PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 18 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the moral implications and practical solutions to addressing Pennsylvania’s ranking as the worse state in the U.S. on public education funding equity. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Eleanor C. Emlen School, 6501 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media and public are invited to attend. He will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who previously served on the Basic Education Funding Commission, Representative James Roebuck, chairman of the House Democratic Education Committee and Representative Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:30 p.m. Panel One: Christopher Dormer , superintendent, Norristown School District Dr. Daniel McGarry, superintendent, Upper Darby School District Dr. Damaris Rau , superintendent, School District of Lancaster Stephen Rodriguez , superintendent, Pottstown School District Jerry Jordan , president, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers 3:20 p.m. Panel Two: Deborah Gordon Klehr , executive director, Education Law Center Marc LeBlond , senior policy analyst, Commonwealth Foundation David Lapp, J.D . director of policy research, Research for Action Kelly Lewis , Read more
DOYLESTOWN, Jan. 18 – State Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, today helped announce $8.7 million in targeted grants through the PASmart Initiative, to expand computer science classes and teacher training at 765 schools around the state. Central Bucks and Palisades school districts will each receive $35,000 to augment computer science instruction in the classroom and for teacher training. Schools included in the announcement are: Durham-Nockamixon Elementary School Springfield Elementary School Tinicum Elementary School Palisades Middle School Lenape Middle School Holicong Middle School Tamanend Middle School Tohickon Middle School Unami Middle School “As a new representative, I’m happy to see these STEM and computer science investments coming from the state level,” she said. “Anytime our districts get money from Pennsylvania and the Wolf administration, that’s a saving for local taxpayers. “In this case, the dollars represent a true investment with the promise of a return in our students’ success in STEM fields.” Learn more about the grants on the governor's website . Read more
DREXEL HILL, Jan. 18 – State Rep. Mike Zabel, D-Delaware, announced today that Upper Darby, William Penn, and Haverford school districts will receive the first-ever dedicated state grants for computer science classes and instructor training. “By 2030, seven in 10 jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use computers and new technologies,” he said. “We need to ensure that our schools are teaching our students the skills needed for emerging high-demand jobs.” These targeted grants are part of the Wolf administration’s PASmart Initiative, which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM education in elementary, middle and high schools, and professional development for teachers. Funding was secured for the following schools: Upper Darby High School Penn Wood Middle School Penn Wood High Schools (Cypress and Green campuses) Chatham Park Elementary School Chestnutwold Elementary School Coopertown Elementary School Lynnewood Elementary School Manoa Elementary School Haverford High School Funding can be used for a variety of reasons, including staff training, certification exam reimbursements as well as eligible hardware and products purchases to implement computer science teaching in the classroom. “I am proud to support initiatives that will help our students acquire the skills needed to succeed in the 21 st century workplace,” Zabel said. To learn more about the Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila., will bring the House Democratic Policy Committee to her legislative district to discuss her H.B. 79, the proposed Childhood Blood Lead Test Act. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the National Constitution Center, Kirby Auditorium, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, 19106. The media and public are invited to attend. Isaacson requested the hearing to generate discussion on her bill that would require all Pennsylvania children to be tested for lead. Stakeholders will provide their thoughts and concerns to the committee. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Dr. Loren Robinson Deputy secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Pennsylvania Department of Health 2:40 p.m. Panel One: Rachel Kaminski, member, Get the Lead OUT: Riverwards Philadelphia Colleen McCauley, health policy director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth 3:20 p.m. Panel Two: Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director, The Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia George Gould, senior attorney, Community Legal Services 4 p.m. Closing remarks For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – Computer science classes and teacher training in the Duquesne City, Steel Valley and South Allegheny school districts will be enhanced by $105,000 in state grants, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. Davis said each of the districts will receive $35,000 under the PAsmart initiative, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “Computers are becoming a constant in everyday life, which is why it’s important to note the substantial grants awarded to all three districts,” Davis said. “By enhancing computer science programs in schools, we’re laying the groundwork to future success. The skills acquired from these programs will last for years to come in an environment that relies heavily on technology.” Davis said the three districts are among this round of targeted grant recipients, which include 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, 18 charter and cyber charter schools, and eight intermediate units – each of which is receiving the maximum $35,000. