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Parent Center Directors' Bite-Sized Professional Development Resources

2021

September 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – September 7th, 2021

Theme: Tips to Track and Minimize Interruptions

Most Parent Center Directors experience the “revolving door” that goes with our busy offices and staff teams. A little bit of research into the “who, what, when, where, and why” you experience interruptions can help you sort through possible solutions that will save time for you and for those you lead. This resource provides a template to log and analyze interruptions and possible solutions for the root causes you identify: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_94.htm

 

Week 2 – September 14th, 2021

Theme: How to Make Meetings More Productive

Did you know that holding shorter meetings while standing up will increase productivity and solution focus? This list provides 12 research-based solutions help you hold effective meetings ONLY when you need to: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/12-secrets-super-producti...

 

Week 3 – September 21st, 2021

Theme: Helpful Tool to Help Decide if Meetings Should be Emails

When we are working with our staff on resource and service development, we need to hold meetings to produce as a team. Or do we? When should a meeting be an email instead? When is a meeting absolutely necessary? You might be surprised at how much your team can accomplish before you meet when you assign actions and communicate expectations that includes engaging via email first: https://blog.doist.com/meeting-vs-email/

 

Week 4 – September 28th, 2021

Theme: Manage and Save Time with Action Item Templates

Different time management tools should be used in different situations. Project management task lists should be numbered, assigned, and based on grant work plans. Board task lists and assignments might need to be tracked differently. Want some ideas of how to design the tools you need? Here are 12 FREE ideas to use or copy: https://www.smartsheet.com/content/action-items-templates

August 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – August 3rd, 2021

Theme: How to Set Healthy Boundaries

As things gear up for the coming year, Parent Center leaders feel the pressure kicking in. We mindfully take care of others. Do we do as well at mindfully taking care of ourselves? It starts with setting clear boundaries. Learn 10 important areas to focus on here: https://jane-hooper.co.uk/10-ways-to-set-boundaries-executive-career/

 

Week 2 – August 10th, 2021

Theme: Supporting Self-Care and Professionalism

Self-care and professionalism do not always seem to go hand-in-hand, but they do. We are far more capable of helping our staff teams and families when we are in a good place ourselves. This page includes vast amounts of resources, tip sheets, additional blog links and assessment tools to help you be the best leader you can, and to help other self-care too: https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/infant-toddler-resource-guide/self-care-...

 

Week 3 – August 17th, 2021

Theme: Boundaries in Working Relationships

Working in small centers has many rewards. However, it can also have pitfalls. Strong working relationships are important. So is being clear about the boundaries between colleagues and friends. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work, though. This article helps clarify what to do: https://www.allbusiness.com/boss-or-friend-the-importance-of-a-clearly-defined-working-relationship-11242-1.html

 

Week 4 – August 24th, 2021

Theme: Tips for What to Do When You’re Too Busy

One of the best things we can do to care for ourselves is to manage our time well. Are you laughing right now? There are some tried and true techniques for leaders to use in managing things like meetings and email inboxes. Challenge yourself to learn and implement one new idea, and see how it works: https://www.thoughtfulleader.com/too-busy-at-work/

 

Week 5 – August 31st, 2021

Theme: Help Yourself by Helping Your Team

Did you know that helping your employees better manage their time will also help you have the time you’ll need to get your own work done? Taking some intentional team development steps to time management is a great way to also help yourself. Here is a list of actions to help you get there: https://blog.rescuetime.com/employee-time-management/

July 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – July 6th, 2021

Theme: Importance of Diversified Fundraising

Many Parent Centers operate almost entirely off state and federal grants. Most of us know that’s risky. What many of us don’t know is exactly what to do about it. This article teaches you how to diversify your funding and what new funding sources are best to spend your time seeking in the current economy. In short, long-range planning is best, and small steps can get you a long way. https://getfullyfunded.com/more-than-one-source-of-revenue-for-your-nonp...

 

Week 2 – July 13th, 2021

Theme: Take-Home Template on Fundraising

The Parent Centers aren’t new, but a lot of us are new to robust fundraising plans. This article offers guidance and a template for a one-page, new-organization fundraising plan. It’s a great place for centers and their boards to start. https://getfullyfunded.com/fundraising-plan-template/

 

Week 3 – July 20th, 2021

Theme: Learn About Common Fundraising Mistakes

The Forbes Nonprofit Advisory Council recently published this article outlining nine common fundraising mistakes nonprofits make. They aren’t what you might think they would be. Read and learn here! https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2021/04/29/nine-comm...

