Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Schools Have New Tool to Ease Substitute Teacher Shortage
  • Grants Available for Community Learning Centers
  • Help for Students to Acquire Skills in High Demand by Employers
  • Senate Committee Activity is Streamed and Stored Online
  • New Academy Hopes to Get Teens Back on Track
  • Now Online: 2022 Trout Stocking Schedule
  • Around the 40th District

Schools Have New Tool to Ease Substitute Teacher Shortage

The General Assembly recently passed Act 91 to help schools find substitute teachers to fill critical staffing shortages caused by the pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released guidelines for schools to follow in taking advantage of the law.

Act 91 provides additional pathways for quality individuals to pursue and complete certifications and enter the educator workforce. Specifically, the law creates a new Classroom Monitor Permit for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. A classroom monitor may be employed to provide coverage and deliver preplanned assignments in classrooms. A classroom monitor may not plan lessons or create or grade student work.

An individual receiving a Classroom Monitor Permit must satisfy the following requirements as outlined in Act 91:

  • Has completed at least 60 semester hours or the equivalent of courses at a regionally accredited college or university located in Pennsylvania or have at least three years’ experience as a paraprofessional in a school entity and is currently employed as a paraprofessional.
  • Has met the pre-employment requirements for background clearances, citizenship and good moral character under the School Code and Child Protective Services Law.
  • Has completed training on classroom management provided by an intermediate unit (IU) and approved by PDE.
  • Is at least 25 years of age.

Additional consideration should be taken when determining if a classroom monitor should work with students with disabilities. Schools can find more information and resources about the changes under Act 91 on the department’s Certification Services website.

Grants Available for Community Learning Centers

Organizations may now submit their intent to apply for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, which provides funding to support community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and their families.

Eligible organizations include public school districts, charter schools, private schools, nonprofit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, for-profit corporations and others.

Programs must take place during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session to help students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. Centers must also offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs and literacy and other educational services to their families. How to apply.

Help for Students to Acquire Skills in High Demand by Employers

Financial assistance is available to help students learn skills in high demand by today’s employers in energy, health, advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, and agriculture and food production.

The PA Targeted Industry Program, created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2012, provides need-based awards up to $5,000. Approved veteran applicants may receive up to 100% of the student’s total educational costs or the max award, whichever is less. Awards can be used to cover tuition, books, fees, supplies and a $4,000 living expense allowance.

Students must have received a high school diploma, GED or recognized homeschool certificate. Students who have completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree are still eligible to apply for assistance. Information and Applications

Senate Committee Activity is Streamed and Stored Online

Last year, the Senate held nearly 330 public meetings and hearings that were streamed live from the Capitol and locations across Pennsylvania. You can find them all, plus 2022’s committee activity, here.

The Senate’s 23 standing committees, ranging from Aging and Youth to Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, are where legislation is vetted, debated and, if necessary, altered before being considered by the full Senate. Committee hearings bring citizens, experts and other interested parties together for public presentations on various topics.

Committee pages are where you can find agendas, video and written testimony. You can find the most recent committee action and upcoming livestreams here, and a full Senate committee schedule here.

New Academy Hopes to Get Teens Back on Track

An academy at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, is hoping to build a brighter future for at-risk youth. The Keystone State Challenge Academy is now accepting applications for the first-ever cadet class.

The 22-week residential academy is open to Pennsylvania students, ages 16 to 18-years-old, who may need more discipline or are falling behind in school. It’s intended to give teens a second chance to learn leadership, self-discipline, and finish their education.

Old World War II barracks are currently under renovation and a new building is under construction for the project.

The academy is hoping to bring in about 120 students for its first semester this July. Students across the state can apply. Parents and students have to volunteer to come.

Now Online: 2022 Trout Stocking Schedule


The 2022 adult trout stocking schedule is now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers and the species of trout that will be stocked.

In 2022, Pennsylvania will return to a single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on the first Saturday in April, which is April 2. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 26. Under this change, which will result in a longer regular season for trout statewide, the practice of holding a separate regional opening day and mentored youth day for Pennsylvania’s 18 southeastern counties will no longer occur.

To accommodate the earlier statewide trout season, preseason trout stocking operations are set to begin the week of Feb. 21. 

Around the 40th District

Congratulations to Dee Ackerman, the “face of Pocono Township,” who is retiring next week after 31 years as the township’s administrative assistant and receptionist. At last Friday’s open house in her honor, I had the pleasure of presenting Dee with a Senate citation in recognition of her many years of outstanding service to the community. Thank you, Dee!

Last Saturday I attending the Stroudsburg Fire Department’s annual awards dinner. It was my honor and pleasure to honor these men with Senate Citations for their Heroic dedication to our community. May God look over them and their families.

I recently joined State Rep. Jack Rader and representatives from the PA Association for the Education of Young Children to present a plaque to owner Donna Doyle and her staff recognizing Kids Country Childcare and Learning Center’s thirtieth anniversary. The center recently moved up to a Keystone STARS 4 site. This is the highest ranking you can have! Thanks to this high-quality site for helping families and children start strong for over three decades in Monroe County.

It was my pleasure to join a group of students at Cedar Crest College this morning. The students are currently enrolled in a Leadership in Nursing course at Cedar Crest. We discussed my position, state government, legislation I’m working on, and ways that they can become involved in their community.

The Northampton County Parks and Recreation Division staff along with Friends of Minsi Lake continue to take action to combat the growth of vegetation at the lake. Recently they began clearing brush sticking up through the ice. By doing this, the brush won’t be able to photosynthesize this growing season and it should quicken the demise of brush at the boating and fishing access points. The attached pictures are a before and after of work along the West Shore Boat ramp.

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