Navigating Excellence - Parent Center Assistance & Collaboration Team
Region A E-News
Inspirational Quote
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Message From Diana & Michele
We hope you all had great take-a-ways and ah-ha moments at the OSEP conference. One moment that stands out for me is when a self-advocate stated, “I don’t have special needs. I have needs, like everyone has needs. I need supports and resources like everyone else”.
I know most of us miss the in person social interaction we experience at conferences but hopefully the speakers, breakout sessions and virtual discussions filled that void. The opportunity to learn together, learn about each other and share experiences is an investment in our future and for those we serve. We look forward to continuing to learn and grow with all of you and if we can assist in any way, please let us know.
INCLUDEnyc: On August 17th, INCLUDEnyc will present Getting Ready for Back to School. The workshop focus will be: school reopening for students with disabilities, vaccine eligibility and roll-out for students, translation and interpretation services for families, and free mental health services and support. It will be presented in Spanish with English interpretation.
Maine Parent Federation’s Self Advocacy Space Adventure: Self-Advocacy is a core skill to empower youth and young adults in their school, work, and social lives. The Maine Parent Federation's Youth Coordinator, Dylan Campbell, developed an interactive resource for youth to take their first steps or a refresher on advocating. Find it here.
Parent Center Hub: What is CentersConnect? It is a virtual hub within the Parent Center Hub site exclusively for Parent Center staff to effectively and efficiently: Work on common projects with other Parent Center professionals, ask questions and get informed answers, enjoy easy access to the expertise of Parent Center partners and much more. If you need help logging in, please contact Myriam Alizo: malizo@spanadvocacy.orgCheck it out here.
Upcoming Events/Dates to Remember
Region A Drop-In Call: The next Region A Drop In Call will take place on Tuesday, August 3, 10:00am – 12:00pm. 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, July 30th, if you have any agenda items.
Parent Center Conversation with the Office of Civil Rights: OSEP will work with OCR to develop a set of questions for the parent centers that will guide the conversation, but it will primarily focus on school discipline. The event will take place on Thursday August 26th at 3pm. The link will be shared shortly.
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Virtual Annual Conference, November 4: Find out more and register. 
Other Events:  Don’t forget to check out the CPIR Calendar of Events.
Non-Profit Management Resources
The Keys to Non Profit Management: So many of the bottlenecks and obstacles we face when seeking to achieve our mission are identical to those who toiled before us. This article in the Stanford Innovation Review contains three critical tips for nonprofit managers.
Family-Centered Services Resources
Two Generation Approaches for Serving Low-Income Families: Parent well-being and child well-being are inextricably linked. However, many policies and programs aimed at improving family economic security and child well-being often do not consider the needs of children and parents together, as a whole family. Governors interested in effective and efficient ways to meet the interrelated, often complex, needs of low-income families can consider two-generation strategies to provide appropriate, coordinated, and seamless services to both the adults and the children in those families. A two-generation approach seeks to support parents in their dual roles of caregiver and provider, while also addressing the care and educational needs of children. Check it out.
Youth-Centered Services Resources
Jump$tart’s Reality Check: Youth and young adults are always asked about their future or goals, but many of those goals need financial support. This tool from Jump$tart helps to start developing financial smarts and take a reality check towards any youthful aspirations. Find it here.
Staff Development Resources
Designing Effective Professional Development Considerations Packet: This packet of tips from the William and Mary University Training and TA Center provides essential information to those interested in improving professional development practices. Topics include standards for designing professional development activities and programs that lead to improved learning for all participants. An overview of basic information about the major models of professional development and their effectiveness is followed by specific strategies for determining if a school or school division is a learning organization. Finally, key questions for identifying indicators of effective professional development are also offered. Read more.
Linking Health and Attendance: Different health issues can impact a student's attendance in the classroom. Learn more about how Health Barriers to Learning can affect attendance and ways to start noticing patterns. View video.
More Families Have Internet Access. So Why Hasn’t the Digital Divide Begun to Close? Lower-income families’ access to the internet has soared over the past six years. But that doesn’t mean that the digital divide is any closer to closing, concludes a nationally representative survey released by Rutgers University this week. Read more.
Protecting Students: Sex Discrimination U.S. Department of Education Issues a Notice of Interpretation confirming that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read the Press Release.  Read the notice.
Confronting Anti-LGBTQI and Harassment in Schools, A Resource for Students and Families, June 2021. It is important to know that discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by federal law. It is also important that LGBTQI+ students feel safe and know what to do if they experience discrimination. Read more.
Child Welfare
When Adoption Fails: National Council for Adoption (2020) Discusses the topic of adoption dissolution, the unique challenges that families deal with when an adoption disruption/dissolution occurs, and the importance for the use of a best-practice model that serves the best interest of the child who has been adopted. Read it here.

