Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
Inspirational Quote
“If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.”  ~ Dalai Lama
Message From Diana & Michele
We all have to remind each other and ourselves of the need and importance of taking the opportunity to rejuvenate and restore ourselves emotionally and spiritually. The last year and a half has tested our strength in many ways. NE-PACT is here to support you and your parent center so please let us know how we can help!
MPF: Maine has announced they will be doing a full repeal and replacement of the state’s Unified Special Education Regulations. The new release of the new Regulations will happen over the summer and MPF is watching those developments very closely to be able to report to families. They are also partnering with their UCEDD in the development and implementation of an 8-part transition parent training. They will be piloting the 8 modules over the summer with parent leaders. Finally, they are partnering with Boston University as part of a Spencer Foundation Grant to provide training for parents on legislative advocacy in the anticipation of a potential re-opening of IDEA.

Starbridge: Creating a Life After High School: Starbridge is bringing back their one-day-only Creating a Life After High School sessions! Parents and youth are invited to join them in a safe and encouraging environment where students can both dream and plan. Learn about opportunities and find answers to the questions that are on everyone’s minds. Read more here.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
Region A Drop-In Call: The next Region A Drop In Call will take place on Tuesday, July 6, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Our regular calls take place on the first Tuesday of every month. Check your calendar invite for additional details. The link to join the call will be a zoom link. You will receive a calendar invite, calendar reminder, and email reminder for the new link. We will use Zoom for all upcoming Drop In Calls, COVID Drop in Calls and any other future meetings.  Please let us know if you have any agenda items.
Registration is Now Open for the Virtual 2021 OSEP Leadership and Project Directors' Conference: Please note the email below with the link to register for this year’s “Mega” OSEP Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference on July 19-22, 2021. Please register now!
Other Events:  Don’t forget to check out the CPIR Calendar of Events.
Non-Profit Management Resources
The Road to Reopening: When Will It Be the Right Time to Return to your Pre-Pandemic Workplace? The answer will be different for every organization based on multiple factors. The first factor, of course, depends on our mission. If our mission has been “essential” and we’ve remained on-site, what changes will we need to make to accommodate (potentially increased) constituents and any returning paid or volunteer staff? And for those who have continued to work on-site, what additional support do our staff need in terms of time off, longer breaks, or mental health services? For those reopening our doors, we’ll need to consider factors such as the size and layout of the workspace – for individual employees, constituents, and visitors – in common spaces and at workstations. Other factors depend on our geographic location, the spread of COVID-19 in our region, and any public health orders by government authorities. And throughout, we all need to consider not the quickest or easiest ways to do something, but rather seek the highest common denominator of what’s needed by our staff members and the people we serve who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus or developing severe complications. Check out resources on these topics from the National Council of Non-Profits
Family-Centered Services Resources
Family, Economic, and Geographic Characteristics of Black Families with Children: Want to know more about the characteristics of Black families with children to help you plan and deliver more effective services? Check out this resource from Child Trends 
Youth-Centered Services Resources
Effective Strategies for Providing Quality Youth Mentoring in Schools and Communities: Mentoring can be a beneficial experience for youth and young adults. The toolkit, Building Relationships: A Guide for New Mentors, talks about a successful mentoring relationship and the 10 principles of effective mentoring. The guide also includes the following handout: The Mentoring Relationship Cycle, a tool to start implementing the strategies for providing quality youth mentoring. Find it here.
Staff Development Resources
NonProfit Leadership Center: As nonprofits continue to operate in a new environment that’s anything but normal, we’ve prepared this digital hub for nonprofit leaders to help you and your organization easily access information and resources to respond to COVID-19. Click here for resources.
Tens of Thousands of Students May Have to Repeat a Grade. Should They? After more than a year waging uphill battles to connect with their schooling, tens of thousands of students now face having to repeat a grade in 2021-22. It’s a choice an unusually high number of principals, district leaders, and parents anticipate making, despite warnings in stacks of research that it often doesn’t help—and can harm—children. Read more.
I Thought I Understood Parents of Language-Learners. Then I Became One: Five lessons for forming better relationships with ELL families. Learn more.
