Governor Shapiro Hosts Roundtable Discussion on MH with Students and Faculty (June 14, 2024)

On June 11, 2024 Governor Shapiro met with students and counselors at Iroquois Jr./Sr. High School to hear firsthand about their mental health challenges and shared how his 2024-25 budget’s proposed investments would provide $100 million to improve mental health services for students and staff in K-12 schools, and a $20 million increase this year in base county funding for community-based mental health services.

In his first budget, Governor Shapiro made historic investments in our public schools, students, and teachers, and empowered parents to put their children in the best position to succeed by delivering the largest increase in K-12 basic education funding in Pennsylvania history, delivering universal free breakfast for 1.7 million students, and securing $100 million for student mental health.

The Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposal builds on his historic first budget by delivering $1.1 billion in additional basic education funding for public schools, as well as additional funding including:
-$300 million in sustainable funding for environmental repair projects in school buildings.
-Continuing an annual $100 million in mental health funding for K-12 schools to support students and staff.
-A continuing $50 million annual investment in school safety and security improvements.
-A $50 million increase for special education funding to ensure school districts have the basic resources necessary to provide special education services to students with disabilities and special needs.

The Governor’s proposed budget would also increase county funding for community-based mental health services by an additional $20 million this year and calls for additional funds in successive years, reaching an overall increase of $60 million per year increase by 2025-26.

For the 2023-24 school year, the Iroquois School District was awarded a $113,895 Mental Health Award grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to provide school-based mental health and behavioral health supports, including counselors and resources for students. In fact, in Erie County alone, a 2023 Pennsylvania Youth survey showed that 41.5 percent of students reported feeling sad or depressed most days in the past year, a number higher than the Commonwealth’s average.

For more information on mental health services available to all Pennsylvanians, click here.

For more information on the Governor‚Äôs proposed budget, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov.‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ

PACSSA Sends Endorsement of the Pennsylvania School Counseling Services Act to General Assembly (June 10, 2024)

The newly-formed Pennsylvania Coalition of Student Services Associations (PACSSA) will be sending a resolution to members of the PA General Assembly in support of House Bill 1665 and its companion bill Senate Bill 33. The resolution states that, “PACSSA strongly supports legislation aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of school counselors in Pennsylvania.  We understand the critical role that school counseling services play in fostering healthy student development, supportive school environments, addressing student mental health needs, and promoting success for all students within our educational systems.”

It goes on to say, “The Pennsylvania School Counseling Services Act (HB 1665 and SB 33) represents a significant step forward in prioritizing the well-being and success of Pennsylvania’s students.  We urge you to support this critical legislation and join us in advocating for its swift passage and implementation.”

PACSSA and PAPSA urge all educators to support this important proposed legislation since, pupil/student services is critical in ensuring the academic success and overall well-being of all students.

HB 1665 has been in the House Education Committee since April 4, 2024. SB 33 was referred to the Senate Education Committee on June 7, 2024.

To access the resolution, click here.
Access HB 1665 here.
Access SB 33 here.

“Survey of Parents of Students with Disabilities” BSE Memo is Sent to LEAs (June 9, 2024)

BSE Sends Indicator 13 Memo to LEAs (June 9, 2024)

On June 5, 2024, Bureau of Special Education (BSE) Director Carole L. Clancy sent a PennLink memo to LEAs titled Preparing for Cyclical Monitoring РA Focus on Secondary Transition (Indicator 13). The memo states that in response to the accountability requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 Part B State Performance Plans, the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) and intermediate unit transition consultants will provide sustained professional development for targeted local educational agencies (LEAs). This targeted professional development will assist with creating compliant and effective individualized secondary transition programming for students with disabilities.

