September 2019 Newsletter
Executive Director Roberta Dunn and Program Coordinator Heather Olivier standing next to Senator Merkley
Dear FACT Oregon friends,

There are no two ways about it; while we might be excited to have our kids back in school, getting ready for it is a challenge. If your summer was like ours, it went by too fast and was busy! FACT Oregon attended the Offices of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Leadership conference in Washington DC. It was an incredible opportunity to network with other organizations supporting families and State Education Agency (SEA) teams from across the country. It was also an opportunity to meet with members of Oregon’s Federal delegation. We had great visits with Senator Merkley, Congresswomen Bonamici, and Congressman Walden. We shared about the importance of fully funding IDEA and what we hear from families. During our visit with Senator Merkley we discussed how he is one of the only Senators to ever complete an Ironman Triathlon. We were really hoping he could stop by the All Ability Tri4Youth to greet our amazing athletes but his schedule didn’t allow it. We will try again next year!

Our All Ability Tri4Youth was two weeks later but with the amazing support of 250 volunteers, 30 community vendors/exhibitors and sponsors, 183 athletes had the experience of a lifetime! Thank you to all of you that helped make this day a tremendous success! Make sure to check out the photos too!

In the midst of the busyness of this season, there are critically important opportunities for us to influence equitable access to education in schools that are safe and welcoming for all students, including children experiencing disability: 

“The Student Success Act (SSA) is a historic opportunity to ensure equitable learning outcomes for students in Oregon. It calls on us to join together around innovation, improvement and investment to build our collective capacity and center our work around equity and community and student voice.”

This is the message of Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education. As districts prepare to access the funding made available with the SSA they must have meaningful engagement with stakeholders in their community, including parents of children experiencing disability . We’ve included additional information about SSA in this newsletter and will continue to share information as we have it but in the meantime, please consider doing one of the following:

  1. Ask your district what its plans are to hear from families of children experiencing disability
  2. See if your district has a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) or other type of Special Education parent council, and if so consider applying to sit on it, and ensure they know about SSA and the expectation of meaningful stakeholder engagement
  3. Consider joining your school's PTA/PTO and make sure that they are including students experiencing disability in their agendas, initiatives, planning and communication. 

The timeline is short for schools to submit their plans so time is of the essence.  

Here’s to a smooth transition back to school!
Roberta Dunn, FACT Oregon Executive Director
Register for our 2019/20
Regional Learning Summits!
Give us a day...we'll give you all we've got!
Mark your calendars, because we're coming to a region near you! We're excited to announce Regional Learning Summits will be happening across the state; We’re taking the show on the road to eight NEW locations and have added NEW workshops!
Grants Pass : September 28, 2019
Redmond : October 19, 2019
Hood River : November 2, 2019
Portland : January 25, 2020
Newport : February 22, 2020
Eugene : February 29, 2020 
Baker : March 14, 2020
Hermiston : April 11, 2020
Join us for a day jam-packed with informative trainings, local community resources, and opportunities to meet families in your community. This day is for you!

You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn: 
  • Advocacy tips for navigating special education, the IEP process and healthy team dynamics, learning the lingo and acronyms (IEP, FBA, AT, LRE...oh MY!)
  • What to know about Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE)
  • Transitions...to kindergarten, to middle school and high school
  • Transition and preparing for adulthood
  • ...and why “Charting your Vision for the Future” using your child’s strengths and a One Page Profile is critical to success!

We know that connecting with the community is an important part of living a whole life, that is why there will be opportunities to learn more about local resources and to connect with parents near you!

Thank you to our sponsors The Autzen Foundation, Oregon Able Savings Plan and The Ford Family Foundation!

Another Year, Another AMAZING
All Ability Tri4Youth!
By the numbers, there were  183 athletes, 250 volunteers, and 30 vendors and community partners attended the Family Fun and Resource Fair!  The 2019 All Ability Tri4Youth was a huge success and we couldn't have done it without your support! 
Check out some of our favorite moments from the day:
The Student Success Act:
What You Need To Know
A message from Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education:
The Student Success Act (SSA) alters the trajectory for Oregon's children, students and youth.

Signed into law in May of 2019, the SSA includes sweeping provisions for new and improved services for children and families, including significant investments in:

  • Early learning;
  • Expanded instructional time;
  • Student health and safety;
  • Reduced class size;
  • Well-rounded education;
  • High School Success (Ballot Measure 98);
  • Access to school meals;
  • Equity in education; and;
  • New youth re-engagement programs and more
If we are to realize the potential of the SSA, it is imperative that we implement with equity, authentic stakeholder engagement and shared accountability for student success. The new law specifically seeks to improve outcomes for students of color; students with disabilities; emerging bilingual students; students navigating poverty, homelessness, and foster care; and others who have experiences disparities in our system.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Oregon, its children and its future. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is committed to working with school districts, charter schools, early learning hubs and communities to ensure success through partnership and a shared responsibility for the success of our students.

Join us in sharing your experiences and knowledge, name your need for support, and join us as full partners to do this work well.
The Faces of FACT: It's the Little Things
When we think about going back to school, we often think about things like signing up for classes, meeting new teachers, and making sure your child's IEP is all in order for the school year ahead.

Recently, we've received quite a few support calls from families asking for tips and tricks while navigating Mom Whitnie shares her story about another element of going back to school, getting a haircut, and the steps she's taken to grow her son Chris' confidence.
Become a Monthly Donor!
We need your help! Become a monthly donor today and help us continue to:

  • Host and grow inclusive community events across the state.
  • Support systems change work through effective advocacy at the local, state, and national level.
  • Increase parent/caregiver training opportunities and ensure that peer-to-peer family resource specialists have the capacity to meet our ever-increasing call volume.

Together, we can empower Oregon families experiencing disability to live whole, inclusive lives!

Connect with us!