Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
Inspirational Quote
I know that in the parent center world we are united in combating hatred and violence, and the systems that create that hatred and violence. May we remain strong and united in that fight.” 
~ Carmen Sanchez

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed [people] can change the world: Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
Message From Diana & Michele
Parent centers begin because of the work and ideas of a few people and create change like a force of many. Principles like family involvement, cultural competence, interagency collaboration and strength-based approaches are a part of the foundation of the work we do and the reason why parent centers thrive. As we prepare to discuss meaningful and intentional ways to partner with federal and state agencies to improve services and outcomes for children, youth and families by enhancing the role of families and parent centers in our states at the Follow-up Forum, let’s keep the fundamental values of our parent centers in mind. We look forward to exchanging ideas with all of you and if we can assist in any way, please let us know.
AFCAMP and CPAC: CPAC and AFCAMP, the PTI and CPRC respectively for Connecticut, are creating a series of instructional videos for parents and professionals to highlight important information for families from US Department of Education guidance about continued application of IDEA requirements during the pandemic, as well as Connecticut-specific guidelines. Dispute resolution resources will also be available to parents and professionals. Stay tuned!
PIC of DE: PIC was recently awarded a mini grant to develop a community doula program in Seaford- Sussex County Delaware, which has been identified as a high need area with high infant mortality rates. Christina Andrews is a trained doula who will be coordinating the project. Monthly trainings will be held and PIC is anticipating training 6 community doulas by the end of the project. Read more.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
NE-PACT Presents Navigating Zoom: Interpretation and Other Tips: NEPACT will host this training on Tuesday, March 30 at 3 p.m.. The Zoom training will be a great opportunity to introduce you to Zoom features and settings to help you better navigate the platform. This will help you to prepare for setting up meetings and virtual events for your organizations. Register here.
Region A Drop-In Call: The next Region A Drop In Call will take place on Tuesday, April 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. Join the call. Please let us know no later than Friday, April 2nd, if you have any agenda items.
NEPACT Follow Up Forum: The NEPACT Follow Up Forum will take place on Tuesday, April 20th and Thursday, April 22nd from 1-3 p.m. Due to the Follow up Forum meeting, we will not have a COVID-19 Drop in Call for April. We will hone in on new opportunities for parent centers and parents to be meaningfully engaged in the State Performance Plan/ Annual Performance Report/State Systemic Improvement Plan, and on the new Administration’s priorities for early childhood and education. More information to follow. The REAL Day will take place after the NEPACT forum on Thursday, April 29 from 1-3 p.m., and it will focus on transition within the context of these new developments. Register here.

NJ Statewide Network for Cultural Competence (NJSNCC), 8th Annual Conference 2021: The NJSNCC virtual conference will take place on Monday, April 26th & Tuesday, April 27th from 12:00PM - 5:00PM. The theme of the conference is “Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers & Cultivating Cultural Competency with the Diverse Deaf, Deaf-Blind & Hard of Hearing Community”. More information below: Register here.
2021 SPAN Parent Advocacy and Leadership Virtual Conference: SPAN will host this virtual conference about meaningful Parent Leadership across education, health, mental health, family support, human services, and child welfare systems. The focus is on leadership skills so it will be relevant to family organizations and leaders across the US. It will take place on Tuesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 13 from 1PM to 4:30PM EST. Register here.
OSEP 2021 Leadership and Project Director Conference: The virtual conference will be held from July 19-22. For updates on registration information for the conference. Learn more.
Other Events: Don’t forget to check out the CPIR Calendar of Events.
Non-Profit Management Resources
What Makes an Effective Non-Profit? Read this piece from Exponent Philanthropy about qualities and characteristics common to effective non-profits.
Family-Centered Services Resources
Working with American Indian Children and Families: Check out this section of the Child Welfare Information Gateway for resources on working with American Indian children and families.
Youth-Centered Services Resources
Remote Learning Resources from Youth Communication: Check out these remote learning resources on working with and supporting youth on topics such as helping youth combat discrimination, trauma-informed approaches to working with youth, dealing with disappointment, putting community first, and fostering social-emotional learning via remote instruction. Access all these free resources.
Staff Development Resources
Serving on Groups: This website includes a set of useful tools for anyone who is currently serving or wants to serve on a decision-making group. These tools, including on-line training modules for individuals and a guidebook for use in training groups, were developed to address the need to support families in serving on decision-making groups, and the information and structure can be used to support anyone serving on those groups. Check out the Parent Center Hub for this and many other resources.
