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April 2022 Monthly Digest

April 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – April 5th, 2022

Theme: Board Member Recruitment

Last month we shared resources about employee onboarding. Board member onboarding is a different process that starts with effective recruitment strategies designed for board members instead. For instance, are the Board Member Position Descriptions you show to prospective board members up-to-date? Do they use operational language relative to board work? The templates in this article will help you take that first step toward successful Board Member Onboarding: https://boardable.com/blog/board-member-recruitment/


Week 2 – April 12th, 2022

Theme: Board Orientation

When new board members engage with your organization, make certain your Board Member onboarding process draws parallels between their position description and what you are orienting them to. This blog provides various options to consider from multiple different tools: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/board-orientation


Week 3 – April 19th, 2022

Theme: Executive Committee Purpose and Structure

As your board members move in and out of Executive Committee roles, they will need additional onboarding. Likewise, your Executive Committee should be treated as the Executive Director’s partners in onboarding other, new board members. You can quickly compare and contrast various roles and the onboarding needs of different board positions using the infographics inside this resource: https://boardable.com/blog/executive-committee/


Week 4 – April 26th, 2022

Theme: Managing Restricted Funds

One thing all PTI and CPRC Board Members need to clearly understand is the difference between Unrestricted and Restricted funds. This topic should be included in your center’s Board Member onboarding materials and in annual refresher training for all Board Members. This resource offers a clear description you can use to help spell it out to board members: https://www.propelnonprofits.org/resources/managing-restricted-funds/


March 2022 Monthly Digest

March 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – March 1st, 2022

Theme: What Does Employee Onboarding Mean?

Do you know the difference between new employee onboarding and new employee training? Do you know the key elements of onboarding and how long it should last? Onboarding is a specific set of orientation activities accomplished in intentional ways. Learn more here: https://www.exacthire.com/hiring-process/what-does-employee-onboarding-mean-for-your-organization/


Week 2 – March 8th, 2022

Theme: Understanding the Four Phases of Onboarding

There are four phases to onboarding, and the first one, Pre-Onboarding, begins before a new employee walks in for his or her first day. Explore each phase and find future reading at this link: https://www.zoho.com/people/hrknowledgehive/What-are-the-four-phases-of-onboarding.html


Week 3 – March 15th, 2022

Theme: What is Employee Onboarding -- And Why do You Need It?

The intent of onboarding is to acclimate, engage and retain great employees. When this happens, resources that would have been spent on recruiting, hiring and training can be diverted to developing long-term staff. This blog breaks down the onboarding processes to help you decide which components could be added to your center’s processes: https://blog.shrm.org/blog/what-is-employee-onboarding-and-why-do-you-need-it?_ga=2.214358615.1390134758.1643219460-140180984.1635292715


Week 4 – March 22nd, 2022

Theme: How to Build an Onboarding Plan for a New Hire

Do you ask your new staff members how they like to be managed? Learn more about this and other essential items for your Onboarding Plan and checklist here: https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/04/building-an-onboarding-plan.html


Week 5 – March 29th, 2022

Theme: Onboarding Templates to Get You Started

Now that you know a bit more about Onboarding, what you really need are some templates to get you started. This resource contains a pathway to more than 32 Onboarding Templates and Checklists: https://360learning.com/blog/onboarding-templates-and-checklists/


February 2022 Monthly Digest

February 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – February 1st, 2022

Theme: Calculating ROI

One of the most important tools in non-profit fundraising is Social Return on Investment (SRoI). Parent Centers already collect all the data needed to figure and communicate the cost savings of our work in communities. This resource helps define SRoI and introduces the two most common formulas used to establish indicators in the non-profit sector.  https://www.dhg.com/Portals/0/ResourceMedia/publications/Not-For-Profit_ROI_DHG-Views.pdf


Week 2 – February 8th, 2022

Theme: How to Prove Nonprofit Impact With SROI

Once you introduce SRoI to your board and staff, it’s time to decide on some indicators with your team. This resource provides a how-to tutorial, gives infographic examples and offers many additional links for further research and learning. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/using-sroi-to-show-your-nonprofit-s-impact-2501977


