Curriculum Department Updates

March, 2021

State Assessment Updates

Email from DRC to District Assessment Coordinators on March 9:


Important Reminders for the 2021 PSSA Administration

  1. PDE has extended the administration window to allow testing through September 30, 2021. Schools can administer and return PSSA tests anytime during the initial and extended test window: April 19, 2021 – September 30, 2021.
  2. Schools can communicate their intention to administer the tests after the previously scheduled May 28 end-date in the DRC INSIGHT Portal’s Testing Dates collection system. Schools that intend to complete all testing after May 28 are asked to place a ‘2’ in the May 28th, PM, field and leave all other boxes blank.
  3. All PSSA materials will be delivered as scheduled for the spring testing window, regardless of a district’s testing plans. Assessment material will arrive by March 29, 2021, and each LEA is responsible for securely storing the materials until the tests will be administered. Materials cannot be returned to DRC for re-shipment on a later date.
  4. LEAs that intend to administer the tests in September must make arrangements to account for student mobility within the district. LEAs should plan to make the grade-specific test materials available at the schools where the students will be enrolled in 2021-22 (e.g., 8th-grade materials may need to move to the high school to allow the 2021-22 freshmen to participate in the 2021 Grade 8 assessments).

Other important notes on state testing...


  • A single test module(Keystone) or section (PSSA) cannot be split up among multiple days for a given set of students. You may however, administrator a module/section to different sets of students on different days, necessitated by physical distancing requirements. For example (two grade three homerooms might complete section 1-2 on Tuesday followed by two additional grade three homerooms on Thursday.)
  • If you are testing in the spring AND in the fall, you may send tests back in the spring, and then again in the fall. You do not have to wait to send all tests back at one time.
  • Still waiting on 95% participation rate waiver to be approved from USDE
  • An official FAQ guidance document is forthcoming at the beginning of the week

PA Data Summit

Most recent, updated information from PDE presented at the Data Summit on Act 158:

Future Ready Index:

FRCCP Expansion:

Act 35 Toolkit and Civics Assessment

Act 35 Toolkit and Civics Assessment


Act 35 Citizenship Knowledge Test: Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, each

school must administer at least once to students in grades 7-12, a locally developed assessment of US history, government and civics. Each school entity shall determine the form of the assessment and the manner in which the assessment shall be administered. A student with an IEP shall not be required to take the assessment if the provisions of the student’s IEP indicate otherwise. May use the US Citizenship and Immigration Services test to meet the requirements.


Reporting will likely take place in the FRCPP (new portal) under “reporting” or state required reports this year and at the conclusion of every second year hereafter.

Reporting will include the type of assessment administered, the total number of students who took the assessment, the total number who attained a passing grade, the grade level(s) in which the assessment was given, and the course(s) in which the assessment was administered.

Comprehensive Planning

The Phase 2 Comprehensive Planning deadline has been extended to November 30, 2021. The Phase 3 Comprehensive Planning deadline has been extended to March 30, 2022. You may submit the plan at any point prior to this date as well.



Help Guides for the Prepare for Planning Phase



Comprehensive Planning Google Site

Comprehensive Planning Tip Jar


Special Education Plans

All Special Education Plans are to be submitted in the FRCPP.

  • Phase 1 - Due May 1, 2022

  • Phase 2 - Due May 1, 2023

  • Phase 3 - Due March 1, 2022 *Extension granted by PDE*

    • A mandatory pre-recorded webinar will be released on April 1, 2021, for all school districts identified in Phase 3. It can be accessed by clicking here. The purpose of the webinar is to train school districts on the special education plan requirements and the new FRCPP system.

    • For questions about the Special Education Plan process or transition to the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal, please do not hesitate to contact your assigned Special Education Advisor or Amy Deluca, Division Chief, at amdeluca@pa.gov.


Act 45 Opportunity: Advancing Environmental Literacy

The Advancing Environmental Literacy Leadership Academy is a blended (live-virtual sessions,

and online learning) 34-hour program that has been thoughtfully and purposefully designed to

build the capacity of district and school leaders in increasing environmental literacy within their

organization through the development of a systematic environmental literacy plan.


