Basic Education Circulars

A Basic Education Circular ( BEC ) provides the Department of Education's guidance on the implementation of law, regulation and policy.

Name

Reference and Link

Source

Key Words / Purpose

Abuse of Students by School Employees

23 PA CSA Section 6352

Purdon's Statutes

This notice to the schools is to outline those changes which affect a school's policies and procedures regarding the reporting of suspected abuse of students by school employees and background checks for employment.

Access to Secondary Students

20 USC 7908

US Code

The Pennsylvania Department of Education interprets Public Law 107–110, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Section 9528 (Armed Forces Recruiter Access To Students and Student Recruiting Information), 20 USC §7908, and Pennsylvania law Act 10, 1991, 51 P.S. §§20221-20225 in the following manner:

Admission to Kindergarten and Beginners

24 P.S. 5-503

Purdon's Statutes

Local school board has the right and responsibility for establishing the age at which a child can begin the kindergarten program

Alteration and/or Curtailment of Programs

24 P.S. 11-1124

Purdon's Statutes

Section 1124 of the School Code provides that: Any board of school directors may suspend the necessary number of professional employes, for any of the causes herein enumerated

Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth

24 P.S. 1901-1906 C

Purdon's Statutes

Provides guidance regarding placement of students in Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) Programs. It also provides guidance on AEDY program requirements to ensure that students in these programs are provided appropriate academic and behavioral support services

Assessments and Graduation Requirements

22 Pa. Code 4.51

PA Code

A certificate of Proficiency or Distinction will be developed by PDE to be awarded to graduating students who have scored in that manner on one or more of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA).

Background Checks

24 P.S. 1-111

Purdon's Statutes

Provides guidance to school administrators concerning the duties resulting from Act 24, signed into law on June 30, 2011, requiring background checks for employees of public and private schools, IUs, and AVTSs, including independent contractors and their employees

Charter Schools

24 P.S. 17-1701-A

Purdon's Statutes

To serve as a guide for charter schools, school districts, parents, and students. The Charter School law, known as Act 22 of 1997, is part of the Pennsylvania School Code, cited as 24 P.S. Article XVII-A

Commissions

24 P.S. 10-1078 and 9-963

Purdon's Statutes

Identifies when a commission will be issued and what is necessary to be submitted to the Department for approval

Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Elimination Plan

24 P.S. 13-1327

Purdon's Statutes

Department of Education and the schools of the Commonwealth are obligated to comply with state and federal requirements for student attendance and truancy

Copyright Laws

17 U.S.C. Section 107

US Code

The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-553) became effective on January 1, 1978 . This legislation takes cognizance of technological advancements in communication and education and sets standards for "fair use" of printed, audiovisual, graphic and musical materials by teachers.

Cyber Charter Schools

24 P.S. 17-1741-A

Purdon's Statutes

Guidance for cyber charter schools, school districts, parents, and students.

Cyber Charter School Use of Physical Facilities

24 P.S. §§ 17-1741-A – 17-1751-A

Purdon's Statutes

Guidance to cyber charter applicants and operators relating to the requirements for delivery of curriculum and instruction to students through the internet and other electronic means and the proper use of a cyber charter school's physical facilities.

Days Schools Not to be Kept Open

24 P.S. Section 15-1502

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC identifies for the board of school directors when developing their school calendar which days may be used as instructional days and specific days of the week and holidays which may not be used for instruction under any circumstances

Department Approval of School Buildings, Equipment and Premises Leased for Educational Purposes by School Districts Except School Districts of the First Class 24 P.S. §7-775

24 PS 7-775

Purdon's Statutes

All school districts have the authority to lease any part of their respective school buildings, equipment and premises, or any vacant building, for educational purposes. Except in school districts of the first class, these leases are subject to the approval of the Department of Education.

Department–Funded Slots for Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools

24 P.S. §§ 13-1302; 13-1372

Purdon's Statutes

Provides guidance on how a school district can place a student in an approved private school pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and receive partial funding for the placement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, when such funding is available, pursuant to sections 1302 and 1372 of the Public School Code.

Determination of Residence of Children Living in Pennsylvania Institutions

24 PS 13-1308

Purdon's Statutes

Circular describes the procedures for determining the place of residence of school-aged persons who live in institutions in Pennsylvania , but whose parents or legal guardians reside outside Pennsylvania

Disciplinary Exclusions of Students Who Are Eligible for Special Education

22 Pa. Code Section 14.143

PA Code

Federal regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This BEC provides formal written guidance regarding disciplinary exclusions (suspension).

