Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
Inspirational Quote
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”     ~Amy Poehler
Message From Diana & Michele
We were so happy and excited to see so many of you in-person for the first time in over 2 years at the NE-PACT conference with the Equity Assistance Center! We learned together, enjoyed spirited conversations, rekindled friendships and fellowship, and met others committed to equity! We hope you love - and frequently use! - your “We Wake Up Early for Justice” mugs. I’m definitely bringing mine to our next NE-PACT drop-in call!
Mission Empower: At Mission Empower change is in the air! Mission Empower is honored to have been reauthorized for another five years as Erie County’s federally funded Community Parent Resource Center and to expand their partnerships and programming along with hiring many new staff. Mission Empower partnered with Andy Pitrone for the premiere of his Grandfamily documentary, “The Year in the Life of a Grandfamily”. They are also gearing up to support families and youth by partnering with NAMI of Erie County to host Mental Health First Aid. Click here to learn more.

Hispanos Unidos Ninos Excepcionales (HUNE) will host a virtual empowerment conference for youth, young adults with disabilities, professionals, and families on May 3, 2022, from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM in Spanish. Click here to register.

United We Stand (UWS):  The COVID pandemic has forced all of us to step outside of what is familiar. While the effects of the pandemic are massive, UWS sees this as an opportunity to shake the roots a bit. Due to families' different comfort levels when deciding on in-person learning, UWS made many adjustments to their Students Achieving Success (SAS) project which was developed with Advocates for Children (AFC). A hybrid model was created to continue the success of SAS. Learn more about SAS and why it is an exemplary project.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
2022 Leadership and Project Directors' Conference: The conference will be from Monday, July 18th to Thursday, July 22nd.  For more information click here.

COVID-19 Drop-In Call: The next COVID-19 Drop-In call will be on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 from
10:00am – 11:15 pm. We will discuss what is happening in your state/territory/community, address any new developments, and identify any help you need concerning COVID-19. Join the call

National Parent Center and F2F Conference: For the first time ever, we will bring together the Parent Center and the Family to Family Health Information Center networks for a national conference! We will start the morning of Tuesday, October 18 and end around noon on Thursday, October 20. See you there!

