Region 4 Parent Technical Assistance Center
Newsletter Issue 25December 2014
In This Issue
Self Advocates as Interns
Self Advocacy Resources
411 on Disability Disclosure
Online Fundraising until the End
Free Transition Materials
R4 Conference 2015
Important Dates
R4 logo
Quick Links

This Quarter in Region 4
Welcome to the December Issue of the Region 4 PTAC Newsletter! 
Each quarter's newsletter will focus on a particular theme, pulled directly from OSEP's 14 priority areas. This edition will focus on 
SELF ADVOCACY. A review of OSEP's 14 Priority Areas:

  • Evidence-based education practices that improve early learning
  • Evidence-based education practices that improve school-aged outcomes
  • Evidence-based education practices that improve post-secondary outcomes
  • College- and career-ready standards
  • College- and career-ready assessments
  • School reform efforts to improve student achievement and increase graduation rates
  • The use of data to inform instruction
  • The use of data to advance school reform efforts
  • Best practices in outreach
  • Best practices in family-centered services
  • Best practices in self-advocacy skill building
  • Best practices in nonprofit management
  • Best practices in the use of technology in service provision
  • Best practices in the use of technology in nonprofit management


Self-Advocates Can Make Fabulous Interns!


Interns can be a valuable asset for nonprofit organizations to utilize in carrying out their mission.  And, internships can provide relevant job skills and great networking opportunities for self-advocates. If you haven't ever hosted interns at your agency, consider it!  This article provides a great framework for developing a quality internship structure:

7 Steps to Developing a Quality Internship Program


If you already host interns, way to go!  But, make sure that you are considering all of the legal implications of doing so.  The articles below contain helpful info.  Share this information with anyone who will take part in supervising your interns.

Nonprofit Interns

Legalities of Nonprofit Internships

Managing a Legally-Compliant Unpaid Internship Program - Information for NP Organizations

Self Advocacy Resources


The Parent Center Hub will continue to add resources related to the "gang of 14" (OSEP priority areas), including on self-advocacy.  So, be sure to keep checking back on the website for new resources, as more are continually being added.


Self-Advocacy Online

Here's a resource to share with youth with disabilities and others, a website that helps you learn about self-advocacy: Exercise, speaking up, relationships, getting organized, and living a healthy life.


Self Care and Independent Living Skills

This Fast Facts discusses specific actions that teachers, schools, and families can take to promote independent living skills in youth with disabilities.


Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy

This Fast Facts operationally defines the evidence-based predictors of post school success so that parents and local educators understand the components necessary to develop, implement, and evaluate secondary transition programs based on research.


Speak Up for Yourself!

This is a great short video (3:56), produced by the Figureheads and youth self-advocates during WI FACETS' 2013 Summer Youth Leadership Summit. Great to drop into self-advocacy training. (P.S. The daughter of Nelsinia Wroblewski, R4PTAC Multicultural Specialist, is featured in the video!)


Swisher Video Resume

Here's another short video (1:22) that you can use to show self-advocates who may have difficulty with in-person interviews an effective way to enhance a job application by including a video resume showcasing their experience and skills as well as their ability to communicate.


Opening Doors to Self-Determination

This handbook deals with skills students will need after high school, self-determination and self-advocacy skills. Self-determination is a mix of skills students will use throughout life, including personal beliefs and values and skills that empower them to make choices and take control of their lives according to their own interests, needs, and abilities. Self-advocacy is the process of speaking for oneself and knowledge of one's own rights, wishes, needs, and strengths. 


Tip Sheets for Youth by Youth: Going to College, Flying, Online Dating

PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope)

PATH is a great futures planning tool that can be used to assist a youth with a disability create a roadmap for the future which can look as far as 10 years ahead.  PATH was developed by Jack Pearpoint, John O'Brien and Marsha Frost a number of years ago, but it is still a powerful tool that gets people to doable first steps. 

The PATH process often marks the start of a "passing of the torch" in which the youth takes more responsibility in advocating for his/her own needs and begins a climb toward greater self-determination in decision-making. At the completion of a PATH workshop, there is almost always a visible increase in self-confidence and desire to be independent on the part of the youth, and parents routinely express their own optimism about their child's future after participating in the PATH process. Great to have staff trained in PATH so that they can lead PATH training for families.


The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. This workbook helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives. Based on the premise that disclosure is a very personal decision, the Workbook helps young people think about and practice disclosing their disability.


Download the entire Guidebook or specific units in Word for screen readers or on MP3 format.


Online Fundraising until the End


It's that time of year when all non-profit organizations are making their final push for donations before January 1st. From Blackbaud's Charitable Giving Report, online giving increased 13.5% in 2013, with small organizations having the greatest online increases.  Based on the Network for Good Digital Giving Index for 2013, 30% of annual giving happens in December with 10% in just the last 3 days of December.  The prime time on December 31st for online donations is from 12pm to 7pm.  So what are you waiting for?!  There is still time to make those final asks of 2014.   

