News from the Parent Technical Assistance Center
In This Issue

600 W. Virginia Street Suite 501

Milwaukee, WI 53204


(877) 374-0511

Fax: (414) 374-4655


Website: www.wifacets.org


Region 4 TA Staff


Courtney Salzer 

Jan Serak


csalzer@wifacets.org jserak@wifacets.org

 Chris Stagge  
 Program Assistant


Nelsinia R. Wroblewski

 Multicultural Consultant

Don Rosin
 Multicultural Consultant

Region 4 Website: 


Region 4 Portal Page



Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, OSEP, PTAC - H328RO80011. 


Project officer: 
 Lisa Gorove 


Views expressed are not necessarily those of the U.S. Department of Education.
Issue No. 15
May, 2012


Dear Friends, 


We are really looking forward to seeing you all in Indianapolis in just a few weeks! We hope you will gain enhanced knowledge and skills to improve your ability to serve families and to manage your centers. After the last few months that we have all spent either writing our continuation reports or applications for new funding, we certainly hope you will have some time during the conference to relax and recoup your energy. Sometimes, just a few short days away from our centers - spent with our peers who understand our many challenges and frustrations and who are able to share perspectives and new ideas - can be so stimulating and renewing.


In this Region 4 Insider, we feature the Family Resource Center on Disabilities, one of the very first PTICs funded. This is the time of year when graduation issues often surface for our families, so we have included some related resources and interesting cases. Also included is Information on designing effective surveys, 10 Nonprofit Employment Law Mistakes, and a newly-released US DOE seclusion/restraint resource.


As always, we are committed to providing you with high-quality, relevant, and easily accessible information and technical assistance to help us all improve our ability to serve families.  Please contact us with questions, concerns, or requests for TA at any time. We are here to serve you!


 We wish you all safe travels,

Jan Serak and Courtney Salzer

 Region 4 PTAC Co-Directors





by Courtney Salzer


Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD), is one of 2 PTI's in Illinois. They serve the families that live in an 8 county area in the Chicago area. FRCD was founded in 1969 and they were one of the first five agencies to receive a PTI grant in 1975.


Nine individuals staff FRCD including Elliott Marks and Lynn Betts, the PTI Co-Directors and Michelle Phillips, the Executive Director. Elliott and Lynn divide and conquer when it comes to directing the PTI. Lynn largely handles administrative matters, while Elliott oversees the family support services. Currently, they are taking a careful look at their training offerings and exploring some new ways to deliver training, such as incorporating telephone workshops into their training calendar. FRCD is also exploring the possibility of creating a parent volunteer program. One of the primary focuses of that program would be training parents to be able to assist other parents with their IEP meetings.


When asked what drew him to parent center work, Elliott told me about a few pivotal roles that he served while his son was in school that really primed him for a career in parent support. Like many parent center directors, Elliott started as an advocate for his own child. His efficacy at this did not go unnoticed and soon other parents were asking for his help with their children's IEP meetings. Elliott was also a very active member of the parent council at his son's school and he encouraged other parents to get involved with the council so that families of kids with disabilities could have a stronger voice at their school. Finally, Elliott told me about a very special project that he spearheaded. The school his son attended was not very physically accessible, so Elliott worked with the school to help coordinate efforts to have an elevator installed. This was perceived by many as major step forward for the school and his advocacy around the elevator was even the topic of an article in the teachers' union news bulletin!


Currently, FRCD is home to two other projects besides the CPRC - the WINMILL project, a 4-state transition grant funded by OSERS and a youth advocacy project funded by the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation. The youth advocacy project provides intensive services to families and youth as they navigate the transition process. Elliott stated that these types of services were so critical because of the sad transition outcomes for many of the students with disabilities living in the Chicago area.


There are some exciting things on the horizon for FRCD. They have been at their current location in downtown Chicago for many years, but they are now looking for a new space to call home. While this is a daunting task, they are really enthusiastic about the new possibilities that may come with new space. They are actually looking to downsize as more and more of their workshops are happening outside the office at various community locations. Elliott sees this as a very positive thing because they are meeting families where they are at and in the process, they are creating new partnerships with other agencies.


FRCD Website


                                                           nonprofit management


Great handouts from Blue Avocado :

Top 10 Nonprofit Employment Law Mistakes (and how to avoid them!)

