We've upgraded our newsletter to a more mobile-friendly format and added quick links to highlight important information and events!
Deadline Approaches for Feedback on ESSA

The deadline to give feedback on the  first draft of Iowa's state plan  for meeting requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is February 15 Public comment is encouraged through the  online feedback survey .  

The Iowa Department of Education spent several months collecting feedback from Iowans in 13 public forums about what they think student success should look like in our state. The first draft is a critical step in the process of implementing ESSA, but is not the final plan. Broad input is needed from education stakeholders to guide revisions so that a final plan makes sense for Iowa.

Feedback also can be submitted via email at  ESSA@iowa.gov or by mail to the Iowa Department of Education, Attn: Deputy Director David Tilly/ESSA Feedback, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50319-0146. Comments will be considered in a revised draft of Iowa's ESSA plan, which is expected in May.
Statewide Forum on "Implementing ABLE in Iowa" this Friday

Friday, February 10
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Johnston Lions Club,  6401 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA

The forum will focus on educating the public on ABLE accounts as they become available in Iowa this year. In addition to the forum, various statewide organizations will be on hand to offer resources and information for attendees. This free event is hosted by the Iowa Able Foundation, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, ABLE National Resource Center, FDIC, and the State Treasurer's office.  

What is the ABLE Act? T he ABLE Act has been seen as a major victory for individuals with disabilities because it allows them to save money without losing benefits from Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income; t he legislation creates a new form of tax-exempt savings account, called an ABLE Account, which is similar to a section 529 College Savings account.
The Benefits of Social Emotional Learning for Students with Behavior

In this month's issue of  Each and Every Child, from the Iowa Department of Education, read about how one Iowa school district reduced office referrals by 50 percent after using Social Emotional Learning. 

Access the plain text and PDF versions here:
Recruiting Parents of Students Who Use Speech-Generating Devices

This survey is open to parents of children (ages 3-21) who use speech-generating devices; the information gathered will help speech-language pathologists gain a better understanding of what supports parents need in order to decrease device abandonment in the school system. 
The survey is being conducted by a Speech-Language Pathology graduate student at the University of KansasEligible participants can access the survey here:  http://kuclas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_d3ZAj5qDuxZzevz.
Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa's Family & Caregiver Workshop and Resource Fair

Wednesday, March  1
9:00 am-4:00 pm
Embassy Suites, 101 E Locust, Des Moines, IA
Upcoming Training Events from ASK Resource Center

Iowa City
Saturday, February 18
8:00 am-5:00 pm
Council Bluffs
Saturday, March 11
8:00 am-5:00 pm
Des Moines
Thursday, March 23 & 30
5:30-8:30 pm
  • FREE training!
  • Lunch and training materials provided; stipends upon request.
  • Learn how to share your lived experience and expertise with other parents.
  • Assist in developing a statewide network of volunteer parent mentors.
  • Discover helpful resources and tools for mentoring and support.

Starts Wednesday, February 22
8:00 am-4:30 pm
Des Moines
Starts Friday, February 24
8:00 am-4:30 pm
  • FREE training!
  • Meals and training materials provided.
  • Stipends available upon request for parents and educators.
  • Offering social work credit, graduate credit, and AEA license renewal credit for administrators, teachers and para-educators.
Iowa Peer & Family Peer Support Specialist Training Workshops
Family Peer Support Specialist Training

Iowa City, March 28-30 & April 25-27
Environmental Education Center, East Side Recycling
2401 Scott Blvd SE,  Iowa City, IA
Must attend both sessions to complete the training; a pplications accepted January 30-February 27.

Council Bluffs, May 16-18 & June 20-22
Hampton Inn
2202 River Rd, Council Bluffs, IA
Must attend both sessions to complete the training; applications accepted March 20-April 17.

Peer Support Specialist Training

Quad Cities, April 3-7
Genesis Medical Center
801 Illini Dr, Silvis, IL
Applications accepted February 1-March 6.
Council Bluffs, June 5-9
Hampton Inn
2202 River Rd, Council Bluffs, IA
Applications accepted April 3-May 8.

Go to www.iowapeersupporttraining.com for registration application and other details.
Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide

The Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide was created in 2014 by the Massachusetts State Sexual Violence Prevention Plan, with the help of young people with disabilities, to promote health access and to prevent sexual violence and exploitation of individuals with disabilities.  The guide  i s a helpful resource for parents of teens and adults with disabilities and the professionals who serve them. Discover  several adapted sexuality education resources in a variety of formats, covering topics like:
  • Changing bodies and feelings
  • Getting and giving respect
  • Dating and relationships
  • Developing sexual health, identity and orientation
  • Accessing health information and social support
  • Preventing disease, abuse and pregnancy
NAMI Greater Des Moines Workshop & Activities

NAMI Smarts for Advocacy
Saturday, February 18
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
NAMI Greater Des Moines, 511 E 6th St, Des Moines, IA

Turn your passion and your lived experience into a positive voice for mental health with NAMI Smarts for Advocacy training. NAMI Smarts will enhance your advocacy skills and help you shape a powerful and personal story that will move policy makers. This workshop provides step-by-step tools and the hands-on practice you need to feel clear, confident and ready to make a difference. This event is free, but r egistration is required; contact Michele at (515) 850-1467 or NAMIGDMdirector@gmail.com to sign up.
Art as Meditation
Tuesdays, February 21 through March 28
6:00 - 7:30 pm
NAMI Greater Des Moines, 511 E 6th St, Des Moines, IA
Cost: $20 (scholarships available by request)

Sam Erwin's art therapy workshops teach participants how to use creativity, imagination and art to process life experiences. Sessions are quiet and help participants practice mindfulness, attention, awareness, non-judgment and non-reaction techniques; weekly homework assignments allow you to practice art as meditation in day-to-day life. Registration is required; contact Michele at  (515) 850-1467 or NAMIGDMdirector@gmail.com to sign up.

Details about our 5th annual statewide conference will be released in the coming weeks!

The contents of this listserv email were partially funded by grants from the US Dept of Education, #H328M140017, Project Officer David Emenheiser, and the US Dept of Health & Human Services, #H84MC24065, Project Officer LaQuanta Smalley, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. These contents do not necessarily represent the policy of those entities,  nor should one assume  endorsement by them. 

ASK Resource Center  serves as a Family Voices State Affiliate Organization, and is a member of the Parent to Parent USA Alliance.