NH Family Engagement Month

NH Family Engagement Month

The research is clear on family-school-community partnerships! Study after study consistently shows that when families, schools, and communities work together, those children have higher grades, make more friends, graduate/complete high school and are more likely to go on college.  For over 40 years, PIC has promoted family engagement in the systems that support children with disabilities and special health care needs and their families, emphasizing the importance of everyone working together.

Each year, the Parent Information Center (PIC) sponsors the Family Engagement Month Recognition ceremony to honor parents, school, health care, behavioral health personnel and community members who have had a significant, positive impact on improving family engagement to support children’s education, health and well-being.  This year, in collaboration with NH Family Voices, PIC is proud to once again sponsor the annual Family Engagement Recognition Celebration.

Do you know a parent, school, health care, behavioral health personnel or community member who has had a significant, positive impact on improving family engagement to support children’s education, health and well-being? Nominate them for recognition!  You can nominate individuals, groups or teams of people who have displayed creativity, innovation, and/or commitment to improving family engagement to support children’s education, health and well-being at the school, community, local, district, or state level in one or more of the following areas:

  • Communicating Effectively – Fostering positive, two-way communication between families and the various providers, systems or agencies that support them (school, health providers, community agencies, etc.)
  • Supporting Children’s Success – Supporting children’s learning and healthy development at home, school and across all community environments.
  • Collaborating as a Community – Supporting collaboration to connect children, families and staff in expanding learning opportunities, community services and civic participation.
  • Sharing Decision-Making – Supporting families and service providers to be shared partners in decisions that affect children and families including: promoting family involvement on committees or in programs that advocate system or policy changes; serving as representatives for the community; and/or developing parent leadership.
  • Welcoming All Families into the Community – Ensuring all families and staff feel welcomed and respected including those with diverse needs by providing families and staff with opportunities to connect with one another
  • Speaking Up for Every Child – Empowering families and staff to be advocates for their own and other children and to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to a variety of opportunities that will support their success and well-being. This includes working together to share information about how systems operate; sharing resources; resolving problems and conflicts respectfully; and supporting families’ ability to be effective advocates.

The Nomination period opens on May 21, 2018 and closes on September 12, 2018.  Complete the nomination form here

Next Steps NH

Next Steps NH

In 2013 the New Hampshire Department of Education (NH DOE), Bureau of Special Education was awarded a $3.8 million State Personnel Development Grant (Next Steps NH) from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The goal of Next Steps NH has been to increase the number of students with disabilities and/or at risk of dropping out of school that are college and career ready in NH.
The project has provided professional development and coaching to 16 selected New Hampshire high schools for the purpose of increasing the graduation rate of students with disabilities, and students at risk. This has been done through implementing evidence-informed transition planning practices that help students prepare for college, career, and adult life.
College and career readiness is not only an academic endeavor. Schools, students, and families must plan and work together to ensure successful transition. With this in mind, the NH DOE worked collaboratively with partners at New Hampshire Parent Information Center, New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation, regional intermediaries and other established professional development providers so that the activities developed by schools could be sustained over time.
The website nextsteps-nh.org is part of the project and houses all of the tools and resources developed as part of the project. The site is designed to help various users navigate its content by interest area:
  • Students looking for resources to help to plan for life after high school, can access various tools and resources through the Student Portal.
  • Educators and parents looking to help students plan for life after high school, can access various tools and resources through the Educator and Parent Portal.
  • Mentors for students in the community helping prepare students for life after high school, can access tools and resources through the Community Partners Portal.
In addition, there are various Transition Tools available as well as a valuable Transition Planning Framework. The project site is updated as tools and resources associated with the project are developed and become available. Visit nextsteps-nh.org.

What’s In a Name?

