Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
Inspirational Quote
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more then you are a leader” ~ John Quincy Adams
Message From Diana & Michele
One of the aspects of our collaborative work together that we most appreciate is the generosity of the parent centers in our region who are willing to share their experiences and expertise. We learn and grow as leaders as we share our knowledge with others. As parent centers, we have dedicated ourselves to improving the lives of families who have children with the greatest needs.  We are our brother's keeper so your success is our success. Let us know how we can help you become more successful.
CIDA: On Tues, June 8 at 11 a.m., CIDA will host the “Special Education Conflict Resolution: Alternatives and Options (Korean). This is a great opportunity for parents of school age children with disabilities to learn more about alternative ways and options to resolve conflicts with schools. Click here to learn more,
VFN: The Youth Summit is specifically for youth and young adults, and those supporting youth in achieving their hopes and dreams are also welcome. The maximum attendance is 175 with priority given to youth and young adults. Presentations will focus on self-advocacy, opportunities after high school, special education, accessibility, and communication for all. Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
2021 Regional Parent Center Gathering: Building Parent Center Capacity to Serve Military-Connected and Native American Families: This virtual event will take place on June 21st from 1-4 p.m. The Native American session will be hosted by Helene Fallon and Yvonne Sinisgalli, Co-Director and Educational Specialist at LIAC parent center. The Military-Connected session will be hosted by Peg Kinsell, Director of the Military Family Support 360 Project at SPAN. These sessions are most helpful for your parent center staff whose work involves or is intended to involve Military or Native American families. It is not intended for your parent center staff if they attended the in-person convening in 2019. However, if the person who attended from your parent center in 2019 is no longer with your organization, you may send another representative from your parent center. In addition, if your parent center only participated in one of the sessions in 2019, you are welcome to have a representative register for the other session. Register here.
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!
RAISE Summit: Transition in this Brave New World: Join us for professional development, networking, and sharing as we work together to improve transition outcomes for young adults with disabilities. Day 1, Monday, June 21, 2:00pm- 4:00pm ET; Day 2, Monday, June 28, 2:00pm- 4:00pm ET. Register here.
Other Events:  Don’t forget to check out the CPIR Calendar of Events.
Non-Profit Management Resources
Family-Centered Services Resources
How to Involve Hard to Reach Parents: The “How to Involve Hard to Reach Parents” report distinguishes what a “hard to reach parent” is, discusses the barriers that exist for “hard to reach parents” to engage in their child’s learning, and provides strategies to encourage parental engagement and overcome barriers. The strategies cover seven elements of parental involvement, which include parenting, communicating, volunteering, family learning, decision-making, collaborating with the community, and remote involvement. If you experience barriers when engaging with parents, this resource might be a great starting point. Access the report.
Youth-Centered Services Resources
Virtual Teen Life Conference: William Paterson University is hosting a virtual teen life conference in partnership with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ. The event will feature tools and resources to equip young activists to create a brighter future. Register to be a part of the conference on June 11th, 10 AM - 12 PM. Click here to read more.
Life Skills for Teens and Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Students: Set to Go A JED Program features a resource where youth and young adults can learn more about important life skills to help create a better future for themselves. This includes finance, sleep, healthy eating, school, or work. All parts of life that will help them get a better handle on adulthood. Read more.
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.
Connecting with Parents and Caregivers during the Pandemic (Blog): One of the challenges for Healthy Schools Campaign’s school and community programming during the past year has been finding effective new ways to stay connected with parents and caregivers. One year in, we wanted to share one of our success stories. Read more.
SLIFE Lessons: How schools can draw on strategies designed for students with interrupted/limited formal education to help English learners in the aftermath of COVID-19: COVID-19 upended our education system and challenged schools to re-evaluate many long standing structures and practices. Suspension of standardized testing; free access to distance learning; distributing technological devices and wireless access to students and their families; exceptions to graduation and college entrance exams; extended graduation timelines; and pass/fail grading for an initial time period. These are just a few of the accommodations that have been implemented to soften the impact of COVID-19 on student learning, but to be sure, these ideas are not new. Read more.
Confronting COVID-19-Related Harassment in Schools A Resource for Families, US Dpt Justice Civil Rights Division and US Department of Education, OCR: Public elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities have a responsibility to investigate and address discrimination, including harassment, targeting students because of their race or national origin. When schools fail to take appropriate steps, the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division (CRT) at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education can help by enforcing federal laws that protect students from discrimination. View the fact sheet here.
Child Welfare
Leaving Your Child Home Alone: Child Welfare Information Gateway 2018 Factsheet for Families discusses the factors parents must consider when deciding whether their child is ready to be left home alone as well as tips to help make the experience safe and successful for all. Resources for more information are also included here.
