Advocacy Newsbriefs – April 2018

Girl Scout Gold Award Candidate, The Time Capsule Project


Girl Scout Gold Award Candidate Samantha Maggio is completing her Gold Award project, the highest award for Girl Scouts, with “The Time Capsule Project.” She works with girls with special needs to empower and boost their self-esteem.

Samantha is particularly interested in connecting with SEPTAs across the state and country. If you would like to reach out to Samantha, please contact her directly at smaggio330@gmail.com.

The Time Capsule Project – report
The Time Capsule Project – slide deck

Take Action With PTA

PTA is still taking action on key advocacy issues impacting children, youth and families. Click here to take action and to sign up for federal advocacy alerts from National PTA.

Advocacy Update From NYS PTA Executive Director

NYS PTA is reviewing reports of issues with the 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Assessments earlier this month. Click here to read more.

National State PTA Family Engagement Innovation Challenge

Report from Kim Blasiak, Family Engagement Coordinator

After coming back from our trip to National PTA from April 11-13, we have been working hard on plans to increase family engagement efforts across New York. NYS PTA President Gracemarie Rozea and I were able to meet with so many wonderful people who share the same passion for family engagement. In order to increase advocacy efforts, we will be identifying examples of innovative family engagement within our PTAs and school communities, and implementing these strategies across the state. We will also be offering two or three classes during the Summer Leadership Conference, as well as holding a roundtable conversation.

National PTA President-elect Leslie Boggs is making family engagement a priority. “When it comes to school success, family engagement is just as important as having a great principal and teachers, a strong curriculum and a positive school climate. Transformative family engagement is a key strategy to ensure every child receives a high-quality education and has every opportunity for success,” added President-Elect Boggs. “Family engagement is the foundation of PTA and we are investing in our mission with the Center for Family Engagement.” For more information, or to share your innovative experience, please contact Kim Blasiak, Family Engagement Coordinator, at family.engagement@nyspta.org.

Read more:

National PTA Press Release

Wellness

The 14 year licensure exemption for unlicensed employees to provide mental health services has ended with the Health and Mental Hygiene budget bill passed the end of March. This new law particularly impacts services licensed and regulated by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the NYS Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS), the NYS Office for the Aging (SOFA), the NYS Department of Health (DOH), and the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS). Read more here.

The US Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encourages more people to routinely carry naloxone. As opioid-related deaths continue to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response. Read more here.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an initiative to provide teachers, school administrators and coaches with resources to help address and prevent substance use disorders among young people. DOH, the NYS Education Department, and OASAS will notify schools statewide of the availability of flash drives loaded with materials  for coaches, teachers, school nurses and other educators to use with students and in community forums. Read more here.

Governor Cuomo has announced the grand opening of a new addiction treatment facility at the former Broome County Developmental Center. The new facility, the SBH Binghamton Evaluation Center, will include 50 detox beds, and will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. OASAS will provide $1.5 million in annual operational funding for the program. Read more here.

If you or someone you know is in need of substance use treatment, click here. 

Education

Computerized English Language Arts State Assessments were interrupted during their administration. Investigators believe a potential cyber attack occurred on Questar-administered exams in New York and Tennessee. Read more here from NYSED or the Ithaca Journal.

Equity and poverty are focus issues for the NYS Education Department and Board of Regents. To learn more about how poverty affects learning, click here.

The US General Accounting Office study of student discipline highlights disproportionality as a racial issue – children of color are disciplined more often and more harshly. Read more here.

National report on Title I spending is highlighted in this report indicating there is more opportunity for leaders to target use better and close the learning gap. Read more here.

Common Sense Media provides research and infographics for parents within their report Virtual Reality 101. Read more here.

Special Education

Light It Up Blue.” April is Autism Awareness Month. It is the perfect time to spread autism awareness/acceptance in schools/community. Resources can be found at:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Autism Speaks
National Institute of Mental Health

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May. Nearly 60 million Americans live with mental illness; many are children. The stigma attached to mental illness impacts a person’s ability or willingness to seek treatment.  For children, mental illness can impact their ability to receive an education and have their families actively involved in their care. To learn more check out the following websites:
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health Awareness information

The 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) provides data regarding student characteristics as related to special education services. It is important to look at this information. The regulations from the US Department of Education looking to red flag areas because of racial and ethnic groups are currently on hold.  To access this data, click here. 

At the April Board of Regents meeting, the proposed amendment regarding diploma options was discussed. Since the initial publication of the changes substantial revision were made to address both public comment and clarify the rule. From the document: “It is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be presented for permanent adoption at the July 2018 Board of Regents meeting after publication of a Notice of Emergency Adoption and Revised Rule Making in the State Register on April 25, 2018 and expiration of the 30-day public comment period for revised rule makings. If adopted at the July 2018 Board of Regents meeting, the proposed amendment will be effective as a permanent rule on August 1, 2018.” The actual document can be found here.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is enforced by the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. The site has a page that provides resources about federal agencies with ADA or Section 504 responsibilities. This information can be found here.

New York, through the Divisions of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management, is offering two-hour training courses for residents to have the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster.  For additional information, click here. 

The CDC has some excellent resources for preparing children, especially those with special needs, for emergencies. Since spring weather can often be unpredictable, planning in advance can make it easier for children to cope.  Additional information can be here.

A great resource that will help support parents who have children with learning and attention issues. Understood.org has unique resources with practical tips and more here. 

April-May Awareness Events

APRIL

Alcohol Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month:
CDC
Autism Speaks
National Institute of Mental Health
Autism Society

Month of the Military Child

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

National Donate Life Month

National Minority Health Month

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

STI (Sexually Transmitted Illnesses) Awareness Month

MAY

Arthritis Awareness Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Clean Air Month

Food Allergy Action Month

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

Healthy Vision Month

Hepatitis Awareness Month

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

Mental Health Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Bike Safety Month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month