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – Rep. Christina Sappey announced that she will hold two public forums this month for discussion on bridging political division. The forums, titled “Let’s Talk: Working to Bridge Division,” will focus on finding compromise, communicating and working together during a time of political divide. Dr. Kirby Wycoff, associate professor and co-director of the School Psychology Program at Eastern University, will offer a presentation. “These events are a great chance to bring together the diverse voices in our community and learn how we can best work together, and I look forward to a great discussion,” said Sappey, D-Chester. The forums will be held as follows. Southern District Event 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 New Garden Township Building 299 Starr Road Landenberg, PA 19350 Northern District Event 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 East Bradford Township Building 666 Copeland School Road West Chester, PA 19380 In the event of inclement weather, event updates will be posted on Sappey’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/repsappey , and sent out by email. Those interested can sign up for her email updates on her website, www.pahouse.com/sappey . Anyone with questions should call Sappey’s office at 717-772-9973 or email RepSappey@pahouse.net. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State grants worth $140,000 will bring computer science to the classroom for Mercer County students, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. Each $35,000 grant to Greenville Area School District, Hermitage Area School District, Sharon City School District and West Middlesex Area School District will fund the districts’ professional development, equipment and training costs. “Computer science is an extremely valuable addition to the curriculum – both at the elementary and secondary school levels – because it can trigger kids’ interest and help them develop the skills needed for high-demand, high-paying jobs,” Longietti said. “The kinds of skills CS teaches – problem solving, logic, collaboration, working with data – are skills that translate to a wide range of higher-paying careers. And based on experiences of other schools who have already introduced computer learning classes, it’s a subject area kids of all ages readily embrace.” Longietti noted that the funding is targeted to school programs with little or no computer science in their curricula and will support CS programs in the following schools: • Greenville High School • Greenville Elementary School • Artman Elementary School • Case Avenue Elementary • Musser Elementary • West Hill Elementary • Luther Low Elementary • West Middlesex Jr. High • West Read more
WEST CHESTER, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta will hold an open house from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Feb. 1. Residents of the 156 th District are invited to stop by her West Chester office, at 21 Washington St., Suite A, inside the Washington Square Apartment Building. Attendees can meet Comitta and her staff and learn more about the services offered through her office. Light refreshments will be available. “I am delighted to again welcome residents to my district office,” said Comitta, D-Chester. “Our office is within walking distance for borough residents or up to a 15-minute drive from anywhere in our district, with abundant parking in the lot in front of our office. If anyone is unable to come to our open house, we are here Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I look forward to seeing everyone on Feb. 1!” Anyone with questions should call Comitta’s office at 610-696-4990. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – House Democratic leaders issued a statement after learning of the passing of Karen Coates, chief of staff to the House Speaker. “Karen had a brilliant life and career. It ended far too soon. All of us in the House of Representatives will deeply miss her presence and her wise counsel. When tempers flared and legislative battles got hot, Karen had a way of keeping all of us grounded so that we could find some sort of agreement. “There’s not a single Pennsylvania law passed in recent years that Karen Coates did not help to shape. She was a natural leader and an integral part of the House staff who helped us get through our toughest moments. “We grieve with all of her loved ones and with the House members and staff to whom she meant so much. This is a terrible loss not only for the House, but for our commonwealth.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Sixteen education entities in Allegheny County today were awarded a total $560,000 in targeted grants provided through Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, announced state Rep. Dan Miller, chairman of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation. The grants will fund training and equipment needed to prepare teachers and students for the expansion of computer science programs. Miller said each recipient will receive $35,000 through PAsmart, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “The delegation is happy to announce this funding,” Miller said. “In the coming years, most jobs will require workers to use computers and advanced technology in an ever-changing workforce and economy. By providing this funding, we’re helping to ensure students and teachers will be adequately prepared to succeed in their line of work, and do so with confidence.” School districts and charter/intermediate unit schools awarded funding through PAsmart include: Baldwin-Whitehall School District (Reps. Harry Readshaw, Bill Kortz and Dan Miller) Carlynton School District (Reps. Anita Kulik and Dan Deasy) Chartiers Valley School District (Kulik and Miller) City Charter High School (Reps. Dan Frankel, Jake Wheatley, Adam Ravenstahl, Readshaw, Miller, Sara Innamorato, Deasy, Summer Lee and Ed Gainey) Deer Lakes School District (Rep. Frank Dermody) Duquesne Read more
