Parent Technical Assistance Center

Parent Center Directors' Bite-Sized Professional Development Resources

Week 1 – February 2nd, 2021

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

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/

Week 1 – January 5th, 2021

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-...


Week 2 – January 12th, 2021

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

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

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...

Week 1 – December 1st, 2020

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

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

‘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

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

Week 1 – November 3rd, 2020

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

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

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

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

Week 1 – October 6th, 2020

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

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

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

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/

Week 1 – September 1st, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Week 1 – February 4th, 2021

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

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

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

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

Week 1 – January 7th 

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 

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 

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 

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...

Week 1: December 3rd, 2020

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

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

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

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/

Week 1 – November 5th, 2020

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

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

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

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/

Week 1 – October 8th, 2020

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

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

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

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.


Week 1 – September 3rd, 2020

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

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: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/summer20/vol77/num10/Accommodations,-Modifications,-and-Intervention-at-a-Distance.aspx


Week 3 – September 17th, 2020

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

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

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/