Curriculum Updates

October 2021

PDE Updates

Transition to Desmos Calculator Online Testing and Other Assessment Updates

PDE has requested that DRC transition to a Desmos calculator within the DRC INSIGHT Online Learning System. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, Desmos will replace the current INSIGHT calculator for all online Pennsylvania assessments: Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT), PSSA, and the Keystone Exams. DRC will also update the Online Tools Training (OTT) and Tutorials prior to the 2022-23 school year to provide students and educators an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Desmos calculators. The transition to Desmos is meant to provide a calculator for the online assessments that is aligned with an instructional tool that is commonly used across Pennsylvania. The universal functionality of the Desmos calculator will allow for a seamless transition within the online assessments, while at the same time offering schools easier, year-round access to the calculator for classroom work.

The timing of PDE’s decision is intentional to allow schools ample time to make any preparations for familiarizing students with Desmos prior to the 2022-23 assessments. Any questions regarding the online calculator transition can be directed to PDE at

See other Fall 2021 Assessment Updates from PDE here.

Preview Window for Future Ready PA Index

In March of 2021, the United States Department of Education (USDE) granted Pennsylvania’s request to extend our State Assessment window through September to assist with schools’ COVID mitigation efforts. The extended window delays the scoring and reporting of assessments. As a result, PDE will update the Future Ready PA Index, Pennsylvania’s public-facing school progress report, in two phases based on the availability of data.

Phase one will update indicators reliant on available enrollment, attendance, and demographic data:

  • District and School “Fast Facts”
  • Regular Attendance
  • Graduation Rate
  • Career Standards Benchmark

LEAs will receive access to preview this data from September 27th to October 5th, 2021. Results for the indicators listed above will “go live” on the public-facing website ( on Friday, October 8, 2021. A second phased release, in the Winter of 2022, will update indicators more reliant on assessment and other accountability data.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact us at:

Act 35 Reporting Updates

PDE will conduct an electronic survey of each school entity at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year and at the conclusion of every year thereafter requesting information concerning compliance with the requirements of the act. The survey shall only request:

  • The type of the assessment administered

  • The total number of students who took the assessment

  • The total number of students who attained a passing grade on the assessment

  • The grade level or levels in which the assessment was administered

  • The course in which the assessment was administered

Report will open in the FRCPP system November 15th, 2021 with a deadline of Friday, January 7th, 2021.

By January 1 of the year following the school year for which the survey is conducted, make the data collected on the surveys available on the PDE website.

*** A student with an IEP shall not be required to take the assessment if the provisions of the student’s IEP indicate otherwise.

Act 35 Slide Deck shared at 9-20-21 PAIUCC Meeting

Act 35 Civics Toolkit (SAS)

Act 158 Trainings

To assist LEAs with Act 158 implementation (beginning with the class of 2023), PDE is offering trainings during the months of Sept., Nov., & Dec. Prior to participating in office hours, please review the Act 158 Toolkit and associated resources on the SAS website. Click on this link for more information on training dates/times. Training topics include:

  • Act 158 Overview
  • Resources
  • Implementation
  • Tracking and Reporting

Science Standards Update

To learn about potential instructional shifts or the 3 – dimensionality of standards, reference the following reports prepared for the State Board of Education:

If you have questions or receive questions from others about foundation boxes and how the performance expectations incorporate multiple dimensions, a great place to refer to is Appendix B of the reports listed above.

In the process of adopting the new standards, the state is hoping to have the new standards approved by January and we are looking at a three year implementation procedure. There will be some sessions at the SAS Institute regarding the new science standards.

The assessments will be revised and in place in year four of implementation: that is currently slated for the 2025-2026 school year

SAS Updates

The SAS team has been working hard over the last few months to update and add a variety of resources to the SAS portal. This document covers the highlights of those updates. If you are interested in a session on these updates, I can get you connected and scheduled with Kevin Mauro, who will dig deep into these updates and their purposes with you!

Comprehensive Planning

The newest edition of “The CP Tip Jar” newsletter has been released (September 2021). Click here to access the most current Comprehensive Planning information.

PVAAS Updates

!!! Important NEW Update !!!

Growth data (three year rolling PVAAS) for teacher evaluation purposes in Act 13 will not be available until the fall of 2024.

PVAAS 1 on 1 Consultations

The PVAAS statewide team is continuing to offer 1 on 1 consuting sessions (most about 1 hour). So far 75+ districts have participated and they have received great feedback. The email address to schedule a consultation is:

PVAAS has made updates to District Search, School Search, and Scatterplots.

This is a change to the reporting display.

The following changes have been made to District and School Search:

  • The restricted and public site will now report percentage proficient, percentage advanced, and total percentage of proficient or advanced by grade and across grades.
  • Quintiles have been removed from the restricted site.
  • PSSA Math and ELA achievement will be reported by individual grade and across grades.
  • PSSA Science will be reported by individual grade only and will now be displayed on the public site.
  • Keystones will be reported by subject.
  • PSSA Math, PSSA ELA, and PSSA Science measures on District and School Search now show individual subject-grade measures.
  • The following changes have been made to Scatterplots:
  • The restricted and public sites will display the same information.
  • All demographic axes and filters are available on the public site.
  • For information, click Help when viewing one of these specific reports.