 

Week 4 – July 27th, 2021

Theme: How to Engage Your Board in Fundraising

Did you know that placing a 20-minute fundraising discussion at the top your board agenda for each board meeting almost guarantees some successful fundraising for the year? Once you have an idea of the steps needed to begin fundraising, it’s time to engage your Board. There are specific steps that ensure success. Learn more by watching this 5-minute video and utilizing its included text guidance: https://www.amyeisenstein.com/5-ways-engage-nonprofit-board-fundraising/

June 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – June 1st, 2021

Theme/title: Avoid Common Reasons Strategic Plans Fail

Did you know there is a specific method to achieving the strategies you planned with your board? There are also 4 specific reasons that strategic plans fail. Learn what they are and how to avoid them here: https://www.tsia.com/blog/4-reasons-why-most-strategic-plans-fail

 

Week 2 – June 8th, 2021

Theme/title: Understand the Measurability of Your Goals

In order to measure progress toward the goals on your strategic plan, you have to first design those goals to be focused on the achievement, rather than on the action. You can find out more about the three ways to tell if your strategic plan goals measure up here: https://www.staceybarr.com/measure-up/3-tests-of-the-measurability-of-your-goals/

 

Week 3 – June 15th, 2021

Theme/title: Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Once your strategic goals are based in achievement, it’s time to establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you can measure the organization’s progress. You can find 14 of the most common and useful KPIs for nonprofits here: https://donorbox.org/nonprofit-blog/kpis-for-your-nonprofit/

 

Week 4 – June 22nd, 2021

Theme/title: Benefits of a Meeting Facilitator for Strategic Planning

As center Directors, we have our hands in everything and know the work from every angle. That is one of many reasons we may not be the best people to facilitate strategic planning buy-in and measurement with our board. A facilitator is often best, and this blog explains the many reasons why: https://www.smestrategy.net/blog/how-can-a-meeting-facilitator-help-your-strategic-planning-session-or-workshop

 

Week 5 – June 29th, 2021

Theme/title: Advice from Nonprofit Leaders Implementing a Strategic Plan

We know the best advice often comes from our peers. The same is true in carrying out strategic plans. In this article, organizational leaders who have been successful with carrying out strategic plans share what they have learned and how they accomplished their goals: https://www.bridgespan.org/insights/library/strategy-development/living-into-strategic-plan-implemention-guide/peer-to-peer-advice-for-living-into-your-strategic

May 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – May 4th, 2021

Theme: Ideas and Resources for Board Engagement

Last month’s messages focused on recruiting great board members. Once you have them in place, you have to work to keep them personally engaged and invested. According the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, “..new engagement is distinguished by board deliberations that are future-oriented, proactive, and based on trust..” Find some of the best tools to help you do those very things here: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/board-engagement

 

 

Week 2 – May 11th, 2021

Theme: Tips for Conversations about Board Governance

Did you know that introducing topics a board has to wrestle with is one of the best ways to build board member trust in you and the organization? What topics are best for them to work on, and what are the best ways for you to bring those topics forward? This side-by-side tip sheet for candid conversations with boards can help: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/sites/default/files/documents/tip-sh...

 

Week 3 – May 18th, 2021

Theme: Engaging Board Members Through AAA

Engaged boards absolutely must have a stake in the organization’s strategic planning process and its outcomes. Focus on the three A’s with your board to build engagement with them in planning. Aspirations, Alignment and Accountability can be processed in partnership between a board and the Executive Director to better engage everyone involved. Find a how-to infographic and helpful guiding questions and tips here: https://blueavocado.org/board-of-directors/engaging-board-members-aaa-th...

 

Week 4 – May 25th, 2021

Theme: What Nonprofit Board Members Need to Know

Once your strategic plan is updated and all board members understand it, it’s time for engaging them in the advocacy related to it. This presentation from Board Source is perfect to work through with your board during a discussion about the types of advocacy your board members can engage in. It even includes links to deeper learning about the do’s and don’ts of different types of advocating non-profit boards can be a part of: https://www.slideshare.net/BoardSource1/what-boards-need-to-know-50474667

April 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – April 6th, 2021

Theme: Board Recruitment

There is a six-step process to finding and keeping the right board members for your Parent Center. Read more about it, follow links to all 6 steps and watch a short video about how to post FREE board member recruitment outreach messages: https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/co...

 

Week 2 – April 13th, 2021

Theme: Board Member Job Descriptions

Planning on posting some board member positions soon? Make sure your board member job descriptions are clear and draw the right candidates. Use this one-page resource as a guide: https://boardsource.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Board-Member-Job-Desc...