The Indian Child Welfare Act: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals Fact Sheet, April 2021 The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 is one of the key components to protecting the rights and culture of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children and families. Unfortunately, not all child welfare caseworkers are aware of how to apply ICWA or the troubling history that prompted the law to be enacted. This factsheet provides caseworkers with an overview of current and historical issues affecting child welfare practice with AI/AN families, practice implications, and cultural considerations. Find it here.
Cultural Competence
New Jersey Network for Cultural Competence - Annual Conference: The conference, Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers, & Cultivating Cultural Competency with the Diverse Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing Community Virtual Conference took place on April 26th and 27th. Check out the recordings.
What is Data Literacy and Why Do We Need it? Check out the Data Literacy Project for great resources on accessing, understanding and using data.
Discipline & Positive Behavioral Supports
Supreme Court Upholds a Student’s Right to Free Speech on Social Media: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave students their biggest free speech victory in decades, ruling that a disappointed high school cheerleader could not be punished for a social media post on Snapchat that included profane words.” Read the full article.
Dispute Resolution
To Trust or Not to Trust? Understanding the Science of Developing and Nurturing Trust in Family-Professional Partnerships Upcoming CADRE Webinar will be held on August 26, 2021 at 11:30am - 12:45pm. Researchers have documented new, ongoing, and growing conflict between families of students with disabilities and the professionals who serve them. Qualitative and quantitative studies have demonstrated that the majority of these challenges begin with a lack of trust, that has either never existed in the partnership or deteriorated as a result of a breakdown in communication, incompatible goals, and/or misunderstanding between parties. In fact, trust is one of the most commonly mentioned partnership barriers discussed in the literature. Despite this acknowledgement of trust, the science of understanding, developing and nurturing trust is rarely defined, or described in a way that supports conflict prevention or resolution between families and professionals. This webinar provides attendees with a roadmap for understanding the science of trust, including strategies that can both develop, nurture, and repair trust between families and professionals. Register here.
Dropout Prevention
Practice Guide Addresses Pandemic’s Effect on At-Risk Students, Schools, and Graduation Rates: The practice guide addresses pandemic-related issues and identifies opportunities for schools and districts to prepare for the growing number of students who will be identified as at risk as a result of missed, delayed, and compromised school attendance and instruction.
Early Childhood/Early Intervention
Advancing Equity Through the American Rescue Plan Act: The Childrens Equity Project: The American Rescue Plan Act includes a number of targeted investments in children and families, including $39 billion to stabilize and support the nation’s struggling child care system, the largest infusion of resources to the child care system in history. This unprecedented infusion of resources provides a unique opportunity to make tangible headway on building equitable learning systems. Download the 16 page report here.
Education Reform/ESSA
Supporting Students with the Most Intensive Needs Video Series, three informational videos hosted by Center for Parent Information and Resources for families of students with the most intensive needs, and the schools, educators, and other professionals who support these children. The videos are produced in collaboration with National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII), the TIES Center (The National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies), and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). Watch the videos below on CPIR's YouTube channel.
What’s the Difference Between Equality and Equity: This short piece summarizes the differences between equality and equity and why they are important.
Foster Care
Frequently Asked Questions from LGBTQ+ Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents Factsheet, June 2021. This factsheet is designed to answer some of the initial questions LGBTQ+ prospective foster or adoptive parents may have in hopes of helping them be better informed during the first stage of their journey. Find it here.
Grandparents as Caregivers
When Grandparents Are Caregivers or Guardians of Kids Who Learn and Think Differently: Grandparents are guardians for nearly 1 million kids in the United States. (Another 1.9 million kids are cared for by other relatives.) Check out this article with great resources for IEP help, financial assistance, IDEA, and many other tips for grandparents as caregivers
Understanding HIPAA: What Parents Need to Know About Privacy & Their Adult Child’s Health Information," This Q&A Fact Sheet was developed for families under a collaboration between National Family Support Technical Assistance Center (NFSTAC) and the Center of Excellence for Protected Health Information. More information or view the fact sheet.
Housing Isn’t Affordable for Minimum Wage Workers Anywhere in the US: In the US federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009. Many states implement higher minimum wages, and several are scheduled to increase theirs to $15 per hour in the next five years. Still, a renter in the U.S. would need to earn $20.40 per hour on average to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home in 2021, according to this year's edition of the National Low Income Housing Coalition's Out of Reach report. Read more here.
IDEA/Special Education
Questions and Answers on Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment: Helping schools reopen safely and in ways that support equity among students is a top priority for the Department of Education. The purpose of this Q&A is to help students, families, schools, and the public support all students’ rights in educational environments, including in elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IEP Tip Sheet Series: Progress Center posted October 2020. This series of seven tip sheets introduce key components of the individualized education program (IEP). They include brief summaries of federal regulations, tips for implementation, and resources. Check with your state for additional requirements. Find the series here.
