In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). In regards to Foster Care, the focus of ESSA is to enhance collaboration and align education and child welfare systems to improve educational outcomes for foster care students. ESSA amends ESEA to include educational stability for foster care youth exclusively under Title 1, removing children “awaiting foster care placement” from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. ESSA aims to enhance collaboration between education and child welfare systems in each state to ensure educational stability for foster care youth.
On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on the new provisions in ESSA for supporting children in foster care. These provisions take effect in Pennsylvania on December 10, 2016.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Center for Schools and Communities (CSC) are working together to promote school stability and success for foster care youth.
Penn-Trafford School District’s Foster Care Point of Contact is:Gregory Karazsia, Director of Student Learning Supports
HOME EDUCATION AND PRIVATE TUTORING
In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169 (Senate Bill 154), amending the Pennsylvania School Code. It amended section 1327, Compulsory School Attendance, to define a properly qualified private tutor and to allow a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody of a child to home school their children as an option for complying with compulsory school attendance. It added section 1327.1, Home Education Program, to specify the rights and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family resides.
Act 67 of 2005 (Senate Bill 361) amended section 1327.1 to allow children enrolled in a home education program to participate in any activity that is subject to the provisions of section 511, School Athletics, Publications, and Organizations, given certain criteria are met for these extracurricular activities.
In 2014, Act 196 (House Bill 1013) was passed, amending section 1327.1 in regard to a number of provisions. Among others, these changes included paths to a high school diploma with all the rights and privileges afforded by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency and that the evaluation of a home education program by a qualified evaluator is the required proof that an appropriate education has taken place, whether from a mid-year request by the superintendent or the evidence due at the end of the school year.
The current version of sections 1327 and 1327.1 are available online and discussed in the Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide.
This Home Education and Private Tutoring webpage contains information relevant to parents and guardians, evaluators, private tutors, school districts, businesses, and institutions of higher learning. Although some topics are targeted specifically to one of these audiences, all topics contain information that may be relevant to others.
A school district, area vocational technical school, charter school, independent school, private school or non-public school may temporarily excuse a student from compulsory attendance on account of illness or other urgent reasons and provide that student homebound instruction while he or she is excused from school. Regulations require that the term "urgent reasons" be strictly construed not to permit irregular attendance at school. See 22 Pa Code § 11.25 in the Laws and Regulations section.
If a public school entity does provide homebound instruction and seeks to extend the duration of that instruction for a particular student beyond a three-month period, the extension requires the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
Any excusal from compulsory attendance must be reevaluated, at minimum, every three months. A school district may have a policy that requires more frequent evaluations.
School districts must have written policies regarding attendance, admission, excusal and program procedures. These must be distributed yearly to parents. See 22 Pa Code § 11.41.
NONATTENDANCE WITH HOMEBOUND INSTRUCTION PROVIDED
The purpose of homebound instruction is to keep students on track academically while the student is temporarily out of school. Homebound instruction is school-supplied one-to-one tutoring for a limited time. These students are counted in both the school membership* and school attendance**. See 22 Pa Code § 11.25(b).
A district may provide homebound instruction for the initial three months of excusal without consulting PDE. Following the initial three months, the district must obtain the approval of PDE to extend homebound instruction.
- Steps in the Homebound Instruction Process
- Homebound Instruction Procedures
- Policy 117 - Homebound Instruction
- 117-AR Homebound Instruction
- 117-AR-1 Request for Homebound Instruction
- 117-AR-2 Homebound Instruction Progress Monitoring
- 117-AR-3 Request for Extension of Homebound Instruction
- 117-AR-4 Weekly Report of Homebound Instruction
Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH)The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was established in 1987 and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. The Act defines the term “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The federal mandate ensures that homeless children and youth have access to the same free and appropriate public education as other children. Children who are homeless may qualify for assistance with school lunch, school supplies, tutoring, and transportation so that they can remain in their school of origin. If you believe that your child may qualify for this service, please contact:
- Westmoreland County Housing Authority- 724-832-7248
- Westmoreland Non-Profit Housing Corp. Eastmont Estates site- 724-838-0818
- Westmoreland County Department of Public Assistance- 724-832-5200
- PA Career Link Employment Services- 724-755-2330
- Angel Food Ministries through Life Spring Christian Church- 724-832-7514
- Homes Build Hope- 724-838-0752
- Habitat for Humanity- 724-523-0308
- Westmoreland Community Action -Next Step Housing Program 724-834-1260
- Referral Line- PA 211 Southwest- 1-800-222-8848
- Westmoreland County Food Bank- 724-468-8660
- Welcome Home Shelter- 724-838-9133
- Blackburn Shelter- 724-836-1122
- Christian Layman’s- 724-834-4464
- Westmoreland County Housing Authority- 724-832-7248
- Catholic Charities- 724-837-1840
- Salvation Army- 724-834-3335