Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why was this legislation introduced?
Research demonstrates that effective school leaders have an impact on student achievement. A focused program of continuing professional education can help leaders develop the knowledge and skills they need to become more effective in improving the learning environment for teachers and students. This legislation will make better use of Act 48 credits by requiring certain school administrators to participate in professional education activities that are focused on practices that have the greatest impact on improving student achievement.
2. What professional educators are affected by the legislation?
All active school and system leaders employed in the following positions in Commonwealth districts and schools:
- Assistant or Vice Principal
- Assistant Superintendent
- Intermediate Unit Executive Director
- Intermediate Unit Assistant Executive Director
- Director of an Area Vocational-Technical School
This legislation only affects professional educators with administrative certificates who are employed in any of these positions in a Commonwealth district or school on or after January 1, 2008.
3. What is required by the legislation?
The legislation requires the following:
- Preparation programs for superintendents and principals must address the nine PA school leadership standards.
- A Principals' Induction Program that addresses the three core leadership standards has been developed and is offered by the Department. Current certified principals, vice or assistant principals, who are employed for the first time on or after January 1, 2008, and all candidates who apply for a certificate on or after January 1, 2008 must complete the induction program within the first five years of employment as a principal, vice or assistant principal in the Commonwealth.
- On or after January 1, 2008, all school and system leaders must complete their Act 48 continuing professional education requirements in no less than the same proportion as the proportion of the compliance period during which the individual was employed as a school or system leader. School and system leaders will be required to fulfill their PIL proportional hours in programs that address one or more of the nine PA school leadership standards.
- The Department of Education must provide the programs it offers at no cost to the individual or the school entity.
- The Department of Education must approve other providers, using criteria developed by the Department, to provide induction and continuing professional education.
4. What are the Pennsylvania School Leadership Standards?
- The leader has the knowledge and skills to think and plan strategically, creating an organizational vision around personalized student success.
- The leader has an understanding of standards-based systems theory and design and the ability to transfer that knowledge to the leader's job as the architect of standards-based reform in the school.
- The leader has the ability to access and use appropriate data to inform decision-making at all levels of the system.
- The leader knows how to create a culture of teaching and learning with an emphasis on learning.
- The leader knows how to manage resources for effective results.
- The leader knows how to collaborate, communicate, engage and empower others inside and outside of the organization to pursue excellence in learning.
- The leader knows how to operate in a fair and equitable manner with personal and professional integrity.
- The leader knows how to advocate for children and public education in the larger political, social, economic, legal and cultural context.
- The leader knows how to support professional growth of self and others through practice and inquiry.
5. How were these standards determined?
In 2004-2005, a stakeholder group of practitioners (superintendents and principals), association leaders, and university administrators and instructors were asked to review the research on how school leaders impact student achievement and to recommend a set of standards based on that research to guide preparation and continuing professional education for school leaders in Pennsylvania. The group recommended the standards to the Secretary of Education in the spring of 2005, and they have been the basis of the professional education offered through the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) program.
6. What is the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) program?
PIL is a standards-based professional education program offered
by the Department of Education through eight regional sites. Each site supports
several cohort groups with two curricular offerings: 1) a comprehensive
curriculum developed by the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL);
and 2) The PA Coaching Course as well as the PIL blended course offerings.
7. Is the PIL program the only way that school and system leaders can receive Act 48 credit?
Individuals employed as a school or systems leaders will be required to complete their Act 48 continuing professional education requirements in no less than the same proportion as the proportion of the compliance period during which the individual was employed as a school or system leader (see also questions 12 and 13 below). PIL approved courses, as indicated by PERMS Subject Areas "PA Inspired Leadership (PIL)" and "PA Inspired Leadership (PIL) Induction" are the only Act 48 programs that will count towards completion of PIL requirements. "School Administrative (Non-PIL)" courses and/or activities will not count towards the completion of PIL requirements, but will count toward the total Act 48 continuing professional requirements and will satisfy the proportion of the compliance period in which the individual was not serving as a school or system leader.
