We hope this final edition of the Region 4 Insider for 2010 finds you well! The goal of the Region 4 Insider is to: inspire you with cutting edge resources, tips, and stimulating ideas; connect you with Region 4 Parent Centers and national OSEP-funded TA&D centers; and provide updates that will help you improve your ability to serve families.
December is generally a month full of celebrations and we have much to celebrate in our Region. During the latest round of grant competitions, all of the Region 4 centers who had to compete, were refunded! This included HUNE (PA), Mentor Parent (PA), PEAL (PA) and PEN (PA). Additionally, Region 4 gained a new CPRC in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, SPEAKS Education. Congratulations to all!
Region 4 is also pleased to welcome several new Directors to the network: Lynn Betts (FRCD - IL); Marie Fairman (Mentor Parent - PA); Dorie France (SPEAKS Education - MI); Elliott Marks (FRCD - IL); Kim Rhodes (Mentor Parent - PA); and Karen Thompson (ASK Resource Center - IA).
This is also the time of year that people are asked to reflect on what they are thankful for and to set goals for the coming year. Here at the Region 4 PTAC, we are humbled and awe-struck at the amazing accomplishments we've been able to witness at so many of your centers. The coming year wish you and your center diversified funding streams, a smooth IDEA reauthorization process, and easier to write continuation reports for all!
We are committed to providing you with high-quality, relevant, and easily accessible information and technical assistance. As always, please feel free to contact us with feature ideas or requests for TA at any time.
Jan Serak & Courtney Salzer
Region 4 PTAC Co-Directors
FEATURED PARENT CENTER
Mary Kay Savage, MPACT Executive Director, is a great example of the impact of volunteers.
After a phone call from MPACT in 1990 about signing on to a class action suit for denial of services, Mary Kay visited the MPACT office with her son, Gabriel, for more information. Her some twenty-year association with MPACT started with a simple invitation from the one staff person and three volunteers in the office the first day she walked in: "What are you going to do now that Gabe (who has Down Syndrome) is starting kindergarten? We need more people here to help." The rest is history! Mary Kay first volunteered to answer the phone, then helped parents as a trained IEP Support volunteer, and finally from 1993-98, served on the MPACT Board, including two years as President.
Mary Kay has led MPACT as Executive Director for seven years. Prior to becoming the ED, Mary Kay, who has a degree in Commercial Art, was a manager of an in-house catalog production operation in the corporate world. During Mary Kay's time as ED, MPACT has grown from seven to 16 staff and an annual budget of $110,000 to $850,000. MPACT's current major projects include: the Parent Training and Information Center; an RSA transition project; and a state SEA contract.
"Ah ha moment" -Mary Kay's ah-ha moment came in the midst of dealing with the monumental amount of work facing MPACT staff and volunteers and the realization that the work can often overshadow the big picture - that of making a difference in the future of children with disabilities. By shifting the focus to taking it one child at a time and impacting the life of that one child in a meaningful way, the challenge became more manageable. Her biggest challenge: building up a good reserve of unrestricted funds for MPACT.
The MPACT office is located in Kansas City. MPACT is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to ensure that all children with special needs receive an education which allows them to achieve their personal goals. Diana Biere is MPACT's Associate Director. Georgia Mueller and Christy Roberts are Regional Facilitators. Naty Jimenez serves as MultiCultural Trainer and Parent Advisor. Michelle Levi Perez is the Program Coordinator. Ann Stackle is the Training & Resource Coordinator. Debby Stewart is the Mentor Coordinator. Other Parent Advisors include: Shelley Biere, Leah Clausen, Keri Keys, and Sharon Nachbar. Pat Rickard and Connie Smith provide Administrative Support.
For more information: http://www.ptimpact.org
NON PROFIT MANAGEMENT
Happy New Year to You and Your Personnel Files!
By Courtney Salzer
Many human resources experts believe that the New Year is a perfect time to give some much needed attention to your center's personnel files. Personnel files are a critical component of managing your employee records and unfortunately are all too often neglected. We recommend that you do
a thorough review of your personnel files annually. Use this review process
to make sure each employee's file is complete, up-to-date, and accurate.
