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

FDA Warns of Teen E-Cigarette Use Epidemic (September 29, 2018)

The FDA put the vaping industry on notice this month, issuing warning letters and fines to five major manufacturers and more than 1,300 retailers who have illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors. The move by the FDA stems from the agency’s identifying signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached epidemic proportions.According to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, “We have data to show that use of e-cigarettes, while potentially posing much less harm than combusting tobacco, is not benign. It causes its own health effects. And nicotine use by kids is dangerous. It causes direct effects on their health and their brains.”

The American Lung Association has also identified a lack of government oversight of e-cigarette products and expressed its concern as to the possible health risks involved in their use.


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.

Capital Area IU to Host Keystone Education Security Summit (September 18, 2018)

The Capital Area Intermediate Unit is excited to announce that registration is now open for the inaugural Keystone Education Security Summit (KEdSS). This one-day event, held on November 16, 2018, is geared to inform and prepare superintendents, business managers, technology directors and other school district administrators regarding cyber security. KEdSS will have two strands of sessions to prepare a team of individuals to implement an effective cyber security plan, and administrative strand and a technical strand.

The program will be held from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Capital Area IU, 55 Miller Street, Enola, PA 17025. To register visit https://www.eventsforce.net/caiu/frontend/reg/tRegisterEmailNew.csp?pageID=3798&eventID=9&tempPersonID=8251