The PVAAS online Help, accessible throughout the application, provides detailed information about each report in the system, including explanations of how the reports are generated and guidance for interpreting and using the data effectively.

Go to this link to find information about PVAAS or to contact us.

Coming Soon - PVAAS Data Powershots!

Twelve short videos (5-8 minutes) on popular topics will be released over the next few months.

CDT Updates

New information from the CDT Statewide team:

Discovery Education Resource

The first week of October Discovery Education released an annoucement that they are offering 500 daily classroom activities available to teachers nationwide at NO COST through June 2022. These resources are available in the K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 grade bands. Activities are released on a monthly basis and include Daily Fix-its, Background Builders and Writing Prompts.

The link to acccess these Daily Learning Activites can be accessed at this link:

What's New in ARIN's Curriculum Department

Accelerated Learning Choice Board

Our curriculum department created this choice board of Accelerated Learning topics for you to use FREE in your schools if you'd like. Each topic consists of 2 hours of professional learning for teachers and/or principals. Our support that we have and will design for the rest of this school year will expand upon these topics and provide more detail, learning, and practical strategies for use in implementation.

Big picture

Asynchronous Training

The Achievement Mindset

When we think about reaching and teaching students in poverty, what are the greatest factors in their success? Where does individual teacher expectations of their students' success fall in the ranking of factors? Through this four hour training, teachers will assess their understanding of how poverty impacts student learning and learn how to set gutsy goals for ALL of the students in their classroom. Participants will also learn key strategies for how to set micro-goals for their students and how to ultimately help students self-manage these goals on the path to reaching high expectations.

Google Asynchronous Training: Google Basics and Bootcamp

Google Basics Part One

Part 1 of this bootcamp teaches participants the basics of using Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Forms. Participants will listen to instructional videos, complete a skills challenge for each Google Application, and also reflect on each skills challenge. By the end of part 1, participants will have a Google Doc, Google Slide, and Google Form ready to use in their classroom. This section of the bootcamp takes a full day to complete, or seven hours.

Google Basics Part Two

In Part 2, you will learn how to operate the tools and features in Google Sheets to create spreadsheets, sort and analyze data collection, and consider how to use this application in your classroom. Learners will also create a Google Site and navigate the features in a Site. The Gmail/Calendar portion of the learning experience will expose participants to organizational features in these applications to enhance workflow and collaboration. An introduction to Google Meet and some practical suggestions for successful synchronous lessons and meetings are included in this training, followed and concluded by a useful section on creating channels, playlists, and using YouTube in a classroom. This section of the bootcamp takes a full day to complete, or seven hours.

Google Classroom

Part 3 of this bootcamp concludes with learning on Google Classroom and how to set up a classroom, create and assign interactive assignments, differentiate assignments, and more. This section of the bootcamp takes a half day to complete, or four hours total.

*Accelerated Learning Categories: Equitable Practices, Class-Wide Supports, SEL

Face to Face Trainings

Visible Learning: The Why, The Research, The Strategies

ARIN IU28 is offering its first microlearning session to support your teachers in learning effective and practical strategies for use in their classrooms aligned to the research of John Hattie and the concept of Visible Learning. Click here for more information.

*Accelerated Learning Categories: Instruction, Formative Assessment, and Equitable Practices

Text Dependent Analysis Support

ARIN IU 28 is offering a line up of leveled TDA support based on your teachers' experiences with instructing text dependent analysis. We have two new sessions to offer veteran teachers this year as well in this area. Click here for more information.

* Accelerated Learning Categories: Instruction, Formative Assessment, Equitable Practices, Analyze Assessments, Scaffolded Supports

Math Instruction

IU28 is offering a series for math teachers on building number fluency, word problems, and many other topics to support ALL math learners in the classroom. Click here for more information.

*Accelerated Learning Categories: Instruction, Formative Assessment, Scaffolded Supports


STEAM Lending Library

The STEAM Lending Library will be ready to take reservations for classroom items beginning September 7, 2021. Please visit the Lending Library site at to view items and make a reservation.

Please check out this SMORE for the other sessions offered this fall, including:

  • Invention Literacy with Makey Makey
  • Hummingbird, Finches, and Micro:Bit
  • Engineering Session
  • SCRIPT Training
  • STEAM Lending Library Review
  • Raspberry Pi Training

*Accelerated Learning Categories: Instruction, Academics, Equitable Practices

Networking Groups

Other Professional Learning Opportunities

The Social Studies Network invites you to join us for our exciting lineup of professional development offerings this coming school year! All workshops provide Act 48 hours to maintain your teaching certificate.

Please CLICK HERE for a flyer of training sessions, dates, and registration.

ARIN'S TaC (Training and Consultation) Team!

Meet ARIN's TaC Team

Our TaC team offers training and consultation in a variety of special education initiatives. Please click this link to meet the team and learn about what they can specifically offer your district. TaC is funded through a separate funding stream (IDEA) from our curriculum services department, so their support is completely free to your district.

Coming Soon

We are nearly complete with a combined Curriculum Department and TaC Launch Form that will help us streamline district requests for our support. Look for this link and information on using this request form soon.