Act 168/Act 48 Guidance for Visits to Manufacturing Facilities
ParaAct 168 of 2014 added Subsection (x) to the list of optional activities that school entities may include in their continuing professional education plans for which Act 48 hours may be granted to participating educators (see 24 PS 12-1205.1(c.1)). Subsection (x) provides the option of including “visits by educators to a manufacturing workplace for orientation and demonstrations to give the professional educator a greater understanding of job opportunities in manufacturing for students.” This document provides guidance on how visits to manufacturing facilities can serve as a worthwhile component of in-service training that is beneficial to both educators and students.
Professional Education Plan
A school entity’s professional education plan forms the basis of its in-service continuing professional education program. The plan should be designed to meet the needs of its professional educators, with student achievement as the ultimate objective. For public school entities, the professional education plan is an integral part of the Comprehensive Plan, which is submitted online every three years via the Comprehensive Planning web application. If manufacturing visits are to be a part of the in-service program, this option should be included in the Comprehensive Plan as an implementation step pursuant to a strategy in order to achieve a selected goal.
Practical Application to Teaching
Act 48 requires that professional development programs, activities or learning experiences be related to an area of the professional educator’s assignment or certification. Planned visits to manufacturing facilities should be aligned with the applicable PA Core Standards or PA Academic Standards, be supported by behaviorally stated, measurable learning objectives, and be followed up with an assessment of the knowledge acquired and plan for how it can be implemented in teaching.
School counselors gain firsthand knowledge of the academic preparation and skills necessary for students to obtain gainful employment after graduation in specific manufacturing industries and learn about the types of postsecondary education and training necessary to qualify for employment in those industries.
Vocational educators acquire practical knowledge in their respective trades as they are applied in various manufacturing contexts (electricians, millwrights and mechanics, industrial environmental controls, commercial food production, etc.).
Math teachers learn about industrial processes that incorporate practical applications of algebra, calculus and statistics in product development and manufacturing, or in statistical process control for quality assurance, and then integrate practical examples in math curricula.
Science teachers learn about practical applications of biology, chemistry or physics in product development and manufacturing in fields such as pharmaceuticals, biologics, food products, chemicals, refining, metallurgy or materials science and then incorporate practical examples in teaching those subjects.
Act 48 hours for educator visits to manufacturing facilities are reported to PDE by school entities in the same way as hours earned for other Act 48 activities. The school entity uploads the hours via a roster in the standard Professional Education Record Management System (PERMS) Excel template format.