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 PTAC 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. 17
December, 2012


Dear Friends:


It is difficult to believe that we are already in December and already having to enter new obligations into our 2013 calendar! Be sure to check "Important Dates" at the end of this Region 4 Insider so you can put enter Region 4 PTAC opportunities into your calendar. Make sure to enter the 2012 Region 4 Parent Center Conference dates, June 12-14th - which will be in Milwaukee this year at the Intercontinental Hotel (same as 2011) with shopping and great restaurants nearby. The conference planning committee will begin meeting in January. Be sure to let us know if you'd like to be on the committee.


You should be receiving our Region 4 Needs Assessment Survey shortly. We most appreciate your completing the survey as the information is critical to guide our planning to meet Region 4 needs for technical assistance.


Whether visiting relatives, watching New Year's Day parades and football games (*) on TV, or watching fireworks, welcoming the New Year is usually a time of entertainment and celebration. As we look forward to welcoming in the New Year, our 2013 R4 PTAC resolution for you is that we will continue to provide Region 4 with high quality technical assistance- and share a little JOY while we do it!


Have a great holiday season! As always, please feel free to contact us your TA needs at any time. 


Jan Serak & Courtney Salzer

Region 4 PTAC Co-Directors


*Being from Wisconsin, we'll be watching UW-Madison play in the Rose Bowl (AGAIN THIS YEAR)!



P.S HOLIDAY EATING TIP: Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"  

Region 4 Parent Center News



Peter Di Francesca, Project Director


AAROW (Asian American Relief Organization of Wisconsin) is one of Region 4's newest Community Parent Resource Centers, funded in 2011. AAROW was founded in 2000 by members of the Asian community responding to the needs of their peers, including bringing relief to victims of the Indonesian tsunami. The mission was expanded to promote the development of individuals with disabilities and to ensure that every person regardless of age, race, ethnicity or background has the ability to live their life, with the greatest degree of independence and functionality possible. Jeffrey Robb is Executive Director and Father John Belmonte, Board President.


Project Director, Peter DiFrancesca, has been working in special education for 30 years, including as a teacher, supervisor, administrator, and director of special education in Illinois. He has experienced special education service delivery in many different venues, including therapeutic day schools, special education cooperatives, and public school districts. Besides his CPRC work, Peter teaches special education-related classes at National Louis University (NLU). He recently taught in the NLU PACE program, a non-degree program for young adults with developmental disabilities. Peter says, "my CPRC position comes full circle to what I always felt in my other positions was needed - support for parents so they would be prepared to navigate the system and make informed decisions about the education for their child with disabilities." Jessica Torres, at the Joliet site, is well-connected to the Latino community and has a Masters' degree in guidance and counseling and a second Masters' in school administration.


AAROW serves 7 northern Illinois counties. AAROW's basic approach to service delivery is built around a "train the trainer" model. Collaboration with existing agencies, such as with the 2 Illinois PTICs, to share training and resources is an important focus of the ARROW CPRC.


AAROW has two Resource Centers that offer one-to-one counseling and referral services, peer support groups, and coaching related to IEPs and IFSPs. Tammi Madden is the Glen Ellyn Site Supervisor. She is the parent of several children, including one with disabilities, and has a Master's degree. Jessica Torres is well-connected to the Latino community and has a Masters' degree in guidance and counseling and a second Masters' in school administration.



AAROW website: www.empoweringfamilies.info


 annual report    


Nonprofits are not legally required to publish an annual report, but many recognize the value of doing so. An annual report can tell your story to the public, help you demonstrate your accomplishments to current and future donors, cultivate new partnerships, and recognize important people.


Some suggestions related to annual reports:

  • Focus on inspiring accomplishments related to your mission (be brief - as, 3 things you are most proud of)
  • Include photos with a caption related to an accomplishment to tell your story
  •  Include real stories about real individuals impacted (clients, volunteers)
  • Explain your financial tables in a few paragraphs (where money comes from, how you spend it, main fundraising strategies, any cost-savings measures implemented)
  • Board list (if board year does not match fiscal year, can include both lists or just 1 with asterisks for 2 years)
  • Recognize donors in lists at back of report (check spelling; use full legal names)
  • Tell donors how they can help (money, time, gifts of stock, use credit card)


A few other things to consider:


1) Format: while PDF is great for preparing a document for printing, with increased use of iPads & smart phones, people are less likely to read a lengthy PDF document. You might consider using a web platform for publishing (as, Treesaver) that divides content into pages, automatically adjusting to the size of any screen, or linking to a specific document page for sharing on Facebook.


2) Postcard: consider the power of a very short format to get your message out.


3) Graphics: most people look at pictures more than reading word content. Consider visual presentations for parts of your report, as Wordle to depict your mission statement, or use Big Huge Labs for presenting pictures in a pop art-style.


