Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development

(2015) | Useful to Parent Centers in helping orient refugee and immigrant families to life in the United States. (Available in English, Arabic, and Spanish) 

The Office of Head Start collaborated with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to produce this handbook for programs serving refugee families and newly arrived immigrant families. It may be used with parents to help ease their transition to a new country, because it provides families with information on:

  • family well-being,
  • health and safety,
  • healthy brain development,
  • early learning and school readiness,
  • guidance and discipline, and
  • family engagement in early care and education.

The handbook is available in the following languages:


Webinar | ESSA: The Every Student Succeeds Act

sharpened pencils in a groupA webinar for the Parent Center Network


Webinar Date:
Thursday, February 4, 2016

Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR)


Lisa Pagano, Office of Special Education Programs
U.S. Department of Education

Leslie ClitheroOffice of Special Education Programs
U.S. Department of Education

Ruth Ryder, Office of Special Education Programs
U.S. Department of Education


On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law as Public Law Number 114-95. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 “to ensure that every child achieves.” ESSA is the nation’s general education law and, as such, has been revised by Congress many times over the years. The last reauthorization took place in 2001 and was called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

This webinar focus broadly on the changes in the law, including how those changes affect students with disabilities and the educational systems that states provide to all students. Changes in the law are extremely relevant to all Parent Centers and offer many opportunities to be part of the decision making that lies ahead.

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Download the PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint Presentation of Lisa Pagano and Leslie Clithero  (2.5 MB)
Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

PowerPoint Presentation from CPIR  (613 KB)
Debra Jennings, CPIR

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Download PDFs of the Presentations

PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation by Lisa Pagano and Leslie Clithero  (1.6 MB)
Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation from CPIR (744 KB)
Debra Jennings, CPIR

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Accompanying Resources

This webinar follows up on and accompanies CPIR’s resource page on ESSA published in January 2016.

Quick Links | Additionally, several web links were given during the webinar. For your quick reference, we repeat them here.

Dear Colleague letter on Discrimination and Harassment | December 31, 2015

Visit the Department’s web site for more information on bullying and discrimination

Landing page for the Department’s ESSA information

Dear Colleague letter on ESSA

Transitioning into the new law, including effective dates

OSERS-specific guidance related to students with disabilities

Former Secretary Duncan’s November 20, 2015 OpEd in St. Louis Today

Want to offer comments, perspectives, or suggestions? Have questions?
Direct your questions to:

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Need the PDF Reader?

Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®.


Go to the Webinar Archives, to listen to and view other webinars in the CPIR series.

Graduation Policies for Students with Disabilities Who Participate in States’ General Assessments

(2015, July ) | Useful to Parent Centers in their SSIP work and systems change activities.

Graduation requirements and diploma options for students with disabilities who participate in the general assessment have been a topic of interest for many years. The recent push for all students, including those with disabilities, to leave school ready for college and career has heightened the importance of understanding what states are requiring of students with disabilities to earn a regular diploma.

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) recently published a report on this topic, Graduation Policies for Students with Disabilities who Participate in States’ General Assessments. NCEO’s investigation explored states’ 2014-15 requirements for those students with disabilities who participate in the general assessment to earn a regular diploma, and compared the requirements held for them to the requirements held for their peers. Findings include that:

Only 14 states held the same graduation requirements for their students with disabilities and their peers.Nine of these states had only course requirements for graduation with a regular diploma, and five of them had both course requirements and exit assessment requirements. 

When looking at course requirements only, 30 of the 51 states had requirements for their students with disabilities that were not the same as those for their peers.

When looking at exit assessment requirements only, 19 of the 27 states held less rigorous requirements for their students with disabilities compared to their peers.

Continued attention needs to be given to the graduation requirements for all students, but particularly those students with disabilities who participate in states’ general assessments. This attention also must address meeting their instructional needs, and providing appropriate access and accommodations.

