Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
"We do not remember days, we remember moments." - Cesare Pavese, Italian poet and novelist
Message from Carolyn & Diana
For most of the families we support, we cannot give them days but rather only moments. Let us re-dedicate ourselves to ensuring that the moments they remember of us are moments that provided them with the right piece of information, the spot-on strategy, the critical resource that made the difference in their advocacy for their child(ren) and family.
This has been a challenging time for us at NE-PACT for a variety of reasons, but we are beginning to feel that we will be able to pull through. Remember that we are here to support you in any way we can, so don't hesitate to contact us! (Emails are best).
Reminder about the NE-PACT/Region A Parent Center Workspace!
You've been invited to join NE-PACT:
A group for Region A Parent Centers.
Check your email for this invitation to our
universal location to house all of our resource collections, materials, documents, and files, including the Transition Resource Repository, Trauma Toolkit, Drop-in call notes, webinar announcements and recordings, peer to peer and CQI applications, TA resources, and much more! Reach out to Rosslin Mensah-Boateng at
if you can't find your invitation or need other assistance accessing the new Region A parent center workspace.
Maine Parent Federation:
Maine Parent Federation's Community Services Map
. Hover over any subject to view a description and then click on the subject to navigate to a page about topics including Advocacy, Community Life, Diagnosis, Early Childhood, Education, Employment, Family Support, Healthcare, Mental Health, Post-secondary Education, Transition to Adulthood, and Youth Launchpad. Easy to navigate and family-friendly!
Mission Empower is providing intensive support around several key issues to enhance positive outcomes for children and youth with disabilities in Erie, Pa. From
Mission Read: A Dyslexia Center of Excellence
(a pilot reading program for 6-8 year olds,
(Pre-Employment Transition Services,
to Youth Envision Summer Youth Summit (for 8
graders in Erie/Erie County.
Mission Empower's programs help achieve its vision - to enable children with disabilities to use their gifts and talents to reach their potential and become productive members of the community.
Opportunity to Make an Impact
Evaluation of Preschool Special Education Practices Efficacy Study: Comments due 4/1/19.
The U.S. Department of Education is inviting comments about reinstating previously approved data collection to support an efficacy study of an instructional framework designed to address the needs of all preschool children in inclusive classrooms. The study is part of the Evaluation of Preschool Special Education Practices (EPSEP), and its main objective is to measure whether the Instructionally Enhanced Pyramid Model (IEPM) can be implemented with fidelity in inclusive preschool classrooms. Comments must be received by April 1, 2019. To learn more, see the
Federal Register Notice.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
How Parent, Youth and Community Organizing is Combating the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Its Racial Inequities: Wednesday, 2/27, from 3-4:30 pm ET.
The school-to-prison pipeline starts in Pre-K, especially for Black boys. Suspensions are the beginning of the school-to-prison pipeline, which refers to harsh and racially inequitable school discipline policies that push students out of school, onto the street, and eventually into the criminal justice system.
NAFSCE webinar will focus on the ways that parents, youth and communities of color are organizing to change zero tolerance and racially inequitable school discipline policy, and create restorative justice alternatives, including culturally relevant educational practices. Register here!
Military Outreach Plan Development webinar:
Thursday, 2/28, at 3 pm ET. Participate in this webinar to identify military family outreach practices used by your parent center peers that may enhance your current practices in reaching military families, and develop a draft Outreach Plan based on your center's capabilities, wishes for enhanced outreach, and shared ideas from peers. Join this first of two webinars by registering here.
Got Evidence? Where to Find and How to Use It to Make Sound Decisions about Evidence-Based Practices - Part 2: 3/1, 3-4:30 pm ET. The term "evidence-based practice" in early childhood has its roots in evidence-based medicine and relies upon identifying and combining multiple sources of evidence to make decisions about services for young children and their families. The National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) has created an interconnected suite of tools that explain the history and rationale behind using multiple sources, where to look for evidence, and how to appraise and combine the evidence to inform the selection, implementation, and evaluation of specific practices for individuals or groups of children and families. Register here!