 

Week 3 - April 20th, 2021

Theme: Essential Qualities of an Effective Board Member

Do you know the 5 essential qualities of an effective board member? Learn what they are so you know how to spot the people who have them: https://greatboards.org/5-essential-qualities-of-an-effective-board-member/

 

Week 4 – April 27th, 2021

Theme: Working with Different Board Members

You might have a few board members that just aren’t working out how you thought they would. What do you do now? Authentic conversations and concise actions are the best answer to adjusting the partnership. Explore the 8 most likely issues between executives and their board members, and how to address each one: https://www.wildapricot.com/blog/8-types-of-annoying-board-members#what-you-can-do-

March 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – March 2nd, 2021

Theme: Marketing During the Pandemic

Are your work plans playing out differently than you thought they would because of the pandemic? Now is the time think about any shifts to make in the way your center makes its impact. Studying these 20 small business marketing strategy stats might help. #2 is our most valuable. What’s yours? https://www.impactmybiz.com/blog/marketing-during-a-pandemic-stats/ 

 

Week 2 – March 9th, 2021

Theme: Post-Pandemic Marketing Strategies

Last week’s post focused on different marketing strategies that might help increase your center’s service delivery. This week, take a deeper dive into how to use those strategies for long-term gain for your center. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/10/27/post-pandemic-marketing-st...

 

Week 3 – March 16th, 2021

Theme: What Small Businesses Are Doing During COVID-19

Small businesses and non-profits are facing many of the same challenges these days. Learn what a handful of savvy small businesses have done to increase their traffic during these tough times. Do you see anything you could try? https://keap.com/business-success-blog/sales/sales-process/what-savvy-sm...

 

Week 4 – March 23rd, 2021

Theme: Tackling Today’s Talent Challenges

Have you reskilled your workforce to be ready for the service delivery challenges yet to come this year and next? Check out these 6 important things to consider in reskilling your workforce and 3 podcasts that share real-life examples: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/th...

 

Week 5 – March 30th, 2021

Theme: Trademarks of Agile Organizations

Smaller, agile organizations are becoming the champions of service delivery right now. Is your center focusing on agility? Here are 5 trademark qualities of agile organizations that make them highly likely to succeed: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-five-trademarks-of-agile-organizations

February 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – February 2nd, 2021

Theme: Why Video Calls Are So Draining

It’s no surprise to any of us that video meeting fatigue is real. Knowing the “what” and “why” of it helps us know how to offer solutions for our staff and customers. Did you know that video calls are anxiety provoking, in part, just because you are staring at your own face? Learn more about the causes here: https://ideas.ted.com/zoom-fatigue-is-real-heres-why-video-calls-are-so-...

 

Week 2 – February 9th, 2021

Theme: Tips to Beat Zoom Fatigue

Last week you explored the “what and why.” This week, learn what you can do about it. This resource provides 20 tips to combat video fatigue including engaging online tutorials and links with more information. It even breaks down the science of video fatigue solutions for both introvert and extravert personality types. Help yourself and everyone in your office by heading here for more information: https://www.scienceofpeople.com/zoom-fatigue/

 

Week 3 – February 16th, 2021

Theme: Quick Video to Improve Posture

Faulty posture from video fatigue can cause painful strain on the back of your neck. Learn a short stretching routine to relieve tension, improve posture, and to wake up and feel great at this link. Watch it with your staff and try it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T43753AfaKY

 

Week 4 – February 23rd, 2021

Theme: Games to Amp Up Your Next Virtual Meeting

Harvard Business Review cites research indicating “small talk” ice breakers are less engaging on video calls than during in-person trainings. Instead, engage with games that encourage deeper thought, conversation and skill. You can even adapt the questions to the content of your training. Who can draw FAPE the best and win a round of video Pictionary?! For a list of the best games to play on video, click here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g32098665/best-games-to-play-on-zoom/

January 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – January 5th, 2021

Theme: How to Help Staff Cope with Trauma

Most of us are quite happy to usher in the new year. 2021 has the potential to be a time of reconnecting and healing. Have you thought about how to help your staff team cope with and overcome trauma? Learn the basic how-to’s in this brief article: https://www.workhealthlife.com/respdes/downloads/archives/expat-healthy-working/Newsletter_Shepellfgi_HealthyWorking-Expat_E_1010.pdf 

 

Week 2 – January 12th, 2021

Theme: Tool to Support Employee Success

There are specific steps that leaders can take to help staff members successfully heal from trauma. The process is not from a medical model of delivery, but a collaborative one between the worker and their leader. Easing into and being clear on returning-to-work responsibilities as well as the availability of and types of support matters. Learn more and utilize a fillable workbook to help your employees be successful here: 

https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/resources/a-tool-to-support-employee-success

 

Week 3 – January 19th, 2021

Theme: Self-Help and Coping Strategies

The Department of Veteran’s affairs offers a catalog of coping resources and self-help options related to trauma management. Explore mindfulness and the ways in which an office visit from a therapy pet might be in order: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/gethelp/selfhelp_coping.asp 

 

Week 4 – January 26th, 2021

Theme: Practice Mindfulness to Decrease Stress

Setting up the workplace to offer the best chance of success in coping with trauma is essential. Helping your team members prevent email addiction and strategize to limit multitasking are a great start. Learn more about it in this article from Berkeley. It even includes an audio recorded breathing exercise to utilize at your desk: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_practice_mindfulnes...