Bullying, CyberBullying, and LGBTG Students: Cyberbullying Research Center, 2020. Bullying that specifically targets youth and young adults based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression has been a problem for decades. The increased utilization of technology among youth has resulted in bullying behaviors moving online. As a result, cyberbullying perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth has emerged. It is clear that more can be done to prevent these incidents of hate perpetrated online. This summary explores what the research says about the connection between bullying/cyberbullying and sexual orientation/identity, and discusses relevant strategies that youth-serving adults can implement. Download the Guide or find it here.
Child Welfare
Parenting Your Adopted Teenager: Factsheet for Families, Child Welfare Information Gateway, November 2020. Provides information to help adoptive parents understand the needs and experiences of their teen and use practical strategies to foster healthy development. These strategies include approaches that acknowledge potential trauma and loss, support effective communication, promote independence, and address possible behavioral and mental health concerns. Find the Factsheet here.
Choice/Charter Schools/Voucher Programs
NYT Charter School Information: Check out this repository of information on charter schools at the NY TImes. 
Cultural Competence
Cultural Competence in Crisis Response: Despite the importance of culturally competent crisis response, a survey of NCSP practitioners found that there is limited awareness among school psychologists of how multiple factors and student diversity influence the provision of crisis intervention services. In actuality, culture influences what type of threat or event is perceived as traumatic, how individuals interpret the meaning of crisis, and how individuals and communities express traumatic reactions. Check out this article on the importance of considering culture in crisis response.
Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health: Want to learn more about children’s mental health in the US? Learn more.
Discipline & Positive Behavioral Supports
Biden Administration to Renew Focus on Racial Disparities in School Discipline ( Policymakers and pundits have clashed for years over the factors behind racial disparities in discipline and how to remedy them. This article explores the past two administrations and moving forward. 
Dispute Resolution
IDEA Early Intervention Family Guides - En Espanol: As promised, CADRE’s nine IDEA Early Intervention Dispute Resolution Parent Guides and companion videos are now available in Spanish. These videos cover topics such as Early Intervention, mediation, written state complaints, and due process complaints and hearings. Find the videos and guides here.
Dropout Prevention
Effective Updates; School Community Collaboration: This strategy focuses on the power of an engaged and responsive community where everyone in the community is accountable for the quality of education, resulting in a caring and collaborative environment where youth can thrive and achieve. Check it out.
Early Childhood/Early Intervention
A Family Guide to Participating in the Child Outcomes Measurement Process: Parents of a young child in an early intervention or early childhood special education program want to be sure these services are helping their child develop and learn. But how can they tell if that is so? One way is to learn about the 3 “child outcomes” measured for every child who participates in such a program. This handout explains the 3 outcomes and how parents can participate in the child outcomes measurement process
Education Reform/ESSA
Meeting The Needs of Highly Impacted Student Populations: Supporting Evidence, May 2021: The National Center for Systemic Improvement was asked to identify key considerations for learning acceleration and recovery as part of enrichment efforts this summer (2021) and beyond. Four big concepts were identified by NCSI and then discussed by interested participants. In this resource are the four big ideas as well as the research that substantiates their relevance. Download the report here.
In Pursuit of Equity: The Division of Early Childhood and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center are hosting various experts in the field of early childhood special education and early intervention in disrupting the pervasive inequities of our systems. Topics will include troubling notions of "at risk," challenging biases about families in home based services, suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings, counteracting racism and ableism in early childhood systems, and engaging in systems change in pursuit of equity. Sessions will be offered live and recorded. Learn more here.
Foster Care
Supporting Youth in Foster Care Through the Pandemic: New Federal funding provides State, Tribal, and county child welfare agencies with time-limited resources to respond to some of the needs of youth and young adults under the age of 27 who experienced foster care after the age of 14. Watch this webinar from January 7, 2021, where the Children’s Bureau provides information to States, Tribes, and courts on the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act, P.L. 116-260. Click here to access the webinar (opens in new window), use the passcode 9ES4H0K#. More information here.
Foster Care Statistics 2019: This factsheet provides the most recent national statistical estimates for children and youth in foster care from fiscal year (FY) 2019 and also provides earlier data from FY 2009 to allow for some estimate of trends over time. Data were obtained from the Federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). AFCARS collects information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children who are adopted with public child welfare agency involvement. Find the factsheet here.