Harrisburg, Jan. 17 - House Democratic Southeast Delegation Chairwoman Margo Davidson announced today that her leadership team for the 2019-20 session was ratified this week. “I am proud of our leadership team, whose diversity of experience, skills and talents will assist me in providing critical guidance to the House’s largest delegation,” said Davidson, D-Delaware. The leadership structure is divided into two levels with vice chairs who serve the entire delegation and regional vice chairs who are responsible for their geographical area. The at-large vice chairs will each have specific areas of responsibility as well. The vice chairs are as follows: vice chair for freshmen and First Vice Chair-Designate Rep. Jennifer O’Mara; Senate liaison & Second Vice Chair-Designate Rep. Tina Davis; congressional liaison and Third Vice Chair-Designate Rep. Kevin Boyle and vice chair for policy and training and Fourth Vice Chair-Designate Rep. Mary Jo Daley. The position of treasurer will be filled by Rep. Steve McCarter and secretary by Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio. The regional vice chairs include Rep. Patty Kim for the South-Central region (York through Berks County), Rep. Carolyn Comitta for Chester County, Rep. Leanne Krueger for Delaware County, Rep. Liz Hanbidge for Montgomery County, Rep. Perry Warren for Bucks County and Rep. Maria Donatucci for Philadelphia. Davidson was recently elected as the first African-American woman to head the powerful Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – The Erie County school curriculum is about to become broader and more tech-oriented thanks to $70,000 in grants that will introduce computer science into the classroom, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The Erie City School District and the Erie Rise Leadership Academy Charter School will each receive a $35,000 grant to fund the training and equipment needed to ready teachers and students to embrace the new, tech-oriented classes. “As a former educator, I’m really excited to hear about these grants,” Merski said. “Although many people automatically think of coding when they hear the phrase ‘computer science,’ it’s actually a subject that goes far beyond programming. With studies and exercises that teach kids how to think critically, it’s a discipline that introduces concepts of logic, problem solving and creativity – lessons for which kids of all ages are ready.” Harkins agreed, noting, “The skills computer science teaches cut across so many different fields. CS teaches students how to attack problems in a computational way, by breaking them down into smaller parts, and it helps older students become comfortable working with large amounts of data. It also gives them a chance to create technology, not just use it. It readies them for the modern workforce.” Merski noted that the grants are targeted at schools with little or no Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Computer science classes and teacher training at Riverview School District will be enhanced by a $35,000 state grant, announced state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny. DeLuca said the district will receive the substantial grant under the PAsmart initiative, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “The funding awarded through this program will allow students and teachers to succeed in a world that relies heavily on computers and technology,” DeLuca said. “We need to prepare future generations for a path to success, and the influx of money coming in to support the district’s computer sciences classes will do just that.” DeLuca said Riverview School District was among this round of targeted grant recipients, which include 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, 18 charter and cyber school, and eight intermediate units – each of which is receiving the maximum $35,000. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman was named Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, the first freshman legislator to earn the title. “The freshman class of representatives is full of extraordinary leaders,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “It is a strong and diverse group. I look forward to using this role to work with my freshman colleagues and listen to them so we can achieve our goals together.” Shusterman was appointed by House Democratic Whip Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. “Pennsylvanians sent a historically diverse group of first term legislators to Harrisburg,” Harris said. “I look forward to working with Representative Shusterman to integrate the freshman members into the House as we push forward an agenda to benefit citizens across the commonwealth.” The whip is considered the second-in-command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. The deputy whips serve to assist the whip on the House floor in ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote. “My constituents are looking for me to bring a new level of transparency and reform to our state government,” Shusterman said. “I will use this leadership position to help meet their expectations.” Shusterman, who took office Jan. 1 as Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced two school districts in the 146 th Legislative District, Pottstown and Spring-Ford Area, each will receive a $35,000 education grant from the state. PAsmart targeted grants are awarded to local education agencies and their schools that have zero, or few, computer science offerings. The grants are designed to meet the growing needs of computer science programs in schools and prepare students with computer and technology skills that employers are seeking. “I’m proud that these two local school districts will be receiving grants to help implement computer science programs into their curriculum,” Ciresi said. “Computer science programs are becoming more and more critical to the success of our students when they enter the workforce.” According to Ciresi, the grants will fund teams of four or more educators who are interested in being trained on ways to implement computer science into their classrooms and curriculums. After the initial training, schools can request additional funding for equipment and products. A total of 221 school districts will be receiving grants across Pennsylvania. More information about the PAsmart grants can be found here . Ciresi encourages residents to contact him with any state-government related matter. He encourages residents to visit his website ( www.pahouse.com/Ciresi ) to learn more about services his office provides. His Read more