Determining Independent Contractor Status


Employee Rights Notice Posting

Under a rule promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board, employers will be required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The original effective date was postponed to 4/30. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has now temporarily enjoined (postponed) the posting deadline pending resolution of legal issues. Free "Employee Rights Under the NLRA" poster is free at www.nlrb.gov.


Policy Templates

Setting policy is a key Board responsibility. Board Star has several new policy templates available: Board Resolution for Grant Acceptance; Gift Acceptance; Disclosure of Corporate Records; Conflict of Interest; Minutes for Board and Committee Meetings; Whistleblower; Records Retention; Code of Ethics; Review of Form 990; Travel and Other Expense Reimbursements. Some are on the members' page, so if you would like to see them, please email: jserak@wifacets.org.


Board Star Pod Cast: Creative Messaging

Gary Mueller, Executive Creative Director of BVK Advertising and Founder of SERVE, dispels myths about nonprofit marketing and messaging. How can a nonprofit creatively draw attention to its mission and the cause without breaking the bank? How can the Board help? (9:54) Podcast 




                                    survey 2


Creating an Effective Online Survey Experience


Many of us have found great benefit in surveying our consumers using online tools, such as Survey Monkey. However, the response rate to online surveys can often times be downright dismal. In order to maximize your response rate and the quality of information you are receiving through your surveys, you must pay close attention to the survey questions you are using, but also to the overall experience you have created for the survey-taker. Below you will find several helpful resources related to creating a quality online survey. If time permits, take a look at the archived webinar. It has some great suggestions!     .


Designing Effective Surveys Article


Creating Effective Online Surveys - Webinar by ReadyTalk and Tech SoupYou will find the webinar under "Previous Webinars - Constituent Management".


Survey Monkey - Best Practices for Survey Design (36 page handbook) 






Un Nuevo Amanecer Para Ana Y Su Familia

A New Beginning for Ana and Her Family

              Spanish Radio Novela



The "Un Nuevo Amanecer Para Ana Y Su Familia" is a disability awareness Spanish language radio novela (soap opera) that is comprised of 13 episodes. The "novela" tells the story of the Chavez family over thirteen episodes: from Ana's diagnosis with cerebral palsy to her first job as a young adult. The audios provide an entertaining and educational insight into the experience of Spanish-speaking 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. This is a high quality product.




Parent Centers serving Spanish-speakers can use these audio files for training purposes. Parent Center personnel can listen to or download individual episodes, (each 5-7 minutes in length), as well as follow along with full English and Spanish language transcripts. Click here for more information.


This "radio novela" is a product of Family Support 360 and the Waisman Center, along with other collaborating partners.


Graduation Resources  grad cap


At this time of year, our centers often field questions from parents related transition planning and graduation. A few links, resources and judicial and administrative rulings in this topic area are included below.


Special education services end when student qualifies for high school diploma.

Tindell v Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, 57 IDELR 71 (2011) (Indiana)

19 year-old with PDD-NOS served in residential placement, earned credits for diploma, was accepted in community college, and was graduated. Parents objected based on improper transition planning and student not making sufficient progress in social, life and vocational skills areas of IEP. The hearing officer concluded student was properly graduated, with no continued right to services. Parents appealed. District Court upheld the decision. Transition services require programming with "a meaningful educational benefit towards the goal of self-sufficiency" but do not require programming for student to reach independence levels never before contemplated by parties.


Doe v Marlborough Public Schools, 54 IDELR 283 (2010)  (Massachusetts)

19 year-old student with SLD, ADHD, social/emotional, behavioral difficulties earned credits for a diploma. Parents challenged graduation. School was found to have properly graduated the student. The service obligation for a school is to show it developed an IEP reasonably calculated to provide educational benefits, up to issuance of the diploma. Student not being ready for independent living does not alter or change the school's responsibilities.


Bruno v Greenwich Board of Education, 45 IDELR 14 (2006)

When student met requirements for issuance of diploma, but didn't otherwise meeting IEP objectives, school properly graduated student. While student continued to have serious social problems and could have benefited from continued IEP services, school obligation was to provide IEP until aging out of service, or receiving diploma.


