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. 19
May, 2013



 Dear Friends,                           daffodils


After a fairly rough winter, spring is finally here.  The dark days of winter are fading away; daffodils are peeking through in the garden; tree sap is rising in the sun; IEP and ESY season is upon us; and our annual OSEP Performance Reports are finally uploaded to G-5.  Matching the mood of the fauna and flora around us, we are inspired to look for new ideas and fresh approaches to our work. 


This issue of the Insider brings you information aimed to help improve your center's effectiveness: apps for organization, getting an employee on track, social media and leadership, new mode of information from Wrightslaw, our May webinar update, and a survey about students with disabilities engaging in online learning.     

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Milwaukee June 12-14th for the Region 4 PTAC Summer Working Meeting.  


Jan Serak & Courtney Salzer

Region 4 PTAC Co-Directors



R4 logo  

Introducing the Region 4 PTAC

 Website Capacity Building Project


Is your website due for a facelift?         

Does your center plan to redesign your website sometime in the next few years? 


Do you wish your website content could be easily created and updated in-house? 


If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you might be interested in the Region 4 PTAC Website Capacity Building Project, which will feature training and consultation on website issues from nationally recognized technology consultants from Idealware


Join us for 6 webinars from May through September, as we walk you through Website 101, review best practices for accessibility, mobile-optimized sites, and reinforcing your organization's online brand. We'll also take a look at the content management systems (CMS) that can give even your least tech-savvy staff members the tools to update website content themselves. Finally, we'll talk about how your website content works alongside your email, direct mail, and social media efforts to create your organization's communications mix.  



Space in this project is limited.  For more information, see the 

Program Overview and Application Form 




    Parent Centers Responding to More Families from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds



"Serving Diverse Families" is the topic of our Region 4 webinar on May 15, 2013.  The objective of this training is to provide you with ideas on how Parent Centers can become more effective in working with families of diverse backgrounds. 


This webinar will be presented by Emily Iland, a national speaker and award winning author. Emily  will offer examples of tools, resources and considerations available to create equal access to services and to enhance your personnel's cultural competence for serving diverse families. The training will also include an overview on understanding the elements of culture and cultural sensitivity to meet the needs of any diverse local groups. During the presentation a special focus will be given to Latino families of children on the autism spectrum, both as an example and to help staff respond to the needs of the fastest-growing child population in America. 


Register for the webinar: "Serving Diverse Families" 

Emily Iland, M.A. is a parent of an adult with autism. She has extensive experience and commitment to creating access to services for families of diverse cultures and backgrounds in the U.S. and Latin America. Iland is the author of "Autism from A to Z" and "Drawing the Blank". She is a bilingual educational consultant, an advocate, a researcher and a leader in the autism field.  She is also a member of the California Senate Select Task Force on Equity and Diversity. 



social media

Could you be a better leader if you spent MORE time on social media?

                      by Courtney Salzer 



By now most of us know that social media is an effective tool for outreach, fundraising and brand awareness for our centers.  But, there is a lot of chatter these days about social media's capacity to build leadership in those who run or administer organizations.  I know what you might be thinking... "There just isn't enough time to do social media regularly", "I leave that for the "techies" at our center", "I've got a person who does it for us".  But, let me offer you some compelling data as to why parent center leaders NEED to be engaging in social media:


In a 2012 survey on social media and leadership by Brandfog,

  • 81% of people believe that CEO's who engage in social media are better equipped than their peers to lead,
  • 82% of people are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage with social media.
  • 86% of people rate social media engagement as "somewhat important", "very important" or "mission critical".
  • 78% of people would prefer to work for a company whose leadership is active on social media.

As leaders, we need to ask ourselves... Are we using online social media in our role as a leader to create an environment of openness and transparency? Have we practiced our leadership skills through a range of different media - including social media?