Choice/Charter Schools/Voucher Programs
Charter Schools and Students Experiencing Homelessness: Practices and Recommendations for Success: The report explains the McKinney-Vento Act, highlights case studies and best practices across charter schools and networks, and provides a library of resources for charter school educators, administrators, authorizers, support staff, advocates, and others.
Cultural Competence
The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Assessment for Disability Organizations (CLCADO), Self Assessment: While there are many tools and instruments to assess organizational cultural and linguistic competence, few have been developed to address the cross-section of organizations concerned with disability. The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Assessment for Disability Organizations was developed specifically for this purpose. Download the assessment and guide here.
Data Quality Campaign: All students deserve a great education, and every adult working with children needs timely, useful information to support student learning. Effective data use ensures that students aren’t just counted but that each student counts. Learn more.
Discipline & Positive Behavioral Supports
Corporal Punishment Persists: About a dozen school districts in states where corporal punishment is banned reported using it on students more than 300 times during the 2017-18 school year, according to an analysis by The 74 of the most recent civil rights data from the U.S. Department of Education. And in Louisiana, a state where paddling is permitted except on students with disabilities, data show that special education students were hit nearly 100 times in 2017-18. Years of data have shown that students of color and those with disabilities are disproportionately subjected to corporal punishment, a practice that goes on despite a substantial body of research showing its harmful effects on youth development. Read more.
Dispute Resolution
IDEA Early Intervention Family Guides, CADRE, These four family guides are designed to explain the dispute resolution options under Part C of the IDEA: mediation, written state complaints and the due process complaint and hearing procedures specific to families with infants or toddlers with disabilities (Birth through Age 2). Additional resource: Early Intervention Process Comparison Chart.
Dropout Prevention
African American students confronting academic placement in a racially diverse school and African American community: Why are most African American students in lower-track classes in racially diverse schools? How does the nexus of home, school, and community impact African Americans’ academic placement in a racially and economically diverse school district? Find out here.
Early Childhood/Early Intervention
Six Opportunities to Advance Equity in the ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grant Guidance: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families released guidance for how states can use the $24.9 billion in child care stabilization grant funds in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). States can use the funds to support costs providers have incurred since the pandemic began. Click here for six important opportunities states should consider as they use ARPA funds
Education Reform/ESSA
CDC What Works: Safe and Supportive School Environments: The CDC and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) has established an evidence based approach that includes quality health education, systems that connect students to health services, and safer and more supportive school environments. h schools can implement to help prevent HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy among adolescents. This info brief focuses on how schools can promote safe and supportive environments by improving students’ connections to schools and increasing the support they receive from parents.  
Addressing Equity Through Social and Emotional Learning: The U.S. education system faces many challenges, though perhaps the most pressing are the COVID-19 pandemic and inequities in learning opportunities, experiences, and outcomes. There is growing evidence from the science of learning and development that can help us address these daunting challenges. AIR hosted a webinar demonstrating how one evidence-based approach—social and emotional learning (SEL)—can help us advance educational equity. Click here for the webinar recording.
Foster Care
Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care: This Factsheet examines State laws and policies regarding the programs that support youth who are in foster care or have been in foster care to achieve their educational goals. The issues addressed include support for finishing high school; planning for postsecondary education; and accessing financial support for postsecondary education, including Federal grants, education and training vouchers, and State tuition waivers. Read more here
Health Equity Resources: Check out this Health Equity Resources state hub from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They also have COVID-19 resources by state.
One in ten NYC students homeless, I was one: First Person in Chalkbeat provides an opportunity for students, educators to write a personal essay. This submission is from a student experiencing homelessness in NYC. Read more here.
As Pandemic Eviction Moratorium Ends, Households with Children Face Greater Risk of Homelessness: As current eviction and foreclosure moratoria come to an end, new Child Trends research finds that households with children face the greatest risk of losing their homes. Using U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey data, the researchers find that households with children are more likely than those without children to report being behind on their rent or mortgage payments. Additionally, households with children are more likely than those without to report little or no confidence in their ability to make their next housing payment. To prevent families from experiencing housing instability and homelessness, policymakers should capitalize on the critical resources for families included in the American Rescue Plan, such as emergency rental and mortgage assistance. Read more here.
IDEA/Special Education
Q&A on Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently released a new Question and Answer resource to help students, families, schools and the public understand their rights and responsibilities in remote, hybrid, and in-person educational environments, including in K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions. The Q&A provides information on issues including: the rights of students with disabilities to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) during remote learning and school reopening; the rights of students with undocumented status and the rights of English learners; students’ rights to the nondiscriminatory administration of discipline; protections for students against sex discrimination, including sexual and gender-based harassment; and schools’ responsibilities to address complaints of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, during remote, hybrid and in-person learning. May 13, 2021 Find it here.
Immigrant Issues
Better Data Can Save American Renters From Eviction: On May 5th, Americans struggling to make rent in the pandemic received news that threatened their housing stability. A federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium, finding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) overstepped its authority when imposing the COVID-19-related ban in early 2020. Learn more.
