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Boscola Bulletin

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health MonthFebruary is National Children's Dental Health Month #NCDHM which is the PERFECT opportunity to promote the benefits of good oral health - developing good dental health habits at an early age, including scheduling regular dental visits, helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. 

Early childhood tooth decay has become the most common chronic childhood disease, impacting more children than asthma. According to the American Dental Association, more than 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they reach Kindergarten. Additionally, kids who suffer from poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.

Pennsylvania has tried to tackle the oral health epidemic by requiring each child to receive a dental examination before enrolling in school, as well as in the 3rd and 7th grades. However, without regular six-month check-ups and establishing healthy oral health habits at an early age, small cavities can lead to much larger problems in little mouths.

Let’s do better & help our children Keep Healthy Teeth with the 2-2-2 Rule

2-2-2 rule:  visit your dentist two times a year, and brush and floss TWO times a day for TWO whole minutes!

This year, we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the community water fluoridation program & bringing to light its effectiveness in preventing cavities. Did you know that simply by drinking water, you can benefit from fluoride's cavity protection?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century!

Education Department Seeks Sponsors for Summer Meals and Nutrition Programs

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is encouraging organizations across the state to help provide nutritious meals to children in low-income areas during the summer months through PDE’s Summer Food Service Program. To reach more children and narrow the hunger gap that summer may bring, more organizations and meal sites are needed throughout the state, especially in rural areas. 

Summer Food Service ProgramThe Summer Food Service Program, which began in 1976, is a federally funded child nutrition program designed to reach youths who are age 18 or younger in economically disadvantaged areas. People over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and participate in public or non-profit private programs established for the disabled are also able to receive free meals at the program sites.

Participating organizations are reimbursed for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.  Nearly 61 million breakfast meals and 115 million lunch meals were served to free and reduced-price eligible children in Pennsylvania during the 2018- 2019 school year under the School Nutrition Program. However, only 14 out of every 100 students receiving free and reduced-price meals during the school year accessed nutritious summer meals.

Participating organizations must be year-round, not-for-profit entities, which include schools, local, municipal, or county governments, libraries, churches, fire and police stations, summer camps, and national youth sports programs. Organizations approved to sponsor the Summer Food Service Program are responsible for managing the feeding sites that provide the meals to children.

Most participating organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals a day: lunch or dinner, and breakfast or a snack. Those serving primarily migrant children may be reimbursed for up to three meals a day. Camps may serve up to three meals a day, but they are reimbursed only for meals served to children eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

For more information on becoming a participating organization or a meal site for the Summer Food Service Program, view the website at www.education.pa.gov/sfsp or call 1-800-331-0129. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2020.

National Engineers Week

Founded by NSPE in 1951, EWeek is dedicated to raising public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to quality of life, EWeek promotes recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy, and motivates youth, to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce. Each year, EWeek reaches thousands of schools, businesses, and community groups across the U.S.

STEM Businesses are growing in Pennsylvania, and they want skilled and well-educated workers who are prepared for the 21st century economy. Students need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to enter the workforce and be successful in a tech-driven, global economy.

  • There will be 590,000 new and replacement jobs in Pennsylvania through 2026, with STEM jobs growing at over 9 percent.
  • Over the next ten years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills.
  • Currently, there are more than 17,000 unfilled computer science and software development jobs in Pennsylvania with an average salary of $85,000.
  • STEM, health, and business majors generally earn the highest salaries, with graduates earning an average annual wage of $37,000 or more at entry level and an average of $65,000 or more annually over the course of their career. 
  • Research shows STEM instruction and majors offer benefits in a student's postsecondary career, even if that student does not necessarily pursue a STEM career.

Pennsylvania is a nationally-recognized leader in STEM education for its five regional STEM ecosystems and their collaborative efforts. STEM learning ecosystems encompass schools, businesses, and community settings - this includes after-school and summer programs, science centers, libraries, museums, and other environments to constitute a rich array of learning opportunities.

