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Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools


To accomplish our mission of ensuring a quality education for all of Pennsylvania’s children, we must unite in purpose. As a collective of rural, small, and severely underfunded schools, we have power when we speak with one loud voice. Stay informed about the issues you need to know about when you connect here with us.

COVID Federal Funding: How to Plan, Prepare, and Make It Through

We invite you to join us for a special meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (United States and Canada). Please find further details below.

We'd also like to pass along this implementation guide for uniform guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

  • Topic: COVID Federal Funding: How to Plan, Prepare, and Make It Through
  • Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2021
  • Time: 9:30 a.m.
  • Meeting Recording
  • Access Passcode: Parss@032221

COVID-19 Federal Funding: How to Plan, Prepare, and Make It Through Event

The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools is hosting a COVID-19 Federal Funding: How to Plan, Prepare, and Make It Through event on Monday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. Please register online, and see our COVID-19 federal funding event flyer for more information.

Grant Winners
Patrick Lauletta, Colin Kolb, Principal Mike Brookes, and CTE Director Lisa McNamara accepting grant

Graphic arts teacher Patrick Lauletta and computer systems technology teacher Colin Kolb, along with Principal Mike Brooks and CTE Director Lisa McNamara, gratefully accept a $2,000 educator grant from the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. The grant, along with matching funds from an anonymous donor, goes toward launching a drone certification program for students. Thank you, PARSS, for supporting student success at Octorara Jr. Sr. High School!

PARSS Seminar - April 29, 2021

Attention, PARSS members! You're invited! We are excited to be able to offer you a virtual opportunity on April 29, 2021. Hannah Barrick and Dr. Terry Madonna will each be hosting a legislative update session, and we will be holding our annual membership meeting immediately following their sessions. Please check out the meeting announcement below for all the details. We'll see you soon!

Final COVID Budget Report

School districts across Pennsylvania are experiencing a transformational moment for education. A global pandemic disrupted the 2019–20 school year and has upended the status quo in terms of instruction, budgets, staffing, and everything in-between.

The status quo is gone, and school districts have spent the past ten months adapting, pivoting, and evolving in an unprecedented and ever-changing environment that is likely to continue for the duration of the 2020–21 school year—at least.

To better understand the challenges school districts are experiencing and the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), the PA Association of School Administrators (PASA), and the PA Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) conducted a survey of school district business managers and superintendents. To learn more, please see the final COVID budget report.

Joint Letter to Biden, Casey, and Toomey

Many of our members wrote a joint letter to Biden, Casey, and Toomey. We thanked them for their commitment to our nation's students and schools as everyone continues to navigate the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the entire letter.

Concerns About School Finances

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette finds that Pennsylvania school leaders are still concerned for operations and finances in 2021. For more information, please see the PG school finance document.

COVID-19 Relief Package

President-elect Biden announces American rescue plan emergency legislative package to fund vaccinations, provide immediate, direct relief to families bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, and support struggling communities. The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis are devastating families across the country. Please read the entire COVID relief package fact sheet for more information.

School Funding Lawsuit Event

We invite you to join us for an update on the pending school funding lawsuit on behalf of Pennsylvania schools and families on Tuesday, February 2 at noon. Our special guests are Michael Churchill from The Public Interest Law Center and Maura McInerney from the Education Law Center. Register here for this exclusive event. For more information, please see the flyer below.

Budget Report

The pandemic required an unprecedented change in K–12 schools to overcome new operational and fiscal challenges and continue to educate Pennsylvania’s students in the wake of the most critical public health crisis in our nation’s history. While school leaders coped with the unknown budget effects of COVID-19, technology access and staffing shortages plagued the changes in instructional models leaving school leaders concerned about remedying the instructional deficit many students are experiencing.

We invite you to read more about our budget in the following report releases.

Education's Lost Year

As the long, dark COVID-filled months stretch before us, and as schools scramble to respond to the latest curveballs thrown by the pandemic, the government must fully address the threats our school districts face moving forward. An unprecedented educational catastrophe is looming and will jeopardize our children’s future success, and thus the success of our country if no countermeasures are taken.

I think I speak for all Pennsylvanians when I say the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff is paramount. And our schools have been working hard to innovate new ways to protect their children and staff while still providing the best education possible. Of course, with positive COVID cases continuing to mount and people being encouraged to stay home as much as they can, many schools are beginning to rely more and more on remote learning – which has been riddled with challenges, especially for rural schools in cash-strapped counties. Many teachers and administrators in these counties have found it particularly difficult to meet the needs of all of their students via technology alone without the resources they so desperately need. 

Please read the entire message from Dr. Albert.

2020-2021 Membership Information

In light of budget challenges brought on by COVID-19, PARSS is offering reduced dues for district and educational associate members for the 2020-2021 school year. Please see the following documents for more information:

Website Accessibility

PARSS is committed to providing a positive experience for all users. We are in the process of making changes to our website to ensure it complies with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 success criteria. In the meantime, please let us know if you experience any barriers while visiting our site.