NE-PACT/Region A PTAC Drop-In Call, Tuesday, 3/5 at 10 am (
on the 1st Tuesday): Please remember to join us each month on the first Tuesday of the month. Dial 877-713-0446 and use participant code 389-654-6677. Each month, we will share national and regional information of interest, facilitate conversation on issues raised by the centers in our region, and provide an opportunity for you to share updates on your work and developments in your community/territory/ state. In February, our project officer Carmen Sanchez will join us for part of our time together. Please let us know if you have any agenda items you would like to include, especially if you have any questions for Carmen or topics you would like to discuss with her. Reach us at
Starting and Sustaining a Youth Advisory Board: Wednesday, 2/27, from 12-1 pm ET:
In Part I of this three-part series, Matthew Shapiro of Kids As Self Advocates (KASA) will provide an overview of the value of having the perspective of youth/young adults with disabilities at decision-making meetings, and discuss elements of youth voices, such as the importance of building youth as self-advocates, where does self-advocacy begin, and what is youth voice/what does it look and feel like? Register now!
Parent Leadership and Advocacy Conference, Saturday, 3/23, NJIT, Newark, NJ:
Join us for this biannual conference for and about meaningful parent leadership across education, health, mental health, family support, human services and child welfare systems. This year's theme is Speak Up! Take Action! Create Change! The Time is NOW! More information.
Addressing Challenging Behavior National Training Institute on Effective Practices, 3/22-3/25, Clearwater Beach, Florida
: The format of this institute is designed to provide cutting-edge information on challenging behavior in an in-depth, intensive learning experience. Each workshop is 3 hours long and topics are chosen carefully to give you a variety of options. Participants have many opportunities to practice new strategies, interact with experts, and engage in lively discussions. For more information about sessions, travel, and registration, click here.
Non-Profit Management Resources
|Family-Centered Services Resources
Partnering with CBOs to Provide Support Services:
In an analysis of social services partnerships, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and James Bell Associates found that collaborating with community-based organizations was one of the key factors in a project's long-term success and its capacity to make a positive difference.
Public agency leaders also emphasized the importance of public/nonprofit partnerships to enable them to most effectively accomplish their goals of supporting families and sustaining programs and services over time. Read more.
|Youth-Centered Services Resources
|Accessible Instructional Materials
Accessible Educational Materials in the IEP:
Questions often arise about how accessible educational materials (AEM) and technologies might be included in individualized education programs (IEPs). This resource discusses a number of locations in the IEP where it might be appropriate to refer to a student's use of AEM. The right to accessible educational materials when needed is an inherent component of the obligation of SEAs and LEAs to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). There is no specific requirement in IDEA regarding where to include the consideration and documentation of AEM in developing the IEP. However, to promote clarity and consistency across IEP teams, SEAs and LEAs are encouraged to provide guidance related to considering a student's need for accessible materials and technologies in the IEP.
Integrating Dual Language Learners' Home Language in the Classroom Does Not Hobble English Learning:
A new study finds that integrating Dual Language Learners' home language in the classroom does not hobble English learning, and that DLLs can benefit in English language learning from using their home language in the classroom. Find out more.
Somewhere to Turn: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Adoptive and Guardianship Families:
The Adoption Competent
Guides were recently released in California to help build
capacity and competency for post-adoption youth. The guides were created as part of
, which addressed barriers to the availability of adoption/permanency mental health professionals and created recommendations to remove those barriers. Access the guides.
|Early Childhood/Early Intervention
Early Education Essentials: Illustrations of Strong Organizational Practices:
recent report from the Ounce and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
(December 2018) poses the question, "What do strong organizational conditions look like in early childhood education (ECE) settings?" and outlines the following six essentials necessary for high-quality ECE programs: effective instructional leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment, ambitious instruction, and parent voice. Comparison tables of strong versus weak essentials are provided, along with a summary, appendix, and references. Read more
Early Childhood Administration
: A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center focuses on streamlining administration and funding for early childhood education, with an assessment of how well states are doing and recommendations for improvement at both federal and state levels. Early education is one of the few issues with bipartisan support; Congress last year early doubled funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant while boosting appropriations for Head Start and sustaining the Preschool Development Grant program. The report, Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis,
warns that policymaker willingness to increase funding is influenced by program efficiency, good governance, and focus on quality assurance and results.
States that scored higher in the ranking had consolidated program administration in a smaller number of agencies (typically two to three agencies, rather than three to four), had functioning Early Childhood State Advisory Councils, and had implemented Quality Rating Systems (QRIS). Information collected by BPC was used to generate individual state fact sheets found on its website
; Maryland and DC ranked at the top, while Texas and Vermont tied for last. Others in Region A included Pennsylvania (#6), Massachusetts (#11), Delaware (#12), Connecticut and Maine (tied at #16), Rhode Island (#20), New Hampshire (#33), New Jersey (#37), New York (#40). (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were not ranked). The Education Commission of the States also recently examined different early childhood education structures and strategies, including the creation of state offices, consolidation, and collaboration and coordination across state agencies. Its report,
Governance in Early Childhood Education
, includes state examples along with policy considerations.