2020

December 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – December 1st, 2020

Theme: Tackling Unconscious Bias

As most of us know, biases are deeply embedded. However, we are often unaware of them. What can we do about something we are unaware of? How do we coach our staff teams and the families and professionals we work with in shifting their thinking and behavior?  Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt & Trevor Noah explore both the “what it is” & the “what to do about it” in this funny Daily Show clip. Head’s up -It’s 13 minutes long, but it’s worth the watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSdl52DQzCM

 

Week 2 – December 8th, 2020

Theme: Tips for Effective Diversity Training

Diversity training is one of the first, best steps in helping shift attitudes and beliefs. Research shows certain types of ongoing, activity-based, diversity training is most effective. This article explores which types of training to implement and why: https://sprigghr.com/blog/hr-professionals/10-tips-for-effective-diversity-training/ 

 

Week 3 – December 15th, 2020

Theme: ‘A-ha’ Activities for Bias Awareness

Diversity training has been shown to only change attitudes and beliefs when it is reinforced with activities over time. Here’s a list of some things you can blend into your center’s professional development and team-building events throughout the year: https://cultureplusconsulting.com/2018/08/16/a-ha-activities-for-unconscious-bias-training/

 

Week 4 – December 22nd, 2020

Theme: Workplace Diversity & Inclusion

Setting standards for an inclusive work environment starts with embedding changes in leadership and management practices. One way to model competence to your staff is by incorporating the use of a diversity calendar like this one into your center’s annual planning: https://www.diversityresources.com/2020-diversity-calendar

November 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – November 3rd, 2020

Theme: Nonprofit Leadership Skills for Every Director

Do you know what leadership styles you are best at and which ones could be improved? Do you know how to study the workflow at your center and why it’s important? What about the 9 leadership skills all directors must master? More need-to-know information available here:  https://getfullyfunded.com/nonprofit-leadership-skills/

 

Week 2 – November 10th, 2020

Theme: Resource Library for Nonprofit Leadership

Without planning and policies, our centers and their staff struggle. But, who has the time? Finding a few examples and blending them to fit your needs is often the best and quickest way to get down to business. Board Source has one of the go-to Service and Resource Libraries for nonprofits. Many items do have a small cost, but the payoff is huge. You can even find the templates you need created by others who actually use them to succeed. Check it out here: https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/ 

 

Week 3 – November 17th, 2020

Theme: Online Magazine for Nonprofit Leaders

Want to stay in the know on emerging topics affecting nonprofits such as how to crowd fund, what your liability insurance policy for staff should contain, or how to survive an IRS audit? Blue Avocado is an online magazine with practical tips and tools for community-based nonprofits. Many of the resources are provided by professionals in the field. Learn more and sign up here: https://blueavocado.org/about-us/ 

 

Week 4 – November 24th, 2020

Theme: Create an Elevator Pitch for Your Center, or Create Your Nonprofit Elevator Pitch

One of the most effective tools for nonprofits is an elevator speech. Delivering one is one thing, and teaching board and staff members to deliver one is another. This article gives practical examples and non-examples blended with tips like being careful not to speak too fast and how to communicate goals inside a speech. Use it for yourself, and to train others in your center: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976

October 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – October 6th, 2020

Theme: Early Intervention and Inclusion

Are you looking to increase your center’s Early Intervention resources? In 2015, the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a joint policy statement about inclusion of children with disabilities in Early Intervention programs. It is a great resource to share with families, and a great tool to use in leading the development of Early Intervention work at your center. You can find the policy statement here: http://www.decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/Policy_Statement_on_Inclusion.pdf

 

Week 2 – October 13th, 2020

Theme: Developmental App Useful for Everyone

The CDC has a great set of resources for families of children ages birth to 5 that are part of an initiative called Learn the Signs, Act Early. They were developed for Autism, but are useful for anyone. Consider sharing them out as a starting place in building your center’s Part C library. There is even a Milestone Tracker app! Check it all out here: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/

 

Week 3 – October 20th, 2020

Theme: Early Intervention Collaboration

Ready to start collaborating with Early Intervention Partners beyond your state’s Part C Education Department lead. Find out all the other partners in Part C work right here: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/partners/index.html

 

Week 4 – October 27th, 2020

Theme: Early Childhood Technical Assistance

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems is a national Technical Assistance center that houses scads of resources for Part C There are tool kits, webinars and handouts for partners and families alike. If you’re in need of more Early Childhood resources for families or Professional Development related to Early Childhood for your staff, this website is a great place to start: https://dasycenter.org/

September 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – September 1st, 2020

Theme: Five Leadership Lessons from Forged in Crisis

What can we learn from those who came before us about how to lead through times of crisis? How did Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass do it? This short video shares 5 common traits of the famous leaders highlighted in the book, “Forged in Crisis.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi_kCJ9Gr6I

