Volume I| November 2018
SPAN Parent Leadership E-News
Welcome to the new SPAN Parent Leadership E News !

Parent Leaders,
Our newsletter is designed to support individuals who passionately represent the needs and perspectives of all parents. Parent leaders become role models for parent engagement, advocating not only on behalf of their own children, but for ALL children! 
March 23, 2019
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2019 SPAN
Parent Leadership & Advocacy Conference
@ New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, NJ 07102

A statewide conference for and about meaningful Parent Leadership across New Jersey’s education, health, mental health, family support, human services, and child welfare systems.

Sponsors & Exhibitors : Jeanne McMahon , jmcmahon@spanadvocacy.org
Questions: Myriam Alizo, malizo@spanadvocacy.org

Growing Your Group: Serving on Groups that Make Decisions

Joining decision-making groups is an important way for parents to have a voice and improve the lives of children and families. This webinar series will prepare and empower users to successfully serve on a group. You can make a difference!  Parents will be able to:

  • Recognize your personal leadership skills.
  • Build an understanding about decision-making groups
  • Develop skills essential for active and meaningful participation on groups
​Use these tools to train alone, or in groups in order to gain strategies to confidently, and actively participate in decision making groups.

Parent Leaders on the move - Groups to Watch:
Collingswood Educational Advocates
L ike many parent groups, the Collingswood Educational Advocacy Group [CEAG) was formed out of the need to address an emerging issue in the Collingswood Public School district. However, unlike many groups born in controversy, the CEAG is still going strong even after the issue has been resolved. From their experience in 2016, the parents realized the importance of parent leadership and engagement when it comes to improving programs and practices in the district.
The group is inclusive being made up of not only public school parents (both general and special education), but also home-school parents and other interested community stakeholders. The group uses a shared leadership model where there are no defined leadership roles, but each member contributes to running the group based on individual talents and strengths. “Kate” runs the Facebook page and organized most of the meetings, while “Jen” created and monitors the CEAG website . When there is data to be collected, the group knows that “Rhodes” will take the lead. Everyone plays a role. This way, the responsibility for the group’s operation belongs to everyone. Groups that depend on only one or two people will typically fail when those people leave and/or burn out. Shared leadership promotes ownership among members and leads to sustainability. 
In its brief two years, the group has had quite a few accomplishments.
At the beginning of the school year the group distributes an assessment survey to determine their goals for the year.
Held a candidate forum before the school elections so parents could get to know the candidates. 
Advocated against building a new stadium that many people thought hadn’t been researched well enough
Pressured the School Board to allow the group to live stream the meetings.
Most importantly, since forming, the group has had two members run for the school board (see accompanying photo), one of which was ultimately elected.  Ultimately to have a real effect on policy, parent leaders must have a seat at the table in decision making groups.
As Parent Leader, Kate Delaney put it, “The watchdog connection between the board and the community, help people advocate more directly.” Indeed, the Collingswood Educational Advocacy Group is a model of share leadership and parent engagement that works to bring positive change to their district.

Upcoming Events
SPAN Calendar SPAN offers workshops and events for parents, families and professionals interested in the well-being of infants, toddlers, children, youth/young adults and their families. There are dozens of topics in education, special education, health care, mental health, youth self-advocacy and more.Take a look - sign up for a workshop today!   

NJCCYC Calendars New Jersey has established in each county a County Council for Young Children (CCYC), Parent-community advisory boards. The councils bring together parents, community leaders and service providers. Parents are active partners sharing leadership with community stakeholders while working together to identify and make recommendations on educational and children’s health improvement efforts in their counties. These same recommendations, all of which stem from a set of diverse parent voices, ultimately inform  future policy and funding decisions  across the state. Click here to view NJCCYC calendars .

"CCYCs' do more than give parents a seat the table, they also connect parent partners with SPAN , Through this network, parent partners receive training and technical support so that they feel empowered in their role as champions for their children and champions for other parents." - Nicole Hopkins, Parent Partner & N.J. team lead, NICHQ-led Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network
( ECCS CoIIN ). 
SPAN Parent Advocacy Network - Our Vision  is that all families will have the resources and support they need to ensure that their children become fully participating and contributing members of our communities and society.  Our Mission i s to empower and support families and inform and involve professionals interested in the healthy development and education of children and youth. Our foremost commitment is to children and families with the greatest need due to disability or special health/mental health needs; poverty; discrimination based on race, sex, language, immigrant or homeless status; involvement in the foster care, child welfare, or juvenile justice systems; geographic location; or other special circumstances.  Our Motto is, "Empowered Parents: Educated, Engaged, Effective!"
SPAN Parent Advocacy Network | 35 Halsey Street, Newark, NJ | 1-800-654-SPAN