Impact of High Quality Early Childhood Education:
A new report by the Learning Policy Institute finds students who attend high-quality preschool programs reap benefits that can last through school and their lives, based on evaluations of more than 20 large-scale public preschool programs.
Untangling the Evidence on Preschool Effectiveness: Insights for Policymakers
finds that children who attend high-quality programs are more prepared for school and experience substantial learning gains in comparison to children who do not attend preschool. Studies of high-quality programs that have followed students into adulthood find robust economic returns, mainly because people who attend preschool are more productive in school, work, and society generally - with benefits that include higher levels of education and earnings, less involvement in delinquency and crime, and fewer chronic health problems. The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study
, based on standardized tests given to all New Jersey children in 4
grade, found preschool associated with persistent gains in language arts, literacy, math, and science. Test score gains were roughly twice as large for children who participated in two years of preschool rather than one. Those who attended Abbott pre-K were also less likely to repeat a grade or to need special education.
Impact of Screen Time on Developmental Progress:
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics investigated whether higher screen time affects performance on developmental screening tests, and whether children with lower scores on those tests received more screen time, based on observations including 2441 children followed up at age 24, 36, and 60 months. Using a longitudinal, three-wave study, researchers found that greater screen time at 24 months was associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months, and similarly, greater screen time at 36 months was associated with lower scores on developmental screening tests at 60 months. Researchers present this study as the first to provide evidence of a directional association between screen time and poor performance on developmental screening tests among very young children. Read this disturbing article.
|Education Reform/Every Student Succeeds Act/School Improvement
Comprehensive Center Network Website
: The US Department of Education recently announced the launch of the
Comprehensive Center Network (CC Network)
website, which pulls together more than 700 resources developed by the 23 comprehensive centers, along with descriptions of hundreds of projects currently underway in states across the country, into a single searchable site. Information within the CC Network is easily searchable across all centers by state or topic. Access resources by searching by center name or by area of expertise.
Evidence Review and Effective Practices:
A little over a year ago, the Center on Innovations in Learning produced the publication, Evidence Review and Effective Practices Briefs. They have now revised and updated many of those briefs and included a new section on district effective practices. For each section there is an evidence review, a rating, and a research brief.
Click here and search for the briefs
Early Childhood Is Critical to Health Equity:
, is the second in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) series on health equity. An
is also available. The series aims to assist those working in public health, healthcare, and other fields that powerfully shape health-such as education, child care, housing, and community development-to build a world in which everyone can be as healthy as possible.
Sesame Street Takes on the Issue of Family Homelessness: Sesame Workshop has launched its first-ever comprehensive initiative to offer help and hope to the growing number of young children across the United States experiencing homelessness. The
, focuses on Lily, a resilient seven-year-old Muppet whose family is staying with friends on Sesame Street after losing their home. The bilingual initiative was created in partnership with experts on family homelessness and includes videos and interactive activities for kids, parents, caregivers and community service providers to reinforce with children that they are not alone and they are surrounded by loving and caring adults.
Estimated Impacts of the Proposed Public Charge Rule on Immigrants and Medicaid:
As the Trump administration proposes changes to federal "public charge" policies, the resulting fear and uncertainty among immigrant families about using public programs could drive down enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP, potentially by millions of people, a new analysis shows.
Read the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis
|Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
Studying Drivers of Risk and Needs Assessment Instrument Implementation in Juvenile Justice: Check out the OJJPD Bulletin which describes OJJDP supported research findings on factors that promote effective implementation of risk and needs assessment instruments in the juvenile justice system.
LGBTQ Youth Most at Risk to Suffer from Mental Health Issues:
What happens when you use peer support to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth? Des Bansile, a mentor at Youth ERA, provides perspective about the needs of LGBTQ youth and her personal experiences as an LGBTQ young adult. Peer support is creating safe community spaces, programming, and culturally responsive support to change the lives of these young people.
