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Colonial Intermediate Unit 20

Act 82 Expands Requirements for Employee Disclosure of Criminal History

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Volume 8 Issue 3

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This Month: Human Resources, Business & Administrative Departments

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THE TWENTY

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October 2012

Executive Director’s Message BY DR. CHARLENE M. BRENNAN

BY TONY PIDGEON, Director of Human Resources

Act 82 of 2012, signed into law on June 30, 2012, amends Section 111 of the School Code, which provides for background checks for employees of public and private schools, intermediate units and area vocationaltechnical schools who have direct contact with children. Previously, Act 24 of 2011, required all employees to disclose past arrests and convictions for offenses that fell under the “Reportable Offenses” section - 111(e). Details on these types of offenses can be found on the PDE website. Act 82 clarifies and expands the requirements for employees to report past arrests and convictions. Under Act 82, current employees are required to submit a more detailed criminal history, as outlined on the form created by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Employees are required to report past arrests and convictions for any other felony not already reportable, as well as misdemeanors of the first degree, and second convictions for DUI where the conviction is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Current employees have 72 hours to report these arrests or convictions. Also under Act 82, the employment eligibility is expanded to include both prospective and current employees. These employees cannot be employed for a period of 10 years from the end of their sentence from felony convictions, five years from the end of the sentence for misdemeanor convictions, and three years from the end of a date of release of a second misdemeanor conviction of DUI. This means that action must be taken on current employees who fall into any of these categories. Act 82 requires that an employer who reasonably believes that an employee failed to report an arrest or conviction for any felony, misdemeanor of the first degree, and the conviction of DUI, is mandated to require a background check of said employee, at the cost of the District or IU. Before you take any actions please review the situation with you solicitor, and if you have further questions do not hesitate to contact me at 610-515-6405 or tpidgeon@ciu20.org.

Happy Fall, everyone! It is that time of year when things have settled in at school and the routine of things begins flow. The same happens here at the IU and as with every October, we move heavily into budget season. Many of your districts have also been starting early and trying to determine how the many financial challenges facing all of us can be resolved. It clearly won’t be easy. With an Act 1 index at 1.7% that was lower than anyone imagined, we have another very difficult budget season ahead of us. At the IU we begin our budget work in July, very early. We do that because we know you need our budget numbers for your own deliberations. It is also extremely difficult to do because we must project blindly, not having current information in front of us on which to base our estimates. This year it is particularly difficult because we are negotiating our Teacher, Support staff, Act 93, and Transportation contracts. I am hopeful, however, that the outcome of those negotiations will allow us to keep our costs low for all of you. As you know we educate many of your most difficult and challenging children and so often they are more expensive due to the many services they need. We have done well in the past in containing our costs and we will work hard for you this fall to do the same for 2012-2013. As always, if you have any questions, please call me at the Intermediate Unit - 610-515-6402. Happy Halloween!

DID YOU KNOW . . . The Curriculum Department at CIU 20 realized a 73% increase in professional development requests since last year. The comparison was based on data from the 2011-2012 to the 2012-2013 school year, for the months of April to September. Professional development requests tied to the Keystones to Opportunity Grant were not included in this comparison. To submit a professional development request, please go here: http://www.ciu20.org/curriculum-Services/request-training. aspx. To view our current services offered, please refer to the Supports for Continuous School Improvement book, located here : http://www.ciu20.org/curriculum-Services/docs/Menu%20of%20Services%202012.2013.pdf. CIU 20: Dedicated To Your Children and the People Who Serve Them


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Updates Made to Employee Benefit Trust of Eastern PA (EBTEP) BY HANS E. BALTZERSEN, Director of Business Services, Trust Manager

