ARIN IU28 Curriculum Department

All Things Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment


Information and Updates

  • State Testing Schedules
  • PVAAS Professional Learning Opportunities
  • A Common PVAAS Misconception
  • Average Growth Index Calculation (Hyperlink Button)
  • WorkKeys by ACT
  • Graduation Pathways Slidedeck (Hyperlink Button)
  • Civics Assessment
  • CPR - Highlights from Act 7
  • CDTs
  • Promoting a Data-Rich Culture: 2020 Data Summit
  • ESSA Dashboard (Hyperlink Button)
  • Future Ready Comprehensive Planning & Continuous School Improvement
  • Attendance Works (Hyperlink Button)
  • Comprehensive Planning Resources (Hyperlink Button)
  • Science Standards
  • Spotlight on Literacy: Notice and Note (Information and Hyperlink Button)
  • Spotlight on PD: Curriculum Design Series
  • All Learning Events and Opportunities at ARIN IU 28 (Hyperlink Button)
  • STEAM-Specific Opportunities for Teachers and Students
  • Make Your PD Pop - Creative Ways to Personalize PD


To get up-to-date assessment timelines, visit the DRC website, log in and click on My Applications, General Information, then Announcements.

2019/2020 Winter Keystone Exams
September 6-12, 2019 - Enrollment System
October 16-18, 2019 - Test Setup Window for Precode Labels
October 23-26, 2019 - Testing Dates Collection Window
By November 4, 2019 - Administrative Materials (manuals)arrive in districts
By November 18, 2019 – Wave One Secure Materials(test booklets) arrive in districts
December 2-13, 2019 – Wave One Testing Window
By December 18, 2019 – Wave Two Secure Materials(including additional materials) arrive in districts
January 6-17, 2020 – Wave Two Testing Window
Deadline to return materials - January 23, 2020
February 18 - 20, 2020 – Keystone Corrections Window
March 3, 2020 – District Student Data Files Released

2020 Spring PSSA
September 26-October 1, 2019 –Enrollment System Window
January 28-February 10, 2020–Testing Dates Collection Window
February 24, 2020 – Test Setup available for creation of online test sessions
March 5, 2020– Handbook and DFAs available for download
By March 23, 2020 – Handbook and DFA shipment arrives
By April 6, 2020 – Secure material shipment arrives
April 20-24, 2020 – English Language Arts Testing Window
April 27-May 1, 2020 – Mathematics, Science, and Make-ups Testing Window
May 1, 2020 – Deadline to return used answer booklets for early reporting
May 4-8, 2020 – Optional Mathematics, Science, and Make-ups Testing Window
May 29, 2020 – Early Student Reporting Results Performance File Released (4pm)
June 23, 2020 – Final Student Reporting Performance File Released

2020 Spring Keystone Exams
December 4-9, 2019 – Enrollment System Window
March 16-18, 2020 – Test Setup for Precode Labels Window
March 25-April 7, 2020 – Testing Dates Collection Window
March 31, 2020 – Handbook and DFAs available for download
By April 13, 2020 – Handbook and DFA shipment arrives
By April 27, 2020 – Secure material shipment arrives
May 11-22, 2020 – Spring Keystone Testing Window
May 28, 2020 – Materials pick up
June 26 - 30, 2020 – Keystone Corrections Window


Preparing for PVAAS Roster Verification – Getting the Most Out of PIMS! (Webinar)

Target Audience: PIMS Administrators, District Leaders

Tuesday, February 11, 9:00-10:00 am

Ensuring the PVAAS Roster Verification system is pre-populated with key information on teachers’ instructional responsibility for students is a time-saver for district and school administrators, and teachers. This session will provide an overview of the timelines and key PIMS data collections critical to this process. A brief overview of the PVAAS roster verification process, including key decisions regarding teacher eligibility and instructional responsibility, will also be provided to give context to the importance of the timeliness and accuracy of the PIMS submissions. Click here to register or join us live.

Determining Master Schedules and Course Pathways (Getting Real with PVAAS)

Target Audience: School Leaders, School Counselors

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 – 9:00-9:30 am

Ensuring your master schedule is flexible and accommodating of the needs of your current and future student population is a key role of school leaders. Join this session to hear school leaders discuss how they have used PVAAS student projections to state assessments and AP exams to make informed decisions about course offerings, remediation and enrichment needs, and instructional resource allocation. Click here to register or join us online

For more details and other offerings this school year, please view the Professional Learning Opportunities Booklet for SY19-20.

Understanding Growth

What is meant by "average school experience?"

In this case, growth assumes the average teacher in the average school.

If the average group of students receives additional support and has teachers who provide above-average experiences, then this group of students would show more growth than students who received an "average school experience."