Other Events: Don’t forget to check out the CPIR Calendar of Events.
Non-Profit Management Resources
Center for Non-Profit Management’s On-Line Resources: Explore their ever-growing library of resources including a COVID-19 non-profit resource library.
Family-Centered Services Resources
All Children-All Families: All Children-All Families is a program of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that promotes LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices among child welfare agencies. Participants gain access to comprehensive resources, including an on-line assessment tool, expert webinars, and more. Check out the report
Youth-Centered Services Resources
Understand your abilities and disabilities. Play to your strengths: Young people with disabilities talk about the labels, assumptions, strengths, impairments, and other topics surrounding individuals with disabilities. This resource offers insight into youth and young adults' self-determined actions while living with a disability. Find more information.
Staff Development Resources
Professional Development Resources from Other Organizations: It takes a village to raise a child. Likewise, it takes the collective efforts of many to develop resources and support those who teach and advocate for children. Check out these links to federal offices, national organizations, and research institutions where you will find resources regarding professional development.
How Bad is Student Absenteeism Right Now? Educators Tell Us: It’s a painful truth already, but new numbers sharpen the picture: 61% of educators say that student absenteeism is higher this winter than it was in the fall of 2019, adding new urgency to questions about how to care for students who are struggling with trauma and illness during the pandemic, and how to catch them up academically. Read more.
Re-starting and Strengthening Accountability for English Learners: Part Two: Improving Data Collection for EL Education Equity. For English learners (ELs), understanding whether they have equitable education opportunities can be delineated by measuring things beyond student performance on statewide assessments. Using a more holistic suite of indicators can benefit both historically underserved students and SEAs as a more comprehensive accountability system can ensure resources and support is being funneled to the right schools. Learn more.
Students with Disabilities and Bullying: 5 Important facts: Although only ten U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. Read more.
Child Welfare
COVID relief expires, childhood poverty back on the increase: Nearly 4 million children fell into poverty in the month after the expanded child tax credits expired in December. Most parents say they struggled to find and afford child care during the pandemic, and many had to cut back hours or leave a job. This video shares a family’s struggle due to these hardships. Learn more.
Choice/Charter Schools/Virtual Schools/Voucher Programs
Portfolio of Choice: Virtual Schooling: The brief provides an overview and discusses policy approaches to regulating virtual schools to design high-quality e-learning. The review includes student enrollment, demographics, and performance in virtual schools. Read more.
Cultural Competence
Removing Barriers to Healthcare: A New Era for House Calls? The COVID-19 pandemic has led to big innovations in healthcare, and telehealth has been especially beneficial during this time. Telehealth provides remote medical care over the internet. Learn more.
US Government’s Open Data: Access the treasure trove of the US government’s open data.
Discipline & Positive Behavioral Supports
Suspending students isn’t the answer: In school districts across the country, 3 million students are suspended every year and over 100,000 are expelled. Learn about alternatives.
Dropout Prevention
Where Do We Go Next?: Youth Insights on the High School Experience During a Year of Historic Upheaval: These findings illuminate several recommendations for school and district leaders to act on in both the immediate recovery period and afterwards. Read more.
Early Childhood/Early Intervention
Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center: Targeted Leadership TA Series: ECTA and other partners are excited to announce virtual TA opportunities for Part C and 619 coordinators and other state agency staff designed to build on individual leadership knowledge and skills. Guided by coordinator responsibilities and interests, this leadership series addresses building teams and networks and tailoring solutions. Click here to register.
Education Reform|ESSA
Helping Students Catch Up on Unfinished Learning: Two years into the pandemic, public schools are struggling to help students recover from the extensive academic disruptions caused by COVID-19. While many students are lagging academically, suffering from what some educators call “unfinished learning,” experts say there are steps teachers and parents can take to help kids catch up, and to minimize the impact on the rest of their academic journey. Learn more.
Civil Rights Principles for Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climate: The federal government’s role in ensuring schools are free from discrimination has been articulated and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Education. Check out this 14 page brief which gives an overview of priorities that should be fully funded, provided with adequate resources to be effective, and targeted at the schools and students that need them the most.
Foster Care
Working With LGBTQ+ Families in Foster Care and Adoption: This publication provides tips and an in-depth analysis of laws and policies to work with LGBTQ+ families in foster care and adoption effectively, and to help increase cultural competence when engaging LGBTQ+ families with child welfare and adoption professionals. Get more information.
Grandparents as Caregivers
The Benefits of Journaling for Caregivers: Journaling is one self-care practice caregivers can utilize to connect within. Writing is not only creative but also therapeutic. Often you ask others; what can I do to make you feel better? In order to refill your cup, you need to turn some of that compassionate focus around. Read more.
Kids Data/Health Status: Health status during childhood sets young people on a path toward good or poor health in adulthood. Each stage of life influences the next, with early childhood in particular providing a foundation for future health and development. Read more.
Different federal policies keep homeless students from getting help: At the heart of the problem is a difference in the definition of “homelessness” under two separate federal agencies. While HUD defines homelessness as living on the streets or in a homeless shelter, among other categories, the U.S. Department of Education’s definition under the McKinney-Vento Act extends to children or families sharing housing with others, commonly referred to as “doubled up”. Click here to read how the difference in the way “homelessness” is defined effect services provided to families.
IDEA/Special Education
A Seat at The Table: Benefits and Challenges of Special Education: How to Help All Students Succeed: Special education has a long and troubled history in the United States – only in the last 50 years have students with learning differences had protections under federal laws. And while most students in special education programs are no longer isolated from their peers the way they once were, the debates over special education and inclusion leave many young people feeling ostracized and unsuccessful. Click here to read more.

