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The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators (PAFPC) are pleased to announce that the 2018 Pennsylvania Title I Improving School Performance (ISP) Conference will be held at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Conference will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 28th and end at noon on Wednesday, January 31st. Registration will open January 28th from 4:00-7:00 p.m. with conference sessions beginning on Monday, January 29th. Cost of full registration for the conference is $400.00 and includes continental breakfast each day and lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

Conference Theme: The theme of this year’s conference is Leading & Learning. This year’s theme directly reflects the purpose of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s goals in personalizing each child’s education through effective practice and strong leadership. Our expectation is that districts and schools use federal funds to implement programs and practices that are evidence-based and proven effective. Pennsylvania schools, teachers, and students will focus on literacy in Pennsylvania.

Goals: Our primary goal is to present the most up-to-date information on Pennsylvania students and schools in order to build the capacity of Pennsylvania educators, as well as provide networking opportunities for conference participants. By providing sessions on effective practices, participants will learn about proven strategies that have made a positive academic impact in schools and districts across the Commonwealth. By focusing on key areas, participants will be provided with fundamental information necessary to meet the continuing challenges facing educators and students in Pennsylvania. Included again in 2018 will be a strand dedicated to the successes of our secondary schools.

Presenters: For the 2018 PA ISP Conference, presenters will be recruited and accepted from:

  • PDE
  • Intermediate Units
  • Title I distinguished schools
  • Schools that have successful KTO programs
  • Schools making significant academic progress with specific subgroups
  • Schools implementing creative and effective extended learning programs
  • Schools experiencing great success with parent and family engagement
  • Administrators who have implemented and managed rigorous school reform programs
  • Schools that have successfully improved climate & culture

Conference Strands and Topics: The proposed strands/targets for the 2018 conference will be organized around the general requirements of ESEA with respect to:

  • Reading, mathematics and science achievement
  • Teacher effectiveness & evaluation
  • Parent and family engagement
  • School reform & improvement
  • Successful secondary school initiatives

Call for Session Proposals: The sponsors of this conference encourage the staff of all schools and districts that have improved their performance with respect to one or more of the above strands/targets to consider responding to the conference Request for Proposal (RFP) that is available on the PAFPC website ( This invitation is meant for all schools and districts, irrespective of whether improvements have been achieved solely through local initiatives, achieved with the help of external technical assistance groups, and/or achieved through support from specific state and federal programs.

Sessions will be approved by PDE and will include information on accountability requirements, achievement gap expectations, flexibility and supports to priority, school performance profiles, annual measurable objectives and digital resources and supports available.

Conference Sessions: Over fifty, 90 to 180-minute sessions will be offered during the conference. For educators who have never participated in the conference, the 2017 conference program book is available PAFPC website. The program book includes descriptions of the sessions that were presented and reflects that, in general, conference sessions are presented by staff members of schools/districts that have improved performance on one or more of the targets and who are prepared to share:

  • Data that demonstrate the improvement(s) made, as well as the data that informed the design for improving performance
  • The design itself, as well as experiences in delivering and implementing the design
  • The specific changes made with respect to SAS—that is, the components of a standards-based instructional system (i.e. clear standards, fair assessments, aligned curriculum, standards based instruction, instructional materials/resources and supplementary interventions)
  • The specific changes with respect to other high-leverage educational practices

The program booklet also shows that sessions were collaboratively presented by district/school staff members and by PDE staff, Intermediate Unit staff and/or outside resources persons.

Priorities for 2018 Sessions: The ISP Conference has always had a significant number of sessions on effective school improvement strategies resulting in the improvement of elementary reading achievement. Conference organizers have consistently attempted to increase the number of sessions in elementary mathematics and science and secondary school programs. This year, we again extend targeted and specific invitations to those schools and educators that have made significant improvements in secondary schools. Please consider sharing your successes at the 2018 ISP Conference. We want to be sure to highlight these content areas and grade-levels as they continue to be a high-need within our schools.

Registration: Participants must register online through the PAFPC website. All conference information and registration information will be posted on the PAFPC Title I ISP Conference page.

Assistance Available for ISP Proposal Submissions: The primary purpose of the ISP Conference is to facilitate the sharing of rich information about successful school improvement efforts. To help school/district staff write quality session descriptions for the program booklet, PDE has again asked a consultant to be available by email to help writers understand what session descriptions should include and to provide editorial suggestions on how their proposed session descriptions could be strengthened. As part of the proposal review process, the consultant will provide suggestions on how each description might be strengthened.

To obtain pre-submission help, email: Note: If a school has a concern about meeting the proposal deadline, please email the ISP consultant at

The PDE recognizes the costs that districts/schools may incur when presenting a session at the ISP Conference. To help with these expenses, PDE will cover the registration costs of two presenters for each accepted session as well as the cost of two hotel rooms.

Click here to download announcement flyer [PDF]



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