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.

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.”

HB 1401 Seeks to Increase the Number of School Nurses, Counselors, and Social Workers (May 19, 2019)

On May 8, 2019, HB 1401 was referred to the House Education Committee. The bill would require one school nurse for every 750 students, one school psychologist for every 500 students, and a school counselor and social worker for every 250 students. In essence, the proposed legislation would cut the maximum ratio of students to school nurses in half and establish minimum staffing requirements for other professionals who work with students.

Current PA law requires schools to have one nurse for every 1,500 students and sets no minimum for school psychologists, school counselors, and social workers.

Increasing the number of school counselors and mental health professionals was a recommendation made by Governor Wolf’s School Safety Task Force.

Although PAPSA recognizes the need for increased staff in these areas, concerns voiced by PASPA President Tom Burnheimer include the need for added funds to help pay for the additional staff, as well as the shortage of school nurses, counselors, and school psychologists that is currently being experienced throughout the Commonwealth.

HB 1415 Introduced in PA House, Would Require Trauma-Informed Polices & Procedures (May 19, 2019)

HB 1415, a bipartisan bill being introduced in the PA House, is  aimed at creating trauma-informed school environments throughout the state in order to help ensure that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are recognized in the school setting so children can get the support they need. The bill would require trauma-informed policies and procedures (including such things as positive behavior supports, restorative justice, and resiliency), as well as training for school staff, new school board members, and even postsecondary students pursuing a degree in education.

According to Rep. Christina Sappey, one of the bill’s sponsors, “[t]his legislation would help teachers and staff in schools to get the training they need to recognize the signs of childhood trauma and assist in overcoming the hurdles students face in school due to the severe impacts on their brain development and functionality, as revealed by decades of research.”

An identical bill is being introduced in the PA Senate.

Thanks to Media News group for information contained in this story.