Read NCEO’s report (PDF, 1.3 MB) at:


PDF Alert!
The link above will take you to a large PDF file. If you don’t have the Adobe Reader, you can download the free viewer at:


Making My Way Through College: A Guide for Youth with Disabilities

(2015) Useful to Parent Centers, professionals, and families working with youth who have disabilities interested in attending college

Making My Way through College is aimed at helping students with disabilities navigate postsecondary education. The guide provides information and resources on preparing for and succeeding in college and transitioning from college into the world of work that will be relevant to any student pursuing a degree or other type of credential (e.g., certification, license) at a two-year or four-year community college, college, or university. The content includes:

  • information on getting oriented to college life and one’s school;
  • exploring career interests and making an individualized plan aligned to personal goals; and
  • taking advantage of various opportunities and support to ensure college and career success.

Families and professionals who work with students entering or in postsecondary education are encouraged to share the guide with students and youth.

From the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), the 44-page guide (PDF, 5.4 MB) is available online at:

By the Numbers: Students With Disabilities

(2015) See how many K-12 students there are with certain specific disabilities, and how many of those students drop out or graduate with a regular high school diploma. The statistics come from Education Week’s Diplomas Count: Life After Special Education. and relate to students with:

  • Hearing Impairment
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Autism
  • Intellectual Disability

Buzz from the Hub | January 2016

Happy New Year!Theme: Parent Center Priorities

Happy New Year to everyone, and welcome to the January 2016 edition of Buzz from the Hub, the newsletter of the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR).

The holiday season is behind us, and an entire new year beckons ahead, so we’ve decided to focus this first issue of the 2016 Buzz on resources you can use to address the 14 Parent Center priorities, the needs and realities of the families you serve, and the importance of being involved in the decision making that’s going on with respect to your state’s educational system. Hopefully, these resources will come in handy.

It’s truly an honor to support the great work that Parent Centers do, and we look forward to the year ahead, as full as ever of challenges and possibilities.

The CPIR Team | Debra, Lisa, Indira, and Myriam


See other issues of the Buzz

Hot Off the Press from CPIR!

ESSA | Every Student Succeeds Act.
As you likely know, the general education law we know as NCLB and as ESEA has been reauthorized by Congress and signed into law by the President. Changes are a’coming, that’s for sure! CPIR is pleased to offer this page of resources on the ESSA, which will streamline your search for accurate information on this newest version of our education law.

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New Resources in the Hub | Federal Guidance and Resources

CPIR’s resource library is ever-growing, so it’s helpful to know what’s been recently added. Here are several you may find useful in the coming days and months.

37th Annual Report to Congress on IDEA.
The latest report to Congress on implementation of IDEA is hot off the press. Very useful for any data discussions you might be having or proposals you might be writing. The report includes national and state-level exhibits about infants and toddlers, children, and students with disabilities served under IDEA Part C and Part B. The most recent data presented in the report represent the reporting periods associated with fall 2013 or school year 2012-13.

Supporting Undocumented Students: Resource Guide.
The U.S. Department of Education published Supporting Undocumented Students: A Guide to Success in Secondary and Postsecondary Settings to help educators, school staff, and community organizations support the academic success of undocumented youth, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The guide clarifies the legal rights of undocumented students, shares helpful information about financial aid options open to undocumented students, and describes how to support youth in applying for DACA consideration or renewal.

Parents for Healthy Schools.
CDC has developed a set of resources called Parents for Healthy Schools to help schools and school groups (e.g., PTAs, school wellness committees) engage parents to create healthy school environments. These resources inform parents about school nutrition environment and services, school-based physical education and physical activity, and managing chronic health conditions in school settings.

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Spotlight on…Multicultural Materials

Parent Centers serve an incredible diversity of families and are always on the look-out for multicultural materials and resources in other languages. Hope these help!

Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development.
(Available in English, Arabic, and Spanish) | The Office of Head Start collaborated with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to produce this handbook for programs serving refugee families and newly arrived immigrant families. It may be used with parents to help ease their transition to a new country, because it provides families with information on family well-being, health and safety, healthy brain development, early learning and school readiness, guidance and discipline, and family engagement in early care and education.