Addressing Barriers: If large numbers of students are affected by chronic absence, that suggests some type of systemic barrier or barriers are at play. Identifying the barriers to attendance can indicate the appropriate solutions, whether that involves establishing uniform closets, improving access to health care, launching walking school buses, providing tutoring, offering mentoring, developing morning or afterschool care and other approaches. Read more.
The Trickle Down Effect of COVID-19 Relief for English Learners: On March 11, 2021 President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) —the third coronavirus relief package passed since the pandemic started— which included $123 billion relief funding for K-12 public schools. Combined with the previous two stimulus packages, the K-12 education system will receive an additional $190 billion one-time federal funds compared to the $55 billion it usually receives in a typical year. Read more.
Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response, 2021 Edition, Cyberbullying Research Center: This detailed guide is a nine-page summary – filled with as much useful information as possible – to equip educators, parents, and other youth-serving adults to spot cyberbullying, respond to it appropriately and meaningfully, and to prevent its future occurrence among those they care for. If you only have time to read one fact sheet from the Cyberbullying Research Center to get up-to-speed about the problem and what you can do, read this one. Find the guide here.
Child Welfare
Toolkit for Transformation: International Parent Advocacy Network (IPAN) and RISE are building an International parent led movement fighting for families affected by the child welfare system to advocate for change, support other families going through the system, raise up solutions that exist outside the system and improve children’s lives. Find the toolkit here.
Choice/Charter Schools/Voucher Programs
The Center for Learner Equity: The National Association for Special Education in Charter Schools has transformed into the Center for Learner Equity. Read more.
Cultural Competence
Infusing Cultural and Linguistic Competence into Health Promotion Training Video: The Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence created a video designed to help experienced health promotion trainers assure that their approaches with diverse populations address culture and language in an effective, appropriate and respectful manner. Check out the video and how it can be used.
How to Tell Stories with Data: Check out these data storytelling techniques.
Discipline & Positive Behavioral Supports
Rethinking Harsh Discipline: Are remote learning, attendance, and mask-wearing offenses an opportunity to rethink harsh discipline? Read more.
Dispute Resolution
Improving Your System: What does an effective dispute resolution system look like? To promote successful system improvement, CADRE has identified five management function areas: Systemwide Oversight, Infrastructure & Organization, Program Access and Delivery, Standards & Professional Development, Public Awareness & Outreach Activities, Evaluation & Continuous Quality Improvement. Visit here.
Dropout Prevention
Building a Grad Nation: The nation has been committed to reaching a 90 percent graduation rate equitably for nearly 20 years. In 2010, the GradNation campaign launched a focused effort to reach that goal by the Class of 2020. Read more.
Early Childhood/Early Intervention
Seven Impacts of the Pandemic on Young Children and their Parents: Initial Findings from NIEER’s December 2020 Preschool Learning Activities Survey: To learn about the pandemic’s impacts on young children’s learning and development NIEER developed a parent survey regarding children’s home learning activities and preschool participation during the pandemic. See the results.
Education Reform/ESSA
Guidance to States on Assessing Student Learning During the Pandemic, Feb 22, 2021: The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is providing guidance to states emphasizing the importance of flexibility in administering assessments this year as a result of the pandemic and supporting the use of assessment data as a source of information for parents and educators to target resources and support, rather than for accountability purposes this year. Read more.
Letter to Chief State School Officers outlining its plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Find it here.
The violence against AAPIs signifies that we need to do better: The horrific killings last week were the latest in the slew of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Check out this article from an Asian American who shares that none of this feels new.
Foster Care
Youth Voices 2020: Teens Reporting on Their Lives During the COVID19 Crisis: Youth-written stories give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles. View Represent Magazine.
A Collaborative Approach to Improving Health Care for Children with Developmental Disabilities: This article in Pediatrics Magazine provides specific recommendations for partnerships among and between service providers and families. Read more.
Senate Passes Manchin Amendment to help students experiencing homelessness: This amendment creates an emergency funding stream through USDOE to help identify and assist students experiencing homelessness due to COVID-19. Check it out.
IDEA/Special Education
Resource Collection National Association of School Psychologists: School psychologists across the country are facing new realities in service delivery as they consider how to provide high-quality school psychological services during the pandemic. In response to this need, NASP has created a series of webinars designed to help school psychologists explore problems of practice related to the remote delivery of school psychological services. Each webinar is 30-45 minutes in length and is publicly available. Check it out.