 

Week 2 – September 8th, 2020

Theme: Leading With Empathy

Many sources agree that empathy is key to successful leadership in times of crisis, but empathy has to extend beyond one leader for it to work. Developing a culture of empathy that helps withstand crisis takes a team. Learn how to lead your team to a culture of empathy using the 5 practices outlined in this blog and infographic: https://www.bluebeyondconsulting.com/2020/04/leading-with-empathy/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkbTi1qO-6wIVCr3ACh2edw0tEAAYASAAEgKttfD_BwE

 

Week 3 – September 15th, 2020

Theme: Building Relationships in Times of Crisis

Being able to build relationships and trust is essential to leadership – especially in times of crisis. Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impact. Consider using these conversation starter cards to break the ice in your staff team meetings. Choose one person to call out a page number. Then, use the conversation starter on that page to help your team grow together.  https://bluebeyondconsulting.com/downloadable-content/BlueBeyond-Conversation-Starter-Cards_FINAL.pdf

 

Week 4 – September 22nd, 2020

Theme: Learn About Lollipop Moments

In this short TedTalk “Everyday Leadership,” Drew Dudley tells a story that illustrates how a simple connection can have huge and lasting impact during a crisis. Lollipop Moments are powerful leadership tools. What is a Lollipop Moment? Find out here: https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership

 

Week 5 – September 29th, 2020

Theme: Activities for Leading Through a Crisis

We can never have too many ideas up our sleeves to help us build our team’s trust. It is absolutely essential to have a cohesive team when leading through a crisis. This epic list of 32 team-building activities is invaluable for directing staff teams and training teams alike: https://wheniwork.com/blog/team-building-games/

Parent Center Staffs' Bite-Sized Professional Development Resources

2021

September 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – September 2nd, 2021

Theme: Beginning Outreach to Military Families

Do you wonder where to start in outreaching to military families? Find military installments in your state by using this link: https://branchta.org/region-c-military-installations-and-contacts

 

Week 2 – September 9th, 2021

Theme: Early Intervention and Special Education Eligibility for DoD Dependents

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for military families is implemented by DoD Instruction 1342.12, "Provision of Early Intervention and Special Education Services to Eligible DoD Dependents." This document contains the provision and may be an important resource when serving military families: https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/134212p.pdf

 

Week 3 – September 16st, 2021

Theme: Unique Aspects of Education for Military Families

Looking for resources for military families specifically geared towards parent center staff? Look no further than this website full of resources from the Branch Military Technical Assistance Center: https://branchta.org/resource/education-and-military-families

 

Week 4 – September 23rd, 2021

Theme: Online Tool Empowering Families with Special Needs

Military families with special needs have resources available to them through the Exceptional Family Member’s Program (EFMP) including case management, services, and educational supports. The EFMP & Me online resource is a tool for military families to navigate supports and find resources. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/special-needs/exceptional-family-member/efmp-me-online-tool-for-military-families-with-special-needs/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgviIBhBkEiwA10D2j2JyXgi0T8_5I27MIUhKxzQWc6Bdl1zikftFJJmcmb0UlFV4pz0GohoC4QEQAvD_BwE

 

Week 5 – September 30th, 2021

Theme: Additional Resources for Military Families

If you are looking for resources for Military families related to special needs, helping children cope with deployment, school transitions and reconnecting with children after deployment, check out the resources from Pathfinder ND: http://www.pathfinder-nd.org/resource-topic.php?t=Military+Families&Go=Go

August 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – August 5th, 2021

Theme: Materials Emphasizing the Foundations of Native Culture

Before beginning outreach efforts to Native American families, it is important to acknowledge and understand the history of indigenous peoples. This recent compilation of resources from the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) highlights important historical truths about this underserved population.

 

Week 2 – August 12th, 2021

Theme: Tribal Sovereignty and Outreach to Native Families

Native American tribal communities are sovereign, meaning tribal governments have authority over their communities including education. “This brief [from the Native American Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC)] explores how Parent Centers might plan and conduct outreach to Native families within the reality of tribal sovereignty and the governing policies of individual tribal communities.”

 

Week 3 – August 19th, 2021

Theme: Reaching Out to American Indian and Alaska Native Youth with Disabilities

Are there Native American communities that you wish you could serve more robustly? Check out this resource from NAPTAC to learn how to find outreach opportunities such as Urban Indian Centers, Tribal Education Departments, Pow Wows and more. Consider asking to host a vendor booth at a local Pow Wow.

 

Week 4 – August 26th, 2021

Theme: More on Working with Native American Children and Youth

This recent compilation of resources from CPIR takes a deeper dive into specific matters impacting Native American Youth with Disabilities including preschool, bullying, resilience, and transition to adulthood.