Drug and Alcohol Education, Counseling and Support Services

24 P.S. 15-1547

Purdon's Statutes

Section 1547 of the PA School Code, enacted as Act 211 of 1990, requires school districts to implement a comprehensive tobacco, alcohol and other drugs program including instruction in the classroom

Early Intervention and Private Schools

11 P.S. 875-304

Purdon's Statutes

This announcement provides guidance on funding policies for the evaluation and provision of Early
Intervention services for children eligible to attend kindergarten

Early Intervention Transition: Infants and Toddlers to Preschool

11 P.S. 875-304

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this announcement is to provide guidance on transition procedures for: Toddlers transitioning from the Infant/Toddler Early Intervention (EI) program to the Preschool EI program or other community settings at age three Infants/Toddlers who are transitioning to other community services prior to age thre

Early Intervention Transition: Preschool Programs to School-Aged Program

11 PS 875-101 to 875-502

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this announcement is to clarify the procedures concerning the transition of children from Preschool Early Intervention programs to the kindergarten or first grade programs of their school districts of residence or local charter school

Educating Students With Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and English Language Learners (ELL)

22 Pa. Code 4.26

PA Code

Students whose dominant language is not English is the responsibility of every school district/charter school in the Commonwealth

Education for Homeless Youth

42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.

US Code

In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, (subsequently renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act) to aid homeless persons. Subtitle B of Title VII -of this Act entitled Education for Homeless Children and Youth, has been amended and is now part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title X, Part C.

Education Services for Students Incarcerated

24 P.S. Section 13-1306.2

Purdon's Statutes

Authorizing the adjudication of school age individuals as adults, has increased the student population in local correction institutions

Educational Programs for Students in "Non-Educational" Placements

22 Pa. Code Section 14.102 (a)(2)(xiii)

PA Code

The joint policy of the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Education regarding educational services for students who receive non-educational placements

Educator Misconduct Complaint Procedures and Complaint Form

24 P.S. 2070.9

Purdon's Statutes

Section 2070.9 authorizes any interested party to file a disciplinary complaint against a professional educator or charter school staff member with the Department of Education

Educator Misconduct – School Entity Mandatory Report Procedures and Form

24 P.S. 2070.9a

Purdon's Statutes

24 P.S. § 2070.9a mandates school entity reporting of educator misconduct with specific timelines.  The chief school administrator (school district supt, asst supt, IU exec), chief administrator of a CTC , charter school, or their designees must report the following to PDE :  the dismissal for cause of a certified employee or charter school staff member; conduct that has resulted in a criminal indictment or conviction of a certified employee or charter school staff member; information which constitutes reasonable cause to believe the certified employee or charter school staff member has caused physical injury to a student or child through negligence or malice or has committed sexual abuse or exploitation involving a student or child.

Emergency School Closings

24 P.S. 25-2523

Purdon's Statutes

Guidance and direction regarding public school emergency closing procedures

Employee Rating Form

24 P.S. Section 11-1123

Purdon's Statutes

Section 1123 of the Public School Code of 1949 requires the Department of Education to prepare a rating system for use evaluate professional employees of school districts through a system that gives due consideration to personality, preparation, technique, and pupil reaction.

Employment of Vocational Agriculture Students in Hazardous Agricultural Occupations 29 C.F.R. Part 570.70

29 CFR Part 570.70-570.72

Federal Code

Vocational agriculture training certification program for students aged 14 and 15 for employment

Enrollment of Students

24 P.S. 13-1301 – 13-1306

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC provides guidance regarding public school enrollment procedures for resident and non-resident children.

Enrollment Q&A

24 P.S. 13-1301 – 13-1306

Purdon's Statutes

The following Questions and Answers are provided to assist parents, school districts and charter schools in the student enrollment process. This information is based on applicable school law and regulation and reflects procedures outlined in the recently revised Basic Education Circular ( BEC ) on Student Enrollment

Extended School Year Eligibility

22 Pa. Code 14.132

PA Code

Issues related to Extended School Year (ESY) services for children with disabilities

Extent and Duration of Early Intervention Programs for Preschoolers with Disabilities, Including Services during Breaks in Program

11 P.S. 875-304

Purdon's Statutes

Guidance to clarify Departmental policy concerning the extent and duration of the program provided to eligible young children in early intervention programs, including the provision of services to eligible young children during scheduled breaks in their education program

Farm and Domestic Service Permits

24 P.S. 13-1329 - 13-1330

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC will discuss two sections of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended. These sections address exceptions to the compulsory attendance provisions of the school code.

Federal Government Debarment and Suspensions

34 CFR Part 85

Federal Code

Federal government policy to conduct business only with responsible persons

Fire Drills and School Bus Evacuations

24 P.S. 15-1517

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this BEC is to set forth a process for public school reporting of fire drills and school bus evacuation drills to the Department of Education.