Wondering what items should go into a personnel file? Here's a very inclusive list:
l job description(s)
l job application and/or resume
l offer of employment
l IRS Form W-4 (the Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate)
l receipt or signed acknowledgment of employee handbook
l performance evaluations
l forms relating to employee benefits
l forms providing next of kin and emergency contacts
l complaints from customers and/or coworkers
l awards or citations for excellent performance
l records of attendance or completion of training programs
l warnings and/or other disciplinary actions
l notes on attendance or tardiness
l any contract, written agreement, receipt, or acknowledgment between the employee and the employer (such as a non-compete agreement or an employment contract )
l documents relating to the worker's departure from the company (unemployment documents, insurance continuation forms)
Fundraising Survey Results Optimistic
This past fall, Guidestar conducted a survey related to fundraising. More than 2,300 public charities and 160 private foundations responded to the survey. Respondents were asked to compare their organizations' total contributions in the first nine months of 2010 to contributions received during the same period in 2009. The majority of people taking the survey serve as CEO, director of finance, or directors of development. For the first time in two years, there's cause for cautious optimism about the sector and the economy.
Some highlights include:
- The proportion of participants reporting decreased contributions dropped 14 percent, from 51 percent in October 2009 to 37 percent in October 2010.
- The percentage who said contributions had increased grew 13 percent, from 23 percent in October 2009 to 36 percent in October 2010.
- For the eighth consecutive year, a majority (68 percent) of participants reported increased demand for their organizations' services.
Read all of the survey's findings here, for free: "Nonprofits and the Economy, October 2010".
Office of Civil Rights Information on Harrassment or Bullying
On Oct. 26, the Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter and a Fact Sheet regarding a school's responsibility in cases of harassment or bullying.
August 2010. Click here for this revised Question and Answer document on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
Released June 2010. This publication has been revised and includes IDEA 2004 provisions related to IEPs, evaluations and reevaluations.
A number of short videos have been available, and a few new ones have been added, on this site for viewing from the site or for downloading for viewing when you may not have Internet access. These videos can be useful in training new staff and also great to share with parents. Topics include: Children Enrolled by their Parents in Private Schools, Discipline, Early Intervening Services & RTI, Highly Qualified Teachers, IEPs, Changes in Initial Evaluation and Reevaluation, Monitoring and Enforcement, NIMAS, and Procedural Safeguards.
The "Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act" (HIRE Act) became law on 3/18/10. The law includes temporary tax breaks for commercial businesses and nonprofits that hire workers who have been unemployed for at least 60 days.
Employers can receive an exemption from social security payroll taxes for every qualified worker hired after 2/3/10 and before 1/1/11 for wages paid between 3/19/10 and 12/31/10. For new hires kept on the payroll at least 52 weeks, employers may qualify for a tax credit for each retained worker of the lesser of $1,000 or 6.2% of wages paid. The payroll tax forgiveness does not apply to the Medicare portion of the tax. A new employee cannot displace a current employee unless that employee quit or was fired for cause. Relatives of employers would not qualify for this. There is no requirement that the employee have been employed in the past, so high school and college students may qualify.
In response to the HIRE Act, the IRS issued new Form W-11 (Employee Affidavit) and revised Forms 941, W-2, and W-3. These forms are available on the IRS.gov website.
If you are not sure if your center qualifies for this incentive, you should check with your payroll service (f you have one), a CPA or tax attorney in your state.
Source: Timely Topics: The Hire ACT - Basics Non-Profits Should Know, Wegner LLP, CPAs & Consultants
Save the Date!
Region 4 PTAC Conference
June 15-17, 2011
We are back in Milwaukee for our 2011 Conference! A Preview of our Conference Destination:
InterContinental Milwaukee is the place to indulge your senses. Located along the Milwaukee Riverwalk, a vibrant stretch lined with parks, sculptures, restaurants and nightlife, the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel places you in the center of the downtown business and theatre districts.
Visit Milwaukee - The Official Convention & Visitors Bureau Site for Milwaukee
Volunteer Networking Summit a Success!
On November 15th, 22 individuals from throughout Region 4 met in Milwaukee for the Region 4 Volunteer Networking Summit. Speakers were brought in on the following topics: Volunteer Recruitment & Retention; Legal Issues related to Volunteer Management; and Volunteer Insurance Considerations. The speakers brought to light many issues for all of us to consider related to our center's volunteers.
