PDE to LEAs: Review of Enrollments in the Approved Private School Electronic Management (APSEM) System (March 23, 2024)

On March 20, 2024 Bureau of Special Education Director Carole L. Clancy, Director sent a PENN*LINK to LEAs with the subject line: Review of Enrollments in the Approved Private School Electronic Management (APSEM) System. It stated that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) recently received a notification about reviewing School Year 2022-23 4010 enrollments through the Approved Private School Electronic Management (APSEM) system.

LEAs are advised to use the following instructions to review their Approved Private School (APS) enrollments:
1. Log-in as an APS or a LEA User.
2. Click the Reports link on the header.
3. Choose the 4010 Enrollment Report from the report dropdown.
4. Choose 2022-2023 from the School Year dropdown.
5. Click on the Run button.
5. Click the Open button at the bottom of the screen to open the spreadsheet.
6. Review the 4010 enrollments data, including the student’s name, date of birth, primary exceptionality, age category, etc.

Recipients of the message are asked to forward it to the individual responsible for the APSEM data review in their APS or LEA. Questions regarding this information should go to Eileen Jacobs at 717-267-6652 or [email protected].

ICYMI: PA Department Of Health Offers Training To Tackle Changing Overdose Epidemic (March 21, 2024)

The Shapiro Administration has added new tools to help health care providers and public safety professionals across the Commonwealth battle the overdose and opioid crisis. The PA Department of Health (PDH) launched new training opportunities to help prevent unintentional drug overdoses. These online courses are offered at no cost and include continuing education credits for health care providers which may also meet various licensing requirements.

These trainings, resources and more information are available at the Department of Health’s website for health care providers and public safety professionals.

Raising the Bar for Children’s Mental Health (March 21, 2024)

On Monday, April 1, 2024 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. EST,  The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in partnership with the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) Health and Human Services (HHS), will convene state and local government leaders virtually to discuss investing in children’s mental health and well-being.  The convening will feature schools, districts, and states that are successfully providing school-based services and are investing in building schools’ capacity to support student mental health. It will also raise the issue of sustainability and discuss resources available to ensure states are positioned to utilize Medicaid funds to sustain these efforts long-term.

The webinar is open to the public and anyone can attend. However, on April 2nd, USDE and CMS are offering SEA and SMA teams an opportunity to receive technical assistance and discuss school-based services in their state. This unique opportunity is not always available to states, so interested parties are encouraged to take advantage and indicate through registration if they are interested in being considered for this opportunity and a USDE team will follow up.

Sign up by clicking HERE TO REGISTER.

Shapiro Administration Awards More Than $39 Million In Grant Funding To 36 School Districts To Create Safe, Healthy Environments For Kids (March 19, 2024)

On March 15, 2024, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Dr. Khalid N. Mumin announced that more than $39 million was awarded to 36 school entities in 21 counties to establish safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments in public elementary and secondary schools; and to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence, and hate in school communities.

The list of awardees can be found on the PDE website.

Through the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) Stronger Connections Grant (SCG), high-need local education agencies (LEA) can use funding to promote the social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being of students and staff; address family and community engagement; and promote equitable and inclusive policies and practices.

A high-need LEA is defined as a school district or charter school that received ESEA Title IV, Part A funding in fiscal year 2022 and meets one or more of the following “high-need” criteria: a high rate of poverty, a lack of mental health supports available to students, high rates of violence and/or traumatic incidents in the school or community, and high rates of school exclusion.

This funding complements the priorities set by Governor Josh Shapiro in his 2024-25 budget proposal. The proposal includes a nearly $1.1 billion increase in basic education funding – the largest in Pennsylvania history. The budget also includes $300 million for school environmental repairs, $100 million for mental health supports in schools, a $50 million increase for special education funding, a $50 million annual investment in school safety and security improvements, and $30 million to build and support the educator workforce.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the Department of Education website

CATS Program Approval File is Now Open (March 18, 2024)

On March 18, 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that the 2024-25 CATS Secondary Program Approval file is now open for new secondary CTE program approval requests, updates to existing approved programs, and for re-approval purposes. The CATS file is a series of individual pages containing data elements pertaining to various aspects of approved CTE programs.

All FRCPP CATS information should be updated annually to include:

  • CATS contact information.
  • Upload new annual course catalog.
  • Update any common support services and upload new LAC and other meetings provided on the Common LEA page.
  • Updated letters of support that are dated, signed and on letterhead.
  • Update any OAC member changes and upload latest OAC meeting minutes and dates.
  • Crosswalk Phase IV task grids just released and uploaded.
  • Review and update accountability annual targets by selecting the correct year and review with school program performance and click yes if targets were met or click no if they were not met.
  • Update CTSO rosters.
  • Update any scope and sequence changes, due to course revisions or articulation agreement changes.
  • Update all one-to-one articulations and dual enrollment agreements annually.
  • Update any teacher changes or expired teacher certifications and any industry credential revisions.
  • Update any revisions to any apprenticeships/accreditations that may have occurred.

Schools must seek one of two deliveries. Where a Program of Study (POS) exists (state developed task grid, statewide articulation agreement), the school must apply for the POS delivery. Where a POS does not exist, the school must apply for a Career and Technical Education delivery. The deadline for seeking new program approval is May 31, 2024. CATS can be accessed at the login on MyPDESuite.

The Career Pathway Option is a radial button in CATS to connect two or more Classification of Instructional Programs (CIPs) that are POS approved programs and offer the same foundational technical curriculum the first year. This pathway allows students to experience several related CIPs in a POS Pathway and requires specific elements for pathway approval.

Any secondary school may submit a request for POS Pathway approval. Currently, there are 38 POS available on PDE’s website.

The competency/task grid for each POS is the foundational curriculum framework for the CIP. Therefore, all competencies/tasks must be addressed in the approved program.

POS competency/task grids have been revised and are posted on the PDE website. Local Education Agencies must use the most recent list available. Additional competencies should be added as recommended by your Occupational Advisory Committee. Each course in the scope and sequence must be cross walked to the task grid and aligned to the course where the tasks are taught and uploaded in the FRCPP CATS system on the specific information tab/student technical competencies page. 

Approved POS will provide the benefit of the articulated credits indicated by the statewide group of postsecondary institutions on CollegeTransfer.net. Anyone with questions is asked to contact Tammy Keisling at (717) 783-6996 or [email protected].