Week 3 – February 15th, 2022

Theme: Return on Mission: A Framework to Measure Success

When considering what indicators to use for Social Return on Investment, make sure they are tied to Return on Mission. In other words, do the indicators you plan to measure and report have a clear parallel to the overall work of your organization? That is the best way to draw future donors and win competitive grants. Learn more here: https://npengage.com/nonprofit-management/return-on-mission/


Week 4 – February 22nd, 2022

Theme: The Surprising Return on Investment (ROI) of Nonprofit Branding

One of the best uses for Social Return on Investment indicators is to use them to help Brand your organization. Doing so helps organizations like parent centers clearly communicate our uniqueness and establish parent centers as leaders among competitors. Learn more about using indicators to Brand your organization here: https://www.wiremedia.net/the-surprising-return-on-investment-roi-of-branding-for-nonprofits/


January 2022 Monthly Digest

January 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – January 4th, 2022

Theme: The Ultimate Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

Social media platforms are rapidly changing, and becoming a more relevant way to reach parent center target audiences with information and event notices. Different tools speak to different audiences. This resource provides tips and links to assessment strategies and practical ways to update and carry out your center’s social media plan: https://www.wildapricot.com/blog/social-media-guide-for-nonprofits 


Week 2 – January 11th, 2022

Theme: Social Media Use in 2021

Facebook engagement has flatlined for 5 years, but it is still the best social media platform to reach the 25-to-55-year-old women. YouTube is most widely utilized platform across all demographic groups. WhatsApp is a highly relevant platform in reaching Hispanic social media users. This 2021 report will give you all of the latest insights into who is using what: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/


Week 3 – January 18th, 2022

Theme: Mobile Video Statistics

Every year, mobile phone video use doubles. Also, video watchers are 1.5 times more likely to watch social media video ads on their phones. Can your target audiences easily reach your center’s video content from the social media platforms they access on their phones? Have you thought about how to use social media ads to outreach about your information and events? These statistics will help: https://www.yansmedia.com/blog/mobile-video-statistics#:~:text=57%25%20


Week 4 – January 25th, 2022

Theme: Frequently Asked Questions: Best Social Media Marketing Tactics for Businesses

Parent Centers are always posting content somewhere. We also often share out resources from partners and stakeholders. There are specific ways to share out someone else’s content in a way will most likely boost your own social media engagement. There are also specific strategies for when to leave up or take down a negative comment. Learn more from this list of FAQ’s: https://www.bluecompass.com/digital-marketing/social-media/social-media-faq


December 2021 Monthly Digest

December 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – December 7th, 2021

Theme: Causes of Employee Turnover and Strategies to Reduce it

Retaining good employees for non-profit work has always been difficult. These days, the challenges are mounting. Many of causes of employee turn-over are linked to well-being and workplace culture. Learn more here: https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/causes-of-employee-turnover/


Week 2 – December 14th, 2021

Theme: Better Manage Employee Conflict with This Conflict Management Quiz

Managing employee conflict is essential in retaining a great team. This quiz will help you pin-point your own opportunities for growth in managing through a staff dispute. Then, personalize your further research with the additional related links once you know your score: https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/types-of-group-conflict-guide-for-managers/


Week 3 – December 21st, 2021

Theme: Learn Strategies for Conflict Resolution at Work

Sometimes it is easier to know what needs to be done than it is to know how to do it. It can be tough to find the right words in high-stress situations. This resource provides a list of lead in questions and ideas for the best times to seek input from team members to both diffuse employee conflict and avoid it in the first place: https://www.dummies.com/business/human-resources/employee-relations/conflict-resolution-at-work-for-dummies-cheat-sheet/


November 2021 Monthly Digest

November 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – November 2nd, 2021

Theme: Learn about the Top 5 Performance Objectives

One of the best ways to motivate employees is to help them understand how their work directly impacts the health of the parent center they work for. When individuals are invested, the organization thrives. Tying work performance to the organization’s performance indicators is a great place to start. Do you know what the top 5 performance indicators are? https://upskillcoach.com/blog/the-top-5-performance-objectives/


Week 2 – November 9th, 2021

Theme: Successfully Use and Improve Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

To help others develop their career skills, center directors must first make sure our own emotional intelligence skills are strong. There are 4 main attributes to work on developing. This resource gives a great overview and offers links to examples of each one: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/emotional-intelligence-skills


Week 3 – November 16th, 2021

Theme: How to Use a Progressive Discipline System

Are your progressive discipline policies up to snuff? Do they offer multiple options for improvement whenever possible? Make sure your board and staff review them annually. Be clear about expectations and what will happen when expectations are not met. Explore some options and language for your policies here: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/how-to-use-a-progressive-discipline-system.aspx


Week 4 – November 23rd, 2021

Theme: Is Performance Coaching Right for You?