Immigrant Issues
Congress Must Protect Asian Americans from Xenophobic Violence: Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a statement after Tuesday’s horrific attacks against Asian women in Atlanta, and ahead of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on “Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans”. Learn more.
Transitioning to an Inclusive Setting: Five Strategies for districts, schools and families: Check out the SWIFT Talk Blog detailing a family's journey to inclusion and the strategies they used to ease the way.
Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
Advancing the Collection of Juvenile Data: NIJ and JJDP working on improvements to data collection Advancing the Collection of Juvenile Justice Data | National Institute of Justice.
The Equality Act: Tip Sheet for Journalists: On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on The Equality Act. The name of the hearing, to be held before the full Senate committee, is “The Equality Act: LGBTQ Rights are Human Rights.” It will be the first time the landmark LGBTQ civil rights legislation will be discussed in the Senate. If passed, the Equality Act will provide LGBTQ Americans with federal nondiscrimination protections for the first time in history. Read more.
Mental Health
With Pandemic Worsening the Mental Illness and Addiction Crisis, Biden Administration to Provide Nearly $2.5 Billion to States, Territories for Treatment, Prevention Aid: The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program allows states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions. Read more.
Military Families & Youth
Senators Warner and Duckworth call for action on the issue of military families' food insecurity: Upset that a promised report on ways to address the hunger that many military families suffer is overdue, Sen. Mark Warner is calling for steps to make sure military families have enough to eatRead about it.
Native American
NCAI Applauds the Historic Confirmation of Congresswoman Debra Haaland as the Secretary of U.S. Department of the interior: The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) applauds the historic confirmation today of Rep. Debra Haaland as President Joe Biden’s Secretary of the Department of the Interior (Interior). Congresswoman Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), an attorney, and tireless advocate for Native American communities, was confirmed Monday by a vote of 51 to 40 in the Senate. Her confirmation is a watershed moment for Indian Country, marking the first time in the history of the United States that a Native American has served as a cabinet Secretary. Read more.
Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
Supporting SE Asian Family and Community Engagement for Educational Success: Check out this article in the Journal of SE Asian American Education and Advancement.
The Fight Against Child Poverty in the US Finally Takes a Big Step Forward: This brief article in Time magazine summarizes the positive effect on child poverty of the changes to the child tax credit contained in the new COVID relief package. Read the article and also here.
Federal Policies Can Address the Impact of Structural Racism on Black Families’ Access to Early Care and Education: This brief is the second in a series examining timely topics that are relevant to Black families and children in the United States. It sheds light on the role of federal policies in creating, maintaining, and addressing inequities brought about by structural racism, with a specific focus on access to early care and education for Black families. Read more.
Remote Learning/School Reopening
Optimizing Distance Learning Begins with Selection: NCSI April 2020. This document provides guidance on applying implementation science concepts to help you select online learning strategies that are possible, probable, doable, and best-matched to the needs of your students and families.
Department of Education Announces American Rescue Plan Funds for All 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to Help Schools Reopen: March 17, 2021 $122 billion from the American Rescue Plan will help achieve President Biden’s goal to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office. Find Press release here.
Social-Emotional Learning
Will the Spring Slump Add to the Student Engagement Problems?: Teachers have long experienced a “Spring Slump” among students (and staff). An emerging concern is whether the situation will worsen during the pandemic.  Read more here.
How Nonprofits Use WhatsApp to Stay in Touch with Their Communities: If your organization is looking for a way to stay in touch with members, donors, and the community in general, there are many messaging apps available to choose from. In this post, we'll be taking a closer look at WhatsApp, which is popular in the U.S. but even more popular around the world. As of February 2020, WhatsApp had over 2 billion users globally. Learn more
Transition to Adult Life/Youth
People with Disabilities are Still Struggling to find employment - Here are the Obstacles they Face: Mollie Winninger, 27, is one of many Americans eager to join the job market in hopes of finding a full-time job. In order to compete with many applicants, Winninger has relied on a trick in her job applications to increase her chances of landing an interview: refusing to disclose her disability.  Read more.
Trauma & Toxic Stress
Combating Stress and Anxiety in Family Life: This article in the NC State CALS News provides some key strategies for stress reduction as well as specific parenting strategies related to addressing COVID-19 stress.
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.