New Laws Focus on Student Safety, Well-Being (October 27, 2018)

Two new laws passed earlier this week focus on student safety. Act 80 of 2018, formerly Senate Bill 1090, expands PA’s anti-hazing law to include public and private secondary schools, as well as organizations affiliated with those schools. Those violating school hazing policies could face such disciplinary action as suspension, expulsion, diplomas or transcripts being withheld, and/or fines. Secondary schools are required to inform students of the school district’s hazing policy, including rules, penalties, and enforcement.

The other bill, Act 105 of 2018, formerly House Bill 1228, allows students to wear sun-protective clothing and/or use a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, provided that parents/guardians and students fill out a required form. The law also allows the revocation or restriction of sunscreen use for students who misuse the sunscreen and state that students are responsible for applying their own sunscreen.

Act 158 Signed into Law, Provides Alternative to Keystone Exams (October 25, 2018)

On Wednesday, October 24th, Gov. Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 1095, which is now Act 158 of 2018. The new law revises PA’s one-size-fits-all mandate to pass three Keystone Exams to receive a diploma by instead establishing multiple pathways to demonstrate college and career readiness. New measures of success will be appropriately aligned to a student’s career goals and reflect the expectations, coursework, grades, activities and achievements earned. In addition to the Keystones, alternative assessments and other factors will be able to be counted towards graduation. The changes under the new law are effective beginning with the Class of 2022, impacting those students who are currently in 9th grade.

Source: PSBA

Act 82 of 2018 Signed into Law, Revamps Special Ed. Certification (October 25, 2018)

On Wednesday, October 24th, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 1386, which is now Act 82 of 2018. This legislation changes the grade spans and age levels for certification of special education instructional certificates in the Commonwealth. All special education certificates issued after Dec. 31, 2021 will cover PK-12, or up to age 21, and no additional content or dual certification will be required.

Teachers currently holding the special education certification for PK-8 and grades 7-12 will be able to expand the scope of their certificates under a yet-to-be determined PDE process. Teachers holding early childhood certification will be able to expand their certificate to include grades five and six by attaining the necessary scores on an assessment developed by PDE.

Gov. Wolf Signs Bills into Law Aiding Grandparents (October 24, 2018)

On Tuesday, October 23rd, Gov. Tom Wolf signed two pieces of legislation that will help grandparents raising grandchildren in the Commonwealth. One piece, HB 2133, establishes the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program, which is an informational resource for grandparents in the form of a toll-free hotline and a website. Under the legislation, the website will provide information on support and services available, as well as a specially trained navigator who can provide guidance and support. The second piece of legislation, HB 1539, grants temporary guardianship to grandparents when the child(ren)’s parents are unable to care for them primarily due to substance abuse issues. Temporary guardianship provides grandparents the right to make vital basic decisions for their grandchildren, including the ability to enroll the child in school and/or seek medical care for the child.

According to state officials, about 76,000 grandparents are caring for more than 83,800 grandchildren in the state. It is believed that the increasing opioid epidemic has added to these numbers and that, in the long run, grandparents keeping their grandchild

Special Ed. Certification Bill Heads to Governor (October 12, 2018)

On October 12th, House Bill 1386 as amended by the PA Senate was passed by the PA House and has been sent to Gov. Wolf to be signed into law. The bill changes the way special education teachers are certified and changes the grade spans and age levels for certification of special education instructional certificates combining the current special education certificates into one category. Further, all special education certificates issued after Dec. 31, 2021 would cover PK-12, or up to age 21, with no additional content or dual certification required.

Acknowledgments to PSBA