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22 Pa. Code § 339.4. Program approval.

§ 339.4. Program approval.

 (a)  General rule. New, expanded or revised programs will be approved by the Secretary prior to operation. A program will not receive vocational education payments until it has been approved by the Secretary under this chapter. Vocational education programs will be subject to approval and reapproval as follows:

   (1)  New, expanded or revised programs. New, expanded or revised programs will be reviewed for approval by the Secretary for compliance with this chapter prior to operation. For funding purposes, new, expanded or revised programs shall be submitted to the Bureau of Career and Technical Education prior to August 1 to receive full-year reimbursement.

   (2)  Reapproval. Previously approved vocational education programs will be reviewed for approval by the Secretary for compliance with this chapter. Every program shall be reviewed for reapproval at intervals of no more than 5 years. The Department has the right to review programs at any time.

 (b)  Application for approval or reapproval. Programs shall be reviewed for compliance with this section. New, expanded, revised and existing programs shall submit evidence of compliance with this chapter. Application shall be made on forms supplied by the Department, which must include:

   (1)  A description of the program and evidencing how a standards-based philosophy has been incorporated as required by §  339.22 (relating to program content). Evidence includes the school entity’s strategic plan and program standards.

   (2)  Evidence that the program prepares students for employment in high priority occupations and is supported by local employers. Evidence includes documentation that the program is aligned with one or more high priority occupations and documentation that membership of the occupational advisory committee includes representation of local or regional employers from related industries. Evidence for reapproval must also include attainment of targets pursuant to the standards under subsection (d).

   (3)  Evidence that the instructional equipment is comparable to industry needs as recommended by the Occupational Advisory Committee. Evidence includes the minutes of the occupational advisory committee meetings.

   (4)  Evidence that the length of time students will be scheduled into a program meets the requirements of §  339.22(a)(9)(i). Evidence includes student schedules.

   (5)  Evidence that each secondary vocational education teacher will hold a valid certificate for the teacher’s assigned position as required by Chapter 49 (relating to certification of professional personnel).

   (6)  Evidence that adequate resource material will be available to support the instructional program plan as required by program accrediting authorities, if applicable, or recommended by the occupational advisory committee. Evidence includes a list of resource materials required by a program accrediting authority or recommended by the occupational advisory committee, and the list of resource material available in the program.

   (7)  Evidence that supports that services and accommodations will be available to disadvantaged, disabled or limited English-speaking students enrolled in vocational and technical programs and supported by the district of residence in accordance with applicable law, service agreements and student IEPs. Evidence includes student IEPs and service agreements.

   (8)  Evidence that school entities will provide students adequate supports to meet academic standards as determined by Chapter 4 and, when applicable, consistent with the student’s IEP, and that instruction in these academic areas at all school entities where the student is enrolled is appropriate to the chosen area of occupational training. Evidence includes transcripts, course sequences, student IEPs, support plans and operating agreements.

   (9)  Evidence that articulation exists between secondary and postsecondary institutions within a service area and that a system exists promoting seamless transition to ensure the maximum opportunity for student placement including opportunities for concurrent enrollment under Article XVI-B of the School Code (24 P. S. § §  16-1601—16-1613) or dual enrollment or other strategies that promote acquisition of postsecondary credit while still in high school. Evidence includes articulation agreements and concurrent or dual enrollment agreements.

   (10)  Evidence of program sponsorship or involvement, or both, in CTSOs. Evidence includes student rosters from the CTSO or charter agreements between the school entity and the CTSO.

   (11)  Evidence, if a program submitted for reapproval is reduced in hours, that the reduction in hours will not result in a less effective education program being offered. Evidence includes demonstration that the requirements of this chapter will be met.

   (12)  Evidence that joint planning occurs between the AVTs and district of residence around the academic and other needs of attending students. Evidence includes agendas and minutes of joint operating committee meetings and of administrative committees.

   (13)  Evidence that students are following an educational plan and have an occupational objective. Evidence includes a completed ‘‘Educational and Occupational Objectives For a Student Enrolled in a Department-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program’’ Form as specified by the Department for each student.

 (c)  Documentation. Documentation supporting compliance with each item on the application for approval or reapproval-subsection (b)—shall be maintained at the school entity and shall be available for Department review. All documentation submitted to the Department shall be maintained by the school entity for 3 years after a compliance review has been completed.

 (d)  Retain approval.

   (1)  To maintain program approval granted under subsection (a)(1) or (2), it shall be necessary for the school entity to meet the following standards, which will be subject to review by the Department.

     (i)   Skill attainment targets as set forth in the school entity’s local plan, if applicable, or State plan, which may include industry assessment, industry credentials, certification or State assessment.

     (ii)   Student performance targets on achieving academic standards as set forth in the school entity’s local plan, if applicable, or State plan, which includes the PSSA or another Department-approved assessment which measures student performance on academic standards.

     (iii)   Secondary school completion and student graduation targets as set forth in the school entity’s local plan, if applicable, or State Plan, which includes student attainment of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent or a proficiency credential in conjunction with a secondary school diploma.

     (iv)   Student placement targets as set forth in the school entity’s local plan, if applicable, or State Plan, which includes placement in, retention in and completion of postsecondary education or advanced training (including registered apprenticeships), placement in military service, or placement and retention in employment.

     (v)   Nontraditional participation and completion targets as set forth in the school entity’s local plan, if applicable, or State Plan, which includes nontraditional student.

   (2)  The Department will notify, in writing, each school entity that does not meet the standards under paragraph (1), and will require the school entity to submit a compliance plan within 90 days to the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. Each noncomplying school entity shall develop a compliance plan and document the corrective actions taken pursuant to it. Upon its approval of the plan, the Department will continue to review the program and provide technical assistance.

 (e)  Terminations.

   (1)  Programs will be terminated for the following reasons:

     (i)   The program fails within a 3-year period to successfully meet the accountability standards under this section and may be terminated in accordance with §  339.62 (relating to noncompliance: appeal process).

     (ii)   School entities request termination. Before program termination, the local administrator shall secure board approval and forward a copy of the board’s minutes with a letter of explanation to the Department. If the Department does not respond to the school entity’s submission within 60 days, the termination shall be considered approved.

     (iii)   The program reports no student enrollment for 3 consecutive school years and may be terminated in accordance with §  339.62.

 (f)  Report. School entities shall report annually to the Department on the accomplishment of standards as outlined in the State Plan or local plan, if applicable.

 (g)  Private school contracts. Contractual arrangements may be made by public schools with approved private institutions to provide secondary or postsecondary vocational-technical instruction only in occupational fields for which public school programs are unavailable. The private institutions shall meet program certification and other mandates regarding vocational education programs contained in the School Code and this title.

Notes of Decisions

   Teacher Suspension

   Teacher was appropriately suspended following merger of two programs of instruction when one of those programs had steadily declined in student enrollment. Newell v. Wilkes-Barre Area Vocational Technical School, 670 A.2d 1190 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).

Cross References

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  339.22 (relating to program content); 22 Pa. Code §  339.51 (relating to learning environment); 22 Pa. Code §  339.57 (relating to application for establishment; program approval and reapproval; termination).

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