Spring 2024 Next STEPS Parent Leadership Training Series
Starting: Monday, March 6, 2023
Location: Torrington, Connecticut
Class Dates: March 6, 13, 20, 27 - April3, 10, 24, No Class 17th - May 1
This eight-session intensive series is designed to help parents and professionals gain the skills and knowledge necessary for them to be effective members at the Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT). This training series will prepare participants for a variety roles at the school, district, regional or state level. Participants will learn about the law related to education as well as state and federal level initiatives that impact students with disabilities and their education. This training is an opportunity to learn how and where to give a voice to the needs of families of students with disabilities. Our goal is for participants to become active and collaborative team members in an effort to support student success.
The training covers special education and related topics such as:
-The Parent's Role at the Table: Planning and Progress Monitoring
-Developing an Appropriate IEP
-Laying the Foundation: Educational Laws and their Impact on Students with
-Reaching Agreement by Working Together
-Transition to Adult Life and Self-Advocacy
» Spring Next Steps 2024
First Pyramid Pages Newsletter of 2024!
Email message (English):
For children, whining can be a quick way to get an adult’s attention. Children whine when they feel overwhelmed by an emotion and do not have the words to express their feelings; or when they do not have the skills to complete a task. They may also whine when they’re feeling tired, hungry, powerless, or lonely. Simply put, children whine to ask for help. Learn more about whining and ways to help children communicate better in our Pyramid newsletter.
Email message (Spanish):
Para los niños, lloriquear puede ser una forma rápida de llamar la atención de un adulto. Los niños lloriquean cuando se sienten abrumados por una emoción y no tienen palabras para expresar sus sentimientos; o cuando no tienen las habilidades necesarias para completar una tarea. También pueden lloriquear cuando se sienten cansados, hambrientos, impotentes o solos. En otras palabras, los niños lloriquean para pedir ayuda. Obtén más información sobre los lloriqueos y las formas de ayudar a los niños a comunicarse mejor en nuestro boletín del Modelo Pirámide.
» Pyramid Pages Newsletter of 2024 Eng
» Pyramid Pages Newsletter of 2024 Spa
NEW - Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities (ODRD)
Check out the new Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities (ODRD) website!
The Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities (ODRD) was established in 2021 with the enactment of Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 10-14z. The office is administratively situated within the Talent Office of the Connecticut State Department of Education and is responsible for implementing Connecticut"s dyslexia and structured literacy laws and supporting the implementation of related regulations and policies. Click here!
Language Access Toolkit
The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center's (CPAC) commitment and continued work in Language Access and Equity has made us aware of the lack of resources and information available to families in their dominant language. Having information available to families in dominant language allows for informed and meaningful participation in their child's education. CPAC was able to partner with the Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP) to expand its work in equity and language access, and develop a parent tool kit and a professional tool kit containing resources and information regarding language access and equity. Find the Language Access Toolkit here: https://tinyurl.com/mw4dx3cx
The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center's (CPAC) commitment and continued work in Language Access and Equity has made us aware of the lack of resources and information available to families in their dominant language. Having information available to families in dominant language allows for informed and meaningful participation in their child's education.
CPAC was able to partner with the Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP) to expand its work in equity and language access, and develop a parent tool kit and a professional tool kit containing resources and information regarding language access and equity.
Find the Language Access Toolkit here: https://tinyurl.com/mw4dx3cx
The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center Presents: Language Access and Equity
Is language access a barrier to you understanding your child's educational program and opportunities?
Are you a parent or guardian who does not dominate the English language? Are you a professional who needs to better understand the importance of language access or how to provide it? Please join us for a virtual presentation where we will discuss language access and equity in the educational setting.
This presentation will help individuals:
- The importance of language access
- How language access impacts education and equal educational opportunities
- The laws that support language access
- Learn how to receive language access
NEXT STEPS SERIES
Starting Monday, October 16, 2023
This event is happening on 8 consecutive Monday evenings starting October 16th.
Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
This eight-session intensive series is designed to help parents and professionals gain the skills and knowledge necessary for them to be effective members at the Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT). This training series will prepare participants for a variety roles at the school, district, regional or state level. Participants will learn about the law related to education as well as state and federal level initiatives that impact students with disabilities and their education. This training is an opportunity to learn how and where to give a voice to the needs of families of students with disabilities. Our goal is for participants to become active and collaborative team members in an effort to support student success. The training covers special education and related topics such as:
-The Parent's Role at the Table: Planning and Progress Monitoring
-Developing an Appropriate IEP
-Laying the Foundation: Educational Laws and their Impact on Students with -Disabilities
-Reaching Agreement by Working Together
-Transition to Adult Life and Self-Advocacy
-Supporting Other Families
-Effective Communication Strategies
Application is required for all and participation in all sessions is highly encouraged. Please call our office for addition information at 860-739-3089.