On March 23, 2017 the State Board of Education adopted revised special education rules. These are NH’s special education regulations that that implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, the Federal special education law) and RSA 186-C (NH’s special education law). You may obtain an official copy of the rules on the NH Department of Education’s website at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/ed1100.html.  You may notice that there is a new title. The regulation (or rule), which was called the NH Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities, is now being called the NH Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities. The importance of this document has not changed; it is still NH’s special education regulations.
The Parent Information Center has developed a Guide to the NH Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities, which includes the full text of Ed 1100, Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities that were adopted by the State Board of Education on March 23, 2017, plus additional supplemental text for each reference cited (in a textbox following each reference). The supplemental text, which includes the text of the cited reference, has been updated to reflect the 6/30/2017 technical amendments to IDEA and the 2017 amendments to RSA 186-C. This Guide, which has been formatted to be user-friendly, may be accessed on the Parent Information Center on Special Education’s website at: https://nhspecialed.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ed-1100-3-23-2017-NH-Standards-PDF.pdf.
The Parent Information Center and the NH Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education are partnering to make copies of the Guide to the NH Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities available to parents, school/special education administrators, educators and others. We will post updates on our website, including when copies will be available, as we receive them.
The NH Department of Education has an archived webinar that details the changes that were made when the NH Rules were revised and re-adopted. The webinar may be accessed at: https://www.education.nh.gov/video/newly-adopted-nh-rules.htm. The Parent Information Center (PIC) also offers free webinars and live in-person workshops and training programs about the NH Standards, the NH Special Education Process and other related topics.  PIC’s training calendar is updated regularly as new workshops are scheduled. Learn more at www.nhspecialed.org.


The Parent Information Center’s

Volunteer Advocate Training Program

is now accepting applications for the Fall 2017 series


The Fall 2017 series will be held in Dover, NH

Tuesday evenings beginning September 26th

The 44-hour (1 evening/ week for 11 weeks) Volunteer Advocate (VA) training series is for parents & others who want to gain the knowledge and skills to support other parents of children with disabilities in the special education process, while at the same time, enhancing their own advocacy skills.  The training includes comprehensive and up-to-date information on the special education laws & process, effective communication and collaboration, and lots of other resources and information that participants and the families they assist can use to become more effective members of their IEP teams.



~~ You will be glad you did! ~~

Please get your application in by September 5, 2017


The VA training, a nationally-recognized program since 1982, is only offered twice each year, so don’t miss this opportunity!  Applications are due by September 5th.  Additional information & an application may be obtained online at: http://nhspecialed.org/workshops-training/volunteer-advocate-training/ or by contacting PIC at (603) 224-7005 or 1-(800) 947-7005 (in NH) or by email at va@picnh.org


What parents are saying:  va

“After attending my son’s first IEP meeting, my wife and I were overwhelmed and did not know where to turn. …  The knowledge and experience learned in PIC’s VA class has been instrumental in developing an IEP with our school district that we are happy with and understand.”                      – A PIC VA

“I have gained knowledge, confidence and empowerment from the course and am ready to help other parents.”            – A PIC VA



Acceptance to the program is not guaranteed.  Preference is given to parents of children/youth with disabilities and to applicants from areas or populations currently underrepresented in PIC’s VA network, including people who speak languages other than English. Other factors used in determining acceptance into the program are found on our website.  Please pass this information on to any families who would benefit from the program.



The Parent Information Center (PIC) is one of the hundreds of nonprofits participating in the first-ever NH Gives Day, scheduled for June 6-7. NH Gives Day is a 24-­hour online giving challenge facilitated by the NH Center for Nonprofits, designed to celebrate our state’s nonprofits and amplify the generosity of New Hampshire citizens.

Established three decades ago, with the belief that all children can succeed with the right support, the Parent Information Center (PIC) provides a wealth of services designed to help parents understand their child’s special needs and the laws that govern the special education process.

PIC assists families and schools to increase parental involvement in children’s education with the goal of increasing student academic achievement.

PIC is a pioneer in creating family/school/community partnerships that help parents of all students get involved in their child’s education. PIC also offers additional parenting support through workshops and resource and referral. From its inception to the present, the Parent Information Center has demonstrated an ability to identify and respond to the changing needs of children and families in N.H.

Beginning at 6pm EST on June 6 and continuing until 5:59pm on June 7, Granite Staters will go online to nhgives.org, connect with causes like PIC and make tax-deductible donations to support the important work of NH charities. All online donations for PIC made on nhgives.org during NH Gives Day will go directly to support PICs ongoing work of with families, students and professionals in supporting the unique learning potential of every child, including those with disabilities.

“NH Gives Day will be a special day that brings attention to the tremendous impact that nonprofits have in our lives,” said Kathleen Reardon, CEO of the NH Center for Nonprofits.  “We are thrilled to host an event that will connect people to causes they care about and showcase the collective power of philanthropy in New Hampshire.  Funds raised in a single day will have a lasting impact.”





The Sky is the Limit: Technology Access for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children


….. New technologies are developed on daily basis …..

Do you often ask yourself, “How can those technologies help my Deaf/Hard of Hearing child at school and/or home?”

As a Teacher for the Deaf or Service Providers, do you often ask yourself: “What can I do to make the classroom more accessible for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing children?”