Cultural backgrounders.
Here are several briefs that will provide you with general cultural information about refugee families, while recognizing that every family is unique and that cultural practices will vary by household and by generation. Briefs are available on Bhutanese refugee families as well as those from Burma, Iraq, and Somalia.

Partners in Education | Online course.
(Available in English and in Spanish) | This 3-hour self-directed course was created to help parents of children with developmental disabilities understand and maximize the special education system. The course reviews IDEA 2004 and includes current thinking on educational reform and the importance of teaching children to use digital technology to improve educational outcomes and better prepare children to work in the future.

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Resources You Can Share with Families

This section of the Buzz identifies useful resources you might share with families or mention in your own news bulletins.

10 Defusing Phrases to Use at IEP Meetings.
(Available in English and in Spanish) | Emotions can run high at IEP meetings. But it’s important for parents to focus on the end goal: helping their child. Here are 10 stay-calm phrases parents can use to redirect conversation and defuse tense situations. From

Help for Someone with an Eating Disorder.
Need to share easy-to-read and practical info on eating disorders with any families you serve? This help guide describes types of eating disorders, common myths, and warning signs, and includes suggestions for how to address eating disorders, both personally and through professional treatment.

Health Observances in 2016.
The Health Observances Calendar for 2016 can help your Parent Center plan disability-specific events for families throughout the entire year, as well as connect your Center with lots of new materials about specific disabilities. Check out what health issues will be spotlighted when.

Child Outcomes Step-by-Step | Video.
This video describes and illustrates the 3 child outcomes adopted by OSEP and reported on by all state early intervention (Part C) and preschool special education (Part B/619) programs as part of their Annual Performance Report (APR). The video can be used to provide an overview to the outcomes for professional development and training, orienting families, and introducing the outcomes to other constituents such as policymakers or funders. The video explains functioning necessary for each child to be an active and successful participant at home, in the community, and in other places like a child care program or preschool. There’s also a Spanish transcript of the video.

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Resources Just for Parent Centers: Priorities, Priorities!

Aligning 3 key initiatives to create change.
Currently, states are pursuing 3 separate initiatives that, if aligned, have the potential to create lasting and meaningful changes to instruction and to provide support for at-risk learners. Those initiatives are: College and Career Readiness Standards, Educator Effectiveness, and Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) [which includes Response to Intervention (RTI), and Positive Behavioral Supports (PBIS)]. In this Special Issues Brief, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders outlines a framework for coherence that supports states in connecting these 3 initiatives by capitalizing on their shared goal: improving instructional quality to enhance educational outcomes for students.

MTSS, RTI, Special Education…Oh My! Gaining an understanding of MTSS and RTI | Video.
RTI and MTSS are frameworks for integrating instruction, evidence-based interventions, and assessments to meet the academic and behavior needs of all students. Listen to this 14-minute interview with Dr. Lynn Fuchs and Dr. Joe Jenkins to learn more.

MTSS and RTI | From Parent Centers.
Visit Idaho Parents Unlimited’s pages on MTSS and RTI and share them with the families you serve. Parent-friendly! (And, as we mentioned in November’s Buzz, there are also the English and Spanish webinars of the Family Resource Center on Disabilities in Illinois on this very subject!)


Logo of the Center for Center for Parent Information and ResourcesThe CPIR hopes that you’ve found useful and relevant resources listed in this month’s Buzz from the Hub. Please feel free to write to the editor, Lisa Küpper, at to suggest the types of resources you’d like to see in the future. CPIR’s listening! Your input is extremely valuable to helping us to craft newsletters that support your work with families.

Our very best to you,

Debra, Indira, Lisa, and Myriam
The CPIR Team


This eNewsletter from the CPIR is copyright-free.
We encourage you to share it with others.

