PDE Sends Out Act 71 Reminder (October 2, 2018)

Yesterday, Matthew S. Stem, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education sent out a reminder to LEAs regarding Act 71 of 2014, which requires school entities provide four hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every five years for professional educators in school buildings servicing students in grades 6-12. Under this law, school entities must incorporate “protocols administering youth suicide prevention education to staff and students into their suicide awareness and prevention policy.  However, schools are not precluded from providing training and education to all school personnel, including support staff (e.g., secretarial staff, custodians, food service, etc.). The communique also list the following Resources for Student Suicide Education and Awareness:

Student Suicide Prevention Program Guide

Student Suicide Prevention Program Spreadsheet (note: Click on different tabs to review programs organized by cost, duration, etc.)

Prevent Suicide PA recently launched their Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center, with a range of free online trainings for educators, including an 8-module course that fulfills the 4-hour Act 71 requirement and covers the PDE recommended topics for educator training.

For additional information about suicide prevention efforts in Pennsylvania, visit Prevent Suicide PA’s website.

Those with questions relating to Pennsylvania’s school suicide prevention and awareness mandates, are asked to contact Carol Kuntz, Director for the Office for Safe Schools at (717)783-6469.

Deadline Set to Apply for Approval to Use Response to Intervention (October 2, 2018)

Local educational agencies (LEAs) that would like to apply for approval to use Response to Intervention (RTI) methodologies for the purpose of identification of students with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) are required to submit their intent to apply for the 2019-20 school year by October 30, 2018 to their regional PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) consultant. If the LEA determines they would like to use RTI for SLD, they may now submit one application for multiple buildings (i.e. Elementary, Middle and/or High School).  For example, the LEA will only be required to submit one application for all elementary buildings within their LEA. The RTI for SLD application is found on the PaTTAN website, along with additional information regarding the process, or you can use the following link:  RTI SLD Application. Completed applications must be submitted to Dr. Jennifer Collins (jcollins@pattan.net) no later than February 15, 2019. Upon review of all documentation, the Bureau of Special Education will issue a letter indicating whether the application will be approved, disapproved, or if more information is necessary. Questions regarding this PENN*LINK may be directed to Jessica Keener Haas at 610.678.6059 or jesshaas@pa.gov

PA State Police to Up Presence at Schools (September 28, 2018)

As per new rules originating from Governor Wolf’s School Safety Task Force, PA State Police will now be visiting schools in areas that don’t have their own police departments and for which the State Police provide primary coverage. State Police barracks will now send someone to do a check once per shift, which results in visits occurring at least three times per day to schools in nearly 1,300 PA municipalities, most of them rural. State Police may also make visits to schools in areas that have their own police forces.

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: https://paiu.zoom.us/j/766271721. 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 lihampe@pa.gov or 724.425.3000; or Lynda Lupp, Statewide Assessment Coordinator, at llupp@pattan.net 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.