Challenge of graduation requires stay put, R.Y. ex rel. I.X. v. State of Hawaii, Dept of Educ., 

54 IDELR 4 (D. Hawaii 2010)

Court found that a 20-year-old student with an emotional disturbance could seek relief for the termination of IDEA services. She had met all of Hawaii's requirements for graduation. Parents claimed courses in the student's private school were not up to state standards, so felt she should still get services. The school argued the student's right to FAPE ended upon graduation. The U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, held that the ED's decision to graduate the student while a dispute over her graduation was pending was a stay-put violation. Failure to achieve transition goals defers student's graduation date


Oyster River Coop. Sch. Dist., 110 LRP 33121 (SEA NH 2009)

Parents filed a due process hearing requesting end of school year vs. January graduation for son with Asperger Syndrome. They pointed to his social anxiety, lack of social skills, inability to complete daily tasks and felt his transition goals had not been met. Hearing officer ordered the district to let the student complete the school year and to add into the transition plan social and daily living skills in order to achieve his goal of attending college.


State websites for graduation requirements for students with disabilities.


Diploma Options, Graduation Requirements, and Exit Exams for Youth with Disabilities (2011)


Navigating College Web Site 

The website, a project of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), is an introduction to the college experience by and for people with autism. The writers give advice they wish they had been given when starting college.



FYI - Region 4 Webinar June 27, 2012


             "BEYOND THE NUMBERS"


            presented by Deborah Daniels-Smith 


Do you sense that there has to be more to evaluating your efforts or that there must be a better way to convey the impact of your services on the lives of the families you serve than just the numerical data you collect, report, or quote? If so, qualitative research/ qualitative evaluation may be your answer.


This webinar will explore what is qualitative research/evaluation, how does it differ and how is it the same as the more familiar quantitative research/evaluation, and how can it help us tell the story of the effectiveness of our efforts better than just the quantitative data we now collect. It will explore how it can help us use those anecdotes we all collect along the way as sources of data that help us tell the full story of what we do and how we do it to our various audiences -- families, potential volunteers, potential donors, potential collaborators , the broader community. That is we will discuss how we can tell our stories in a way that makes them come alive for and engage others in our efforts on behalf of families of children with disabilities.


DEBORAH DANIELS-SMITH serves as Technical Assistance Coordinator for Region 6 Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Matrix Parent Network and Resource Center. One of her main responsibilities is the "care and feeding" of the PTAC's evaluation plan. She also is the owner of Daniels-Smith Strategic Interventions and Solutions , a firm that consults, trains, and presents in the areas of evaluation, grantsmanship, nonprofit organizational and board development, and cultural and economic diversity competency. Additionally, Deborah brings to her work six years in the evaluation research arena, twenty-four years as a nonprofit program and executive director, and twenty-five years as the proud parent of a young man with disabilities who attends college and is gainfully employed. She holds an A.B. in American Government from Radcliffe College-Harvard University, an A.M. in Educational Administration from Stanford University, and has completed all but her dissertation for a Ph.D. in Administration and Policy Analysis and International Development Education from Stanford.


    COI logo       

The Center on Instruction (COI) is one of five national content centers, part of the Comprehensive Center network, that is funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. COI offers materials and resources to build educators' knowledge on instruction for students with disabilities, including guidance on the application of scientifically based research.


While the Center for Instruction resources are useful for improving the achievement of all students, they particularly target students in the lowest performing schools, students with difficulties learning mathematics, students needing intensive instruction, or special needs/diverse learners, including English language learners.


New resource featured on the Center on Instruction website:


Universal Design for Learning and Secondary Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities: 101
This resource from the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center focuses on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) application in secondary transition services. It also outlines the principles of UDL, provides evidence to support its use, describes examples of UDL application in various academic content areas, and provides links to additional resources. This document can be accessed here.


                                  important dates-desk calendar 


June 13-15 

Region 4 PTAC Conference - Conrad Hotel, Indianapolis, IN 

(attendance is mandatory)


June 27

Region 4 Webinar - Evaluation "Beyond the Numbers"


July 11-13 

National PTAC Institute, Minneapolis, MN (attendance is optional)


July 30-August 2 

OSEP Leadership Conference, Washington, DC (attendance is mandatory)


September 19-21 

National PTAC Institute, Minneapolis, MN (attendance is optional)