CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa., April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Deputy Secretary Matt Stem made multiple stops in Lackawanna County to celebrate education and literacy with local students.
Stem, who oversees the Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, kicked off his day by reading to a group of children at the Lackawanna County Children's Library. Stem read the book, Daniel Finds a Poem, to a group of children preparing for kindergarten.
The book reading was part of the program One Book, Every Young Child, which is celebrated every April, and is a collaboration between PDE's Office of Child Development and Early Learning, and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. The visit underscored the importance of developing literacy skills in young children and boosting the public's use of their local libraries, which is a goal of Governor Tom Wolf.
Later Stem visited Clarks Summit Elementary School as part of the Wolf Administration's Schools That Teach tour. While there, Stem met with Abington Heights School District teachers, administrators, and students to tour the school and discuss some of the Administration's education priorities, including investing more state funding in public education, implementing a new school evaluation tool, and expanding literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs in schools across the commonwealth.
"When you visit classrooms you can feel the immense energy from the whole school community," Stem said. "One of the Administration's and the Department of Education's top priorities is helping schools prepare our students for future success. Whether it is driving more dollars to our classrooms, providing robust, researched-based curriculum tools to teachers, or advocating on behalf of our schools for sound education policies with our state and federal leaders, our goal is to serve the community."
Stem noted the historic funding Governor Wolf has secured since taking office in 2015 - more than $640 million in additional funding going to pre-kindergarten to postsecondary programs. In his 2017-18 budget proposal, released in February, Governor Wolf called for an additional $100 million for basic education, $75 million for high quality early childhood education; $25 million in special education; more than $8 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
During the visit, Stem also outlined the Future Ready PA Index, which would be used to measure school success beginning in the 2018-19 school year. The current measure, the School Performance Profile (SPP) is overly reliant on standardized test scores. Under the governor's guidance, PDE solicited input from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, policy makers, advocates, industry and higher education leaders, to develop the more holistic Future Ready PA Index.
Improving access to quality and innovative programs through enhanced funding is a hallmark of the Schools That Teach initiative, through which Administration officials have visited dozens of schools since 2015. To date, the Schools That Teach tour has made stops at more than three dozen schools across Pennsylvania. A Google Map of all tour stops is available here.
For more information about Pennsylvania's education policies and programs, or to read PDE Secretary Rivera's budget testimony, visit the Department of Education's website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education