Desperation without Dignity: Conditions of Children Placed in For Profit Residential Facilities: A disturbing new report by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) reveals widespread abuse and neglect at for-profit youth residential treatment facilities. The report, Desperation without Dignity, provides a comprehensive review of investigations by the nation’s Protection and Advocacy agencies and others in 18 states. Read more.
Immigrant Issues
Toolkit: Supporting Afghan Students in Schools & Youth Programs in the United States: In the 2021-22 school year and beyond, schools across the United States will enroll significant numbers of children and youth from Afghanistan. These students fled the country after the withdrawal of American military troops and the subsequent fall of the Afghan government on August 15, 2021. While many schools and communities have a long history of welcoming refugee and immigrant students; given the large number of arriving Afghan students and recent traumatic events, educators and school districts may want to do additional preparation. Read more.
SPAN START-EPSD project in collaboration with New Jersey Office of Special Education (NJOSE): This page is full of resources specifically for families to use in supporting their children in leading inclusive lives. Find the collection of resources here.
Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
Report: The scope of youth confinement vastly understated: The U.S. incarcerates an alarming number of children and adolescents every year. Disproportionately, they are youth of color. Read the full report with statistics and policy recommendations.
Online Communities and LGBTQ+ Youth: The internet is an essential resource for all ages but can be increasingly isolating for LGBTQ+ youth, often facing stereotypes and being bullied online. Educating ourselves about LGBTQ+ people and their online experiences can guide inclusive online spaces for them. Read more.
Mental Health
Researchers Find Disparities in Suicide Risk Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults: Suicide risk among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults varies considerably depending on the intersection between sexual identity and other aspects of identity, such as gender, age, and race/ethnicity, according to a study led by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, which examined data from a nationally representative survey of adults in the United States, also showed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are overall more likely to report suicide-related thoughts, plans, and attempts within the past 12 months compared with heterosexual adults. Read more.
Military Families & Youth
Military kids are waiting…and waiting for special education services: The Spouse Angle is a podcast breaking down the news for military spouses and their families. Each episode features subject-matter experts and military guests who dive into current events from a military perspective — everything from new policy changes to research on family lifestyle challenges. The podcast is hosted by Natalie Gross, a freelance journalist and former Military Times reporter who grew up in a military family. Listen to an episode here.
Native American
Women’s History Month: An Indigenous Perspective: The Native female author of the article wonders if we really need proclamations to recognize the love and determination shared with us by the many women in our lives. She closes by honoring American Indian women, in particular, for their strength and resilience given so generously to us as individuals and to our tribal nations for their continuance and growth. Find the article here.
Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Children: Check out this report and resources from the National Council on Disability.
Six Facts About Economic Inequality in the US: Check out this report from the Pew Charitable Trust.
Remote Learning/School Reopening
Academic booster shot: Fairfax Co. schools to launch virtual tutoring after spring break: Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest school district, plans to offer free online tutoring sessions to all students as part of its efforts to help students overcome what it’s calling “unfinished learning.” Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent, Scott Brabrand, said unlimited tutoring in any subject for every grade level will be available through a new partnership with Get details here.
Restraint & Seclusion
Kids locked away, held down: Investigating seclusion & restraint practices in schools: Supposedly, seclusion and restraint are supposed to be safety measures reserved for very specific scenarios but a Spotlight on America investigation found the practices being used for discipline of minor behavior problems, sometimes leading to injury and even death. The overwhelming majority of incidents involve students with disabilities. Read more.
Social-Emotional Learning
Leading Education Organizations Applaud Spending Increase for Social and Emotional Learning in FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and Committee for Children strongly applaud the passage of the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act which provides increased funding for a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative to support SEL and “whole child” approaches to education. Read more.
The Future Of Web Accessibility: WCAG 3.0: Web accessibility refers to making web content accessible to people with disabilities. The WAI is the W3C’s commitment to making the web accessible for all. Formed in 1997, the WAI has developed recommendations to help web content authors and developers create accessible digital products. These standards, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), have evolved to accommodate the changing needs of people and the demands of current technology. Read more.
Transition to Adult Life/Youth
Advocating for Inclusive Sex Education for students with Disabilities: Young people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable to sexual violence and victimization. Ensuring they have access to relevant, inclusive and affirming sex education can help them achieve autonomy and self-care with regards to their own sexuality, identities and relationships. Find out more.
Trauma & Toxic Stress
Adversity in Childhood is linked to mental and physical health throughout life: Growing evidence indicates that in the first 3 years of life, a host of hazards can affect a child’s developmental trajectory and lead to increased risk of adverse physical and psychological health conditions. These effects may be mediated in various direct and indirect ways, presenting opportunities for mitigation and intervention strategies. 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.