To receive an application, please email Lisa Opert at [email protected]
» Fall 2023 Next Steps
PARENT TOUR OF CONNECTICUT'S NEW INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM DOCUMENT
Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education recently released two videos giving parents a tour of Connecticut's New Individualized Education Program (IEP) document. Below are the links to these videos in English and Spanish:
Parent Tour of Connecticut's IEP Document (5 minutes) in English and Spanish:
Press Release: Connecticut's Free School Meals Program
Governor Lamont and Commissioner Russell-Tucker Announce Expansion of Connecticut's Free School Meals Program
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker today announced plans to expand Connecticut’s free school meals program for the 2023-2024 school year, enabling more students to receive access to nutritious breakfast and lunch at no additional cost to them or their families.
Under the plan, $16 million of funding the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act will be invested into the program. Funds will be utilized to support the provision of meals at no cost in the following ways:
- All students in non-Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools participating in the federal School Breakfast Program (SBP) will be able to receive breakfast meals at no cost, including day students within residential childcare institutions. Approximately 114 districts participating in the SBP are eligible to receive this funding serving an estimated 177,243 eligible students.
- Students who are eligible for reduced-price meals in non-CEP schools participating in the federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will be able to receive lunch at no cost, including day students within residential childcare institutions. Approximately 128 districts participating in the NSLP are eligible to receive this funding, serving an estimated 13,197 eligible students.
The investment results from collaborative advocacy between the Governor’s Office, the Connecticut State Department of Education, legislative leaders, and strategic school nutrition partners.
“This investment ensures that each student begins their day with a nourishing meal, fostering learning and growth,” Governor Lamont said. “Additionally, removing the family portion of the cost of lunch for students eligible for reduced-price meals means more money in their pockets for other essential needs. By ensuring access to nutritious meals, we empower our students to excel academically and in all facets of life.”
“I commend Governor Lamont and our legislative leaders for placing priority on the continuation of free breakfast and school-lunch subsidies for Connecticut’s students,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “Student health status, including physical health and student achievement, are directly connected. The research clearly shows that eating a nutritious and well-balanced breakfast improves concentration, alertness, and comprehension; results in fewer mistakes; assists with faster completion of math problems; results in better performance on standardized tests; and improves speed and memory on cognitive tests.”
Reimbursements to districts for meals served will be provided based on the approved eligibility status of each student – i.e., whether they quality for free, reduced-price, or paid meals.
CPAC CREATES A QUESTIONS & ANSWERS DOCUMENT ABOUT THE NEW BSE CALL CENTER
In response to the numerous questions regarding the new BSE Call Center, CPAC has created this Q & A document in English and Spanish.
CONNECTICUT STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF NEW CALL CENTER
(Hartford, CT) - The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced the opening of a new Special Education Call Center. The call center reflects a new partnership with the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), Connecticut’s designated parent training and information group for children with disabilities.
The call center is a new communications structure supported by representatives who are trained to respond promptly to inquiries from families and the general public. Call center staff will provide callers with information and resources related to special education laws and the rights and protections of students receiving special education services.
The call center can be accessed in English and Spanish by dialing 860-713-6966. Regular business hours are Monday-Friday (excluding holidays) 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
"We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new Special Education Call Center, a testament to our commitment to serving families and communities,” said Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker. “This innovative partnership with the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center allows us to provide timely and comprehensive support to those seeking information and resources on special education. Through this new communication structure, we aim to enhance understanding, resolve issues, and ultimately improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities."
"CPAC is excited to partner with the CSDE Bureau of Special Education on a new Special Education Call Center for families and community members,” said Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center Executive Director Jane Hampton-Smith. "This call center will provide another way for families to access accurate information about special education procedures and practices and better understand their procedural safeguard rights."
With the establishment of the call center, the CSDE has invested additional resources to better serve our families and communities to assist in their understanding of special education processes and provide support in resolving special education issues. Additionally, this investment signifies our commitment to supporting inquiries and providing guidance, aiming to improve the support for students with disabilities and their families. We are enthusiastic about the potential of this communication structure to better serve our entire education community.
For Immediate Release: July 21, 2023
Office for Civil Rights Fact Sheet on Diversity and Inclusion
On Jan. 31, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new fact sheet (Spanish version here) that confirms diversity, equity, and inclusion training and similar activities generally are consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new fact sheet clarifies that federal civil rights laws do not categorically prohibit schools from offering activities such as instruction on the impact of racism, cultural competency training, or school climate surveys. OCR will continue to vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. Learn more at www.ed.gov/ocr.