Check it out
Supporting Mental Health and Cultivating Strong Relationships Are Essential Elements of Healthy Schools:
A new report from
finds that educators, students, and state-level policymakers across the United States view supporting mental health and cultivating interpersonal relationships as critical but overlooked elements necessary to building healthy schools. The study makes a strong case for investments in mental health and relationship building initiatives as part of state and local efforts to improve school health.
|Military Families & Youth
Health and Mental Health Needs of Children in US Military Families:
Children in US military families share common experiences and unique challenges, including parental deployment and frequent relocation. Although some of the stressors of military life have been associated with higher rates of mental health disorders and increased health care use among family members, various factors and interventions have been found to promote resilience. Military children often live on or near military installations, where they may attend Department of Defense-sponsored child care programs and schools and receive medical care through military treatment facilities. However, many families live in remote communities without access to these services. Because of this wide geographic distribution, military children are cared for in both military and civilian medical practices. This
, provides a background to military culture and offers practical guidance to assist children and military pediatricians caring for military children.
|Native American Families & Youth
Native American Disability Law Center:
The Native American Disability Law Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for the legal rights of Native Americans with disabilities. Through advocacy and education, they seek to empower Native people with disabilities to lead independent lives in their own communities. Check out their videos on understanding disability from the perspective of two Native American tribes (Navajo and Hopi).
|Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
Challenges for Family Engagement in Urban Schools:
In 2013, implementation of the five-year Investing in Family Engagement Project began in 60 "low-performing" elementary schools in Philadelphia. The project's goals were ambitious: to propel whole school turnaround using a family engagement program called Families and Schools Together (FAST) and to strengthen the learning and achievement of young elementary students. The lessons learned over five years are worth considering by anyone trying to initiate and scale up family engagement programs in challenged schools and districts. Read the report and its nine highlighted lessons.
Engaging Family Partners
: Families have an unmatched impact on their child's health, especially during the early years of life when children's rapidly developing brains are laying the groundwork for their future health and wellbeing. To be the best advocates for their children, families need the right supports, whether they be access to public assistance programs like Medicaid and housing, opportunities to build a strong relationship with their child's health provider, or resources that empower them to support their child's social and emotional health. Right now, the NICHQ-led Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems CoIIN (
across the country are seeking to answer a critical question: How do we improve these supports and their underlying systems to build families' capacity to promote their child's healthy development? Learn about 5 strategies to engage parent partners
featuring SPAN staffer Deepa Srinivasavaradan and parent leader David Armstrong.
Want to access a slew of interesting and useful articles about family-community-school engagement? Check out the School Community Journal.
The Fall-Winter issue is chock full of gems, such as Parenting for Competence and Parenting with Competence: Essential Connections Between Parenting and Social and Emotional Learning; The Role of Parental Involvement and Social/Emotional Skills in Academic Achievement: Global Perspectives; Grades, Behavior, and Engagement of Adolescents With Disabilities: An Examination of Social Relationships Among Students, Parents, and Teachers; Ideal Interactions: Perspectives of Parents and Teachers of Children With Autism Spectrum; Teaching in a Culture of Love: An Open Dialogue About African American Student Learning; and Superintendents Building Public Trust and Engagement in Five Public School Communities, among others. You can also access A Guide for Families: Helping Your Child Succeed in School and all the other great resources and services
The Family Engagement Tool, School Community Index, and other services are research based and field tested.
Income Support: Workers Speak Out on Disability and Health: New Report on Paid Family Leave and Disability:
The Arc and the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have released Disability Perspectives on Paid Leave: A Qualitative Analysis of Leave-Taking Among Workers Affected by Disabilities or Serious Health Conditions. This groundbreaking research examines how workers with disabilities and working caregivers of people with disabilities use, need, and benefit from paid family and medical leave. Findings offer key insights on how existing leave policies can become more disability-inclusive, and highlight the need for a comprehensive, national paid leave policy. Read the full report.
FERPA in the Context of School-Based Threats:
The Education Department has released a new guide designed to make it easier for leaders to understand their responsibilities under federal privacy law when it comes to addressing school-based threats. The guide answers "frequently asked questions" on schools' and districts' responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It addresses issues such as who are considered "appropriate parties" that may receive information under the health or safety emergency exception of the law. The department said it opted to consolidate previously issued guidance and technical assistance on the issue into a single resource after the federal school safety commission said last year in its
that there's a lot of misunderstanding among educators. The commission was formed after the Feb. 14 school shooting last year in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.
How Racism Makes Us Sick:
Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation, and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. In this
, Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the US that are working to dismantle discrimination.