Several years ago a school district in the CIU 20 catchment area expressed an interest in joining the Employee Benefit Trust of Eastern PA (EBTEP). Many questions were raised and it became apparent that changes needed to be made to this out-dated Trust Agreement. EBTEP was created in 1983 to provide affordable, cost-saving and quality heath care benefits to public school system employees and their dependents. As Chairperson of the Trust, Dr. Brennan appointed a committee to work on revising the Trust Agreement. The committee, made up of several school district and Vo-Tech Business Managers, Trust Consultant, Trust Solicitor, Trust Manager and Trust Chairperson, met several times since July 2011. Numerous drafts of the Trust Agreement were made until an agreement was recommended in April 2012 for adoption. The Trust Agreement provides for its amendment by 66.66% of the member LEA’s The Agreement was revised word by word, line by line, and paragraph by paragraph. As this was done, it became very apparent that the original 1983 document was significantly out of step with the way business has been conducted in the Trust, and also that the Trust Agreement as it stood would not be able to accommodate change in the future. After some hard work, the updated Trust Agreement reflects current practices of doing business, and is better able to adapt to different ways of providing benefits in the future. The revised Trust Agreement also addresses the mechanics of application to the Trust for participation in its programs. Lastly, provisions were made to monitor and hold LEA’s responsible for payment of contributions and maintenance of reserve balances. Although there were some amendments to the Trust Agreement in 1990, 1999 and 2000, these amendments were designed to address specific situations and did not represent a comprehensive review of the Trust Agreement. The following is a summary of some of the more important revisions to the updated Trust Agreement: Definitions: A new Definitions section was added to define key terms used throughout the Agreement. Membership: Different levels of participation in the Trust were established. Regular Members are those who participate in the medical and prescription plans and will continue to have voting trustees. Associate Members are those whose school employers have more than 1,500 participants. A separate category for these larger employers was established because they have the potential to swing trust reserves of the regular members, perhaps too abruptly, and it was felt that these larger employers should stand on their own. There is still an incentive for larger employers to join the Trust, since they would participate and enhance the Trust’s bargaining leverage. Also, the administrative offices of the larger employers should have less work in administering health care benefits through the Trust than if they were administering them on their own. A new category of Affiliates was established for school employers which desire to participate in Trust programs other than medical and prescription, such as vision and dental contracts. The last important point is that Associate Members and Affiliates have two non-voting representatives to the Trust. These representatives can attend and participate in Trust meetings but do not have a vote. Funding Arrangements: An important new section was added to the Trust Agreement to describe possible funding arrangements, and to make it clear that the Trust separately accounts for the assets and liabilities of each employer. The possible arrangements are Pooled Funding, CashFlow Funding, Cost-Reimbursement Funding, and Insured Funding. It is important to stress that the Pooled Funding which is described in the Trust Agreement is not a “pure” Pooled Funding arrangement in which participating

employers have a single contribution rate, no matter what their experience is. The EBTEP Trust has historically operated on the basis that each school employer is responsible for its own claims experience. However, all school employers share the benefits of the Trust, which results in both financial and administrative benefits. Role of Business Manager: It is important to note that this revised Trust Agreement incorporates the existing practice that the Business Manager of the school district is the liaison between the Trust and the school employer in matters of administration. Revised Policies Procedure: In revising the Trust Agreement, the Committee felt that it was important to have well drafted Policies in place which can be amended from time to time. The Trust consultant, Tom Longenecker, authored these policies. These include an Application and Procedure for Membership Policy, a Contribution and Payment Policy, an Investment Policy, and a Reserve and Funding Policy. The revised Trust Agreement provides that these Policies must be adopted by a 66.66% vote of all Trustees. Now that the revised Trust Agreement has been approved, the Trustees will move forward with adoption of the new Policies. (In addition to the new Policies, the Committee is also going to work on Bylaws for the Trust.) Holiday Provision: The Committee preserved a funding holiday provision, provided that certain requirements are met. Finance and Management Committee: The Committee also revised the Trust Agreement to provide for a Finance and Management Committee in place of the Executive Committee provided in the current Trust Agreement. This new committee is put in place to recognize the current practice of the Trust Manager meeting periodically with the business managers of the participating school districts. Like the powers granted to the Executive Committee in the existing Trust Agreement, the Finance and Management Committee can act in between the Trust’s quarterly meetings, but any such actions “shall be reported to the Trustees at their next regular meeting for ratification.” The Trust Manager regularly meets with the business managers who are members of the Intermediate Unit anyway, and this gives them the opportunity to discuss Trust financial information. As mentioned previously, the above items are the most significant changes to the Trust Agreement, but they don’t represent all of the revisions. It is also important to note that after a thorough review, some sections of the Trust Agreement were deemed appropriate and didn’t need revised at all. The Committee truly believes that the proposed redrafted Trust Agreement represents a very positive step forward for the Trust. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 610-515-6415 or hbaltzersen@ ciu20.org.

For more information concerning CIU 20 Programs and Services, visit our website at www.ciu20.org or scan this image with your smartphone! Colonial IU 20 Board of Directors Ms. Jane F. Erdo, President Ms. Susan Baxter, Vice-President Mr. Hans Baltzersen, Treasurer Mrs. Dawn M. Hales, Secretary Colonial IU 20 Administrators Dr. Charlene M. Brennan, Executive Director, cbrennan@ciu20.org Mrs. Dawn M. Hales, Executive Secretary/Board Secretary, dhales@ciu20.org Dr. Mary Beth Bianco, Assistant Executive Director, mbianco@ciu20.org


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Colonial Academy Students Urged to “Discover Your Success” at Annual Team Challenge BY JULIE EATES, Coordinator of Professional Development

