PROPOSAL #5 TABLE OF CONTENTS

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PROPOSAL #5
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SIGNIFICANCE 2
Potential contribution of MPP to increased knowledge 2
A history of providing information, support & training 3
Current Mentor Parent services 4
Extent to which the MPP builds local capacity 5
Figure 1—MPP Service Region in PA 5
Figure 2—Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates 6
Needs 6
Importance of the results attained by MPP 13
QUALITY OF PROJECT DESIGN 15
Figure 3—Program Logic Model 16
Goals, objectives, activities & anticipated outcomes 17
Extent to which the design is appropriate 24
Extent to which the MPP establishes linkages 25
Extent to which the MPP encourages parental involvement 29
Plans for addressing Section 427 of GEPA 32
QUALITY OF PROJECT PERSONNEL 32
Nondiscriminatory employment practices 32
Qualifications of project director 33
Qualifications of key project staff 34
ADEQUACY OF RESOURCES 35
Budget is adequate to support project 35
Costs are reasonable 35
QUALITY OF THE MANAGEMENT PLAN 36
Adequacy of management plan 36
Evidence of past experience 36
Figure 4—MPP management flow chart 38
Board of Directors 38
Project Staff Job Descriptions/time commitments 39
Use of Resources and Personnel to achieve objectives 41
Figure 5—Personnel Loading/Benchmark Chart 41
Fiscal and administrative control 42
Adequacy of ensuring feedback/continuous improvement 42
Figure 6—The Evaluation Plan 44
Conclusion 46
(a) SIGNIFICANCE
Founded in 1990 as a community-based parent support program, the Mentor Parent Program (MPP) is a nonprofit organization designed to inspire, teach, lead and support families who have children (birth-26) with disabilities in rural western PA, and to enhance the awareness of educators and service providers who are involved with families who have a child with a disability. For the past 20 years, the MPP has been led, directed and staffed by parents of children with disabilities. The Mentor Parent Program provides information and support to families of children with a full range of disabilities; has a demonstrated capacity to deliver effective training for all disability groups and has a tradition of reaching out to include unrepresented or underrepresented parents in its planning and training efforts.
Consistent with the No Child Left Behind Act, parents need access to meaningful information about their children, measures of adequate yearly progress and how assessment serves as a diagnostic tool that measures not only a child’s strengths and weaknesses, but also their yearly progress. This information can help teachers develop evidence-based practices that they can then use in classroom instruction to benefit each student. The Department of Education should increase support for programs that promote parents’ understanding of their rights and educational services under IDEA so they can make informed decisions about their children, particularly programs that serve families who have not traditionally been informed or involved in their children’s education.—
President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education—Final Report 20021
(i) Potential contribution of the Mentor Parent Program to increased knowledge of educational problems, issues or effective strategies
A History of Providing Information, Support and Training to Parents
The Mentor Parent Program was created by a group of parents in 1990 that had very little access to information, support or training opportunities. This program originated in rural northwest Pennsylvania, a place blighted by poverty and all the social ills that accompany it. These parents were the unrepresented; some of the families who have not been traditionally informed referred to in the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education Final Report. The need for access to information, advocacy and training was great. A leader emerged and, with the help of a small group of committed parents, the MPP was formed to address the overwhelming need.
That was 20 years ago. Much has changed in western Pennsylvania since the birth of this program. The poverty remains, but access to training, information, support and advocacy for parents of children with disabilities has grown exponentially. The Mentor Parent Program was launched with the assistance of a $100,000 federal grant ($33,000 per year for three years) for parent training and information centers in 1990; followed by an experimental rural PTI grant for six years. In addition, the MPP has received funding to support parent training from the PA Department of Education, the PA Department of Public Welfare, and the PA Developmental Disabilities Council. Building on its success in providing training, skill building and information to parents traditionally underserved in northwest PA, the MPP has expanded its service area to include much of western and central Pennsylvania. Since 2007, the MPP has been a successful, federally funded Community Parent Resource Center.
The Mentor Parent Program has established and maintains a host of collaborative relationships with other parent organizations, professionals within the local school districts, government agencies, and service providers while staying focused on meeting the needs of the unserved and underserved parents in the region.
Current Mentor Parent Services
With 20 years of experience in providing parent training and information services, the Mentor Parent Program has strived for and perfected a way to pull in those who are unserved or who are underserved. This is accomplished by one-to-one mentoring, parent to parent. By individualizing services or mentoring parents, the MPP builds capacity in those traditionally outside of the system. Mentoring helps identify educational issues, provides relevant information and provides strategies for parents to use as they learn to advocate for an appropriate education for their child with disabilities. All of this is accomplished in the supportive environment created through the mentoring process.
As the level of trust increases among those parents who have be previously unserved or underserved, they feel more comfortable in participating in group trainings and even taking on leadership roles by becoming a volunteer Mentor Parent or serving on the MPP Board of Directors. The MPP presents, on average, 11 regional workshops per year.