January Pyramid Pages - Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
Sharing is caring…for you and for me! In the January Pyramid Pages, learn the importance in teaching children skills on how to share with others. You will see how sharing with others is a lifelong skill that can build confidence and create a solid foundation of successful friendship skills. Learn more about this topic by reading our January newsletter.
Compartir es cuidarme y cuidarte En las Páginas del Modelo Pirámide de enero, aprenderás sobre la importancia de enseñarles a los niños a compartir. Entenderás que compartir es una habilidad para toda la vida que puede ayudarnos a aumentar la confianza y a crear bases sólidas que nos servirán para desarrollar habilidades relacionadas con la amistad. Para conocer más sobre este tema, lee nuestro boletín de enero.
Working with Families During the New IEP Rollout
CPAC has created and shared the following information for directors of special education and other school staff to help support trusting relationships between schools and families. The Working with Families Tips Sheet offers suggestions for keeping the lines of communication open with families. The letter can be edited (just copy and paste from the PDF) and sent to families along with the resource list. The letter and resource list below have an English and Spanish version.
» Letter to Families
» Working with Families
» Resources for Families
New Fact Sheet Released on Suspension and Expulsion for Connecticut Students
Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities
This document updates and supersedes the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ guidance titled Questions and Answers on Discipline Procedures, issued in June 2009, and includes additional questions and answers that address topics that have arisen as the field continues to carry out the discipline provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations.
» Addressing the Need of Children
Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting Children with Disabilities
This document provides information about resources, strategies, and evidence-based practices that (while not required by law) can help States, LEAs, schools, early childhood programs, educators, and families in their efforts to meet IDEA requirements and, in doing so, improve outcomes for children with disabilities.
» Guide Positive Proactive Approaches
Dear Colleague Letter on Implementation of IDEA Discipline Provisions (7/19/22)
The Department is issuing this Dear Colleague Letter to address disparities in the use of discipline for children with disabilities and the implementation of IDEA’s discipline provisions and two accompanying guidance documents to support state educational agencies and local educational agencies' efforts to fulfill their obligations to appropriately meet the needs of children with disabilities.
» Dear Colleague
CONNECTICUT HAS A NEW INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) FORM!
» Draft IEP
» IEP Side by Side
» Supplementary Aids and Services
What Parents Should Know About Kindergarten Entry, Enrollment, and Attendance
The Connecticut State Department of Education has developed a valuable downloadable resource for parents when considering kindergarten for their child. This family resource is available in both Spanish and English and addresses why your child should attend kindergarten and includes frequently asked questions about kindergarten entry, enrollment, and attendance.
You may view it using either of the following links:
For additional information contact Andrea Brinnel, Ed.D. at [email protected]
Where to Find CPAC!
Here is a great document for families and professionals on all the different ways to find and access CPAC resources and services!
» Where to Find Us
NEWLY RELEASED: IDEA REQUIREMENTS RELATED TO ANNUAL REVIEWS
The CT Bureau of Special Education released a memorandum to Directors of Special Education regarding IDEA Requirements related to Annual Reviews and Reevaluations.
» IDEA Requirements- Annual Reviews
A Parent's Guide to Special Education in Connecticut has been updated!
CONNECTICUT IS WORKING TO STRENGTHEN STUDENT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS
As part of the process of strengthening student social and emotional skills, the CT State Department of Education has obtained a nationally recognized Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) assessment system called the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). The DESSA is a strengths-based social and emotional screening and assessment tool. For more information see the information document below and visit the Aperture-Connecticut Webpage here.
EARLY INTERVENTION OVER THREE
A new executive order allows parents of young children who turn 3 on or after May 21st to choose to have their child continue to receive early intervention services through Birth to Three until the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. For more information see the document below, visit the Birth to Three website here, and watch this informational video.
» EIS Over 3
DRCT Shares Updated Fact Sheet on Expanded Eligibility to Age 22
» DRCT Fact Sheet
» DRCT Fact Sheet - Español
JUST RELEASED: REVISED PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE!
IDEA Part B Grant Annual State Application
The Connecticut Department of Education has posted the Annual State Application Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004 for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY 21) available for public inspection through May 2, 2021.
This application contains assurances that Connecticut is in compliance with the IDEA Reauthorization of 2004, thus making Connecticut eligible for federal financial assistance. The application also contains a description of the use of federal funds that the state receives from the IDEA Part B grant for administrative and other state activities. Visit the CT State Department of Education website for more information.
Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) - How to File a Complaint
The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a technical assistance video, How to File a Complaint, to help parents, families, students, and stakeholders better understand how they can file a complaint with OCR. This resource provides clear and concise direction on how an individual may bring incidents of potential discrimination to the attention of OCR and includes information on deadlines, ways to provide the required information to OCR, and potential outcomes of complaint investigations.
UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities needs to hear from families of young
children (aged Birth to 5) so they can understand their needs during the COVID -19 pandemic and
what they might need when this is all over as we all recover from these challenges. Connecticut
is the recipient of a grant that will focus on the resiliency of very young children and their
families. Your help in filling out this survey will help CT providers have better tools,
materials and programs to help meet the needs identified in this survey of CT families. We
hope you will take the two minutes it will take to fill out the survey to help serve families
in CT. Thank you for your time and help.
» Provide Feedback
Updated Guidance Regarding A.R. v. CT State Board of Education
A recent memorandum from the Connecticut State Board of Education contains important information related to
school districts’ responsibilities related to the June 10, 2020 United States District Court ruling that extended
student’s IDEA eligibility, who have not received a regular high school diploma, until their 22nd birthday.
» Download Guidance Update
Return to Learning Playlist to Communicate for Students and Families
This playlist can prepare students and families for the return to learning by engaging in flexible, online and
offline resources provided by three CSDE partners; CT Public Television, Wide Open School and Yale University
» Download Flyer
Frequently Asked Questions re Covid-19
For Families: Frequently Asked Questions About Special Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
CPAC compiled this document with the most frequently asked questions from families at this time. The document will be updated as new information becomes available.
» Download Frequently Asked Questions for Families
Informational update for week three of school closure
As we begin the third week of statewide school classroom closure, here is some updated information:
- Our newly created Special Education COVID-19 webpage
Our professional series to Families and Districts (Please share with your educators and families).
Access the content on the
CT.gov website or view the PDF content below:
Professional Support Series for Districts
Professional Support Series for Families
- Communication to LEAs related to the SEDAC Desk Audit, BSE File Review, Summary of Performance and SEDA Off Cycle Reporting
- Memo related to Student Data Privacy
- Medicaid and Teletherapy Document
Continued Educational Opportunities and Special Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bryan Klimkiewicz, Special Education Division Director for the CT Department of Education has released
new guidance to school districts related to the provision of special education during this health emergency.
Please note that it is a working document and will be updated regularly as things change. CPAC will be
discussing this guidance with Bryan online on Friday. Check in to our facebook page for updates on timing.
In the meantime, please feel free to send any questions you may have to
and we will do our best to get you answers. Our parent consultants are also available at
(860) 739-3089. Be well.
» Guidance Presentation re Covid-19
COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Update
COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel. Please visit the
U.S. Department of Education website for the latest updates and resources:
For the latest from the Connecticut check https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus for important and up-to-date information on Connecticut's response efforts in regard to COVID-19.
CPAC is Requesting Your Feedback
Have your voice heard!
As Connecticut’s Parent Training and Information (PTI) Center we are here to serve families with children with disabilities, youth with disabilities, and professionals in the field by offering a variety of services. We regularly ask for feedback regarding the services we provide so we are sure that we are meeting the needs of families, youth, and professionals in Connecticut. Please complete the following four question survey and have your voice heard at the CPAC planning table. Results are anonymous. We thank you for your support!
» Take the survey in English
» Take the survey in Spanish
Bristol, Spring 2020
THE NEXT STEPS TRAINING WILL BE HELD ONLINE ON TUESDAY EVENINGS BEGINNING MARCH 17TH, THROUGH MAY 12TH, 2020.
EACH SESSION BEGINS PROMPTLY AT 6:00 P.M. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION IS MARCH 15. APPLICATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL
AND PARTICIPATION AT ALL EIGHT SESSIONS IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE
APPLICATION PROCESS, PLEASE CALL THE CONNECTICUT PARENT ADVOCACY CENTER AT
(860) 739-3089 OR EMAIL LISA AT
Download the flyer for this series
Stress: Family Caregivers of Children with Disabilities by Bureau Bulletin
Family caregivers play an essential role within the national health care system. Read this important brief
from the Collaboratory on School and Child Health regarding stress and family caregivers.
Read the brief
Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP)
The goal of the Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP) is to improve student social, emotional and academic
outcomes through strong family, school, and community partnerships.
CPAC has partnered with the African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP), Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and State Education Resource Center (SERC) to form this Statewide Family Engagement Center.
Visit the ct-fsp.org website
New Guidance on Timelines for Evaluations
The Bureau of Special Education is issuing updated guidance on the timeline for initial special education
evaluations in the state of Connecticut. The December 21, 2018 guidance memorandum titled Timelines for Initial
Evaluation is rescinded and effective immediately is being replaced with the following: This guidance is being
issued to clarify the requirements for the initial evaluation timeline. Conducting timely evaluations is an
integral part of our commitment to each student’s right to a free and appropriate public education.
Download the updated guidance
Education Committee Roundtable on Equity in Special Education
The Education Committee held a roundtable to discuss equity in special education. CPAC was invited to
be part of this important conversation.
Watch the discussion here.
Watch the discussion here