Health and Wellbeing in Midlife Parents of Children with Special Healthcare Needs: The objectives of this study were to delineate variation in mental and physical health outcomes over a 10-year period among parents with a child with special health needs as compared to parents of a typically developing child; and evaluate the possible protective effects of parental perceived control and social support. The added stressors of parenting a child with special health needs may undermine the long-term health of parents. Behavioral interventions and clinical practices that facilitate parental perceived control may enable resilience and better health. Find out more.
New York City Experiment Will Give Cash Payments to Homeless Young Adults ( New York will become the latest U.S. city to start a pilot giving out monthly cash payments to residents, joining a growing number of others this year that are trying out guaranteed income experiments. Check it out.
IDEA/Special Education
OSEP Releases Fast Facts on School Aged Children with Disabilities: OSEP released a Hand In Hand supplemental tool that parents and stakeholders can use alongside the new OSEP Fast Fact. This new tool guides users through the OSEP Fast Facts and is presented with critical questions to allow parents and other stakeholders to engage with the materials.
Immigrant Issues
Who’s Teaching the Children Crossing the U.S. Border? Answers to 6 Questions: Here are answers to some basic questions about the educational status of the children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without legal documents. Some of these children will eventually find their way to public school systems around the country. Read more.
Developing Accessible and Inclusive Social-Emotional Learning Approaches for Students With Disabilities: This toolkit can help you understand more about the importance of social, emotional, and academic development for students with disabilities. It provides resources for advocating at school and district levels for high-quality practices and policies to support this approach. Using these recommendations, parents can encourage decision makers in their child’s school and district to create an inclusive vision, design supportive learning environments for all students, support educators, and use funding and resources in ways that will address the needs of students with disabilities. Follow this link for the toolkit.
Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
University Researchers at forefront of Statewide Efforts to Reform Juvenile Justice: The University of New Haven’s Tow Youth Justice Institute is working to reimagine and reform juvenile justice in Connecticut, leading the push for legislative change, helping to train police officers, and conducting groundbreaking research on ensuring equity and opportunity for youth who have been involved with the juvenile justice system.  Read more.
Queer & Now: PRIDE Month Toolkit: Queer & Now is Advocates for Youth’s celebration of queer youth. Queer stories are young people’s stories, and we need to make sure queer people are reflected in history, health care, reproductive health and rights, and sex education. Check it out.
Together In Pride: LGBTQ+ Options For Family Planning And Adoption Have Grown: As we celebrate Pride Month, we're taking a look at how families are coming together in the LGBTQ+ community. There have been lots of positive changes in the last few years. After figuring out the system of becoming a parent through surrogacy, Eran Amir and Michael Gowen started, a website that helps aspiring parents through the journey with thousands of vetted contacts and lots of information. Many families are also coming together through adoption. Dawn Davenport heads the nonprofit website and says there are mainly three ways to adopt. Those are domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and adoption through foster care. Read more here.
The Human Rights Campaign Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: HRC responded to the Supreme Court’s decision on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case regarding whether taxpayer-funded foster care agencies can discriminate against LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs. In a 9-0 decision, the Court ruled that governments can enforce nondiscrimination laws as long as they do so neutrally, but that the City of Philadelphia was not neutral in its application of its nondiscrimination laws. Read more here.

U.S. Department of Education Confirms Title IX Protects Students from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, June 16, 2021: The Department of Education's Notice of Interpretation is available here. More information and resources for LGBTQ+ students are available here.
Mental Health
Mental Health Problems Loom for the COVID Generation:  Here’s What Schools Can Do: The nation’s schools were already struggling to meet students’ mental health needs when the pandemic hit. How can schools rise to meet students’ ballooning needs in that area as a massive school reopening gets underway? Read more.
Military Families & Youth
Military will pay toward in-home childcare for some families in pilot program: For years, military families, advocates and lawmakers have expressed concern about the shortage of affordable childcare for military families. While childcare is available on military bases, there isn't enough of it in many areas. This article explains a pilot program to help military families pay for in-home childcare.  