Performance coaching can be formal or informal. What is essential is that it’s clear what growth is expected and what plan is in place for accomplishing that growth. Learn about the basics of the processes involved and find links to deeper learning here: https://upskillcoach.com/blog/what-is-performance-coaching-a-simple-guide/


Week 5 – November 30th, 2021

Theme: Understanding the Power of Positive Discipline

When it’s time to move beyond coaching to a verbal or written disciplining session, a positive approach matters. Speak hard on the change you expect to see, not the person who needs to make it. Address the matter immediately and concisely. For most of us, this skill does not come naturally. Watch this short video for ideas on what to say and do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As9vzm0KawE 


October 2021 Monthly Digest

October 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – October 5th, 2021

Theme: Learn About the “2 Pizza” Productivity Rule

Dr. Adrian Furnham from the University College in London has studied what makes meetings most productive. He shares lists of clear tips like, “Take charge of the agenda and the outcomes. Be clear why some are, and are not, on it." There is even science behind the “Two Pizza Rule.” Don’t know that that is? Learn about it here: https://www.inc.com/business-insider/jeff-bezos-productivity-tip-two-pizza-rule.html


Week 2 – October 12th, 2021

Theme: Promote Collaboration and Innovation with this Brainstorming Meeting Template

Organizing meetings as Brainstorming Sessions is one of the best ways to accomplish work with a team inside a meeting structure. This free template shows you how: https://fellow.app/meeting-templates/brainstorming-meeting-agenda/


Week 3 – October 19th, 2021

Theme: Maximize the Benefits of Brainstorming in the Decision-Making Process

The Nominal Group Technique (NGT) is a great facilitation model to use when a meeting doesn’t need to include debate. It can be helpful when large groups are meeting, when developing processes rather than making decisions are the meeting’s foci, and when there are multiple right answers for the item(s) being addressed. Learn how to facilitate using NGT here: https://landing.directorpoint.com/blog/governance-through-nominal-group-technique/


Week 4 – October 26th, 2021

Theme: Tips to Foster Constructive Debate Within Your Teams

When decisions need to be made, exploring diverse viewpoints is usually helpful. The people in decision-making meetings need permission to debate. Facilitating debate during meetings is best when the meeting group is small and decisions need to be made by the people in the meeting. Need rich debate in your decision-making meetings? Appoint a Chief Contrarian: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonpicoult/2020/08/16/how-to-make-better-decisions-by-encouraging-open-debate/?sh=5980cebd73c4


September 2021 Monthly Digest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 



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...


December 2020 Monthly Digest

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

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

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

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/


Bite-Sized Professional Development Messages

Parent Center Staffs' Bite-Sized Professional Development Resources


April 2022 Monthly Digest

April 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – April 5th, 2022

Theme: The Intersection of Disability, Race and Special Education

“Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's…identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.” Dr. Seena Skelton is the Director of the Midwestern & Plains Equity Assistance Center and in this video, she discusses the Intersection of Disability, Race and Special Education.



Week 2 – April 12th, 2022:

Theme: How Immigrant Families Navigate Trauma

Trauma impacts immigrant families. Check out this video as Dr. Maria Elena Perez, SSCHC helps us understand How Immigrant Families Navigate Trauma, how trauma impacts children and working effectively with immigrant families in light of trauma.



Week 3 – April 19th, 2022

Theme: Culturally Tailoring Parent Interventions

Do you and your PTI provide services the same to everyone or are you in the practice of tailoring your interventions based on the individual experiences of those you serve? Dr. Sandra Magaña from the University of Texas-Austin helps us understand modes of cultural adaptation based on surface level adaptation and deeper structural approaches to Culturally Tailoring Parent Interventions.



