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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 14, 2019 04:54 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fostering Graduation success for Vulnerable Students
I plan to re-introduce legislation that will amend the Public School Code to provide our most vulnerable students who are forced to change schools, a process that will assist them in making a smooth transition to a new school and keep them on track to graduate.

Youth who change schools because they are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, or in the juvenile justice system face unique challenges to earning a diploma. These students are often unable to graduate because: they changed schools mid-year before earning full credit; their new school may not honor credits earned; or they did not have the opportunity to take a course that is a graduation requirement of the school they attended previously.

The legislation designates a point of contact to ease a student’s integration into the new school setting. The point of contact will work with the student and the student's caregiver to determine appropriate classes, connect the student to a full range of educational opportunities in the new school, and document what academic credits the student previously earned as well as which credits the student still needs in order to graduate. The bill specifies that the new school must either accept credits earned previously and/or provide these students a chance to make up missing credits or have certain requirements waived. For those students who meet state standards but are unable to satisfy school district graduation requirements due to changing schools, the bill provides a state-issued diploma option. Finally, the bill provides that students are not penalized for failing to comply with dress code or uniform violations related to delays in obtaining appropriate attire due to their mobility and provides equal access to extra curriculars and other programming.

It is well documented that students experiencing homelessness and students in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, are at high risk of not graduating high school. This legislation intends to remedy this unfortunate reality and assist students in improving their own future.

This language was included in Senate Bill 702 from last session which was co-sponsored by Senators: Bartolotta, Costa, Regan, Hughes, Schwank, Brewster and Fontana.

I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB662