Begin Main Content Area

Act 55 Summary

OESE Related Act 55 Items

Threat assessment teams: Amends current law to make certain activities concerning threat assessment teams annual requirements. Schools and chief administrators must annually facilitate opportunities for threat teams to complete group training and annually ensure school communities know a threat team exists and its purpose. (OSS)

High school transcripts: Beginning of the 2022-23 school year, requires an industry- recognized credential attained by a student be included on a student's transcript. (BCTE, BCAI)

Keystone Exam two-score composite pathway: Provides an alternative two-score composite pathway to graduation for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A student would be deemed proficient, in part, if they obtain a composite score of at least 2939, using the highest scores attained by the student on two of the three Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature and Biology. (BCAI)

Extension of continuing professional education requirements: Extends the professional development compliance periods for educators and school or system leaders with current compliance periods through July 8, 2023; extends deadline for paraprofessionals to comply with continuing education requirements to June 30, 2023. (BSS)

Structured Literacy Program: Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, mandates the Department of Education (PDE) to establish a program of professional development and applied practice in the Structured Literacy Program for school personnel that includes in-class demonstration, modeling, and coaching support to improve reading and literacy outcomes. Each school entity professional development plan must include training in structured literacy, and each teacher preparation program must include training based on PDE developed reading literacy skill standards. (BCAI)

Home school access to district/CTE programs: Beginning the 2023-24 school year, requires school districts to allow home schooled students to enroll in co-curricular activities that merge extracurricular activities with a required academic course and take academic courses equaling up to at least one quarter of the school day. Further requires school districts and area career and technical centers (CTCs) to allow home schooled students to participate in a career and technical education (CTE) program. Participation must be pursuant to the policies and rules of the school district of residence and on the same basis as other students enrolled in the district or CTC. (School Services)

Assisting students experiencing education instability: Allows a student experiencing education instability who was enrolled in the 2021-22 school year to immediately request a diploma from the school they attended in the 2021-22 school year or a prior school, or request a Keystone Diploma from PDE retroactive to the 2021-22 school year. (BCAI, BSS)

Special education funding provisions: Splits existing special education category 1 into a 1A (between $0 and $5,000 student cost) and 1B (between $5,000 and category 2 student cost) for reporting purposes. Further provides that the dollar ranges for each special education category be adjusted in the future based on the percentage change in the total special education expenditures reported by school districts divided by the total weighted student headcount determined under section 2509.5 of the School Code for the most recent year where data is available instead of the current CPI adjustment. Report due February 1, 2023. (BSE)

School nurse services for nonpublic schools: Amends current law to state that in a school district that provided school nurse services to a nonpublic school during the 2018-19 school year and received state funding for those services, every child of school age enrolled in the nonpublic school must continue to be provided with school nurse services by the school district. (School Services)

Online course clearinghouse: Authorizes PDE to develop a central clearinghouse of online courses for K-12 students and educators that will be accessible to school entities, nonpublic schools, home education programs, and the public. (OESE Advisor, BCAI)

Disability inclusive curriculum: Requires PDE to establish a Disability Inclusive Curriculum Pilot Program to provide instruction to students on the political, economic, and social contributions of individuals with disabilities, beginning the 2023-24 school year. (BSE)

Cosmetology and barber training pilot program: Through June 30, 2025, cosmetology and barber students enrolled in secondary education programs may earn up to 350 hours of instruction in a salon setting. (BCTE)

Other Act 55 Items for Consideration

School meals: Amends current law allowing schools to serve an alternative meal instead of the standard school meal if the student is not eligible for the school food program and owes more than $50 in a school year for unpaid school meals. Effective 2022-23, the amended law raises the threshold to $75 and prohibits school staff from discarding a school lunch that has already been served to a student. Schools must also assist families with applying for the school food program. (Division of Food and Nutrition)

Dual enrollment: Requires each school district, CTC, and charter school to enter into an agreement with an institution of higher education to allow students to enroll in college coursework prior to high school graduation. Agreements must meet the requirements in the law. No later than July 31, 2023, and each year thereafter, schools must submit agreements and related data to PDE. (Higher Ed)

School Safety

School safety and security grant distributions for 2022-23 school year: Allows every school district to receive $100,000 as a base grant and then an additional amount based on the district's average daily membership (ADM) through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) School Safety and Security Grant Program. CTCs, intermediate units, and charter schools may receive up to $70,000. (PCCD)

School mental health grant distributions for 2022-2023 school year: Allows every school district to receive $100,000 as a base grant. CTCs, intermediate units, and charter schools may receive up to $70,000. The law also expanded eligible uses to include more activities associated with student mental health. (PCCD)

Survey of school mental health services: Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to develop and distribute to school entities a survey instrument to measure mental health services by August 1, 2022, to be returned by August 31, 2022. (PCCD)

School Mental Health Internship Program: Beginning the 2022-23 school year, requires the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to establish the school-based Mental Health Internship Grant Program to support individuals working in internships in educator preparation programs that lead to certification in school nursing, school psychology, school counseling, or school social work. (PCCD, PHEAA)

School safety and security committee member terms: Amends current law to allow members of the PCCD School Safety and Security Committee who are appointed by the Governor and General Assembly to serve four-year terms and sets other term conditions for members. (PCCD)

School safety and security coordinator: Amends current law to ensure each school entity has appointed a school administrator as the school safety and security coordinator, institutes timelines for filling a vacancy for that position, and tightens training requirements. Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to develop training criteria for school safety and security coordinators that conforms to minimum standards outlined in the law. (PCCD)

School safety and security training: Amends current law to require at least one hour of annual training for school employees regarding emergency training drills (e.g., fire, active shooter, bomb threat) and identification of student behavior which indicates a threat. Further requires the School Safety and Security Committee to adopt minimum standards for training school employees in these areas, to provide training, and to approve third-party trainers for these areas. (PCCD)

School safety and security training in educator, administrator, and supervisory preparatory programs: Requires school safety and security training be incorporated into educator, administrator, and supervisory preparation programs after July 1, 2025. (Higher Ed)

Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Program: Amends current law to convert the program from a pilot to a permanent program and requires the resident school district to approve or disapprove a parent or guardian's written request for a student to enroll within 15 days of receipt. (OSS)

Educator Workforce

Out-of-state applicants for Instructional certification: Allows PDE to issue a comparable Pennsylvania instructional I certificate to out-of-state candidates who hold a valid out of state instructional certificate, completed an approved college or university program, passed the preparing states related content tests, taught on the certificate for at least two years and provided evidence of satisfactory teaching in the two most recent years. (Higher Ed)

Out-of-state applicants for CTE certification: Provides that an out-of-state candidate for a career and technical certificate who has a valid and current CTE certificate from another state, four years of experience in the occupation they are certified to teach, evidence of satisfactory experience from their two most recent years of teaching, and who complies with basic teacher eligibility requirements is eligible for a comparable Pennsylvania CTE instructional I certification. The legislation further provides that individuals who have met these requirements must be issued a certificate on an expedited basis. (Higher Ed)

Temporary Waivers: Temporarily waives basic skills test for education candidates for three years (July 8, 2022-July 8, 2025). (Higher Ed)

PreK-12 dance certificate: Requires PDE to develop an instructional certificate in PreK-12 dance. (Higher Ed)

Special Education Funding Commission: Reconstitutes the commission on January 15, 2024, with a report due by November 30, 2024. (BSE)

Entity Key

BCAI: Bureau of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction

BCTE: Bureau of Career and Technical Education

BSE: Bureau of Special Education

BSS: Bureau of School Support

OESE: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

OSS: Office of Safe Schools

PCCD: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

PHEAA: Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency