March 2019

Spring 2019 Advocacy Update

by Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetten on March 23, 2019

Check out the information below for information on new laws that impact public education!

Anti-hazing: Act 80 of 2018 expands Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing law to apply to institutions of higher education, public and private secondary schools, and organizations affiliated with these schools. Penalties for violating school policies regarding hazing include fines, withholding of diplomas or transcripts, no longer allowing an organization to operate under the recognition of the school, probation, suspension or expulsion. Salisbury’s hazing policy.

Sunscreen use for students: Act 105 of 2018 allows students, during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, to wear sun-protective clothing and use a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription. Parents and students must fill out a form regarding applying sunscreen; students are responsible for applying the sunscreen to themselves.

Support services for children of military members: Act 119 of 2018 requires public schools to provide access to support services if a student’s parent is deployed for active duty, notifies the school and requests additional supports. Services include school guidance counselors; school psychologists; school social workers; or home and school visitors; information regarding existing federal and state military support services; and other services or resources to assist the student and parent/guardian.

Study of school start times: The Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission is directed to conduct a study on the establishment of later start times for high school students. A report of the study is due next fall.

High school graduation reforms begin with Class of 2022: Students currently in ninth grade (Class of 2022) and moving forward now have new options to show that they are ready to graduate. Act 158 of 2018 establishes a performance-based system that provides rigorous assessment strategies under four options for students to demonstrate readiness. Measures of success are aligned to a student’s individual career goals and reflect the expectations, coursework, grades, activities and achievements earned. In addition to the state Keystone Exams, alternative tests and other factors can be counted toward graduation.

It is important to know that school districts are still required under federal law to administer Keystone Exams for accountability purposes. While students will continue to be required to take them, passage of the exams is no longer the only pathway to graduate. These changes are effective beginning with the Class of 2022. Read a detailed summary of Act 158 and expect future communications on specific changes in Salisbury.

Future Ready PA Index shows that schools, students are more than just test scores: The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently launched a new tool to evaluate schools. The new Future Ready PA Index replaces the former School Performance Profiles (SPP) to establish a more holistic measure of school success. This is an improvement from the SPP that provided a performance score for each school building that was heavily reliant on standardized test scores, including the PSSA and Keystone Exams.

The Future Ready PA Index moves beyond the use of a single score to increase transparency around school and student group performance. It features a dashboard approach to present data and information. The index illustrates student and school success via three color-coded categories: academic performance, student progress, and college and career readiness. It provides parents and the public with a more comprehensive look at how Pennsylvania’s schools are educating students.

Proposed state budget impacts your schools, students: Gov. Tom Wolf presented his state budget proposal for the 2019-20 fiscal year to the General Assembly in early February. Legislators are examining the proposal and negotiations will continue until an agreement is reached on a new state budget by the June 30 deadline. Funding for public education will be part of the discussions, and legislators need to hear from all Salisbury stakeholders about the needs of our schools and students. This includes funding for overall operations (basic subsidy), special education, career and technical education, student programs, technology needs, school safety initiatives, and more.

How can you advocate and influence the state budget? Here are some suggestions:

  • Get the facts – Know what is being proposed at the state level for education and what it means at the local level for your school district and students. Click here for details.
  • Contact our legislators – Locate their contact information here.
  • Tell your story – Talk about how important adequate state funding is to our schools. Use examples of specific programs that have helped your students, the work of our teachers and staff, and the resources we have, or don’t have, available. Talk about what would happen if funding were increased, or if it were cut.
  • Communicate effectively – Present your ideas clearly and concisely. It is important to build relationships with our legislators. Understand their position on key issues so that you can show how your position will benefit his or her constituents.
  • Be persistent – Start the process early, keep at it, and be patient.

Public Schools Week – March 25-29, 2019

by Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetten on March 23, 2019

Public Schools Week 2019 celebrates our nation’s public schools, our students and the many school professionals who work to help students achieve their greatest potential. The Salisbury Township School District invites you to celebrate our public schools!

  • Strong public schools build the knowledge and skills young people need to succeed in the global, knowledge-based world. Public schools are providing more opportunities for students who are learning and growing inside our school buildings—so these young people can become college ready, career ready and life ready following high school graduation.
  • We recognize that teachers, principals, and all the educators and support staff that serve in our public schools are key to helping our students succeed and our nation thrive.
  • Nine out of every 10 students attend a public school. Public schools welcome every child—regardless of ability, race, wealth, language, country of origin, or needs. By strengthening the public school system we strengthen the democracy of our country.
  • Supporting public schools today will build a stronger workforce of tomorrow. The future of our nation to produce in the manufacturing sphere, the farm, and in the information age will be based on the investments we make today in supporting public schools. Schools today are integrating the new ideas that are being explored by business and industry.
  • Strong public schools are vital to our national security. Our military’s success is dependent on members who can apply their knowledge and skills to navigate the increasingly complex tools that keep our country safe.
  • Public schools help students become contributing citizens of their communities.
  • Communities are stronger and schools are better when we all work together to support public education. As our public schools succeed, so too will our communities. The success of the future leaders of this great country critically depends on the support given to public education
  • The PDK International annual poll shows increasing support for neighborhood public schools, support for teachers and strong support for more funding and resources.

An educated America is a better America. Want a stronger nation? Support public education. It is where everyone has a chance to learn about the past, how to participate in society, and how to engage in a future that is rapidly changing – and needing their talents.

Wellness Committee Relaunches!

March 21, 2019

Salisbury’s 2019 Wellness Committee met for the first time in January. Since then, the committee has identified five areas of focus. Nutrition Mindfulness School Fitness Grants Vaping Allergies As the work develops in these areas, we will share with the community. The Wellness Committee’s Resource list is available here. This will develop over time. The […]

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No Kid Hungry Pennsylvania School Breakfast Hall of Fame

March 14, 2019

We are honored to share that Bill Brackett, Brian Pritchard, Krista Raudenbush, Linda Ballek, Lynn Fuini-Hetten, Deb Laczo and Sue Bennett are being welcomed into the No Kid Hungry Pennsylvania School Breakfast Hall of Fame for their dedication to school breakfast. This year, the No Kid Hungry Campaign hosted the inaugural Pennsylvania School Breakfast Hero Contest […]

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