Terms and Definitions



Act 48 PIL/Act 45

Act 48 of 1999 requires all Pennsylvania educators holding Pennsylvania public school certification including Instructional I and II, Educational Specialist I and II, Administrative, Supervisory, Letters of Eligibility and all vocational certificates to participate in ongoing professional education.

Source: education.pa.gov

Act 45 amended Act 48 for school leaders in certain school board approved positions. If you are officially board approved in one of the positions listed below, you are required to earn 180 professional development hours in a five-year period by participating in PIL-approved events. As before, you still must earn 180 continuing professional education hours within the five-year cycle. But now the hours must be Act 48 PIL hours. You can only earn Act 48 PIL hours by completing courses offered by PA Inspired Leadership or by completing PDE-approved courses offered by other providers.

Act 48 PIL/ACT 45 School Leader Positions

Principal, Assistant or Vice Principal, Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Intermediate Unit Executive Director, Intermediate Unit Assistant Executive Director, Director of an Area Vocational-Technical School.

Source: pattan.net


CLASS Assessment

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) is an observation instrument that assesses the quality of teacher-child interactions in center-based preschool classrooms. CLASS® includes three domains or categories of teacher-child interactions that support children’s learning and development: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Within each domain are dimensions which capture more specific details about teachers’ interactions with children.

Source: hhs.gov


Early Childhood
Early childhood is defined as the period from birth to eight years old. A time of remarkable brain growth, these years lay the basis for subsequent development.

Source: unesco.org

Early Childhood Workforce Development
The Early Childhood Education Workforce includes those working with young children (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children in centers, homes, and schools) and their families or on their behalf (in agencies, organizations, institutions of higher education, etc.), with a primary mission of supporting children’s development and learning. Early childhood Education Professional Development is a continuum of learning and support activities designed to prepare individuals for work with and on behalf of young children and their families, as well as ongoing experiences to enhance this work. These opportunities lead to improvements in the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions of early education professionals. Professional development encompasses education, training, and technical assistance.

Source: naeyc.org

Early Intervention
Children in Pennsylvania with developmental delays and disabilities benefit from a state supported collaboration among parents, service practitioners and others who work with young children. Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention program provides support and services to families with children, from birth to age five, with developmental delays and disabilities. Early intervention builds upon the natural learning opportunities that occur within the daily routines of a child and their family. Early Intervention:

  • Helps children with disabilities develop and learn to their fullest potential
  • Enhances each family’s capacity to meet the developmental needs of their child in the settings where children would be if they did not have a disability
  • Respects the family’s strengths, values, diversity and competencies and answers families’ questions about their child’s development.

Source: pakeys.org

Early Learning (Early Education)
High-quality early learning from birth to age 5 helps children enter kindergarten ready to learn and prepared to thrive in elementary school and beyond. Positive early childhood experiences also build the foundation for a skilled workforce, a responsible community, and a thriving economy. In Pennsylvania, Head Start provides comprehensive early learning services to at-risk children and families, prioritizing enrollment to families at 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or other categorical eligibility criteria. In addition to educational programming, Head Start offers health/nutrition services, support to families, and a strong parent involvement component.

Source: education.pa.gov

Educational Leadership
Educational leadership involves working with and guiding teachers toward improving educational processes in elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions. Those in educational leadership roles tend to go above and beyond just management and administrative tasks, however. They are trained to advance and improve educational systems and create and enact policies. Educational leaders usually are employed as school principals or administrators but can take on additional roles, such as department chair or academic dean.

Source: learn.org


Head Start
Head Start is primarily a federally-funded program that provides education, health and social services to families with children aged 3, 4 and 5. Head Start programs help children develop academic and social skills that prepare them for school and life. While enrolled in a high quality Head Start preschool program, children receive nutrition, health and supports that help them grow mentally, physically and socially. Families are also offered support to help them obtain services for a variety of needs such as employment or housing. Families who are 100% of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply and the preschool program is free. At least 10% of a Head Start program’s enrollment must serve children with disabilities.

Source: dhs.pa.gov

Hierarchy of Offices (DHS, PDE, OCDEL, PA Keys, Regional Keys)

Hierarchy of offices

PA.Gov: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
DHS: Department of Human Services
PDE: Pennsylvania Department of Education
OCDEL: Office of Child Development and Education


Instructional Coaching
An instructional coach is someone whose chief professional responsibility is to bring evidence-based practices into classrooms by working with teachers and other school leaders. At its core, instructional coaching involves two people: the classroom teacher and the coach. Coaches work one-on-one and in small groups with teachers, providing guidance, training, and other resources as needed. Together, they focus on practical strategies for engaging students and improving their learning. Coaches also are often responsible for providing or arranging professional development activities for all teachers in a school or district.

Source: pacoaching.org


Keystone STARS
Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. The Keystone STARS Performance Standards provide the foundation for the program. The Performance Standards are grouped into four levels: STAR 1, STAR 2, STAR 3, and STAR 4. Each level builds on the previous level and utilizes research-based best practices to promote quality early learning environments and positive child outcomes. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early learning program, partnerships with family and community, and leadership and management. Keystone STARS is managed through a partnership of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the statewide Pennsylvania Keys and the five Regional Keys.