A Data-Informed Approach to Social-Emotional Learning: Policy Recommendations for state and Local Leaders:
In this policy brief, TransformEd provides policy recommendations for local and state leaders seeking to take a data-informed approach to SEL. They specifically crafted recommendations that incorporate the use of data because gathering data on SEL allows educators to make meaningful connections between student experiences, school culture, and classroom practice. F
or information, toolkits, infographics, and more click here!
|Transition to Adult Life/Youth
Assessing Youth Voice: Development and Testing of an Assessment of Youth/Young Adult Voice in Agency-Level Advising and Decision-Making:
Pathways researchers, Janet Walker, Jennifer Blakeslee, and Caitlin Baird have collaborated with authors from Youth MOVE National, Biranne M. Masselli and Kristin Thorp, on a peer-reviewed journal article recently published in Children and Youth Services Review. The article describes the development to which agencies have implemented best practices for supporting meaningful participation. The Y-VAL is intended for research purposes, as well as to provide agencies with direct guidance about strengths and challenges regarding their efforts to promote youth/young adult voice.
Individualized Learning Plans:
An individualized learning plan (ILP) is both a document and a process that students use - with support from school counselors, teachers, and parents - to define their career goals and postsecondary plans in order to inform their decisions about their courses and activities throughout high school. Many states have adopted policies that require all middle and/or high school students to develop and maintain an individualized learning plan in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes. The ILP research studies by NCWD/Youth and our partners indicate that ILPs show promise as an effective strategy for delivering quality career development opportunities that improve several student outcomes. Check out lots of resources on ILPs
. Find out what's happening state-by-state
Jed Foundation and Transitions ACR White Paper Identifies Mental Health Needs Among College Graduates Entering the Workforce: In partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR), The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect emotional health and prevent suicide among teens and young adults, released a white paper, College to Career: Supporting Mental Health. This analyzes the challenges to emotional wellbeing faced by young adults during the college-to-career transition based on extensive surveys and literature review. The paper also offers strategic recommendations for colleges and employers looking to support young adults and improve outcomes during this critical transition.
Pathways Transition Training Video Briefs:
Pathways Transition Training Partnership has created five new online Pathways Transition Training Video Briefs on skills for working with youth, young adults, and families affected by mental health challenges. The 5-minute video briefs feature presentations by service providers and youth advocates and are accompanied by practice-oriented discussion questions and links to relevant resources for further learning. These
focus on trauma-informed care, youth cultures, engaging youth in treatment, promoting family support, and shared decision making.
Preventive Care Discussions with Adolescents and Young Adults:
In this month's Pediatrics, Santelli et al. report findings from a national survey of adolescents and young adults about discussing potentially sensitive topics with medical providers during primary care visits. Notably, private time with providers, explanation of confidentiality, and risk-factor screening were associated with discussing more topics during these visits. Collectively, these findings provide important direction for efforts to improve the delivery of adolescent preventive care.
Read the article
Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood in the Medical Home:
from the American Academy of Pediatrics provides more practice-based quality improvement guidance on key elements of transition planning, transfer, and integration into adult care for all youth and young adults. It also includes new and updated sections on definition and guiding principles, the status of health care transition preparation among youth, barriers, outcome evidence, recommended health care transition processes and implementation strategies using quality improvement methods, special populations, education and training in pediatric-onset conditions, and payment options.
|Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Resilience
Five Ways to Support Students Affected by Trauma: For some young people, school is the only place in their lives where they know they are safe and can form trusted enduring relationships. It is, therefore, a cruel irony that many students who are affected by trauma also have trouble engaging at school. They may attend school with the best of intentions, hoping to form friendships, feel connected to their teachers, and succeed at the day's tasks. Yet they can find themselves defiant, demanding, and disengages-unable to learn and confused about why they can't relate and bond with others. What do the latest scientific findings from the fields of traumatology, neuroscience, and positive education tell us about how to best help students who are affected by trauma? In this article, the authors highlight some of the new practices that teachers can use to not only help students heal but also help them grow.
The Power of Parenting: How to Help Your Child After a Parent or Caregiver Dies: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network recently released The Power of Parnting: How to Help Your Child After a Parent or Caregiver Dies. This fact sheet, co-sponsored by New York Life, draws from experiences of bereaved caregivers, researchers, and mental health professionals. It offers guidance on how to talk to your child after a parent or caregiver dies including, how to face new fears, how to take care of yourself, how to hold on to the old while embracing the new, how to create comforting connections, as well as how to seek additional support for children.
ABOUT THE REGION A PARENT TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER
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) - located in the states of
, DC-AJE, DE-PIC, MD-PPMD,
, NY-CIDA, NY-LIAC,
, PA-HUNE, PA- ME, PA-PEAL, PR-APNI,
, VI-DRVI and
. 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.