Native American
Federally Recognized Tribes in the NE: The US Fish and Wildlife Service has information on the federally recognized tribes in the NE. Check it out
Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
Positive Youth Development Resources: PYD is not a specific curriculum but a model that can be used to enhance any youth-serving program. Youth-serving professionals should follow eight key practices to effectively incorporate PYD into their programs. Follow this link for more information.
How Is Poverty Measured? Poverty is measured in the United States by comparing a person’s or family’s income to a set poverty threshold or minimum amount of income needed to cover basic needs. People whose income falls under their threshold are considered poor. The U.S. Census Bureau is the government agency in charge of measuring poverty. To do so, it uses two main measures, the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure, both of which are described in this FAQ 
Remote Learning/School Reopening
COVID-19 Handbook: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff: View this 3 volume resource for students, faculty and families from OSEP to support reopening. Check out Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3.

Making Decisions about Children Attending In-person School During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Information for Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers Updated January 19, 2021. Many parents, caregivers, and guardians face new and difficult choices about how their child will return to school in the fall, such as deciding between in-person and virtual learning. This tool is designed to help parents, caregivers, and guardians weigh the risks and benefits of available educational options to help them make decisions about sending their child back to school. Find the tool here.
Supporting Students with Disabilities at School and Home: A Guide for Teachers to Support Families and Students: This guide provides 5 key practices for teachers and families to support all students, including students with disabilities, at school and home. This is not an exhaustive list of “best practices.” Instead, we identified a small number of practices that have a big impact on student learning and social-emotional-behavioral growth. View the guide here.
Social-Emotional Learning
Social Emotional Learning: Making it Work: This report explores the challenges and opportunities to teaching social-emotional learning when school buildings are open.
Five Things AT Leaders Need to Know About Inclusive Technology Systems: To set the stage for an inclusive technology conversation, it’s helpful to have standard definitions for accessible technology and assistive technology. Accessible technologies and materials afford people with disabilities the opportunity to “acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as people who do not have disabilities.” Learn more.
Transition to Adult Life/Youth
How to Help Students with Disabilities Transition to Adult Life: Check out this easy-to-read article on planning for life after high school.

Resource Finder Helps Adolescents Transition to Adulthood: Click here for resources that allow young adults with special healthcare needs learn about their diagnosis/disability and how to take care of themselves as they transition into adulthood..
Trauma & Toxic Stress
Toxic Stress in Children Impact Over a Lifetime: Up to 90% of children will experience at least one traumatic event, which can lead to toxic stress. According to Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child, toxic stress is the “excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and brain.” Examples of stressful childhood situations include the death of loved ones, illness, divorce, an unstable home environment, crime, natural disasters, mass shootings, terrorism, and war. Many of these situations are becoming a daily and normal occurrence for children around the world. Toxic stress can lead to problems with learning, behavior, and health—all of which can last a lifetime. This article provides an overview of toxic stress, including how the brain develops, the impact of stress on the body, the long-term effects of stress, resilience, and how to prevent toxic stress. Read more.
The Navigating Excellence-Parent Assistance and Collaboration Team (NE-PACT), the Region A Technical Assistance Center, provides technical assistance to federally-funded parent centers -- Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) - NEPACT Logolocated in the states of CT-AFCAMP, CT-CPAC, DC-AJE, DE-PIC, MD-PPMD, ME-MPF, MA-FCSN, NH-PIC, NJ-SPAN, NJ-ASCF, NY-AFC, NY-CIDA, NY-LIAC, NY-UWS, NY-Starbridge, NY-INCLUDEnyc, NY-Sinergia, NY-PNWNY, PA-HUNE, PA- ME, PA-PEAL, PR-APNI, RI-RIPIN, VI-DRVI and VT-VFN. These Parent Centers are independent non-profit organizations. We also provide support to emerging parent centers and parent organizations serving families of children with or at risk of being identified as having disabilities. In addition, we work with early intervention and education agencies (local, state and federal level) seeking information regarding best practices in involving parents of children with disabilities in systems improvement.

The center activities are specifically designed to:

  • Enhance the capacity of parent centers to provide effective services to families of children with special needs and to work effectively with their states to improve special education and early intervention systems; and,
  • Facilitate their connections to the larger technical assistance network that supports research-based training, including educating parents about effective practices that improve results for children with disabilities. For more information click here.