July 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – July 1st, 2021

Theme: Resources on Discipline for Parents and Schools

This quick read from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments provides an overview of the impacts of school discipline on behavior and academic achievement, preventing discipline problems and positive approaches. Check it out here! https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/topic-research/environment/discipline

 

Week 2 – July 8th, 2021

Theme: What to Do When Your Child is Facing Disciplinary Action

Need a simple resource for families when their child is facing disciplinary action? Check out these 8 steps: https://www.understood.org/articles/en/8-steps-to-take-if-your-child-is-...

 

Week 3 – July 15th, 2021

Theme: Special Education Law and Discipline

Have some time this summer for professional development on school discipline? This video is nearly 2 hours long, and it contains a lot of good information. In 2019, Julie Weatherly, Esq. was the keynote speaker at the Indiana Special Education Law Conference on the topic of discipline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddKi_qNgEeA

 

Week 4 – July 22nd, 2021

Theme: Case Study on School Discipline

The Center for Parent Resources and Information (CPIR) has a lot of useful resources on discipline. Here is one that gives a school discipline example: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/discipline-example

 

Week 5 – July 29th, 2021

Theme: 504 Resource Guide

A relatively small population of students with disabilities are served under a Section 504 plan. The “Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” is an overall great resource on Section 504. On page 23, there is a good example of the school’s role related to disciplinary removals and Section 504. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/504-resource-guide-20161...

June 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – June 3rd, 2021

Theme: Understanding Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

MTSS stands for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. MTSS is a process for providing support for students who need additional support using a tiered approach. It is important to note that students do not need to pass through all tiers to be evaluated for an IEP, though movement through tiers can provide data that might help inform an IEP. Find more here: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-a...

 

Week 2 – June 10th, 2021

Theme: Getting Started with Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) is a framework that some schools use to improve outcomes and reduce exclusionary discipline. The Center for PBIS has many resources including this overview of PBIS that might help you understand schools that use this framework and how they support student behavior. Check it out! https://www.pbis.org/pbis/getting-started

 

Week 3 – June 17th, 2021

Theme: Understanding Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs)

You probably see Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) all the time, but do you know how data is gathered and how a BIP is implemented? Check out this video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaz5kcS2oD4

 

Week 4 – June 24th, 2021

Theme: More on Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs)

FBAs can be difficult for families to understand. Here is a resource for parents from the PACER Center which includes information on FBAs and how an FBA can help inform an IEP: https://www.pacer.org/cmh/learning-center/positive-behavior/functional-b...

May 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – May 6th, 2021

Theme: Statewide Assistive Technology Program Directory

Statewide Assistive Technology Programs support individuals with disabilities, service providers and others learning about, accessing, and acquiring assistive technology (AT) needed for education, employment, and community living. Find your Statewide Assistive Technology Program here: https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram

 

Week 2 – May 13th, 2021

Theme: Assistive Technology in Education

What are some examples of assistive technology? This 3-minute video gives several examples of low-tech and high-tech assistive technology for use in the classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKWX8twpBEw

 

Week 3 – May 20th, 2021

Theme: Understanding Accessible Education Materials (AEM)

Ever wonder where accessible materials and assistive technology should be addressed in an IEP or 504 plan? This article details the student’s rights to timely access to AEMs (Accessible Educational Materials) as it relates to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504: https://aem.cast.org/binaries/content/assets/common/publications/aem/rig...

 

Week 4 – May 27th, 2021

Theme: Family Information Guide on Assistive Technology

How does assistive technology (AT) change when planning for transition? This in-depth guide offers an introduction to transition and assistive technology, laws governing accommodations and transition, a glossary of AT terms and additional resources:  https://www.ctdinstitute.org/library/2014-10-20/family-information-guide...

April 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – April 1st, 2021

Theme: A to Z of Disabilities & Accommodations

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides accommodation ideas by disability, topic, limitation, work-related function, and specific accommodation. This is a helpful resource for individuals and families to better understand accommodations for individuals with disabilities on the job. https://askjan.org/a-to-z.cfm

 

Week 2 – April 8th, 2021

Theme: Resources, Training & FAQs for Pre-employment Transition Services

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are supports available to transition aged students with a disability while in school (14-21 years old). For more information on eligibility and required service provisions, please check out this website: http://www.wintac.org/topic-areas/pre-employment-transition-services

 

Week 3 – April 15th, 2021

Theme: Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Do you support families that need more information on working while also receiving SSI? This site from the Social Security Administration helps explain how to calculate SSI benefits while working. https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-income-ussi.htm

 

Week 4 – April 22nd, 2021

Theme: Family Influence on the Employment Process

Families are a strong influence on employment decisions. This resource from the Institute for Community Inclusion discusses positive ways families can support the decision to work and provides tips for families on how to support employment from the early years through accepting a job offer. https://www.communityinclusion.org/article.php?article_id=326#:~:text=Family%20is%20important%20for%20many,their%20place%20in%20the%20workplace