Week 4 – April 26th, 2022

Theme: Access to Resources for Serving Multicultural and Multilingual Families

If you had planned on watching any of the videos distributed this month from the 2021 Multicultural-Multilingual Institute hosted by WI FACETS, you have another chance to access all the materials. Please visit the Region C Resources page and click on “Serving Multicultural and Multilingual Families” to find links to all the videos and handouts in the series.



March 2022 Monthly Digest

March 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – March 1st, 2022

Theme: Effective Instruction Strategies for ELLs with Disabilities

Students learning English are disadvantaged by a scarcity of appropriate assessment instruments and a lack of personnel trained to conduct linguistically and culturally relevant educational assessments (Valdes & Figueroa, 1996). For more information on how schools can support ELL families, consider the following resource: http://www.ldonline.org/article/5622/


Week 2 – March 8th, 2022

Theme: Disproportionality in Identification for Special Education

Debate over disproportionality has long focused on the over-representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. Being informed with 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/


Week 3 – March 15th, 2022

Theme: Back to School Roadmap: Spanish Resources

13% of the US population speak Spanish. To give access to the Return to School resources, the Office of Special Education Programs have these resources now available in Spanish. Please access the Spanish version of The Development and Implementation of IEPs in LRE in the following document:



Week 4 – March 22nd, 2022

Theme: Back to School Roadmap: More Spanish Resources

To give more access to Spanish documents in the Return to school Roadmap resources, please access the Spanish version of Child find under Part B (school age) and Child Find under Part C (Infants and Toddlers) in the following documents respectively:




Week 5 – March 29th, 2022

Theme: More Spanish Back to School Roadmap Resources

For access to the Spanish language resource within the Return to School roadmap entitled, The Provision of Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with disabilities and their families under Part C of IDEA, please utilize this document:



February 2022 Monthly Digest

February 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – February 1st, 2022

Theme:  Pulling Off a Professional Video Call from Home

We have been using video conferencing for a while now and some of us feel like we have got the hang of it. For those who might need a few more pointers, check out this article on “How to Pull off a Professional Video Call from Home.”



Week 2 – February 8th, 2022

Theme: Virtual Training Tips

Looking for ways to liven up your virtual training? Look no further than these 20 tips for being a “virtual training hero” including using annotations, polls, chat and break out rooms to engage your audience. P.S. don’t forget to click “Next Entries” to view more tips.



Week 3 – February 15th, 2022

Theme: Comparing Meeting Tools & Their Sustainability for Users with Disabilities

Are you wondering how to make your virtual events more accessible? We have all had our share of virtual meetings and some of us have conducted virtual training. Check out the Sightsavers blog to find accessibility features within several virtual platforms.



Week 4 – February 22nd, 2022

Theme: Four Causes for Zoom Fatigue & Their Simple Fixes

Do you feel yourself experiencing “zoom fatigue?” Here are a few causes and solutions that you might find helpful.



January 2022 Monthly Digest

January 2022 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – January 4th, 2022

Theme: Return to School Roadmap: Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility Under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) continues to release documents in the Return to School Roadmap. This installment relates to early intervention, child find, referral and eligibility and provides guidance to reaffirm child find obligations under Part C (early intervention) of IDEA. Note: expand the Q&A at the bottom of the page.



Week 2 – January 11th, 2022

Theme: Return to School Roadmap: Provision of Early Intervention Services

Do you wonder what the state and provider responsibilities are for addressing ongoing disparities brought on by COVID-19, the possibility of compensatory services in early intervention? OSEP released a guidance document through the Return to School roadmap series entitled, “Provision of Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families under Part C of the IDEA.” Note: expand the Q&A at the bottom of the page.



Week 3 – January 18th, 2022

Theme: Return to School Roadmap: Child Find Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

OSEP guidance answers questions related to general child find requirements, referral and initial evaluation, and child find considerations related to the COVID-10 Pandemic. OSEP’s Return to School Roadmap addresses Child Find Under Part B of the IDEA in this document. Note: expand the Q&A at the bottom of the page.