Foreign Students' Eligibility for Enrollment

22 Pa. Code 11.11(d)

PA Code

Students who apply for admission to Pennsylvania public schools and possess a visa of any type should comply with the terms and conditions of that visa. Enrollment in elementary and secondary courses of study may impact a student's legal non-immigration status

Graduation of Seniors

24 P.S. Section 15-1501

Purdon's Statutes

Section 1501 of the School Code, as amended, requires the Secretary to determine whether a school district made a "bonafide" effort to provide 180 days for seniors following severe weather conditions that caused school closings.

Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities

24 P.S. §1-102 - §13-1301 - §16-1614

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC provides local education agencies (LEAs) with a summary of information regarding graduation requirements for students with disabilities.

Half-Day Sessions

24 P.S. 15-1504

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC discusses the law and procedures for approval of half-day instructional sessions for school-age students.

Health Record and Questionnaire Sports Preparticipation and Recertification Forms

24 P.S. 5-511

Purdon's Statutes

Section 5-511 of the School Code provides that the local school board "shall prescribe, adopt, and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations as it may deem proper, regarding (1) the management, supervision, control, or prohibition of exercises, athletics, or games of any kind…."

Home Education Program

24 P.S. 13-1327.1

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC provides a listing of the requirements for the supervisor to establish a home education program, a list of acceptable tests to fulfill the law's requirements, and sample affidavit form for use by the supervisor.

Implementation of Chapter 15

22 Pa. Code Chapter 15 

PA Code

Regulations of the State Board of Education addresses the responsibility of school districts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations at 34 CFR Part 104

Instruction Conducted in the Home

34 CFR 300.39 and 115

Federal Code

Reporting requirements for students with disabilities assigned to instruction conducted in the home by the IEP team and students with disabilities who may be assigned to homebound instruction

Instructional Time and Act 80 Exceptions

24 P.S. 15-1504

Purdon's Statutes

All public schools are to be open each school year for at least one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction for pupils

Intensive Interagency Coordination

20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(12)

US Code

The system of intensive interagency coordination is not intended to replace the local interagency process.

Intensive Interagency Definitions (Attachment to BEC )

20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(12)

US Code

This is an attachment to the BEC on Intensive Interagency Coordination and provides the federal definition of "active students", at risk students", "past students", and "compensatory students.

Lapsed Certificates

Section 24 P.S. 12-1201

Purdon's Statutes

BEC explains the proper course of action when the public entity discovers that a professional employee may have an invalid certificate, and will address audits concerning such certificates.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and Educational Placement for Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

22 Pa. Code 14.102 (a) (2) (xxiv)

PA Code

Primarily directed at school-age students with disabilities. Although components of this BEC apply as well to preschool-age children, PDE is developing specific guidance for preschool-age children.

Letter to Auditor General on Enrollments

24 P.S. §13-1301 – §13-1306

Purdon's Statutes

The attached letter from Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, is a response to the Auditor General regarding student enrollment issues.

Missing Child Registration

35 P.S. 450.401-A – 450.404-A

Purdon's Statutes

It applies to any last known school which the missing child attended. Missing children include individuals under 18 years of age who are reported to a law enforcement agency as abducted, lost, missing or runaways.

Nonresident Students in Institutions

24 P.S. Section 13-1306

Purdon's Statutes

Students who are residing in a "children's institution" whose parents are not residents of the school district in which the institution is located are identified as "1306" students.

Official Public School File

24 P.S. 10-1006

Purdon's Statutes

Responsibility for maintenance of the Pennsylvania Department of Education ( PDE ) official public school computer file lies primarily with the Division of Data Services. This file serves all offices within PDE to provide information necessary for administration of educational programs requiring school level data. It contains the following information: name, address, and telephone of the school; name of principal or head teacher; and school category (e.g. elementary).

Placement Options for Special Education

22 Pa Code 14.102

PA Code

review a variety of special education service and placement options available to school districts and charter schools through arrangement with other public agencies or private organizations

Pregnant and Parenting Students

24 P.S. Section 13-1327

Purdon's Statutes

This Basic Education Circular is to address questions regarding the education of Pennsylvania students in public and private schools who are pregnant or parenting. Consequently, the following sections discuss such issues as attendance, homebound instruction and special education.

Private Residential Rehabilitative Institutions

24 P.S. Section 9-964.1

Purdon's Statutes

The general authority of LEAs to contract with PRRIs is governed by Section 964.1 of the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. Section 9-964.1. Section 964.1 authorizes LEAs to contract with PRRIs which fall within the LEAs geographical boundary

Protection of Pupil Rights

20 USC 1232 h

US Code

The purpose of this BEC is to inform you of changes to the Protection of Pupil Rights Act as amended by Public Law 183-227, Title X, Section 1017, March 31, 1994, which revised 20 U.S.C. §1232h

Reimbursements for School Construction Bond Issues

24 P.S. 25-2574

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this BEC is to provide information concerning Commonwealth reimbursement on bond issues relating to school construction projects.

