January 4, 2021 Parent Resource Center Monday Message

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download-1Happy New Year, and welcome back. We hope you each enjoyed a restful rejuvenating Winter Break, and we send our warmest wishes for a happy and healthy 2021.


5-Year Action Plan
During the 2018-19 school year, APS partnered with an outside consultant to evaluate the quality of programs and services for students with disabilities and students requiring intervention. As an outcome of that process, APS has developed a long-term strategic action plan to address recommendations to further strengthen the Arlington Tiered System of Support, Special Education, Section 504, and Organization and Operations.

View the 5-Year Action Plan

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We are looking forward to resuming virtual learning opportunities and events. Below are upcoming events – hope to connect with you at one or more!

Arlington Public Schools and Parent Resource Center Sessions and Meetings and Arlington County Events
Please contact the Parent Resource Center at 703.228.7239 or prc@apsva.usat least 7 days prior to events to request ADA accommodations.

SAVE the DATE: Stress and Mental Health
Wednesday, January 13th: 2pm – 3pm
Registration opening soon!
Please join Yorktown High School Psychologists Bethany Banal and Solange Caovan-Hornbake for a live presentation on Stress and Mental Health. This event, geared toward parents of secondary school students, will address:

  • Monitoring mental health/well-being
  • Recognizing signs of anxiety and depression
  • How to respond when your student seems stressed
  • Strategies for listening to your student in a helpful way that doesn’t inflame their anxiety
  • How to figure out how to help your student
  • What to do if you believe that your student may be having suicidal ideation

Know What Your Teen Knowsdownload
Thursday, January 14th: 6:30pm – 8:00 pm
Register here
​Presented by: Michael Swisher, Parent & Community Engagement Specialist; Siobhan Bowler, APS Substance Abuse Counselor; Lt. Eliseo Pilco, ACPD Student Resource Officer Supervisor; and Arlington County Teen Network Board representatives
In this event, parents will have an opportunity to see and learn about signs and clues – and possible things to look for – that might indicate a young person is using drugs, alcohol or tobacco products. We’ll have a ‘tour’ of a teen bedroom, learn about different ‘hideables’, and hear from teens, APS staff, and an SRO about what they are seeing among young people in our community.

home safety graphicHome Safety
Tuesday, January 19th at 6:00 pm
Presented by: Emily Siqveland and Linh Nghe
Register Here
Join Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative and the Prevention Unit to learn about how to keep your homes safe. Speakers will review common safety concerns including prescription medications and firearms. The webinar will offer resources to assist in keeping your home safe.

Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC)
Tuesday, January 26th: 7pm – 9pm
Virtual Meeting –  via Zoom
Please note that the business portion of this meeting will be recorded through Zoom.
At the beginning of each meeting, ASEAC welcomes comments from the public regarding the needs of students with disabilities in APS. See the ASEAC Public Comment Guidelines at https://aps2016.apsva.us/special-education-advisory-committee for information about submitting public comments.
Any person who would like an interpreter and/or any person with a disability who needs accommodation to access the meeting should contact the Parent Resource Center at 703.228.7239 or prc@apsva.us as soon as possible to request assistance.

Understanding Transition Services: Supported Decision Making (SDM)
Wednesday, January 27th: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Register here
Arlington Public Schools Transition Services, Parent Resource Center and Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP) are continuing to sponsor a Transition Series, which will feature a workshop on Supported Decision Making (SDM) this month, featuring Lucy Beadnell, Director of Advocacy for the Arc of Northern Virginia.
SDM is a way to provide short and long term support for people with developmental disabilities who need assistance to understand and make choices. SDM can be used as an alternative to guardianship that is less costly and restrictive, or used with guardianship to maximize self-determination.  It is a growing national best practice for increasing independence, safety, and quality of life.For further information contact Kelly Mountain at 703-228-2136 or Christina Eagle at 703-228-5738.