4) Post on your website to advance your nonprofit's transparency.












Note: please share your Annual Report with the Region 4 Yahoo Group, so we can include it in Group files as a sample.


                                                virtual event

       Virtual Meeting Smack Down!


Remote staff to manage? Travel budget dwindling? Looking for alternative ways of supporting families at their IEP meetings?


Parent centers, like many other nonprofits, are continually looking for ways to utilize technology in order to better maximize time and money. Many of us are already conducting virtual meetings using technologies such as Skype or iChat, but these applications are limited in terms of number of participants and collaboration tools. In this article posted on socialbrite.org, 15 different virtual meeting options are explored. The article, "Virtual meeting smackdown! 15 top Web conferencing services compares", details common features, such as recording; collaboration tools and price.


Check out the full text of the article here.



Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

Students & Disproportionality


By Nelsinia Wroblewski


The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials website makes available an informative article about limited English proficiency students and Special Education. The article provides insight on how reform could be hindered by the absence of state specific data on LEP students with disabilities, especially because of the lack of data on the identification, assessments, and placements of LEP students with disabilities, even in states with large populations those students.


The article provides understanding on how disproportionate representation of LEP students in special needs categories often results not only over-representation but also under-representation of language minority students in special education, and also how research and monitoring can have crucial implications in the success and failure of bilingual education.


If your center is impacted by LEP populations or you would like to learn more about disproportionality in LEP students, click here to read the full article and to obtain more resources about this interesting topic.



                 The Laws of Lobbying                             


Q. Our Board of Directors recently inquired as to whether we were going to do any lobbying around a particular issue in our state. We've never done any lobbying before. What legal considerations do we have to be concerned about?


A. As a federally funded parent center, you have several legal considerations to be aware of related to lobbying.


First, and most importantly, you should understand some common legal definitions:

  1. Lobbying - attempting to influence legislative or administrative action by oral or written communication with any elective state official, agency official or legislative employee, including time spent preparing for the communication, and appearances at public hearings/meetings
  2. Lobbying communication - oral or written communication with any agency official, elective state official, or legislative employee that attempts to influence legislative or administrative action
  3. Lobbying expenditure - one related to the performance of lobbying, whether received in the form of an advance or subsequent reimbursement. Includes expenditures for:

          - Conducting research

          - For providing/using information (i.e. Statistics, Studies, Analyses)

          - Other things that would not have been incurred but for lobbying


Most of you know that there is an outright prohibition on using federal monies to engage in lobbying activities. If you have funding from other sources such as private foundations or state funding, you should clarify if there are any limitations on using those funds for lobbying activities.



When applying for a PTI or CPRC grant, you submitted a Certificate Regarding Lobbying (ED 80-0013). You are not permitted to use federal monies to influence the awarding of contracts, grants, loans, etc.



If your agency does have monies that do not carry lobbying restrictions, it is important to know that state law places limits on how much lobbying 501(c)3 organizations are permitted to do. The problem is that many state laws are rather ambiguous about how much lobbying is too much. So, many organizations choose to make a 501(h) election. A 501(h) election establishes clear guidelines regarding the amount of lobbying that is allowable for each organization. A 501(h) election is certainly worth investigating. And, rest assured, by opting for a 501(h) election, you are not increasing the amount of paperwork for your organization because public charities that have more than $25,000 in annual revenue must already track and report their lobbying when they submit their Form 990.



       TA&D Network      


Foundations of Transition for Young Children Video

The TA&D Network posted an 8-minute video that can assists Parent Centers and their Early Intervention partners in training parents and service providers on successful Transition practices to help young children adjusting in different settings in order to be successful in schools.


The video includes an overview of the legal requirements for Transition planning, an explanation of the desirable outcomes of Transition, and the importance of early intervening services in supporting parents of young children with disabilities by using research based Transition strategies. The video also highlights various personal stories on successful transition.


These days, young children experience many transitions throughout the day, for example: they start their day going from home to childcare, to preschools, and going back to childcare or other community programs before they return to their homes at the end of the day. These transitions are harder for children with disabilities so it is important for parents to become active participants in the development of their IFSPs and the transition conference.



 "Foundations of Transition for Young Children" video link


 imp dates 

December 19, 2012 
Region 4 Webinar: Using the IDEA to Keep Students with Behavioral Concerns Engaged in their Education; 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM CST


February 15, 2013

OSEP State Advisory Panel/ICC webinar - on "Annual Reports" 2-3 CST/3-4EST


March 7, 2013

Melody Musgrove quarterly call


March 13, 2013

Region 4 Webinar - Topic TBA 


March 20-21, 2013

OSEP Leveraging Resources Conference, DC


June 12-14, 2013

Region 4 PTAC Annual Conference, Milwaukee, WI