New Hampshire Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Initiative  is proud to host a technical assistance workshop for parents and Teacher of the Deaf/School Districts to demonstrate and discuss a variety of technologies that have proven effective for Deaf/Hard of Hearing population.

Topics that will be covered by Dr. Rachel Finan, Au.D: Modified equipment that promotes independence, communication devices, hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM Systems, and many more amazing technologies that has revolutionized access for children.

Dr. Rachel Finan gained initial exposure to and experience in educational audiology while obtaining her doctorate. Currently, she is operating her own Educational Audiology consulting company, Hear to Learn, LLC.

Dr. Finan loves working with children of all ages and needs. She prides herself on staying current on technology, evidence-based practices, and state requirements/regulations within the educational system.

Registration is required to attend this event. Please register at www.nhdeafed.org

Questions? NHDeafEd@ndhhs.org or 603-290-5099

*Childcare will be provided. Please indicate that you will need child care in your registration.*

Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions people with developmental disabilities make to our society.

The National Association of Councils on Developmental DisabilitiesAssociation of University Centers on Disabilities and National Disability Rights Network have partnered to launch a social media campaign to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life, as well as the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to their communities. Throughout the month, they will be posting resources on social media including videos, blogs, toolkits and other shareable content.

You can be a part of this campaign by:

Visit the #DDAwareness17 page for more information on the campaign and follow ACL on Facebook and Twitter all month for Developmental Disabilities Month stories and resources.

The Statewide Assessment – Why Every Child’s Participation Matters

State and Federal education laws require states to conduct annual statewide assessments. NH’s statewide assessment for English language arts and mathematics is called “Smarter Balanced”.  This year, NH 11th graders will take the College Board’s SAT in place of the Smarter Balanced statewide assessment test.  The added bonus for students who would be taking the SAT prior to applying to college is that they will not have to pay to take the English language arts and mathematics portions of the SAT.

The statewide assessments are to be given to all children, including children with disabilities. In addition to the results for the overall group of children in each school/grade, results for specific subgroups of children, including children with disabilities, limited English proficient children, students from racial and ethnic minority groups, and children from families with low socio-economic status are disaggregated and reported.

Few children or their parents love testing, though. Children may find taking tests to be less interesting than other, more interactive learning activities.  Some parents are concerned about whether the tests take up valuable instruction time, while others worry that these test-taking situations may provoke anxiety in their children.   Parents sometimes ask, “Why is it important for my child to participate in the statewide assessment?”

There are several answers to that question. First, the statewide assessment provides schools and school districts with valuable information about how well their students are performing.  The results help schools and districts know what they are doing well (proficient), and where they may need to focus additional resources, or use some different approaches to meet the needs of all students.  The US Department of Education has set a minimum 95% participation rate; when at least 95% of students participate in the statewide assessment, there can be an assurance that the data is valid and reliable.  If a lower percentage of students participate, the school, school district or state may be penalized.

The statewide assessments are the only regularly conducted monitoring activity that lets schools know whether they are meeting the needs of children with disabilities and children in the other subgroups as well as they are meeting the needs of their overall student population. This information is critical in identifying unmet needs, so that schools, school districts, parents and other key stakeholders can work together to address any areas in which students (all students or specific groups of students) are underperforming.

On an individual child basis, each student’s assessment results inform the child’s teachers and parents about the academic areas in which the child is performing at grade level, and the areas where the child may need extra help in order to be successful. For students with disabilities, the child’s performance on the statewide assessment is an additional piece of data that the child’s individualized education program (IEP) team considers to help them understand the child’s needs, and make informed decisions about how to meet those needs.

All NH students, with and without disabilities, are expected to take the statewide assessment.   In accordance with their IEPs, in order to ensure that the assessment accurately reflects the student’s knowledge and skills, some students with disabilities may take the assessment with accommodations, while a small number of students with disabilities may take the NH alternate assessment.   In extremely rare situations, a student may receive an approved exemption from participating in the statewide assessment.  The approved exemptions are for medical emergency, serious illness or emotional distress, death in the family, or if the student enrolled after the assessment of the alternate assessment or participated in another state’s assessment system.  These reasons are called “State Approved Special Considerations (SASC)”.  Additional information about the SASC may be found on the NH Department of Education’s website at: http://education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/exemptions.htm.

So, when you are asked the statewide assessment, and whether your child should participate – just say “yes”.

by Bonnie Dunham, Parent Information Center


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