SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

August 2, 2023 | Issue 90 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

OSEP Conference Youth Panel photo featuring Valerie Williams and youth panelists

PICTURED ABOVE: (Left to Right) Nathan Markley, David Cantrell, Dylan Campbell, Valerie C. Williams, Johan Mora Valverde, Emily Ball, Julio Vega.

Youth Impact Panel Speaks at OSEP Leadership Conference

The 2023 OSEP Leadership and Project Directors' Conference held July 24th - 26th was attended by professionals from state professional development, technical assistance, dissemination, technology, and parent training and information centers. One of the conference plenaries was a discussion by a Youth Impact Panel.

This panel of young adults was introduced by David Cantrell, Deputy Director, OSEP, and associated with the NE-PACT Region A Youth Leadership Council (YLC).

Panelists included:

  • Nathan Markley, Information Technology Specialist, RIPIN
  • Emily Ball, Youth Educator, CPAC
  • Dylan Campbell, Youth Coordinator, MPF
  • Julio Vega, Lead Youth Mentor, HUNE.

The panel was moderated by Johan Mora Valverde, SPAN Youth Engagement Coordinator.  

The panelists discussed the challenges of living with a disability and how it has affected them, their role in their parent centers, and how being a member of the YLC has benefited them.

The panel received a standing ovation and recognition from OSEP Director, Valerie C. Williams. The panelists would like to recognize the incredible support they received from Carmen Sanchez, Project Officer, OSEP Education Program Specialist and Dawn Monaco, Youth Engagement Program Director, SPAN.

Last week, the OSEP Leadership and Project Directors' Conference in Washington, DC was attended by several SPAN staff members. One of them, Diana Autin, took part in a Policy Panel during the event. See the picture below.


Official seal for the State of NJ

Updates to New Jersey's Anti-Bullying

Bill of Rights Act

New Jersey’s “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act” (ABR) was amended in July 2022. Updated FAQs about the amendments were published in July 2023. The FAQs relate to amendments about:

  • How LEAs (Local Education Agencies) address Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB)
  • Reporting requirements related to HIB
  • Information that must be posted on LEA and School websites
  • Information available for parents

Please note that the NJ Department of Education is revising the Guidance for Parents on the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act and anticipates its’ release in Fall 2023.

The FAQs can be reviewed by clicking here and looking in the section on Addressing Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying in Schools: Frequently Asked Questions.

National Youth Mentoring Opportunity for Health Care Transition 

Center for Transition to Adult Health Care logo

We are Looking for Youth to

Join the Youth Development Initiative (YDI)



What is the YDI: This group of youth will receive training and mentoring to help them understand healthcare transition at an early age. They will be mentored by young adults who have learned leadership and advocacy skills.


Who Should Apply? Young people (ages 12 – 17) with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are ready to learn about healthcare transition, self-advocacy, and getting ready for adulthood.


YDI members will:

  • Learn from other young adults about healthcare transition 
  • Meet peers and make friends
  • Learn about being an advocate for themselves and others with disabilities


About Our Center

The Center for Transition to Adult Health Care for Youth with Disabilities helps young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers to take control of their healthcare. This Center provides resources, information, and support for moving to adulthood.


To apply, click here.

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

NJ Paid Leave training graphic

NJ Paid Leave Lunch Time Train-the-Trainer

For Providers, Social Workers

and other Intermediaries

Friday, August 4

12:00 - 1:15 PM ET

Virtual via Zoom

Join this "train-the-trainer" workshop on Paid Leave in NJ.

Most employees in NJ are included in paid leave benefit programs so that they can afford to take leave to:

  • care for their health or their loved one's health
  • cope with issues related to domestic violence
  • bond with new children (birth, adopted, and foster)

New Jersey also guarantees most workers the right to earn a minimum number of paid sick days as well.

Join us to learn more about these benefits and workers' right to take leave in the Garden State. Please let us know if you register but are unable to attend, we have a limited number of spots.

To register, click here.

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

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haga clic aquí para suscribirse
SPAN 2023 Conference Flyer

Watch for the registration link coming later this week!

SPAN Youth Hub graphic

Social Anxiety in Students with Learning Disabilities

Read our latest youth blog post, “Social Anxiety in Students with Learning Disabilities Featuring NJ YELL,” on how students with learning disabilities navigate stigma and bullying—and equipping individuals to challenge harmful stereotypes to inspire confidence in others.

Click Here

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