Throughout the Commonwealth, Intermediate Units are serving their communities and students. Check out recent media stories about IUs:
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From The Reading Eagle
Nov. 30—The last 18 months have been hard on education.
The COVID pandemic has closed schools and forced students to learn online. It has thinned already shallow pools of teaching and substitute teaching prospects.
It has forced schools to implement new protocols and invest in new equipment. It has added extra stress for both students and staff.
And dealing with all of that hasn't been cheap.
Officials from the Berks County Intermediate Unit on Tuesday hosted a pair of local state legislators, as well as representatives for three others, at its Learning Center at Lower Alsace to thank them for their financial support during the crisis and show off what that support has helped pay for.
In particular, the BCIU officials spoke about federal COVID relief funding it received through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
Opening December 2021
Building on the success of their Mobile Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory), the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) is excited to announce the opening of a Fab Lab Center in December 2021 for scheduled events and activities.
Located at One Ivybrook Blvd., Suite 150, Warminster PA, the new Fab Lab Center will expand upon the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education programs the Mobile Fab Lab has been bringing to the students of Bucks County since the Fall of 2019. Educators, students, and industry stakeholders will now have a unique location specially designed to support a more in-depth engagement in STEAM learning.
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On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, a kickoff event was held at IU29 with the Schuylkill County Superintendents for a newly created conference room and innovation center called “The Hub”.
The idea was spearheaded by the IU29 Leadership Team as a resource for the member school districts and community members. “The Hub is a centralized think tank promoting the new IU29 tagline of ‘Specializing in Educational Solutions for Lifelong Learners!’”, said Gregory Koons, IU29 Executive Director. “The vision is for teams of educational leaders to utilize the space to brainstorm, create, and launch district leadership efforts for the benefit of students within Schuylkill County and beyond.”
The conference space features five learning stations with wall mounted monitors and an interactive 86-inch touchscreen at the front of the room for presenting and sharing electronic media. The second-floor room, originally utilized for technology storage, was renovated over the past six months with painting of walls, new lighting, buffed floors, and new countertops.
The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit has opened digital literacy centers in three Valley counties to help adults in the region upskill their understanding of technology or just get some one-on-one, free help filling out online applications for employment.
Visitors can visit one of the computer labs to work with the CSIU’s experienced technology coaches or complete an online course.
Read more at The Daily Item...
NORRISTOWN — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey recently paid a visit to the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit's Early Learning Academy.
The academy provides early learning programs and support to hundreds of children through the federal Head Start program in Montgomery County.
Afterward, he spoke about his legislative proposal to boost funding to such centers.
"My legislative proposal to set all American children up to succeed, the Five Freedoms for America’s Children, includes the Freedom To Learn," Casey said in a statement released to the media after his visit.
"This proposal recommends an additional annual investment of $7 billion to expand affordable child care and early learning programs, an additional investment of $18 billion annually to ensure that Head Start can cover all eligible 3- to 5-year-old children and a substantial, permanent expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit which will cover up to half the cost of child care for working families," Casey said.
"Affordable, high-quality child care helps give children the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school and enables parents to work so they can support their families,” said Casey.
View photos and original article in The Mercury...
By Dr. Gregory S. Koons, Executive Director, Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29
(This Spotlight Series article on AESA is a reflective piece about the role ESAs and leaders play during times of adversity, as witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.)
The pandemic has posed numerous challenges on educational leaders, and consequently, the pressures faced have created opportunities for educators to shine brightly.
Pressure is “the application of force to something by something else in direct contact with it” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). As a resident, educator, and educational leader in rural Pennsylvania (PA), it is fitting to reference the significance of coal under pressure being forged into a diamond. In a blog post from COACT, the author states that in order to forge diamonds through fire one must have a high degree of intensity, a lot of pressure, and collective teamwork (COACT, 2021).
The pandemic has inevitably forced educational leaders to handle intense situations, withstand insurmountable pressures, and bond together through collaborative efforts.
School districts across the state could benefit from a survey that collects broadband connectivity data to help determine whether families have sufficient internet access.
The survey was created by the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units and Penn State Extension as a way to help districts across the state, including those in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, have internet-related data readily available for use in grant applications, including those like the upcoming $7.1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund.
“We want to get to the heart of the matter,” said Gregory Koons, executive director of the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit and one of the leads on the project.
Students from around Pennsylvania have a chance to share their message of kindness at this year’s Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units’ annual conference at Seven Springs.
The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit is collecting short video messages and plans to play them at the conference Sept. 20-22. Curriculum services director Tim Hammill said he hopes to get a diverse response from students of all ages statewide about their visions of kindness and what it means to them.
“It really could be anything and that’s what we’re hoping for,” he said.
Videos should be 60 seconds or less and can be submitted online with a parent’s permission through Sept. 3 at bit.ly/Kindness-Video.
Via City & State PA ...
There’s no question that the pandemic exacerbated issues for many school districts, especially those that were underfunded to begin with.
Transitions to virtual learning were difficult for students, teachers, parents, and administrators alike, and the federal funding slated for school districts will be used to make up for lost instructional time. Of the $4.9 billion of federal relief funding coming to the Commonwealth, at least 20% must be used to address learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
City & State spoke to several experts on what education gaps were exposed during the pandemic and how the state and school districts should prioritize funding to address them. They include: John George, executive director, Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Unit; Tomea A. Sippio-Smith, K12 Policy Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth; and Sherri Landis, executive director, The Arc of Pennsylvania. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
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Gretchen Heintzelman's plans for a nursing career got off track but a free program offered by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit put her back on course and today the Lewisburg resident is employed as a registered nurse.
Heintzelman, 34, is among 1,378 participants in the CSIU's federally-funded Work Attributes Toward Careers in Health (WATCH) Project which helps income-eligible individuals interested in working in the health care field as a direct care worker (DCW), certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, phlebotomist or registered nurse by providing training, financial assistance and other resources.
In 2010, CSIU was awarded $9.2 million for the program and in 2015 received another $7.5 million grant to continue it.
Of the participants, 1,131 individuals have completed training in the past decade, said Katherine Vastine, WATCH Project program manager.
From The Daily Item
Pennsylvania Associationof Intermediate Units
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