Community Webinar/Virtual Learning Opportunities/Meetings**
The events included below are shared for informational purposes, and listing may not be inclusive of al available community learning opportunities and inclusion of opportunities does not reflect endorsement by Arlington Public Schools.
Staying Connected: Virtual Opportunities for Your Loved One with ID/DD
January 6th at 12:00pm
Register and learn more here
Evidence shows that social interaction is a biological requirement, much like eating, drinking and sleeping. Our ability to learn to talk, play, acquire new skills, fall in love, conduct business, and age in good health all hinge on our motivation and ability to connect meaningfully with other people. Yet even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one quarter of Americans were chronically lonely. So what do we do to ensure that we can still seek out, create, and foster meaningful human connections? That’s what this live workshop is all about. The organizers will present a panel of providers who can offer their insights and experiences on creating for online virtual connection. You’ll learn about virtual clubs and activities that are available in our area for people to engage in social interactions, learn new skills, and most importantly maintain some sense of human connection. Feeling socially connected, especially while we endure pandemic-related isolation, is more important than ever. The benefits of social connectedness shouldn’t be overlooked. The panel of presenters will include representatives from:

  • Best Buddies
  • SPIRIT Club
  • Social Graces LLC
  • JCCNV, Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
  • Our Stomping Ground
  • Art Stream
  • Fairfax and Arlington County Therapeutic Recreation Services

Sponsored by The Arc of Northern Virginia

Upcoming Events from PEATC – Virginia’s Parent Education and Advocacy Training Center

  • Early Childhood Academy Course open from January 16 – February 21, 2021
    Register hereAre you the parent of a young child with a disability or delay? Does your child receive Early Intervention (EI) or Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services? Do you work with young children with disabilities or do you (or the parents you work with) have questions about navigating the Early Childhood system in Virginia? The Early Childhood Academy, presented by PEATC in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education, is for you! This FREE self-paced online course is an innovative parent-friendly resource focused on providing information parents with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers need to know — the importance of parents as 1st teachers, early childhood services, special education, resources available to parents of young children with disabilities, and more! Learn practical information to help set the foundation for your child’s lifelong learning and to make the transition to preschool and kindergarten less confusing.Offered by PEATC in collaboration with the VA Department of Education
  • Ins and Outs of IEP’s | January 21 at 11:30 AM. This presentation will help prepare parents of what to expect in the IEP meeting and to have a productive student focused meeting. From pre-planning before the meeting to working together afterwards, this presentation will build relationships and self-advocacy skills of the parents while focusing on the needs of the student.
  • TRANSITION UNIVERSITY: A free, parent-friendly 5-week self-paced online transition courseWinter 2021: February 6 to March 26 –
    Register here
    It is never too early to start learning about students with disabilities transitioning to adulthood. It is never too early to begin taking steps to prepare for the future!Life is full of transitions. For families of children with disabilities, thinking about the future can bring mixed emotions. Some families are just trying to make it through day-to-day challenges and might not feel they have the energy to think about what happens after high school. Others may want to plan for that transition, but are confused by unfamiliar language, complex steps, and the many agencies that may be involved in adult services. Join PEATC for this FREE 5-week SELF-PACED online course that focuses on providing parent-friendly transition information to help make transition planning easier. This course is designed for parents/caregivers of elementary, middle or high school students that receive special education services.The goal is to share factual information on transition services and to help make the transition from school services to the adult services world less confusing. Participants who complete the full course will receive a certificate of completion showing 6.5 hours. Topics covered in this course will include:

    • What do we mean by Transition and Why is it Important?
    • Supported Decision Making, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, and Age of Majority
    • Future Planning including Special Needs Trust, ABLE Accounts, and Letters of Intent
    • Transitioning into Independent Living (employment, further education, housing, etc.)
    • Connecting to Your Community and to Adult Services and much more! F

    For questions and/or to learn more, please contact PEATC at  703-923-0010 or partners@peatc.orgPresented by PEATC in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)


NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Arlington Parent Support GroupsNow Meeting Virtually
These groups are geared to parents whose child is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, including: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders and more. No diagnosis is required to participate. Participants are given the opportunity to share their story, experience support, and glean guidance (as desired) from group members regarding both community and school resources. Confidentiality is respected.
School Age Students and Teens (PK-12)
Sundays 7-8:30pm
Upcoming dates – January 17th and January 31
Contact Michelle Best at mczero@yahoo.com to register.

Older Teen and Young Adults: 3rd Sunday 1-3pm
Questions??  Contact:

  • PK-12: Michelle Best (mczero@yahoo.com)
  • Adults: Naomi Verdugo (verdugo.naomi@gmail.com)
  • Both: Alisa Cowen (acowen@cowendesigngroup.com