 

Week 5 – April 29th, 2021

Theme: Tips for Parents & Families Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success

“This InfoBrief (from the National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability for Youth) discusses the importance of soft skills and offers specific strategies parents and families can use to help their child develop skills for employment success, including communication skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, and lifelong learning skills.” http://www.ncwd-youth.info/publications/helping-youth-develop-soft-skills-for-job-success-tips-for-parents-and-families/

March 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – March 4th, 2021

Theme: What to Do (& Where to Start) When You Learn Your Child Has a Disability

It can be challenging to know where to start when we first learn our child has a disability. This resource can help families feel validated, understand how to advocate and provide where to find support: https://www.readingrockets.org/article/unplanned-journey-when-you-learn-...

 

Week 2 – March 11th, 2021

Theme: Resources on Parent Groups

Parent groups are often very supportive for families of children with special needs. While we often refer families to parent groups, here is a resource from the Center for Parent Information and Resources that outlines different types of parent groups and where parents may be able to find these groups: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/parentgroups/

 

Week 3 – March 18th, 2021

Theme: More Information About Specific Disabilities

When families are new to disability or want to share more information with family members, these tip sheets can be helpful: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/specific-disabilities/

 

Week 4 – March 25th, 2021

Theme: What Presuming Competence Looks & Sounds Like

Presuming competence in students with disabilities means believing in everyone’s ability to learn. When there is uncertainty around what students can learn, presuming competence raises expectations and promotes inclusion. https://blog.brookespublishing.com/presuming-competence-what-it-is-what-it-looks-like/

February 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – February 4th, 2021

Theme: The Role of School Resource Officers

Over the last few decades, school resource officers (SROs) have become more common in schools. The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) has this great resource which explains the role of SROs: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/brief-school-resource-officers/

 

Week 2 – February 11th, 2021

Theme: Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline

Have you heard of the school-to-prison pipeline? Watch this 2-minute video to understand more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qe5_1WayiI

 

Week 3 – February 18th, 2021

Theme: Youth Guidance for Transitioning from Juvenile Justice Facilities

It can be hard to know what a successful transition from juvenile justice facility to home and community might look like. This resource from the US Department of Education suggests structure and resources for the transition: https://www2.ed.gov/students/prep/juvenile-justice-transition/pathways-transitioning-justice-facilities.pdf

 

Week 4 – February 25th, 2021

Theme: A Restorative Approach to Discipline

Restorative justice is an approach in which conflict is resolved through communication and respect. When implemented effectively in schools, restorative justice practices can reduce arrests, suspensions, and expulsions. This video highlights one school’s approach to restorative justice and how it has reduced conflict and improved outcomes for students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r1yvyP141U

January 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – January 7th 

Theme: Mental Health

Instances of mental stress and substance abuse have increased during COVID. To better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and mental health on adults, families with adolescents and older adults are encouraged to check out this article: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of.... If someone is in mental health crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text "MHA" to 741-741 to talk to a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line.

 

Week 2 – January 14th 

Theme: Mental Health Online Screening Tool

Increased stress can lead to mental health challenges, and mental health diagnoses carry a lot of stigma preventing many from seeking support. It is sometimes hard to know if symptoms of stress are at a point where additional support is needed. Mental Health America recently developed an online screening tool for common mental health concerns, such as better understanding mental health and offering resources: https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools?ref=Covid

 

Week 3 – January 21st 

Theme: Resiliency and Mental Health

Many parents are seeing a change in their children related to stress during the pandemic and may benefit from resources to support their children considering increased stress. Check out this resource for parents on promoting resilience in children: https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience-guide-parents

 

Week 4 – January 28th 

Theme: Understanding Responsibilities of Mandated Reporting

As many children are learning from home, it is important to understand your responsibilities related to mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect. This website offers summaries of mandated reporting laws in each state, an introduction to mandated reporting, and standards for making a report: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/ma...

2020

December 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1: December 3rd, 2020

Theme: Assistive Technology and the IEP

Would you or the families you serve like more information on how to incorporate assistive technology (AT) into an IEP? Check out this resource for understanding AT needs, AT evaluation information and much more: https://www.readingrockets.org/article/assistive-technology-and-iep

 

Week 2: December 10th, 2020

Theme: Internet Access is a Civil Rights Issue

When you think about equity and access, internet access may not be the first barrier you identify, but the pandemic has made this barrier more visible. Check out this article to learn more about how lack of internet access impacts underserved students and transcends to post-secondary, employment, and healthcare: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/09/23/internet-access-is-a-civil-rights-issue.html

 

Week 3: December 17th, 2020

Theme: ELLs with Special Needs: Effective Instructional Strategies

The overrepresentation of English language learners (ELLs) in special education classes (Yates & Ortiz, 1998) suggests that educators have difficulty distinguishing students who truly have learning disabilities from students who are failing for other reasons, such as limited English. For more information on how schools can support ELL families, consider the following resource: http://www.ldonline.org/article/5622/