Did you know...?

The growth score on Future Ready PA Index does NOT represent the percentage of students making growth. Rather the PVAAS Average Growth Index is converted to a 100-point scale (PVAAS measures growth for a group of students). This is simply a score (not percentage, not percentile) on a 100-point scale with no school receiving less than 50 and no school receiving more than 100 points. Click the button below to find out more about how to interpret this conversion. Don't fret that the attachment addresses the SPP calculation. It's the same for the FRPA Index!

Average Growth Index

Important to know! The same calculation is used for SPP and Future Ready PA Index growth reporting.

WorkKeys by ACT

WorkKeys Assessment is included in Graduation Pathways #3 and #4. Here are some helpful ACT WorkKeys Resources:

In case you missed it!

Here is a link to the recording of the January 15 WorkKeys virtual information session.

Here is the WorkKeys slide deck.

Graduation Pathways

Click here for more information!

Act 35: Assessment of Civic Knowledge

…shall administer at least once to students during grades 7-12 a locally developed assessment of United States history, government, and civics that includes:

  • the nature, purpose, principles, and structure of United States constitutional democracy

  • the principles, operations and documents of United States government

  • the rights and responsibilities of citizenship

Here's the latest information regarding the new Civics Assessment requirements.

Some things worth noting. . .

  • Effective 2020-2021 school year -- both implementation and reporting (After that, report in 2022-23 for the 2022-23 school year).
  • It can be a traditional test, project-based learning, a service-learning project, etc.
  • Reporting will be done through the new Comprehensive Planning tool
  • Schools will report: type of assessment, total number of students, total number of students who passed; grade level(s)/course in which assessment was administered; course or courses in which the assessment was administered (course that is required for all students)

Also, check out the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award @

Act 35 Civics Toolkit

Click here to access the Act 35 Civics toolkit.

CPR: Highlights of Act 7

  1. Act 7 only references grades 9-12. If districts are considering offering CPR training at the middle school level, it appears as if that would be a local decision that is not required by Act 7.
  2. The requirement goes into effect for the 2019-20 (current) school year
  3. Instruction must include training on the “hands-only” CPR technique
  4. Instruction must include information on the purpose of an automated external defibrillator (it does not specifically say that students must be trained on how to use an AED)
  5. Schools may choose to use the model curriculum that will be posted on the PDE website or develop their own curriculum
  6. Instructor does not need to be a certified CPR Instructor

Here is a link to the CPR kits available through the American Heart Association:

Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDTs)

Diagnostic assessments are key to addressing skill deficiencies and providing differentiated, timely support through supplemental instruction.

Let us help you successfully diagnose students' needs and use the data to impact teaching and learning routines. We can provide:
  • Resources to encourage your students to do their best work...
  • Assistance in reading and analyzing CDT reports...
  • Tools to conference with students...

Contact Lori Rodgers,, for a personalized consultation.

7th Annual PDE Data Summit

March 15-18, 2020 – Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, PA
  • for more information

  • to Register

    • Early Bird Registration (until December 16, 2019): $325

    • Regular Registration: $375

  • Topics: Special Education; Future Ready Index; STEM Data and Programs; School Improvement will be the biggest focus this year

  • Keynotes:

    • Sunday Night: Bradley J. Geise, Education for the Future

    • Monday Morning: Secretary Rivera

    • Monday Lunch: Jordan Morrow, Global Head of Data Literacy

    • Tuesday Morning: Jamie M. Bracey-Green, Temple University College of Engineering


ESSA requires that each state track data and hold schools accountable for the performance of student groups. PDE's ESSA Report Card provides additional data on student outcomes and equity considerations. Click here to visit the Report Card.

Continuous School Improvement

The school improvement process is not just for CSI/A-TSI/TSI designated schools. All schools can take advantage of the resources and support to implement second-order change for the benefit of all learners. In addition, the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning process for districts aligns with the new school improvement model. Contact Karen Henrichs or Lauren Cunningham for more information or to arrange a consultation.
Attendance Works

Click here to access resources, research, and other information to help you address and improve student attendance.

NEW! Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal

PDE is pleased to announce that the new Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal is scheduled to be released on February 2, 2020. Save the date for a face-to-face training to learn how to use this new tool.

  • February 11 – Pittsburgh PaTTAN

  • 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

  • 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

The recorded session will be posted to the CP Google Site after the February 11 session.



  • Access to the FRCPP is a 2-step process. Click here for directions to access the FRCPP application and then assign access to specific plans within the Portal.
  • IU Points of Contact will need to be added by the LEAs they support in order to access School Level and Comp Plans.

  • Additional resources have been posted to the Google Site.


