SD.

Gov. Wolf Announces Task Force to Develop Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan (June 1, 2019)

Suicide rates in Pennsylvania have increased by 34 percent since 1999 and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 percent of people who die by suicide do not have a known mental health condition. Thus, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf announced that a Suicide Prevention Task Force will be created in order to develop PA’s suicide prevention plan.

The task force will produce a single statewide suicide prevention plan that takes into account the perspectives and experiences of state agencies, including the Departments of Aging, Corrections, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Education, Health, Human Services, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation. It will also include the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency as well as the Pennsylvania State Police. Members will be appointed by agency cabinet secretaries.

The task force will hold its first monthly meeting in the next month or so and will work with the General Assembly, partners in suicide prevention, and other stakeholders to develop a new plan that will take into consideration recent data from the CDC, recommendations related to mental health made by the PA School Safety Task Force, and other pertinent current information.

Free help is always available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for those in crisis and/or are considering harming themselves.

RAND Corp. Study Shows Need to Develop Social and Emotional Skills; US House Proposes Supportive Funding as FY 2020 Budget Showdown Looms (June 1, 2019)

According to new results from a RAND Corporation study, nearly 75% of school principals feel that developing students’ social and emotional skills is a top priority for their schools, with even more teachers supporting the development of specific student skills in those areas. In fact, information gleaned from RAND’s American Educator Panels shows a need to develop such social-emotional learning (SEL) skills as empathy, understanding and managing emotions, and setting and achieving related goals; with the development of these skills resulting in improvements in student achievement, an improved school environment, and improved student behavior.

In support of these findings, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has appropriated $260 million for SEL and “whole-child” approaches as part of its proposed FY 2020 budget. Those funds would provide $170 million for Education Innovation and Research grants, $40 million for full-service community schools to help address students’ non-academic needs, $25 million for mental health professionals and child development experts in schools, and $25 million for SEL-related professional development.

However, President Trump’s proposed budget aims to cut funding for SEL-related professional development funding and to also eliminate the whole-child centered Full-Service Community Schools and Promise Neighborhoods programs.

It appears that a budget fight is looming on this front.

For more information, please go to: https://www.educationdive.com/news/principals-teachers-prioritize-social-emotional-skills-for-students/555744/:


Supreme Court Declines to Hear Boyertown Transgender Case; Bathroom Policy Stands (May 29, 2019)

On May 28, 2019, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of a Boyertown Area School District  policy that allows transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The Supreme Court’s decision thus leaves standing the 3rd Circuit Appeals Court unanimous 2018 ruling. The policy also provides private bathrooms and locker rooms to those students who report being uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with transgender or cisgender students.

The original plaintiff in the suit was the conservative Christian group, Alliance Defending Freedom, which argued that transgender bathroom use violates a “right to privacy.” However, the fact that the Boyertown ASD policy accommodates “uncomfortable” students with private bathroom accessibility without denying transgender students’ rights significantly undercuts such a privacy argument.

Noted attorney Michael I. Levin from Huntington Valley, PA handled the school district’s defense.

It is important to note that the Boyertown Supreme Court decision has no bearing on other cases  involving the interpretation of federal anti-discrimination laws in this area, which became a bone of contention when the Trump administration reversed an Obama administration interpretation of the Title IX educational equity law as protecting transgender students.

Wolf’s Breakfast Initiative Moving Forward to Help Students Start Their Day Ready to Learn (May 24, 2019)

According to the office of Governor Tom Wolf, his School Breakfast Initiative, which was begun in 2017, is now providing a total of $592,000 to 151 PA schools with grants of up to $5,000 to help their schoolchildren start their school day with a healthy breakfast.

According to Governor Wolf, “A healthy breakfast helps students begin the school day ready to learn and succeed,” said Governor Wolf. “By investing in school breakfasts, we are investing in the lives of children. When kids start their day with good nutrition, they’re ready to learn and grow up healthier and stronger.”

“Students are more focused and in a better position to learn when they start their days with a healthy, nutritious meal,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “However, we know that only 50 percent of the students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive breakfast. The mini-grants enable schools to address food security issues and help more students by either starting a new breakfast program or by improving an existing one.”