Sale or Lease of Unused and Unnecessary Lands and Buildings

24 P.S. 7-707

Purdon's Statutes

 This BEC concerns the sale or lease of school facilities that are receiving Commonwealth reimbursement for debt service or authority rental payments. When a building is sold by a school district, reimbursement by the Commonwealth ceases. The school district must notify the Department of Education ( PDE ) of any sale of school facilities

Sample Annual Notice to Parents

22 Pa. Code Chapter 15 

PA Code

Sample Chapter 15 Annual Notice to Parents

Sample Notice of District-Initiated Evaluation as a Protected Handicapped Student Annual Notice to Parents

22 Pa Code Chapter 15

PA Code

Sample Chapter 15 Notice of District-Initiated Evaluation as a Protected Handicapped StudentAnnual Notice to Parents

Sample Procedural Safeguards

22 Pa Code Chapter 15

PA Code

Sample Chapter 15 Procedural Safeguards

Sample Service Agreement

22 Pa Code Chapter 15

PA Code

Sample Chapter 15 Service Agreement

School Construction Reimbursement Criteria

24 P.S. 7-733

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this BEC is to clarify existing policies governing re­quests for school construction reimbursement

School Immunization Requirements

24 P.S. 13-1303a

Purdon's Statutes

The Pennsylvania Department of Health promulgates immunization regulations (28 Pa. Code §§23.81-87) which require parents of those students enrolled in grades K-12 to have their children immunized against various communicable diseases

Secondary Career and Technical Education Program Approval

24 P.S. 25-2502.8

Purdon's Statutes

The procedures as outlined below are on-line and referred to as the Career and Technical Education Information System ( CATS ) effective beginning with the 2001-2002 school year

Services From The Office of Chief Counsel Pennsylvania Department of Education

71 P.S. Section 732-301

Purdon's Statutes

In certain circumstances, school districts and intermediate units may request an opinion from the Office of Chief Counsel

Services to Nonpublic School Students

22 Pa Code Chapter 15

PA Code

Issues concerning the provision of Chapter 15 services to "protected handicapped students" enrolled in private, nonpublic schools

Special Education Compliance

22 Pa Code 14.102(a)(4)

PA Code

Responsibility for developing and maintaining a system that ensures that each student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education and that each family has access to a system of procedural safeguards.

Special Education for Gifted Students

22 Pa. Code Chapter 16

PA Code

Responsibilities placed upon school districts with regard to the provision of gifted education

Special Education Services to Nonpublic School Students

34 CFR 300.403

Federal Code

Clarification concerning the provision of special education services to students enrolled in private, nonpublic schools

Student Records Being Retained by a Private School

22 Pa Code 12.31

PA Code

Private school temporarily retains the student's records pending resolution of an infraction of the private school's policies or a contractual dispute with a parent or guardian

Subsidy Payments on Closed School Buildings

22 Pa Code 349.28

PA Code

Upon receipt of justification, authorize the continuation of school construction reimbursement payments if the closed school building is used

Transfer of Entities

24 PS 11-1113

Purdon's Statutes

Questions about 1113 and 1418 and the Department's response to those questions.

Transfer of Records

24 P.S. 19-1926

Purdon's Statutes

Educational programs in state-operated institutions for delinquent youth operate under the authority of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and are considered to be public schools

Transportation to Approved Private Schools

24 P.S. 13-1374

Purdon's Statutes

Section 1374 of the Public School Code of 1949 governs transportation of exceptional students, including the transportation of eligible children to approved private schools

Use of Facsimile Signatures

65 P.S. 301 et seq

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC provides the procedure for the Department to recognize facsimile signature for school officials

Violations of Background Checks

24 P.S. 1-111

Purdon's Statutes

The purpose of this circular is to inform you of procedures that will be followed by the Department of Education's School Services Unit when investigating alleged violations of 24 P.S. §1-111.

Voter Registration As Part Of Implementation of Chapter 15

25 Pa. C.S.A. 1101 et seq.

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC is designed to supplement BEC 22 Pa. Code Chapter 15 (relating to implementation of Chapter 15), which addresses the responsibility of school districts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations at 34 CFR Part 104 (relating to non-discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance).

Voter Registration As Part Of Transition To Adult Life

25 Pa. C.S.A. 1101 et seq.

Purdon's Statutes

This BEC is designed to provide additional direction for Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) regarding their duty to address voter registration opportunities as part of an eligible student's transition to adult life