Information provided to parents is available in a variety of formats that accommodates the needs of individuals. The MPP maintains a website for those who have access to the Internet. In addition, the MPP produces and distributes an annual Resource Directory (both print and CD) that provides a tangible way for parents to locate service they or their children may need. That and other support materials are produced to accommodate those who speak English as a second language or in Braille, large print or audiotape, as requested. A collaborative relationship between the MPP and HUNE, a Spanish-American Community Parent Resource Center located in Philadelphia provides language appropriate support and materials.
An 800 V/TDD telephone line is maintained so that parents who do not have long distance on their phones can still access the services provided by the Mentor Parent Program.
(ii) Extent to which The Mentor Parent Program builds local capacity to provide, improve or expand services for rural Appalachian PA families
The vast majority of the counties included in the MPP Region of Pennsylvania share a common culture and common needs. These families are primarily Appalachian Caucasian (less than 2% are ethnic minorities), but as impoverished rural families, they share many of the same challenges of ethnic minority families—poverty, disempowerment, lack of transportation and childcare, and illiteracy.
FIGURE 9.1 MPP Service Region in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a large state. The 11 county MPP service area encompass more than 3,000 square miles which is roughly equal to two times the land area of the state of Delaware.
The 11 counties in the MPP region are poor. In fact, according to the 2008 census data,1 an increase in the poverty level can be seen. Figures broken down by age show that an average of 21% of children 0–17 are living in poverty in this rural Appalachian region; the state average is 16.6%. Median household income in this region averages almost $11,000 lower than the state average.
FIGURE 9.2 Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates (SAIPE): 2008—US Census Bureau2
According to the PA Department of Education’s most current special education enrollment data, there are approximately 28,624 children with identified disabilities being served by school districts or regional education service agencies in the 11 county service area of the MPP. As far as ethnic backgrounds of enrolled children: 0.2% are American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.6% are Asian/Pacific Islander; 16.7% are Black (non-Hispanic), 5.8% are Hispanic, and 76.7% are White (non-Hispanic).3
NEEDS:
1) Information Dissemination and Outreach to assist parents in becoming informed partners
In the 20+ years the Mentor Parent Program has been in existence, it has been reaffirmed over and over again that parents, for the most part, are unaware of their rights or responsibilities under the law and overwhelmed and confused by the myriad of (mis)information that exists about disabilities and education. This is true for both parents of preschool and school age children and those of young adults (age 21–26) who exit the educational system. A coordinated effort must be undertaken through collaborative relationships among service providers, educators, government, and advocacy groups to assist parents in negotiating this maze of information.
2) Training and mentoring to help parents become active partners in decision-making
In the experience of the MPP, the best approach to supporting parents and helping them become an informed advocate for their child is to provide both group-based workshops and oneto-one mentoring. The MPP has reached more than 22,000 parents in its 11 county region this way and, as a result, has created a web of support for parents. In addition, the MPP likes to include professionals in its training efforts so parents and professionals can meet each other outside the classroom conflict and learn from each other; teaming up with each other to learn and present. Knowing the law is only one part of the equation, parents must also have the skills to interact with professionals—communication, negotiation and mediation are all skills that must be learned and supported; building trust and mutual respect.
3) Parent/Professional Partnership Building
The Mentor Parent Program takes a non-adversarial approach to advocacy. A well-informed supported parent is a full partner in his/her child’s educational program. Including professionals in training opportunities allows parents to create relationships with professionals away from the classroom. Building the relationship—the partnership—creates enhanced communication between the two parties and benefits the child. That is not to say that the MPP will not refer parents for legal assistance when rights are violated or communication fails; but the MPP works hard to create and maintain relationships with educators and service providers so that positive outcomes can be reached for the child. Negotiation and mediation are always the first responses by the MPP to conflict and the needs of the child are central to action taken.
4) Information and Training for Parents Who Speak English as a Second Language
Some of the rural counties MPP serves have several pockets of populations where English is the second language; primarily Hispanic communities of migrant farm workers in northwestern PA. This minority population is, in large part, un/underserved in information and training about special education. Training and information that is culturally and linguistically appropriate needs to be disseminated in these communities. Partnerships with existing organizations with expertise in this area will be developed and implemented. The MPP and PEAL (the Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership Center, the federally-funded PTI for Region 2 in PA) have formally created a Cooperative Agreement to share expertise and resources including those that support the Hispanic population. Other partnerships will be developed to support other ethnic group needs as identified.
Diversity is a large challenge for any CPRC serving Pennsylvania. Developing collaborative relationships among the many parent support groups, service providers and governmental agencies will be key in assisting parents. The Mentor Parent Program has quality relationships with a broad spectrum of these organizations including the PA Department of Education, Office of Special Education; The Education Law Center; the PA Training and Technical Assistance Network; The Question, Inc.; PEAL—the Region 2 PTI in PA; Riverview Intermediate Unit, a multi-county regional education service agency; numerous school districts; Parent to Parent of PA; PA Protection and Advocacy, and Philadelphia Hispanics United for Exceptional Children, among many others.
Despite its creation as a project addressing the un/underserved in rural Pennsylvania, the model the Mentor Parent Program has created in concert with the relationships the program has will allow the MPP to expand to serve the needs of all the populations of its rural service area.
