PA Secretary of Education puts focus on programs during visit to CSIU
MILTON – Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera spent time this morning visiting with regional school superintendents at the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU). The purpose of his visit was to share the current and future educational priorities of the Department of Education with educational leaders and to hear first-hand about their local achievements and concerns.
Dr. Rivera emphasized the importance of creating a Career Ready PA through a variety of initiatives which strive to produce powerful partnerships between schools and workforce stakeholders; opportunities for teachers to visit local employers in labor and industry to foster such partnerships; aligned k-12 school guidance plans that develop career readiness and employability skills in students, and career and technical centers and courses which provide hands-on learning experiences and support career pathways.
This was a welcome focus for superintendents who have been working toward these outcomes individually in their districts and collaboratively as an intermediate unit. Regional districts have partnered with the CSIU for two years in Teacher in the Workplace partnerships with our local businesses and Chambers of Commerce. Districts have also been creating authentic career preparation experiences for students including career fairs, job shadowing, internships, dual enrollment options, work-study placements, and senior exit interviews with local business panels.
Superintendents were encouraged to hear the secretary’s commitment to continuing to support Career Ready PA initiatives and to shifting the measurement of the success of our schools away from only testing to the Future Ready Index which includes “a range of assessment, on-track, and readiness indicators to more accurately report student learning, growth, and success in the classroom and beyond.”
The secretary also reviewed the many additional achievements that Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania’s schools have made over the past five years. Funding highlights included a $1.4 billion increase in education funding from pre-k through college; a doubling of pre-k funding, increasing the number of attending toddlers by 74 percent; and investment in PA’s community colleges and State System of Higher Education. Health and safety initiatives including school breakfast programs, school safety and security task forces, and opportunities for school leaders to receive professional development around poverty, equity, and mental health issues impacting our schools and communities were all discussed.
Superintendents emphasized the need for continued review of the cyber-charter school funding formula and advocated for additional school safety funding and supports to address the mental health needs of our schools and communities.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Pedro Rivera, PA Secretary of Education, met with CSIU leaders and regional school superintendents.