Supervisor of Student Services Being Sought (November 28, 2018)

The Mechanicsburg Area School District is seeking a Supervisor of Student Services to provide assistance to the overall management of Student Services programs.  This full-time, 12 month, Act 93 position is effective January, 2019.  Qualified candidates should have a minimum of five to seven years of experience in public education, including elementary and secondary school instruction and possess administrative certification. A master’s degree and supervisory certificate is preferred.

Any individual who is to be considered for employment must provide school district officials with a valid Criminal History Record Clearance form, a valid Child Abuse History Clearance form, FBI Clearance, Act 168 form(s), and an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form.

Interested persons may apply using the link below:

https://www.applitrack.com/Mechanicsburg/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Admin

In Response to Pressure, USDE Releases Updated OCR Manual (November 22, 2018)

The US Department of Education’s (USDE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released an updated Case Processing Manual, effective November 19, 2018. The manual, which provides guidance on how cases are to be handled, can be viewed at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocrcpm.pdf

Of particular note is that OCR is in essence reversing itself in a number of areas pertaining to how it investigates civil rights claims. The changes eliminate language added in March 2018 that called for investigators to dismiss multiple complaints originating from the same source. Another change in language also now assures that OCR will conduct investigations of complaints that were dismissed as per the previous rule change. Many special education and civil rights advocates had decried the changes made in March, and many filed lawsuits to challenge those changes.

However, it is important to note that the newly revised manual continues to direct investigators not to consider each complaint for evidence of systemic discrimination. Instead, investigators will look for evidence of broader discrimination “only where it is appropriate to do so in light of the allegations or based on facts ascertained in the investigation.” This investigative approach is a holdover from the March revisions, which had reversed a much different approach previously put into place by the Obama administration.

In addition, USDE is also continuing with both a “rapid resolution process” and “facilitated resolution process” designed to help complainants and school districts to resolve issues quickly with help from OCR. It is also continuing an expanded time frame for negotiating agreements with school districts that have been the subject of complaints.

Many see the new manual changes as a USDE attempt to ease pressure brought on by lawsuits against it that stemmed from the March revisions.  However, some civil rights organizations are still demanding that nearly 700 complaints that were dismissed under the March revisions now be re-opened. Thus, it seems that there will continue to be legal challenges to how OCR will handle complaints as it moves forward with its current manual revisions.

PDE Unveils Future Ready PA Index (November 16, 2018)

On November 15, 2018, PDE unveiled the Future Ready PA Index, the new online measurement tool that replaces the School Performance Profile (SPP). The index measures schools in the areas of student academic performance of students; whether student progress is on track; and whether, upon graduation, students demonstrate a readiness for success in college or beginning a career. The Future Ready PA Index and Review can be viewed at https://futurereadypa.org/

Gov. Wolf Signs New Law to Help Military Families (October 27, 2018)

Legislation signed earlier this week by Governor Wolf is designed to help military families. Act 119 of 2018, formerly House Bill 2052 , requires public schools to provide access to support services if a student’s parent/guardian, who is deployed for active duty, notifies the school of his/her deployment and requests additional supports or services for his/her child. Services include school guidance counselors; school psychologists; school social workers; home and school visitors; providing information regarding existing federal and state military support services; and any other service, agency, or resources necessary to assist the student and his/her parent/guardian. PDE and the PA Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs are charged with  providing information regarding the requirements and materials for schools to use to inform parents/guardians who may be deployed.

New PA Law Affects Teen Drivers (October 27, 2018)

As part of a flurry of legislation passed earlier this week, Act 95 of 2018, formerly House Bill 163 was passed, which requires the suspension of vehicle operation privileges of any person 21 years of age or younger for a conviction or adjudication of delinquency for terroristic threats made against any school property. The bill also removes federally-mandated driver’s license suspensions for drug/controlled substance convictions, as well as state-imposed suspensions for the underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages; the misrepresentation of one’s age to secure alcoholic beverages by any person under the age of 21; purchasing or attempting to purchase tobacco by a minor; and carrying a false identification card by any person under the age of 21.