Here are some tips to help your year-end online fundraising be successful.  Check out the following links, there is a lot of good information out there.


35 Expert Tips for End-of-Year Fundraising

#1 tip - Don't ask people to "donate".  Use other words that appeal to their emotions and identity such as "join" or "build".


Subject Lines for Your Last-Minute Email Appeals (knock them off)

#1 tip - Subject lines get emails opened.  They should read like lines from the cover of a magazine - intriguing, energetic, and with a sense of urgency.


8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign

#1 tip - Make sure a link to your donation page is on all your social media platforms.


4 Ways to Win Over Year-End Donors

#1 tip -Sell your impact and think of other ways donors can give than just with their money.  Provide that information on your donation page.


Do Responsive Websites Raise More Money?

#1 tip - Is your website responsive?  A responsive website is optimized for tablets, smartphones and desktops.  It looks like donors are 34% more likely to make a gift after reaching a donation form on a responsive website.


Creative Ideas for Year-End Fundraising

#1 tip - Increase online visitors to your website by asking them a question on Facebook, prompting them to search your website for the answer.  While they're searching, they learn about the organization and are shown messages asking them to give.  Hopefully they will be inspired and donate!


14 Must-Know Stats About Fundraising, Social Media, and Mobile Technology

#1 tip - 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.  Be active in social media!  Allow people to get to know the staff behind the work and feel a part of the community.



Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report          

Network for Good Digital Giving Index




UDL Tip - Readability is a free web and mobile app available that will turn any webpage into a clean, comfortable reading view.



NEW! Guidance Package on Providing Quality Education Services to Confined Youth                             

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued on 12/8/14  a Correctional Education Guidance Package aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America's estimated 60,000 young people who are incarcerated every day. The package includes 4 components: 1) Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings, 2)   Dear Colleague Letter on the IDEA for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities (to clarify FAPE requirements to eligible students with disabilities in correctional facilities), 3) Dear Colleague Letter on the Civil Rights of Students in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities , and 4) Dear Colleague Letter on Access to Federal Pell Grants for Students in Juvenile Justice Facilities


Online Learning Parent Survey
center on online learning


The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities, in collaboration with the RPTACs, surveyed parents of children with disabilities enrolled in an online learning setting. While research has been conducted on parental involvement in K-12 online learning, none relates specifically to parents of students with disabilities. Researchers Paula Burdette (NASDSE) and Diana Greer (University of Kansas) conducted the survey (parent roles, instruction and assessment, communication and support from the school, and parent challenges). The article describes the findings based on 119 parents from across the US. In general, parents were pleased with the outcomes their children were experiencing, but some issues still exist for educating students with disabilities within this environment. 

Free DVD and Curriculum for Youth in Transition

"Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.


Click here to order a free copy of this DVD and to download the curriculum. Video and materials are available in Spanish.



The National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) is the largest TA center ever funded by OSERS ($8.7 million).  This center replaces the Regional Resource Center Network as the primary provider of TA to states to build their capacity to support school districts and local early intervention programs to improve outcomes for children with disabilities.  NCSI will play a major role in helping states with their Results-Driven Accountability work. The parent centers housing the 6 regional PTACs, Native American PTAC, Military PTAC, and Center for Parent Information & Resources are partners in this project to provide TA to states around shared leadership and authentic stakeholder engagement. There are 4 working teams (each with 2 RPTACs) - data use, knowledge utilization, systems change, communication & collaboration. Watch for the NCIS website to be launched soon. Other partners are: American Institutes for Research, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Council of Chief State School Officers, SRI International, and Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. NCSI will provide differentiated TA - universal (for all states), targeted (for needs assistance & meets requirements states), and intensive (needs intervention states).





Region 4 PTAC Conference  

June 23-25, 2015

Traverse City, Michigan!



Our 2015 conference will once again offer the opportunity to earn a mini certificate in Nonprofit Management, through our collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The on-site portion of this programming will take place on Tuesday, June 23. The full conference will begin on Wednesday, June 24th and conclude on Thursday, June 25th.


Information on the Traverse City  area.




OSEP Quarterly Call, 2-3 pm, CDT



1/8 - Region 4 Cohort Webinar



2/9 - PTI Grant Applications Due

2/28 - End of time period (3/1/14 - 2/28/15) to include in OSEP Performance Report



3/3 -  Region 4 Spanish Webinar, Topic TBA, 1:30 CDT



4/1 - Region 4 Webinar, Keith Kopplin, Employment Law Attorney, Topic TBA, 1:30-2:30 CDT


Region 4 Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
serving parent centers in: 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin
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The contents of this e-newsletter were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education,  #H328R130010. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department 
of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer - David Emenheiser