In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to network with one another on everything from forms to best practices on training and orientation. Each participant left with a flash drive full of resources. A summary of the event will be made available in the coming weeks. Thank you to all participated in this exciting event.
CITEd produces and disseminates information about evidence-based and promising technology integration practices, with a particular emphasis on differentiating instruction through the use of technology. View a narrated webtour to find out what the CITEd website has to offer.
Online and On Time: Supporting Technology Implementation for All Students
Meeting the diverse needs of students is a challenge - technology can make it work.
Download CITEd's presentation slides.
Lessons Learned for Effective Technology implementation
Learn what effective implementation takes from CITEd's five years of technical assistance to schools and districts. This newest Research in Brief grounds CITEd's findings in the literature on technical assistance and professional development. To read more, click here.
Searching for the right educational or assistive technology product? The TechMatrix allows you to use targeted searches and keywords to find the right tool, research, online resource or expert advice to integrate technology into education.
TechMatrix: New and Improved
Looking for materials in Spanish, Chinese, Russian or any other languages?
USE THE NEW PARENT CENTER PORTAL
The Parent Center Technical Assistance Network, www.parentcenternetwork.org, is an innovative tool that allows bilingual and multicultural staff to search for existing publications created by other Parents Centers across the nation. Use the search window on the top of the portal to look for publications in different languages. The easiest way to find specific publications is by typing the term (topic) in its native language. For example, if you are looking for information on "early intervention" you can type: "intervencion temprana", or "раннее вмешательство", or 早的干預; etc. to find what is available. Another way would be to type the term in English plus the desired language; for example: "early intervention + spanish".
Why reinvent the wheel? You can use examples of what is already done to design your own publications.
New Publications and Resources in Spanish
All About Me (0-2). A Family Binder: for parents to collect business cards and brochures; and maintain their children's personal information such as medical history, education records, insurance policies, evaluations, etc. The notebook also contains an appointment calendar.
Click here for more information.
"Un Nuevo Amanecer Para Ana Y Su Familia/A New Beginning for Ana and Her Family". The disability awareness Spanish language radio novella is comprised of 13 episodes (4-5 minutes each) and tells the story of the Chavez family from Ana's diagnosis with cerebral palsy to her first job as a young adult. The novela provides an entertaining and educational insight into the experience of families, siblings and children with disabilities and community members as they move through the different settings and life cycle events of Ana and her family. Downloads with full English and Spanish language transcripts are available.
"Entrenamiento Familiar de la Transición". A parent-student guide to Transition IEPs. The publication contains a planning tool to write meaningful transition goals. View the Guide
Interpreter Manual for Mediation in Special Education. This is a guide created to assist interpreters with common terms in the fields of education and dispute resolution. The glossary contains unique words, phrases and acronyms, many of which have legal consequences. The list provides the Spanish translation of those terms and their corresponding definitions to promote impartial and neutral translations s during mediations and facilitated IEPs. This is a publication from the Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System (WSEMS), a high quality system of dispute resolution in Wisconsin. Click here to view the Guide.
T A & D NETWORK
High dropout rates among youth with disabilities are a serious national concern. In response to this concern, the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) was established in 2004 by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to assist in building states' capacity to increase school completion rates for students with disabilities. The goal of this center is to provide high quality evidence-based technical assistance to help states build and implement sustainable programs and best practices that will yield positive results in dropout prevention, reentry and school completion for students with disabilities. The Center, located at Clemson University, is part of OSEP's Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) Network that provides information and technical assistance to states, local schools, educational professionals, policymakers, and families.
NDPC-SD's bilingual website serves as their primary vehicle for dissemination of dropout prevention information and resources. The Center employs additional means of dissemination, which include the Big IDEAs electronic newsletter; a variety of print materials; Center staff's participation and delivery of presentations at OSEP and other special education meetings, forums, and institutes; and direct mailings/e-mailings to states and targeted education agencies.
NDPC-SD's website is a wealth of information and resources. There is also a Parent page on the site with some great resources for parents. You can access the parent page, by clicking here.
National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
209 Martin Street
Clemson, SC 29631-1555
Toll Free: 866-745-5641
NPTAC - Topical Institutes
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
Topics: Technology, Management & Leadership, Addressing Challenging Behaviors
June 15-17, 2011
Region 4 PTAC Conference
Intercontinental Hotel, Milwaukee, WI