Immigrant Issues
With return to in-person learning, thousands of students still 'missing' from schools- School officials say there are still thousands of students unaccounted for: When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the nation last spring, millions of children across the country were forced to leave their classrooms and turn to remote learning. However, the shift resulted in the "disappearance" of thousands of students, who never logged on or re-appeared when classrooms reopened in the fall. Read more.
Accommodations in the classroom: A Guide to Making Them Real: The following guide, from Inclusive Schools Network, breaks down a typical list of middle school accommodations using helpful tools on how to practically implement each one. Many of the listed accommodations are tied with valuable skills all teachers could include in their instructional toolboxes and parents can advocate for.
Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice
Other Voices: Juvenile Justice Task Force can help the state’s youth and save money: Pennsylvania General Assembly’s bipartisan Juvenile Justice Task Force issued a set of recommendations to improve the way the state responds to justice-involved youth. Read more.
Striving for Authenticity: LGBT+ Views on Enduring Discrimination and Expanding Inclusion: IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, and Workplace Pride released a new report on workplace discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community. The key research findings are a reminder that despite the legal progress, the community is continually facing obstacles at work due to their sexual identities. The report includes imminent actions that employers can take to recognize and develop a more inclusive organization for the LGBTQ+ community. Read more here.
Mental Health
Youth Mobile Response Services: An Investment to Decriminalize Mental Health: In this report for federal, state, and local government entities, offer examples of states (Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Oregon) that have created good mobile response systems, principles for implementation, funding opportunities, and federal recommendationsDownload the report here
Why More Schools Are Excusing Student Absences for Mental Health: For more than a year, young people have been waving danger flags: They miss class. Their schoolwork is weak or nonexistent. They’re exhausted, unfocused. As schools step up their support, one simple, concrete step is becoming popular: allowing excused absences for mental health days. Learn more.
Military Families & Youth
Military to Remove “Stepchild” Designation from New ID Cards After Complaints: New military dependent ID cards issued to military spouses' children will be changed to respond to complaints of insensitivity. Read more here.
Native American
Native Americans and Mental Health: Depression and suicide affect people of all ages and populations, but Native American and Alaskan Native populations can be at a higher risk. Lifeline has a webpage dedicated just to reach Native Americans and offer its services of support. Check it out.
Parent/Family Engagement (and Youth!)
Three Tips for Increasing Parent Engagement This School Year: Check out these great tips.
Resources Specific to Working with Low-Income Families Including Those Receiving TANF: This article summarizes critical information needed to support low-income families.
Remote Learning/School Reopening
Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation in America’s K-12 Schools: Guidance and Strategies for Improved Results U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), June 2021 Features updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Education on maintaining safe indoor air quality in schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccinations, Return to In-Person Learning, and What All Parents Need to Know, Parent Center Hub June 22, 2021. CDC shared COVID-related resources in multiple languages. Especially relevant to Parent Centers' work are: guidance for schools and camps as they reopen to conducting their affairs in person; and their toolkit tailored to help community-based organizations safely reopen to in-person activities with a variety of audiences, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID and those who haven't been. Parent Center Hub listed and linked the majority of those resources on the webpage where the webinar recording, transcript, and Spanish-language translation of the webinar are posted. Find it here.
Questions and Answers on Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment: The purpose of this Q&A is to help students, families, schools, and the public support all students’ rights in educational environments, including in elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restraint & Seclusion
‘Urgent as it ever has been’: Biden pick says she’ll rebuild civil rights office at critical time: Discussion of Catherine Lhamon’s confirmation hearing and her vision for OCR. Included is this statement, “Most civil rights complaints in education center around students with disabilities, and Lhamon said that work would be a priority. Investigations will depend on the kinds of complaints the office receives, Lhamon said, but she said she would seek to address the unlawful restraint and seclusion of students, who often have disabilities.” Read more here.
Social-Emotional Learning
Supporting School Community Wellness with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) During and After a Pandemic: These social conditions and experiences of loss have presented challenges to wellness that continue to weigh heavily on the physical and mental health of educators, students, and families, especially for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and among those with disabilities. Read more here.
74 Free or Low-Cost Tools and Resources for Nonprofits: Provided you set aside the time to explore and experiment, your nonprofit can use the tools and resources listed below to significantly improve your digital marketing and fundraising campaigns. Learn more.
Transition to Adult Life/Youth
Becoming an Adult: Challenges for Those with Mental Health Conditions: For youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions the changes during this stage of life are challenging and complex. Read more here.
Trauma & Toxic Stress
(See Poverty, above)
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.