 

Week 4: December 23rd, 2020

Theme: Disproportionality in Special Education Placement

Are you familiar with significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity? Would you like to better understand the factors impacting significant disproportionality? Being equipped with the information from this article could help parents better grasp under-, over-, and misidentification of students of color with disabilities. https://ldaamerica.org/core-principle-disproportionality-in-identification-for-special-education/

November 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – November 5th, 2020

Theme: Resource on the Quiet Power of Encouragement

Parents usually reach out to us when things are not going well. Your information and your encouragement can both be helpful. “The whole emotional tone of a tough situation can be transformed through encouragement. Somehow things seem a little brighter.” Full article at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/light-and-shadow/201311/the-quiet-power-encouragement#:~:text=Encouragement%20can%20provide%20people%20with,encouragement%20in%20a%20boisterous%20way.

 

Week 2 – November 12th, 2020

Theme: Ideas on How to Encourage Others

Have you noticed how encouragement (in addition to accurate information) can really help the family you’re supporting? Try to identify what’s going well, acknowledge even the smallest efforts of the parent, and make simple positive comments. More ideas at: https://www.wikihow.com/Encourage-People

 

Week 3 – November 19th, 2020

Theme: Study on the Question-Behavior Effect

In our work with families, we often ask questions and provide information. Which is more likely to be effective and motivational? The answer, which happens to be yes or no questions, along with more information, is available here: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/01/22/study-reveals-a-conversation-trick-that-motivates-people-to-change-their-behavior/#77299bde6ff0

 

Week 4 – Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Theme: Uplifting & Positive Words of Encouragement

What are you doing to provide encouragement to the families you support? Consider posting an encouraging quote in your workspace to share when you can tell a parent is feeling down. “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein https://www.positivityblog.com/words-of-encouragement/

October 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – October 8th, 2020

Theme: Find Your Best Work-Life Balance

Working from home offers many benefits and its share of challenges. Find your best work-life balance by carving out a dedicated workspace and remembering to eat lunch. More at:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2020/03/29/finding-work-life-balance-when-working-from-home/#a52839195483

 

Week 2 – October 15th, 2020

Theme: Tips for Challenges of Remote Working

What are some of your greatest challenges with remote working? Learning to “leave work” at the end of the day and wearing work clothes can help create an often-needed sense of separation between these two spheres of life. More tips at:

https://medium.com/insiden26/keeping-a-healthy-work-life-balance-while-working-from-home-9777a8ceeb20

 

Week 3 – October 22nd, 2020

Theme: Routines and Other Tips for Working Remotely

What is your pre-work morning routine? Working from home can result in a much shorter morning commute, but make sure to give yourself some time to wake up and start your day before signing into that morning meeting.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/separating-work-from-life-3-habits-for-remote-workers

 

Week 4 – October 29th, 2020

Theme: More Tips to Achieve Work-Life Balance

When does work end when you’re working from home? Consider finding an activity or two that helps you wrap up and shut down your work day. We all need and deserve time away from our to do list.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-achieve-work-life-balance/

September 2020 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – September 3rd, 2020

Theme: How Accommodations and Modifications Affect FAPE

Even though many students are learning at a distance during COVID-19, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) still needs to be offered. Here’s a quick reminder on how accommodations and modifications affect FAPE: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/the-difference-between-accommodations-and-modifications

 

Week 2 – September 10th, 2020

Theme: Accommodations, Modifications, and Interventions at a Distance

It's helpful for families to know the best practice for successful distance learning starts with engaging with... Do you know the answer? FAMILIES, of course! What else needs to be considered when developing an appropriate distance learning plan? See more here: https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/accommodations-modifications-and-intervention-at-a-distance

 

Week 3 – September 17th, 2020

Theme: How to Improve Distance Learning Students’ IEPs

Families may find themselves in a position during COVID-19 where they would like to improve the quality of distance learning their child is receiving. Increasing real-time or synchronous learning activities, taking scheduled movement breaks, and weekly parent check-ins are a good start. More at: https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-improve-distance-learning-students-ieps

 

Week 4 – September 24th, 2020

Theme: IEP Accommodations During Distance Learning

Navigating assistive technology for distance learning just got easier. This well-organized resource from Understood.org provides suggestions for how to match in-person accommodations with their distance learning equivalent: https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/for-educators/learning-and-thinking-differences-basics/iep-accommodations-during-distance-learning

 

Week 5 – October 1st, 2020

Theme: Successful Online Learning Tips

Successful online learning through regular brain breaks, time management, and positive feedback. See more online learning tips for families: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/08/06/covid-19-tips-parents-successful-online-learning-virtual-classes-zoom/3303918001/