PIL approved courses will consist of:
- Leadership courses or programs offered by the Department that address one or more of the PA leadership standards.
- Approved superintendent preparation programs.
- Approved courses or programs offered by approved providers.
8. How will I know which courses or programs have been approved?
The law requires the Department to annually publish a list of approved providers for the Principals' Induction Program and the Continuing Professional Education Programs. The Department will seek proposals from providers through an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) and will publish on its website a list of those that are approved in March 2008. This list will be updated quarterly during 2008 and at least once a year thereafter.
9. Is there a limit on the number of required hours for the Principals' Induction Program?
Yes. The legislation limits the number of required hours of professional education to 36 hours per school year and a total of 108 hours for the entire Induction Program.
10. How will the Department track Act 48 hours for school and system leaders?
Starting in January 2008, the PERMSV2 tracking system will be modified to track PIL hours and non-PIL hours for all school and systems leaders. Each educator's continuing education profile will show this information as it is reported by providers. Approved providers must enter their approved courses or programs under the subject area of PIL or PIL Induction to ensure that they are properly credited to an individual's account.
11. What if a school and system leader has met the Act 48 requirements for their current compliance period when the PIL legislation takes effect on January 1, 2008?
Those school and systems leaders are not required to participate in any PIL or PIL-approved programs until their next compliance period.
12. What about those school or system leaders who have not met their 180-hour requirement for the current compliance period by January 1, 2008?
If a school or systems leader has served in one of the targeted positions for the entire compliance period, he or she must get all of their remaining Act 48 hours in a PIL or PIL-approved program. For example, if a school or systems leader has 120 Act 48 hours by January 1, 2008, he or she will need to complete 60 hours in a PIL or PIL-approved program.
13. What about school or system leaders who have served in both administrative and non-administrative positions during a compliance period?
In this case, the law requires that the Act 48 requirements be proportional. For example, a school or system leader who has served in one of the targeted positions for only four of the five-year Act 48 compliance period would need to complete 80% of his or her remaining unmet hours as of January 1, 2008, in a PIL or PIL-approved program.
14. What happens if a school or systems leader meets the Act 48 180 hour requirement, but has not met the requirements of this law?
All school or systems leaders must meet the requirements of this law to remain active. For example, assuming an individual has been employed as a school and systems leader for the entire compliance period and has 150 PIL hours and 30 non-PIL hours, he or she will have administrative certificate(s) inactivated until the 30 hours in a PIL course or program have been completed. All other certificates will remain active, and the school or systems leader will begin a new Act 48 Five-Year Compliance Period. The specific administrative certificate types that would be affected are Administrative, Administrative I, Administrative II, and Letter of Eligibility.
15. How does this law affect individuals who hold administrative certificates that are not currently serving in one of the positions defined as school and system leaders?
They may continue to take professional education courses or programs appropriate to their position responsibilities.
16. Who do I contact for more information about the legislation and the Department's implementation plan?
PIL Program Assistant
PA Department of Education
17. How do I get more information or apply for the PA Inspired Leadership Program?
Contact the PIL Regional Program Leader in your region:
Region 1 (I.U. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26):
Region 2 (I.U. 14, 20, 21, 29)
Region 3 (I.U. 18, 19)
Region 4 (I.U. 9, 16, 17)
Region 5 (I.U. 12, 13, 15)
Region 6 (I.U. 8, 10, 11)
Phone: 814-542-2501, ext. 196
Region 7 (I.U. 1, 2, 3, 7, 27)
Dean A. Casello, Ed.D
Phone: (412) 394-5752
Region 8 (I.U. 4, 5, 6, 28)
*Act 45 of 2007 amended several sections (1003, 1109, 1205.5, and 1217) of the Pennsylvania Public School Code to focus the preparation and continuing professional education of school and system leaders on the nine Pennsylvania Leadership Standards. This is commonly referred to as the "PIL legislation."