How Language Can Impact Accessibility and Inclusion: One of the ways to create a welcoming and inclusive environment is to use language that is accessible, easy to understand, and culturally aware. During this webinar you will learn what accessible and inclusive language is, how to use it, and tips for creating content that promotes engagement and understanding from all people. Click here for the webinar, slides and handout.
Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Justice Defenders trained in racial justice practices: Too often, Black and Latinx kids aren’t granted the same allowances, including diversion from incarceration, that are given to white youth deemed guilty of the very same infractions. Part of the solution lies in projects such as Ambassadors for Racial Justice, which trains juvenile defenders across the nation on how to combat systemic racism through case advocacy, community activism and legislation. Read more here.
“What Makes You Proud?” Virtual Event: On June 1 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, join us for a virtual youth group. In the first of our Pride-themed youth groups, we will talk about what makes us proud and celebrate one another! We’ll also talk about our community and those who have made a difference in our lives. To keep our group safe and private you need to sign up to attend. Read more here.
Mental Health
Back-to-School Anxiety During COVID. How to help kids handle fears and gain independence: Children who are heading back to the classroom this fall are facing unusual challenges, and one of them is anxiety about being separated from their families after months of togetherness. For some kids it will trigger separation anxiety, in addition to the anxiety they may feel about leaving their safe harbor from the pandemic. Learn more.
Military Families & Youth
Military Caregiver Appreciation: May is designated by Congress as Military Appreciation month, but it is also designated as the month of the Military Caregiver. This provides recognition and opportunity to appreciate the more than 5 million in the U.S. who serve as military caregivers. Learn more.
Native American
NCAI and NARF on President Biden's Nomination of Washington State's First Ever Native American Federal Judge: On the morning of May 12 in Washington, D.C., President Biden announced his intent to nominate Lauren J. King (Muscogee Nation) as a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. If confirmed, Ms. King would be the third active Native American federal district court judge in the United States, the fifth in the history of the federal judiciary, and the first Native American federal judge in the Western District of Washington. Read more here.
Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
The Tellin’ Stories Approach to Family Engagement: The work of Tellin’ Stories is based on the concepts of racial equity, popular education, community organizing, and research on family engagement. Rather than entering schools with a fixed agenda, Tellin’ Stories starts by making connections through sharing stories, allowing concerns to emerge and looking for ways to address them. In many cases, we work in schools where parents hold negative stereotypes of each other based on race, language, and country of origin. By making space for every voice to be heard, all participants find common ground in their desire to create a better education for their kids. Their signature activities can be seen in the following infographic.
Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity: The Kaiser Family Foundation provides a state by state chart of poverty rates in the US by race and ethnicity.
Remote Learning/School Reopening
Removing Barriers to Effective Distance Learning by Applying High Leverage Practices: Tips and Tools: This special issues brief from the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR Center) and the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) outlines how HLPs can be employed to strengthen distance learning instruction for a diverse range of students by providing strategies to address common challenges students experience. This brief is designed to support all teachers who are striving to ensure students of all backgrounds and abilities are provided. Read more.
Family Guide to At Home Learning: This guide has practical strategies that work for helping children of all ages who may be struggling with an at-home learning task. Families may find these strategies useful when helping their children complete various reading, math, and/or behavioral tasks at home. Read more here.
Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse: April 30, 2021, U.S. Department of Education, Best Practices to reopen K-12 schools, early childhood centers and postsecondary institutions in three main topic areas: Reopening Safely, Student Supports and Educator Supports. The Clearinghouse currently includes over 180 resources and will continue to be updated. Read more here.
Restraint & Seclusion
Bill in Maine Legislature to prohibit seclusion and limit restraints. Disability Rights Maine reports that the state restrains more students per capita than any other state and secludes students at the second highest rate, about 90% of students secluded and restrained have a disability. Even with that, some parents spoke out opposed to the ban. Read more here
Social-Emotional Learning
Waiting for the World to Come Back: Stuck in a group home for unaccompanied minors, I paint to understand (Youth written story). Read more here.
How to Fix 7 Fatal Flaws in Tech Professional Development: Professional development to help educators use technology for teaching and learning has been critical for decades, but also riddled with pitfalls: During the 2020-21 school year, those flaws became more evident than ever, educators say, even as the training itself became more important. Teachers had to navigate learning environments that were brand new to almost everyone, including virtual and hybrid learning. And professional development had to shift on the fly, in the middle of a crisis that touched every aspect of teaching and learning. Read more.
Transition to Adult Life/Youth
I’m Determined: Transition Guide-Independent Living: A transition guide to help you or someone you love transition to independent living with a self-determined future. Read more here.
Trauma & Toxic Stress
Trauma Infographic: The National Council for Behavioral Health has developed a useful trauma infographic.
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.