Colonial Academy held the 12th Annual Team Challenge, on Thursday October 11, 2012. “Discover Your Success” was the theme of this year’s event that included over 200 student participants. Students were assigned to teams based on homerooms from the Alternative Education, Emotional Support and Partial Hospitalization programs. Each team incorporated a Colonial Academy staff member as its captain. Prior to the event, each team met with their assigned captain to get to know one another, form a game plan, explain the expectations of the students and most importantly, discuss strategies on how to work together as a team, a challenging skill for many of these students. The goal of this program, which began in 2001 at the Second Chance Academy in Hellertown, is to allow students to come together and work on the collaboration skills that they will need to succeed in school and in the future. Students competed in the following events: • Basketball Shoot- Selected team members were given two minutes to make as many shots from outside of the key as possible. This was a timed event. • Confidence Course – Team members had to navigate through a course of agility as a cohesive unit. • Fire Truck pull – Three team members pulled a 16 ton fire truck for time and distance. • Academic Events - Utilizing iPads and interactive whiteboards, students competed to find correct answers in Math, Science, History, English and PSSA and Keystone Test Preparation. • Heavy Objects Relay- All team members participated in this event which required the moving of medicine balls (100 lbs., 50 lbs., and 40 lbs.) and other heavy objects across the parking lot area. In order to participate in the event, students had to maintain an 85% on their Talli, which measures their positive interactions with their peers, appropriate language, being on task, completing assignments and following staff directions. This uplifting event provides the participating students with a positive outlet for their energy, while allowing them access to new and different problem solving skills in a supportive environment. Colonial Academy combines students from different geographic areas, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, while providing specialized services to meet their unique educational needs.

Josh Groff, left, 12, of Bethlehem, and Troy Harris, 16, of Bangor, participate in a math event . - Photo Courtesy of Stephen Flood, The Express Times -

Left to right, Brandon Champion-Brown, 17, of Stroudsburg, Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, of East Stroudsburg, and Laverty Conway, 19, of Stroudsburg, participate in the fire truck pull. - Photo Courtesy of Stephen Food, The Express Times -

CIU 20 Driver Education Program Continues to Grow BY DR. MARY BETH BIANCO, Assistant Executive Director

The Colonial Intermediate Unit 20’s Driver Education program is dedicated to providing our students with the tools and skills necessary to become safer drivers. This is accomplished by hiring highly qualified professional educators as instructors, and using a standards-based proven curriculum. The Classroom Theory course is a 30-hour online course offered in partnership with ARIN Intermediate Unit 28. Students can work at their own pace, in their own homes. This class covers legal requirements, vehicle handling, driver safety, the consequences of crashes, as well as the effects of alcohol and drugs. Students are engaged in the online learning process through inquiry based learning, reading, observation, discussion, analysis, and assessment. Student interaction is required amongst enrollees and is

demonstrated through online discussion boards and during scheduled class times. On-The-Road driver’s instruction is six hours of behind the wheel instruction with one of our five certified Driver’s Education Instructors. Students are taught competencies for responsible driving habits. They develop traffic knowledge, risk recognition, crash avoidance, as well as defensive driving techniques. Students also experience actual residential, rural, and multi-lane highway driving situations. In the 2011-12 school year, 259 students successfully completed the CIU 20 On-The-Road instruction course, a 17% increase from the 2010-2011 school year. Please visit our website at www.ciu20.org for more information and registration guidelines.


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Annual Open House Showcases Student Achievements at Colonial Academy BY DR. MARY BETH BIANCO, Assistant Executive Director

How would you describe a Superhero? Bill Vitulli, Principal of Colonial Academy, says he doesn’t have to look far to see them. He’s surrounded by them on a daily basis. The entire staff at Colonial Academy works tirelessly every day to meet the needs of students and families in an environment that exemplifies a caring and supportive system for children. The superhero theme was aptly given to this year’s Colonial Academy Open House, which was held on Tuesday evening, October 16th at the school in Wind Gap. A concerted effort was made to reach out to families of students with informational flyers and phone calls to parents. About 250 students from the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20’s constituent districts attend the school, whose mission is to provide meaningful learning experiences and appropriate supports for students whose needs warrant those not available in traditional middle and high school settings. The 2012 Open House program began with excerpts from “Waiting for Superman,” and a short presentation in the gym welcoming the students and families to the evening’s events. Students then escorted their families and other attendees as they walked them through a typical day at school. Following their class schedules, students were able to provide a glimpse of their daily routines for families and friends. Related Arts were among the programs highlighted for the evening. An Art Show was facilitated by Art Teachers, Tim Glick and Kristen Sauers, along with their students. A variety of projects were displayed for families and other visitors to enjoy. The Culinary Arts program also demonstrated their skills

serving refreshments for attendees. Visitors were able to enjoy their snacks while sitting on beautiful picnic tables that were designed and crafted by the Construction Management class. Open House is a yearly tradition at Colonial Academy. It’s a chance for Parents and Guardians to meet their children’s teachers, mental health workers and other classroom staff. It’s also a chance for classroom staff to meet the important people in their students’ lives.

Colonial Academy students and staff get into the “superhero” spirit.

CIU 20: Dedicated To Your Children and the People Who Serve Them

COLONIAL INTERMEDIATE UNIT 20 6 Danforth Drive Easton, PA 18045-7899

“The Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 declares itself to be an equal rights and opportunity agency. As an equal rights and opportunity agency, it does not discriminate against individuals or groups because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, marital status or non-relevant handicaps and disabilities as defined by law.” For information regarding this statement, or special accommodations, please contact Mr. Anthony Pidgeon, Director of Human Resources and Research Services, Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, 6 Danforth Drive, Easton, PA 18045-7899, (610) 252-5550, TDD/TTY Hearing Impaired (610) 252-3786.

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