Center for Parent Information and Resources
c/o SPAN, Inc.
35 Halsey St., Fourth Floor
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Subscribe to the Buzz from the Hub.

Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement H328R130014 between OSEP and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the Center for Parent Information and Resources.

Letter from the Education Secretary and Deputy Secretary: Discrimination and Harassment

(Published December 31, 2015)

On December 31, 2015, former Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and the now Acting Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr., released a letter discussing their concerns with discrimination and harassment based on student race, religion, or national origin in schools and institutions of higher education. They emphasized that the many complicated and difficult issues currently facing the country and the world (e.g., historic levels of vulnerable individuals displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution) make it ever more important for schools to create safe learning environments in which students are free from discrimination and harassment.

You can read the complete letter at:

Several detailed examples are listed in the letter of how schools can make all students feel welcome, respected, and equally able to participate in a robust exchange of ideas, including:

  • Valuing the diverse linguistic, cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds of all students;
  • Encouraging students on all sides of an issue to express disagreement over ideas or beliefs in a respectful manner;
  • Communicating a clear message to students that harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and that school is a safe place for all students;
  • Creating opportunities for students to enhance their cultural competency by being exposed to various cultures and faiths, such as through co-curricular activities in which students work on service projects so they discover commonalities and appreciate differences;
  • Encouraging students, staff, and parents to report all incidents of harassment and bullying so that the school can address them before the situation escalates;
  • Having a system in place to intervene if a student’s conduct could endanger others; and
  • Ensuring that information about the steps outlined above are easily understandable for all students, families, and school or college personnel—including those from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

Accessing Complex Text for Students With Disabilities: Technology Purchasing Checklist


As state education agencies (SEAs) implement more rigorous college and career readiness standards, school leaders must consider how students with disabilities will meet these standards. This checklist, designed to meet the needs of educators at all levels, provides an easy-to-use guide for making purchasing decisions. It identifies key considerations when deciding how to align curriculum goals that foster student access to text through sensory, physical, visual, cognitive, and developmental supports.

PDF Document:

Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities: What To Do When Funding is Limited?

(2015) Useful to Parent Centers helping families locate assistance in obtaining assistive technology devices.

Assistive technology (AT) comes in many shapes and sizes, and for students with disabilities, it has the capacity to open many doors. However, with tight budgets and limited funds many districts are challenged to find the funding to provide AT to qualifying students. This article provides a variety of AT online resources, organizations, and technical assistance centers to help LEAs find and receive the necessary support.

 PDF Document:

Guidance on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

(2015, December)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. The law reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaces the more onerous requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  On December 18th, the U.S. Department of Education took the first steps in implementing ESSA by issuing a Dear Colleague letter to states to offer some initial guidance about a few of the most immediate and pressing questions as states, school districts, and schools transition to the ESSA.

The main points discussed in the Dear Colleague letter are:

  • Title I assessment peer review;
  • Annual measurable objectives (AMOs) and annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs) for school years 2014–2015 and 2015–2016;
  • Conditions and other related requirements under ESEA flexibility;
  • Priority and focus school lists; and
  • Educator evaluation and support systems under ESEA flexibility.

The Department also launched the rulemaking process by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to seek advice and recommendations for Title I regulations under the ESSA. The filing specifically notes that the agency is considering conducting negotiated rulemaking on academic assessments and the requirement that Title I, Part A funds be used to supplement not supplant state and local funds and invites comments on those issues.  It also requests feedback on other areas which the Department should regulate.  The public comment period will be open for 30 days.

The Department will hold two public hearings in January to collect feedback on transition to the new law:

• Monday, January 11, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
• Tuesday, January 19, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time at the University of California-Los Angeles’ Carnesale Commons.

To present comments during these meetings, please RSVP to no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on January 4, 2016, for the Washington, D.C., hearing and 5:00 p.m. ET on January 12, 2016, for the Los Angeles hearing. The he Washington, D.C., hearing will be live streamed (see the RFI for details).

For more specific information on all the above and on ESSA please visit:

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