The requirements for each LEA assigned to the 2024-2025 Preparing for Cyclical Monitoring: A Focus on Secondary Transition training are as follows:
-Develop an administrative team to support the targeted training and technical assistance process. The administrative team is required to attend a webinar on September 12, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Administrative team members will need to register in advance for this training at www.pattan.net, or by following this link: https://www.pattan.net/Events/Webinar/Course-2919/Events/Session-39593
-Lead contact person to complete an interview/survey regarding effective practices for secondary transition as facilitated by an intermediate unit and/or PaTTAN consultant. Lead contact will work with IU Transition TaC/PaTTAN Consultant to develop and implement a local training plan for the 2024-2025 school year.
-With support from the IU Transition TaC/PaTTAN Consultant, identify targeted staff (i.e. special education directors, building principals, transition coordinators, special education teachers, speech/language therapists, guidance counselors, school psychologists, career tech ed staff, and other LEA staff involved in secondary programming) to participate in IEP pre-reviews using the PA Indicator 13 checklist, complete IEP post-reviews, participate in coaching activities as warranted with IU Transition TaC, and complete an online (Schoology) course.

The required online (Schoology) course will yield 6 Act 48 hours and must be completed by February 28, 2025. PLEASE NOTE: All staff must register for the Schoology course. Registration can be found at www.pattan.net, or by following the link: https://www.pattan.net/Events/On-line-Courses/Course-2920/Events/Session-39737.

The registration key to register for the Schoology course is IND13-2024. This registration key must be shared with all LEA staff members identified to participate in this year‚Äôs cyclical monitoring preparation activities so they can complete the registration process. For questions concerning Preparing for Cyclical Monitoring: A Focus on Secondary Transition training for 2024-2025, please contact one of these PaTTAN Educational Consultants: Darla Bryant [email protected] or Tim Knight [email protected].

BSE Sends July 2024 Special Education Table 8A Submission Reminder (June 8, 2024)

According to a June 7, 2024 PennLink memo from BSE Director Carole L. Clancy titled July 2024 Special Education Table 8A Submission, in July 2024 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, 2023, through June 30, 2024.

Table 8A data is collected on a cyclical basis. Those LEAs that are to submit Table 8A to the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) will be informed of such in June this year. Regardless of their reporting status, all LEAs in the state must continue to collect and maintain data regarding timely evaluations so that the LEA can assess its on-going compliance and program effectiveness and be prepared to report data to the state when notified to do so.

Table 8A is used for two purposes:

  1. To calculate and report to the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) an annual state rate of compliance with timelines for completing initial evaluations of students to determine their eligibility for special education under the State Performance Plan; and
  1. To report to the public on the performance of LEAs in the commonwealth in complying with the required timelines.

Data collected over the past several years on compliance with timelines for initial evaluations show that while many LEAs have achieved full compliance, others have not. When LEAs do not comply and improve performance, the overall state rate reported to OSEP is negatively affected. Further, any LEA that reports less than 100 percent compliance with timelines will be required to engage in quarterly reporting to the BSE to document correction of noncompliance. Therefore, it is imperative that all LEAs be as accurate as possible in collecting and reporting Table 8A data.

OSEP has advised that states should factor out from their Table 8A calculation those students whose evaluation timelines are affected by two exceptions in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act regulations. Specifically, Section 300.301(d) allows that the 60-day timeline for completing initial evaluations does not apply to a public agency if (1) the parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for the evaluation, or (2) a child enrolls in a school of another agency after the timeline has begun and prior to a determination by the prior agency as to whether the child is a child with a disability. This second exception applies only if the subsequent public agency is making sufficient progress to ensure prompt completion of the evaluation and the parent and subsequent agency agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed. To ensure accurate reporting, it is critical that when a delay in meeting timelines occurs, LEAs must correctly code the reasons for the delay in accordance with the exceptions above.

The Table 8A Template for the July 2024 submission is available on the Special Education Data Reporting website at https://penndata.hbg.psu.edu under the Data Management tab in the 2023-2024 section; scroll down to Table 8A Template.

Questions regarding completion and submission of Table 8A should be referred to the Intermediate Unit Data Manager. Questions regarding this Penn*Link may be referred to Jodi Rissinger in the BSE at [email protected].