If this concept interests you as it did us here at Region 4 PTAC, we encourage you to take some time to view this archived webinar from Nonprofit Webinars on the topic:  Taking Leadership Online: Developing Your Personal Social Media VoiceAnd, if you are REALLY interested in the topic, here are some other great resources we've discovered on the topic:


         nonprofit management


Consultants at Summer Meeting

Please take advantage of the opportunity to meet with each of the consultants that will be present at our Summer Meeting.  This year, we have Judith Raskin (board management, strategic planning); Janine Lange (finance), Jay Blankenship (fundraising), and Idealware (technology).  There will be registration on-site, but you can register in advance if you wish.


Useful Apps to Organize Your Work Day

We can't all afford a personal assistant.  Thankfully, there are lots of apps available to help you and your staff to schedule workflow and effectively manage time.  Some worth investigating include Timeboxing, Toodledo, Mozilla Sunbird, Gleeo Time Tracker, Wunderlist, Evernote, Remember the Milk, and reQall.  Read the article


Board Member Thank-a-Thon

Tons of nonprofits experience frustration with getting their boards to fundraise; in fact, it's the second biggest reason why executive directors leave their posts, according to CompassPoint's "Daring to Lead" study. An easy way to give board members a chance to dip their toes in the waters of donor engagement is staging a thank-a-thon. Invite your board members to come together one evening or weekend to call and thank recent donors.  They will get exposure interacting with donors and will leave feeling empowered and connected to your organization's work. Donors will be delighted to receive a thank you call without an attached ask. 


Last Chance Agreement

Instead of immediate termination, a "last chance agreement" (LCA) gives an employee one last chance to continue their employment, provided certain specified conditions are met.  The purpose of the LCA is to put the employee on notice that failure to follow certain employment conditions will result in some form of employment action - usually termination.  A properly-drafted Last Chance Agreement creates a clear roadmap for an employee who wishes to set his career back on track. LCAs are written agreements signed by the employee and the employer.  You can do a Google search for LCA templates. You may want to ask an employment law attorney review the draft LCA before presenting it to the employee.




wrightslaw  Video Series


 Many parent centers regularly use Wrightslaw.com as a source of information on special education laws and processes.  Did you know that Wrightslaw now has a YouTube Channel?  In the past few months, several videos have been posted here on topics such as RTI, Test Protocols, Organization of a Parent Record File, and more.  There is a particularly good resource video for military families of children with special needs, those who work with military families, and non-military families who are moving to another school district.  All of the videos are under 30 minutes, with most lasting less than 20 minutes.  


Access the Wrightslaw YouTube Channel    


COLSD is Seeking Parent Input on Virtual Learning Experiences  


by Sean Smith, COLSD Associate Director     

The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities, funded by the US Department of Education, is in the process of conducting research on how K-12 online learning impacts the access, participation, and progress of students with disabilities. To do this, we are seeking to survey and/or interview parents or guardians that have children with disabilities enrolled in either fully online or blended coursework.   Our hope is that Parent Centers could assist us in identifying parents/families who have children with disabilities engaged in fully online and/or blended learning.  


Identified parents/families will be asked to consider completing an online survey and/or asked to speak with Center researchers about their current experiences.  Any findings will be written up and we would be happy to share what the Center is learning.  Researchers affiliated with the Center, Dr. Sean J. Smith  or Dr. Paula Burdette, would be happy to answer any questions.


"The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities works with teachers, parents, and industry leaders to research and disseminate high-quality reports about engagement, effectiveness, and accessibility of online education for students with disabilities."

May 15, 2013

Region 4 Webinar - "Serving Diverse Families" Emily Iland 

1:00-2:30 pm CDT


June 12-14, 2013

Region 4 PTAC Summer Working Meeting, Milwaukee, WI


June 15-17, 2013

(attendance is optional)  

July 29-31, 2013

IDEA Leadership Conference, Building Bridges: Fostering Innovative Leadership & Learning (attendance is mandatory)