Source: pakeys.org

Kindergarten Entry Inventory
Pennsylvania’s Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) is a reliable reporting tool available at no cost to schools. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory offers teachers an instructional strategy for understanding and tracking students’ proficiency across both cognitive and non-cognitive domains at kindergarten entry. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory is aligned to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and Pennsylvania Core, and therefore it complements and can help improve existing assessments and teaching practices.

Source: education.pa.gov


National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
NAESP is a professional organization serving elementary and middle school principals and other education leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas.

Source: naesp.org

NAESP Competencies
NAESP recommends that a definition of “core competencies of effective school leadership” be added to Title I or general provisions so that states and local school districts can have comparable performance goals and share data, and to ensure equitable distribution of an effective principal in every school.

Source: naesp.org

NAESP has identified six competencies for what principals should know and be able to do as effective leaders of Pre-K-3 learning communities. The six competencies are:

  1. Embrace the Pre-K-3 early learning continuum
  2. Ensure developmentally appropriate teaching
  3. Provide personalized blended learning environments
  4. Use multiple measures of assessment to guide growth in student learning
  5. Build professional capacity across the learning community
  6. Make your school a hub of Pre-K-3 learning for families and communities.

Source: naesp.org

Nursery School
The age groups within the scope of nursery and kindergarten education shall be classified as follows:

  • Three and four-year-olds – nursery school
  • Five-year-olds – kindergarten

Source: pacode.com


The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
(a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services) is focused on creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s youngest citizens to develop and learn to their fullest potential. By developing an effective early childhood education system with high standards for programs and professionals, supports to meet these standards, accountability, and community engagement, OCDEL is helping our children, families, teachers and communities reach this goal. Parents, schools, child care providers, Early Intervention and Head Start programs, libraries, community organizations, and other stakeholders have joined with the OCDEL to provide high quality early childhood programs and effective family support programs to address challenges faced by families that affect school readiness and academic success.

Source: education.pa.gov


Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) or Basic Skills Test
The PAPA includes three modules: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. These tests are often required in order for preservice teachers to enter certification programs.

Source: nesinc.com

Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT)
Passing the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) is one means of meeting the basic skills requirement recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The following PECT subject matter tests meet the testing requirements for the corresponding certification areas: PreK-4, Special Education PreK-8, Special Education 7-12.

Source: nesinc.com

Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program
The Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program is a statewide, standards-based continuing professional education program for school and system leaders. The comprehensive, cohort-based program is focused on developing the capacity of leaders to improve student achievement.

Source: pattan.net

Pre-kindergarten is also referred to the first formal academic classroom-based learning environment that a child customarily attends in the U.S. It begins around the age of three or four in order to prepare for the academically intensive kindergarten.

Source: uslegal.com

Pre-K Counts
The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts pre-kindergarten program, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will make quality pre-kindergarten opportunities available to children and families across the commonwealth. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is bringing quality half-day and full day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3 and 4 year olds in Pennsylvania.

Source: pakeys.org

Pre-K Program
Pre-K programs are a distinct group of programs designed specifically to make sure that preschoolers are ready for kindergarten and will be succeeding in school by third grade. All pre-K programs have three characteristics in common. They are (1) governed by high program standards, (2) serve 4-year-olds or sometimes both 3- and 4-year-olds, and (3) focus on school readiness.

Source: education.com

Pre-K to K Student Transition
In education, the term transition typically refers to the three major transitional points in the public-education system. While students experience other “transitions” during their educational journey-such as advancing from one grade level to the next-the three “major” transition points are a particular focus of educators and school reformers because transitioning students often experience significant academic, social, emotional, physical, or developmental changes that may adversely affect their educational performance.

Source: edglossary.org

Preschool child is defined as a child from 3 years of age to the date the child enters kindergarten in a public or private school system.

Source: pacode.com

Principal Internship
The field experience is the primary vehicle toward delivering the ideal “job-embedded” learning experience. Completion of identified role expectations and competencies is expected. Because the school lifecycle is experienced over the course of 12 months, the program will require candidates to successfully experience a full year (12 month) field experience of a minimum of 360 hours that is faculty supervised and principal mentored. Minimum of 180 hours must be completed while the school is in session.

Source: pacode.com

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Program
The professional learning community model is a grand design-a powerful new way of working together that profoundly affects the practices of schooling. It requires the school staff to focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and hold itself accountable for the kind of results that fuel continual improvement.

Source: ascd.org


Rising STARS
Rising STARS is a two-pronged approach which redesigns: 1) the STARS grants and awards structure; and 2) the STARS subsidy add-on or tiered reimbursement rate. The Rising STARS initiative focuses on access to the highest quality services for hard to reach / hard to serve children and families by providing supports to providers as they move up the quality scale to STAR 3 and 4 levels.

Source: pakeys.org


Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)
The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.

Source: studentaid.ed.gov

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