Act 1 of 2022 requires school districts to assign an individual who acts as a single point of contact to students experiencing educational instability (those who make one or more changes in school entity enrollment during a single school year due to homelessness, adjudication, dependency, delinquency, or as part of court-ordered services under a voluntary placement or custody agreement). That point of contact person helps students coordinate and be rapidly placed in appropriate courses; helps connect students with mental health resources; ensures that academic records are obtained (which must be provided within ten business days) and credits are accurately transferred to their new school; creates a written “graduation plan” covering grades 9 through 12 describing the courses and other activities the student must complete to graduate in a timely manner; and ensures that any services or supports required under an existing IEP or Section 504 service agreement are implemented immediately as required by law.
In addition, pursuant to Act 1 of 2022, school districts may, but are not required to, waive a course requirement for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another district or if the student has demonstrated competency in a content area. If it declines to waive course requirements, the school district may not determine that a student is ineligible to graduate unless it provides him/her with an alternative or modified course of study currently available to any other student that will assist the affected student in establishing his/her competency.
If after taking these steps, a school district determines that an affected student is ineligible to graduate, officials may, but are not required to, request that his/her prior school district issue a diploma for the student. The student’s prior district may, but is not required to, issue the diploma if the student has met its graduation requirements.
Also pursuant to the Act, students who have experienced educational instability and who transfer to another school entity, have the right to participate in extracurricular and student sponsored activities as long as they meet qualification requirements.
The Act also requires the PA Departments of Education (PDE) and Human Services (DHS) to issue “guidance and best practices” within 180 days of its enactment on January 26, 2022.
To View Act 1 of 2022, click here.