Comprehensive Plans

  • Phase 1 - plans not submitted in the Comp Plan Web Application as of November 30, 2019 are due in the FRCPP by April 30, 2020.

  • Phase 2 - November 30, 2020 (FRCPP)

  • Phase 3 - November 30, 2021 (FRCPP)

Special Education Plans
  • Phase 1 - May 1, 2022 (FRCPP)
  • Phase 2 - May 1, 2020 (Comp Plan Web Application)
  • Phase 3 - May 1, 2021 (system TBD)

School Improvement Plans (CSI and A-TSI)

  • June 30, 2020
Title I Schoolwide Plans for non-designated Schools
  • September 1, 2020

UPCOMING TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES: Regional School Level Plan Training

Description: Facilitated walkthrough on school-level plans including guidance on completing the Needs Assessment section within the new Future Ready Planning Portal. This session will help designated schools (CSI, ATSI, TSI) and Schoolwide Title 1 schools complete their required plans within the new web portal (please note that TSI-designated schools are not required to submit a plan to the state). Schools that are non-designated and not schoolwide Title-1 are welcome to attend if they are interested in learning more about using the portal and completing a needs assessment. Click here to access the School Plan template and guidance document.

*A recording and resources will be posted at the Google site.

Dates and locations:

2/5- IU 16, 2/6- IU 19, 2/7- IU 17, 2/10- IU 8, 2/12- IU 1, 2/13- IU 3, 2/14- IU 27, 2/18- IU 14, 2/19- IU 24, 3/5- IU 25

Special Education Plan (Phase 2 LEAs only)

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is responsible for ensuring that all special education programs in schools are appropriate and effective. To do this, school districts must submit a Special Education Plan every three years to PDE as required under 22 PA Code 14.104. In preparation for Phase 2 school districts to submit their Special Education Plan by May 1, 2020, training details are highlighted below and will also be sent via PennLink.

The school district’s Special Education Plan focuses on plans generated from compliance monitoring, professional development activities, and training necessary to provide appropriate programs to students with disabilities. School districts will submit their plans by May 1, 2020, via the Comprehensive Planning Web Application.

Should you have any questions regarding the content of your plan, please contact Amy Deluca or Cortney Verner, in PDE’s Bureau of Special Education, at or If you have technical questions, please contact the PA Planning Helpdesk at or 717-732-8403.

Helpful Timelines for Future Ready Comp Planning

Science Standards

PDE will examine the state’s current standards, outline the various components that must be addressed when changing regulations, and develop a proposed timeline for making the changes – with the overall goal being to provide the best framework possible to prepare all students to be productive citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

PDE’s examination of the current standards includes input from the public. A series of stakeholder engagement sessions will be held across the state and virtually – the public is invited to attend and provide input. Options for stakeholder session dates, times, and locations appear below. Register here to attend a stakeholder session

Virtual Session - Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Virtual Session - Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Richland High School, Cambria County - Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Community College of Allegheny County - Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Notice and Note Sessions

Notice and Note: Nonfiction

Monday, March 9th, 2020

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

A learning event for teachers in any discipline, grades 4-12

Use this link to register.

Participants will explore an interconnected framework of strategies that every student can use to get beyond a superficial reading.

  • 3 big questions that set students up for attentive readings of nonfiction texts
  • 5 clues that cue students to apply the skills and processes used by sophisticated readers
  • 7 proven strategies readers can use when the text gets tough

A complete digital session is also available at a cost of $25 per participant. Please contact Lauren Cunningham, facilitator, for more information.

Notice and Note: Fiction

Monday, March 16th, 2020

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

A learning event for teachers in any discipline, grades 4-12

Register at

Participants will learn six signs, six anchor questions, and six lessons to help readers identify character development, conflict, plot, and theme. Six lessons, six signs, six questions, and one learning goal: "I got this!"

Spotlight on Literacy - Notice & Note

Click here for more information!

Curriculum Design Series is under way!

Session 1: Know Thy Standards! (December 4, 2019)

Participants will spend time unpacking their grade-level content standards to develop a deeper understanding of the learning intentions and performance expectations.

Session 2: The Written Curriculum (January 23, 2020)

In this curriculum crash course, participants will build a better conceptual understanding about what curriculum is and does by leveraging prior knowledge and addressing misconceptions.

Session 3: The Tested Curriculum -- February 13, 2020

Participants will use the standards to evaluate a collection of performance tasks and assessment items. We will explore how instructional delivery can ensure high-quality tasks result in high levels of learning.

Session 4: The Taught Curriculum -- March 18, 2020

Participants will engage in designing standards-driven units to ensure that the taught curriculum meets the intended expectations of the written curriculum.


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Pennsylvania's Definition of STEM Education

An integrated, interdisciplinary, and student-centered approach to learning that encourages curiosity, creativity, artistic expression, collaboration, computational thinking, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and design thinking.

