Sentinel Staff Reports
SHENANDOAH - Shenandoah Valley students, officials, and staff had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with PA Department of Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera earlier today, as he visited the school as part of the "Schools that Teach" tour.
In the roundtable discussion, which included Superintendent Brian Waite, both building principals, school board members, and students, Rivera highlighted a new program: the Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability program.
"The plan calls for lowering the compulsory age for school attendance from 8 years to 6 years, raising the age at which students can drop out of school from 17 to 18, and increasing the minimum salary for teachers to $45,000," says a media release."
“We know that children who start formal schooling by age 6 benefit in terms of language and literacy skills and are less likely to need remedial help in later years,” said Secretary Rivera, who was visiting the school as part of the governor’s Schools That Teach Tour. “They also learn critical social and emotional skills to help them interact in healthy ways with their fellow students.”
“For students in high school, a diploma is a prerequisite for success,” he added. “Governor Wolf understands that if we can keep kids in school and prevent them from dropping out early, they will develop the skills and credentials they need to succeed.”
The program was introduced in this year's budget proposal, and also focuses on recruiting and retaining qualified teachers by increasing the state minimum salary from $18,500 to $45,000, which is $5,000 short of Shenandoah Valley's median teacher salary as of 2015-16. The lowest paid teacher at Shenandoah makes $35,000, according to www.openpagov.org.
With the salary raise, 180 of 500 PA school districts would receive money to raise the minimum salaries, and it would apply to an estimated 3,200 school personnel.
“Teachers help shape the future of Pennsylvania – our children – in classrooms across the Commonwealth every day,” added Secretary Rivera. “Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is experiencing a shortage in teachers. Governor Wolf recognizes that raising the minimum salary will entice more college students to become teachers and will also encourage current educators to stay in the profession.”
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