The major ideas/objectives of this course align to theories of change that suggest that

educational leaders must identify their ultimate vision and desired outcomes and develop a

strategic plan containing the activities and supports to achieve the ultimate goal. Through this

course, educational leaders will be guided through the strategic planning process by identifying

a guiding coalition of various stakeholders to support the work, development of a vision for

environmental literacy, articulate the goals, strategies, and activities to achieve their vision, and

identify funding and community assets to sustain their environmental literacy plans.

For more information, click here.

Your IU Professional Development Programming

Google Basics: Sheets, Sites, Gmail/Calendar, Meet, and YouTube (NEW)

The curriculum department at ARIN and Riverview Intermediate Units has developed a seven hour workshop on the basics of using Google applications Sheets, Sites, Gmail/Calendar, Meet, and YouTube. The training is in an asynchronous, self-paced format in Google Classroom.


Participants in this learning experience will learn how to operate the tools and features in Google Sheets to create spreadsheets, sort and analyze data collection, share the spreadsheet for collaboration purposes, and consider how to use this application in their classroom. Learners will also create a Google Site, learn how to navigate the features in a Site, and embed materials into 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. For more information, click here.

Google Certified Educator Level 1 Bootcamp (NEW)

The curriculum department at ARIN Intermediate Unit has developed a two and a half day, 18 hour bootcamp on the basics of using all of the various Google applications tested on the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam. The training is in an asynchronous, self-paced format in Google Classroom. This bootcamp does not guarantee a passing score on the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam, but we are confident that participants will be very well prepared for a successful experience. For information, click here.

Chronic Absenteeism (NEW)

In this training, we will review the problems and negative effects chronic absenteeism has on the students, classroom, school, family, and community, as well as the research findings. We will evaluate what works and does not work ultimately creating an outline of a multi-system of support plan for absenteeism. Participants will obtain a wide range of resources to support their plan including possible approaches, motivations, and parent/community supports. This session offers training opportunities through two various lenses: a school leader lens and a classroom teacher lens. The school leader learning opportunity is four hours in length, and the classroom teacher learning opportunity is two hours in length. Click here to see a SMORE about this session.

Equity: The Beginnings of Equitable Education Practices (NEW)

The IU6 TAC department has created an asynchronous session introducing participants to the pillars of equitable educational practices. See more information here.


This introductory session is a great precursor to the curriculum department's Achievement Mindset asynchronous training session. For more information, contact lcunningham@iu28.org.

Big picture

Join Us for Remake Learning Days!

May 6-16, 2021


Remake Learning Days (RLD)

An innovative learning festival for families and youth. Northwestern PA is one of 17 regions involved across the country. These hands-on and engaging events are designed for kids of all ages at libraries, schools, tech centers, museums, play spaces, community centers, and more.



There's still time to participate as an Event Host!

Remake Learning Days would not be a success without event hosts like you. YOU can be a part of this national festival. It can be as simple as an already planned in-class event/project. I know there are some great things happening in our schools - let's highlight Northwestern PA through the Remake Learning Days festival!


Submit Your Event:

Submit your event to www.remakelearningdays.org to be part of this exciting community festival.

#CSINPA: COMPUTER SCIENCE IN PA


  1. K-8 Computer Science Virtual Pathway: Spring and Summer Cohorts Available
  2. Additional CS Opportunities through RIU#6 and our Partners
  3. Hour of Code: At Home Edition
  4. CS Exam - FREE Self-Paced Online CS Praxis Prep Course, Learn More HERE
  5. #CSinPA State Team Virtual Office Hours Zoom Room

Math Resource Site

This website is meant to be a resource for teachers, with a variety of activities and instructional materials to use in their classrooms. There are links to websites that are both free and require memberships, activities that are free to download, and much more, all organized in one place. There are pages that include activities to build number sense skills, enrich instruction, and ideas for differentiated instruction. Teachers can access the SAS website, standards, and PSSA information from this site as well. Click on the following link to access the website: https://sites.google.com/iu28.org/math-resources/home

Get More Math

For districts that have not yet tried GMM in their district, or a specific building, GMM is extending their free trial throughout the 2021-2022 school year. If this is something you think your district, or a few teachers, may be interested in trying, please let us know. We can get them more information over the summer or at the start of the next school year. They may find it beneficial to use with students to help close some of the learning gaps we are going to see, and it is also a great way to continue a spiral review of skills and concepts taught throughout the school year.