State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, today announced students of Council Rock School District will benefit from added curriculum based upon a $35,000 grant that will bring computer science and STEM education to their schools. Read more
BRADDOCK, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, today hosted her first House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at Unity Baptist Church to discuss wage growth in Pennsylvania. Lee requested the hearing to discuss increasing the minimum wage and establishing a living wage, and how wage boards can help create truly fair wages for all workers. Participants also explored other suggestions for wage growth in the commonwealth. Lee was joined by a number of legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "It is a disgrace that children and families go hungry in the richest country in the world," Lee said. "As long as skyrocketing corporate profits and poverty wages exist side by side, our communities will continue to suffer needlessly. We must move, aggressively, to encourage wage growth with every means at our disposal. Pennsylvanians work hard and deserve to afford to live comfortably without multiple jobs." Sturla added, “The time is past due for the legislature to take action and raise the minimum wage. An increase hasn’t happened since 2007 and that was at the federal level. It’s time Pennsylvania increases its minimum wage and works toward paying workers a living wage. House Democrats’ Plan4PA aims to do that and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the state and across the aisle to get this done.” The committee heard testimony Read more
NORRISTOWN, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, congratulated the Spring-Ford Area School District today on being awarded a $35,000 targeted grant to expand computer science classes and teacher training in the district. The grant is part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, which will provide $20 million statewide to bring high-quality computer science and STEM education into elementary, middle and high schools; and to provide professional development for teachers. “I’m thrilled to see the state making this smart investment in Montgomery County’s students and teachers,” Webster said. “Congratulations to Spring-Ford Area School District on earning this funding that will ensure our students are prepared for good-paying jobs after they graduate.” These competitive grants will expand classroom instruction and professional development in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science, as well as training for in-demand careers, emerging industries and underserved populations. Click here for more information about the PAsmart initiative. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Erie County students will see an exciting new addition to the curriculum thanks to a $35,000 grant that will bring computer science classes to the General McLane School District, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today. “Our kids are growing up in a tech-oriented world,” Bizzarro said. “While it’s great that schools are placing extra emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, we’re missing an important subject if we’re not including computer science in the curriculum. This is such an essential area, because it teaches kids how to think logically, problem-solve, and collaborate. It teaches them how to handle large amounts of information, helps them to become fluent in a digital world and gives them skills they’ll need for high-tech competitive careers. The funding announced today is going to help make that happen.” Bizzarro noted that the funding is targeted to schools with little or no existing computer science in the curricula. The district will have up to $10,500 for training educators on CS standards and how to incorporate them into the curriculum, and up to $24,500 for products and training to implement computer science education in the classroom. The funding – provided through the PAsmart initiative – is part of a package of $8.7 million in targeted grants to expand computer science classes and teacher training at 765 schools across the commonwealth. Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today announced the Scranton School District will receive $35,000 in state grants for computer science classes and instructor training. Provided under the PAsmart initiative, funding will be provided to Scranton High School, West Scranton High School and South Scranton Intermediate School. The grants are targeted at schools with limited or no computer science offerings for students and are designed to meet the needs of individual school districts to guide students’ education. “Grants like this are incredibly important to ensure our students are learning necessary skills needed to take on the world around them,” Flynn said. “As the workforce around us changes, proficiency in technology and computer science skills are a must.” Funding can be used for a variety of reasons, including staff training, certification exam reimbursements as well as eligible hardware and products purchases for products to implement computer science teachings in the classroom. “I want to thank Governor Tom Wolf and his administration’s dedication to diverse investments in education to ensuring a developed and skilled workforce will continue to move Pennsylvania forward,” Flynn said. To learn more about the PAsmart initiative and the recipients of the targeted grants, click here . Read more
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