Week 4 – January 25th, 2022

Theme: More Resources from the CPIR Online Resource Library

Please visit the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) for a full list of OSEP Return to School Roadmap guidance.



December 2021 Monthly Digest

December 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – December 2nd, 2021

Theme: OSEP Data on Asian Children with Disabilities

OSEP data collection shows “Asian children with disabilities, ages 14-21, exiting school were more likely to graduate and less likely to drop out than all students with disabilities.” For more comparative data on Asian children with disabilities, select this link: OSEP Fast Facts: Asian Children With Disabilities.


Week 2 – December 19th, 2021

Theme: More Fast Facts on Hispanic and/or Latino Children with Disabilities

Data shows that “Hispanic and/or Latino students are more likely to be identified with specific learning disability and less likely to be identified with other health impairment than all students with disabilities.” For this and other data, please refer to OSEP Fast Facts: Hispanic and/or Latino Children with Disabilities.


Week 3 – December 16th, 2021

Theme: Fast Facts about American Indian or Alaska Native Children with Disabilities

Data shows “American Indian or Alaska Native students with disabilities were more likely to be identified with specific learning disability and less likely to be identified with autism when compared to all students with disabilities.” For this and more, please visit OSEP Fast Facts: American Indian or Alaska Native Children with Disabilities.


Week 4 – December 22nd, 2021

Theme: More OSEP Data on Black or African American Children with Disabilities

OSEP data shows that Black or African American students with disabilities are more likely to be removed from school for discipline than all students with disabilities. For this and more information on Black or African American children with disabilities, please check out OSEP Fast Facts: Black or African American Children With Disabilities.


November 2021 Monthly Digest

November 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – November 4th, 2021

Theme: New Guidance Interpreting Requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

On 9/30/21, OSEP released the latest document in their “Return to School Roadmap” series entitled, “Development and Implementation of IEPs in the LRE under the IDEA.” This 41-page document provides guidance on issues like compensatory services, ESY, transition, placement and more.


Week 2 – November 10th, 2021 

Theme: Webinar Helping Explain the Return to School Roadmap

On 10/21/21, OSEP conducted a webinar to help explain the recently released “OSERS Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of IEPs.” If you didn’t get a chance to attend the webinar, check it out here!


Week 3 – November 18th, 2021

Theme: Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs

One of the priorities outlined in the Return to School Roadmap is “Addressing the Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs of Children with Disabilities.” Check out this resource addressing challenges and recommendations for states and school leaders.


Week 4 – November 24th, 2021 

Theme: Resource for Parents on Returning to In-Person Learning

If you are supporting families that are contemplating returning their child to school, this checklist might be helpful from the OSEP Return to School Roadmap: “A Resource For Parents On Returning To In-Person Learning.”


October 2021 Monthly Digest

October 2021 Monthly Digest

Week 1 – October 7th, 2021

Theme: Addressing the Needs of Students with Medical Disabilities with Section 504 Plans

Watch this short video on Section 504 Review and Students with Medical Disabilities to learn more about how Section 504 plans can help support students with medical needs including how to address absences, placement, addressing episodic impairment and more.


Week 2 – October 14th, 2021

Theme: Learn About the Differences Between IHPs, 504 Plans and IEPs

The Oley Foundation offers this resource to help understand how an Individualized Health Plan (IHP), Section 504, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) might offer different benefits to children with medical needs in the school setting.


Week 3 – October 21st, 2021

Theme: Develop and Utilize Sample Health Plans

Individual Health Plans can be part of a 504 plan or IEP. Watch a short video and find sample Individual Health Plans on the PACER website.


Week 4 – October 28th, 2021

Theme: Understand More About Caring for Children with Special Healthcare Needs During a Disaster

Learn more about Emergency Care Plans for children with special healthcare needs, and reference many additional resources from the CDC.


September 2021 Monthly Digest

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://efmpandme.militaryonesource.mil/


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

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

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

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

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

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


March 2021 Monthly Digest

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

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 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

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...


December 2020 Monthly Digest

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

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: 



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

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:



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:



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.



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.



September 2020 Monthly Digest

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: Accommodations, Modifications, and Intervention at a Distance - ASCD


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/