Have you checked out the STEAM Lending Library?

All schools in the ARIN IU 28 region have access to cutting-edge tools to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math through inquiry-based learning. This new collection of resources comes to us through partnerships with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, PA STEM Lending Library Coalition, and PA Rural Robotics Initiative--all funded by PAsmart Advancing Grants.

  • K-12
  • High-tech and low-tech tools
  • Classroom sets
  • Can be used for whole group or station/rotation models

Click here to see what's available and reserve items.

ARIN IU is offering workshops where teachers can visit the library, experiment with the tools, and explore ways to use them in the classroom using the SAMR model as a guide. The SAMR model provides an implementation spectrum: on one end technology is used as a one-to-one replacement for traditional tools, and on the other end technology enables learning experiences that were previously impossible without it. The next event will be later this coming spring.

#CSinPA: Computer Science

ARIN IU 28 will be offering workshops throughout the year to enhance your current K-12 computer science offerings. CS Fundamentals K-5 Introduction Workshop: Six CS courses, designed with flexibility in mind. These courses can be implemented in the library, during a computer or STEM lab class, by a grade-level teacher, etc. High quality, one-day workshop, at no cost to your district. Join other teachers for a hands-on and fun intro to teaching computer science. #GradesK-5

January 9, 2020

CS First: What is CS First? It is a FREE computer science curriculum developed by Google that makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn. Designed for learners in grades 4 through 8, CS First aims to provide teachers with the tools they need to implement coding practices across all subject areas. An introductory training is scheduled for February 3rd, 2020 and a subject integration training is scheduled for February 20th, 2020 at ARIN. Participants must attend the introductory training in order to participate in the subject integration training.

CS SCRIPT: The Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool is a framework to guide teams of district administrators, school leaders, and educators through a series of collaborative visioning, self-assessment, and goal-setting exercises to create or expand upon a computer science education implementation plan for their students. Join us for this exciting *NEW* offering on March 2, 2020 CS Fundamentals K-5 Deep Dive Workshop: (*CS Fundamentals Intro Workshop is a Pre-Requisite). Teachers will have ideas for fostering and developing a strong classroom rapport that nurtures learners of all types and strategies for addressing roadblocks to implementation. Ongoing support through the teacher forum will continue to build a strong community of practice and support for participating teachers. #GradesK-5

March 20, 2020

CMU Computer Science Academy: Thank you for your support of this program. A cohort of educators from Blairsville-Saltsburg, Indiana, Penns Manor and Marion Center is working through the curriculum themselves to possibly incorporate into a course offering in 2020-2021!

Invention Literacy with MakeyMakey

ARIN IU 28 will be hostingan Invention Literacy with MakeyMakey workshop on March 10, 2020. This workshopis intended to help educators who work with students in grades K-12 explore inventing, design thinking and making using the MakeyMakey kit.

This session will be held at ARIN’s Central office and begin at 9:00 am and end by 3:00 pm. Upon completion, participants will receive five Act 48 hours. The cost will be $80 with lunch, a MakeyMakey kit (to keep) and materials included. We must have at least ten people register for this workshop to run. Please have those who are interested register online at:

Computer Science: Praxis Prep Course

The University of Texas (U of T) in Austin offers a Foundations of CS for Teachers: Praxis Prep course to regional educators who are interested in taking the Computer Science Praxis exam. This is a blended model course that includes 5 modules of online self-paced work, virtual support, and a regional face-to-face session at ARIN IU28. This opportunity will be provided and supported by ARIN IU 28.

The price per seat is $398. (PAsmart Targeted funds CAN cover the cost of this course.)

STEM Competitions

STEM Design Challenge: The STEM Design Challenge is a competition where students build a project out of K’Nex pieces. Students work in teams of 4 to design and build. Each school can bring up to three teams per division. Knex kits are available for participating teams thanks to our sponsor Thermo Fisher.

  • ARIN IU 28 Regional Competition: March 3, 2020
  • State competition will be held in Harrisburg on May 19, 2020
  • Registration is live

PA Media and Design Competition: The Media and Design Competition is an annual event that highlights Pennsylvania high school and middle school students' application skills and computer knowledge. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the student achievements that happen in your classroom each day. Students are able to unleash their creativity, learn how to convey information more dynamically, and enhance the learning process. Students in 6-12 grade can compete individually or as a group.


  • 3D Design
  • Animation
  • Logo and Graphic Design
  • Digital Movie
  • Programming
  • Web Page Design

Important Dates

Make Your PD P.O.P!

Click here to explore four creative ways to personalize professional learning! Contact Lauren Cunningham for more information.
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