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New Parent Group Listings

The START Project is excited to announce the New Parent Group Listings on the START website. Finding and connecting with special education parent groups in your region is now easy. Complete our web form to list your new parent group. Email the Parent Group Specialist for your region to request to update your group information. Please help us to promote our new Parent Group Listings release and share it with your networks.

Contact the START Project for assistance in starting and running a parent group. Email or call 973-642-SPAN (ext. 123)

Welcome Our NEW Disproportionality Specialist

Join us in welcoming Michele Tyler, our new Disproportionality Specialist.  Michele will leads SPAN's newest program focused on empowering parents as partners and advocates in addressing the disproportionate representation of children of color in special education. Disproportionality refers to the “over-representation” or “under-representation” of a particular racial group in special education programs in comparison to other groups.

Prevent Bad Behavior in Schools. Don't Punish It!

The Council of State Governments Justice Center released a nationwide study yesterday entitled The School Discipline Consensus Report that suggests that school officials focus on improving the learning environment rather than spending so much time dwelling on how to react to bad behavior.  The study also shares a set of tools, which can be used to minimize reactive punishment and maximize preventing bad behavior before it happens.  Read more > > >

Source:  The Justice Center, Council of State Governments.  June 9, 2014

Seven Questions Every Parent Should Ask about Disproportionality

Source:  National Education Association

Parents, caregivers, and community members, working with their local schools, should ensure that students who are culturally and linguistically diverse receive an excellent and appropriate education.  These questions are designed to help parents and others address disproportionality -- the over- and underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse children (CLD) in special education and gifted and/or talented programs.  Read more . . . 

Help identify needs for NJ's Maternal and Child Health Needs Assessment!

Did you know that the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant helps to fund county Special Child Health Services Case Management Units and SPAN Family Resource Specialists, child evaluation centers, efforts to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes, NJ Statewide Parent to Parent and Family Voices NJ, HIV support services, and a host of other critical services and supports for NJ's children and families?  The NJ Department of Health is collecting input from families, agencies, professionals, etc. to hear your feedback about these and other important programs!

Celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness!

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week is May 5-10, and National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is May 8.  The National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health's theme for 2014 is "Building A Circle of Wellness."  This year, join the FFCMH, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and SPAN in working to debunk myths, spread awareness, and promote positive mental health and overall health for all of our children.  

Connect to FFCMH and SAMHSA activities in your community.  Also, check out the NAMI parent guide on integrating mental

US Dept. of Ed. Unveils New Framework for Family-School Partnership

Source:  Institute for Educational Leadership, April 8, 2014

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the release of the Department's new framework for family and community engagement during the opening plenary of IEL's  National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Developed with the assistance of IEL board member and Harvard Professor Dr. Karen Mapp, the Dual Capacity Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships is designed to spark a focus on developing adult capacity, whether through pre- and in-service professional development for educators;

April is National Minority Health Month!

Celebrate National Minority Health Month!  Wednesday, April 9, 2:00 to 3:00 pm ET. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of Minority Health will hold a webinar in honor of Minority Health Month. Speakers will discuss CMS' ongoing efforts to reduce and eliminate health disparities, and its work encouraging newly insured consumers to use preventive services and primary care. To register visit: Registration is required. You will receive webinar link and call in details after you register.

Raising Awareness of Child Development Milestones

Source:  Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive

The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched  Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!, a collaborative effort with federal partners to encourage developmental and behavioral screening for children to support the families and providers who care for them.

By raising awareness of child development, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! will help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and

Oppose Tracking Youth with Disabilities into Sheltered Workshops and Subminimum Wage Jobs!

The Workforce Invesment Act is being reauthorized.  Unfortunately, two key provisions would weaken the WIA.  As an organization that serves children, youth and young adults with disabilities and their families, SPAN strongly believes that these provisions are steps in the wrong direction for the disability community, at a time when it is critical to support career development for people with disabilities.  Oppose moving the Rehabilitative Services Administration from the USDept. or Ed to the Dept. of Labor.

First, the proposed move of RSA to DOL comes at the time when RSA is collaborating