Governor’s STEM Competition

The Governor's STEM Competition will be held May 7-8, 2020, and the theme is "Improving Pennsylvania Through STEM."

The Governor's STEM Competition challenges student teams from across the state to research, design, and present a device or project that can make the quality of life better for Pennsylvanians by accomplishing a series of practical tasks that can fulfill real-world needs. Visit the Competition website for additional information!

PHEAA Launches New Student Loan Refinance Option

Attention students and families – the PA Forward Student Loan Program has everything you are looking for!

PHEAA Loan RefinanceThe Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) announced the newest expansion of PHEAA’s successful PA Forward Student Loan Program, offering borrowers a more streamlined way to manage their debt by combining all of their federal and private student loans into a single monthly payment.

The PA Forward Student Loan Refinance Program offers competitive fixed interest rates, currently as low as 3.72 percent APR, which is significantly lower than the average private student loan rate of 8.86 percent and the average Federal PLUS loan rate of 6.97 percent.
PHEAA’s PA Forward Student Loan Program offers a suite of borrower-friendly loans for undergraduate and graduate students, for parent borrowers and, now, for borrowers in repayment seeking a simple and straightforward way to manage their debt.

Eligible federal loans include Stafford, PLUS, Graduate PLUS, Consolidation, and Perkins Loans. Borrowers should be aware that refinancing federal student loans will result in the loss of current or future federal loan-specific loan benefits. Eligible private loans include any student loan used for qualified postsecondary education expenses.

While this new program helps borrowers manage their debt during repayment, students should avoid taking out any loan, if possible, by first taking full advantage of federal and state grant and scholarship opportunities. When borrowing is absolutely necessary, PHEAA works to make sure that students have the resources needed to make smart choices - this includes access to free planning tools such as MySmartBorrowing.org and to low-cost loans through the PA Forward Student Loan Program.

PHEAA’s PA Forward Refinance Loan offers several benefits, including:

  • No application or origination fees
  • No pre-payment penalty
  • Flexible repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
  • Potential for lower monthly payments
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in Direct Debit
  • Available biweekly payment options that can pay off a 10-year loan, 10 months sooner; saving significantly more money in interest

While the PA Forward Refinance Loan does not require a co-signer, applicants may benefit from a creditworthy co-signer if they do not meet minimum credit requirements. A creditworthy co-signer may also increase an applicant’s chances for approval and could result in a lower interest rate. The program is available to eligible Pennsylvania residents or eligible residents of an approved state (MD, NJ, DE, NY, VA, and OH) who are borrowers of the student loans that are to be refinanced. For more information, visit www.PHEAA.org/refi.  For specific questions, call 1-844-PAFORWD (1-844-723-6793).

The Pennsylvania Department of Education will be offering a live one-hour webinar on the PA Career Ready Skills

Career Ready PAMonday, February 24, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will be offering a live one-hour webinar on the PA Career Ready Skills, featuring Dr. Pamela Emery. The PA Career Ready Skills incorporate critical employability skills that employers seek in future employees. These social emotional learning progressions support the development of self-awareness and self-management, establishing and maintaining relationships, and problem solving. All educators are welcome to join this live training!  Register HERE.

National Entrepreneurship Week

In 2006, National Entrepreneurship Week was congressionally-chartered to focus on promoting awareness of the contributions of entrepreneurs as innovators, positive forces in our economy, and important resources for improving communities as places to live and work, as well as, promoting innovative ways that entrepreneurship education can bring together core academic, technical and problem solving skills.

Are you an aspiring Pennsylvania Small Business Entrepreneur? The Commonwealth is committed to helping aspiring entrepreneurs, like you, achieve their business goals by providing training, guidance and resources as you plan and launch a new venture.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development created the PA Business One-Stop Shop to help boost your chance of success by providing assistance with defining your business concept and goals, writing your business plan, naming your business, choosing a business structure and more!

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)