This proposed project’s goals and objectives, as described in the Quality of Design section, not only provide a broad range of supports and services to the families of this impoverished region, to help them have the training and information they need to enable them to participate effectively in assisting their children with developmental disabilities to (1) meet developmental goals; and (2) lead productive, independent adult lives to the maximum extent possible; but the proposed activities of The Mentor Parent Program include training and on-going support for volunteer Mentor Parents, many who have disabilities, who will be fully prepared to assist and support families as they participate effectively in planning and implementing appropriate educational programming for their children with disabilities.
How the Mentor Parent Program Components Build Local Capacity to Provide Services
In order to meet the diverse needs of the families referred to MPP, the program will continue to provide a wide-range of services to support families in first meeting their basic life survival needs so that they then can participate in the training and support offered by MPP to assist parents to (a) better understand the nature and needs of their child’s disability; (b) provide follow-up support for the educational programs of their children with disabilities; (c) communicate more effectively with special and regular educators; (d) participate fully in educational decision-making, including the development of the IFSP and IEP for their child with a disability; (e) obtain information about options, services, and resources available at the local, state, and national levels for children with disabilities and their families, and (f) understand the provisions for educating children with disabilities.
The expanded opportunities for shared learning and mutual referrals will build local capacity and set precedents for serving families that will continue beyond the life of the grant.
Sustaining the Corps of Mentor Parents in service to other parents
A Mentor Parent is a parent of a child with a disability or a parent with a disability who, through the Mentor Parent Program, volunteers to establish a one-on-one relationship with a parent/family of a child with a disability to provide information, consistent support and guidance, and concrete help in meeting the life and educational needs of a family with a child with a disability. The goal of this relationship is to help the parent/family gain the skills and confidence to be self-advocates and advocates for their child with a disability. Mentor Parents are matched with parents/families in need by the Director.
Mentor Parent Training & Certification—Parents Empowering Parents
By establishing a network of well-informed, caring and positive parents over the past 20 years, the Mentor Parent Program has created the Mentor Parent Training and Certification process. The parent participates in a series of trainings on procedural safeguards, special education laws and regulations, IFSP & IEP development, positive advocacy, mediation and communication skills. The Mentor Parents are the core of the program and they must be good, effective communicators and well informed about IDEA and PA special education laws. Mentor Parents assist parents in becoming full partners in their child’s education process by helping them understand their child’s disability, the special education maze, IEP/IFSP development, and their child’s educational rights. Many of the parents then become Mentor Parents to carry on the work. “Oil City School district states “Parent attendance at IEP conferences has increased significantly over the past years due to this Program.”
“Parent attendance at IEP conferences has increased significantly over the past years due to this Program.”
Oil City School District
Oil City, PA
Toll-Free Hotline—Parents Helping/Talking to Other Parents
The Mentor Parent Program has an established, publicized, statewide toll free number that parents can call to talk to other parents and receive information, referral, support and guidance, or assistance through a Mentor Parent. The Program regularly receives over 3,500 calls per year and always responds to the needs of the parent. Educators & service providers also use this line as a resource.
Community Networking—Creating the Seamless Web of Support for Parents
The Mentor Parent Program has had 20 years to create its existing network by getting to know key communicators within the community and attending community functions that were family-related. The Director, Associate Director, Board of Directors and Mentor Parents have a variety of contacts with persons and organizations and individual parent groups that are operating in central and western Pennsylvania. This network has grown over the past 20 years and now reaches across Pennsylvania. Sharing resources and expertise and working collaboratively are a MPP hallmark.
Workshops—Parents Teaching Parents
The Mentor Parent Program has coordinated and presented many regionally based parent workshops on IEP & IFSP development, Disabilities, Life After School Annual Conference, special education laws and regulations, communication skills and negotiation, transition, mediation and self-esteem building. In addition, small group parent trainings have been conducted throughout the region to help build trust, self-esteem, and awareness.
Professional Workshops—Parents Teaching Professionals
The Mentor Parent Program believes in building positive partnerships with professionals in the education and service agency areas. Partnerships take at least two participants. Good partnerships withstand questions, conflicts, debates, and disagreements; provide structures and processes to solve problems; and are maintained–even strengthened–after differences have been resolved (Joyce Epstein, et. al., 1997) Getting professionals to participate can be difficult. However, the Mentor Parent Program has built up a trust with area administrators and, in the past few years, has been invited into the schools to in-service staff members. This trust building has been a process that has taken 20 years of positive interaction with education and service agency personnel. The Mentor Parent Program is respected for its knowledge and positive approach to conflict resolution/mediation between parent & professional.
Accessible Website—Connecting Across the Miles
The Mentor Parent Program has an established website (www.mentorparent.org) that has become Bobby-Approved. Bobby is a web-based tool that analyzes Web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities. The MPP website posts training opportunities, information and referral options, a calendar of events, a directory of service-providers in the region, and the newsletter.
National Networking—A National Perspective for the Un/Underserved
In addition to the services that are provided to western PA families who have children with special needs, and to current and future service providers, MPP is one of 13 members of the Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities—a national multicultural coalition of community-based parent programs dedicated to serving un/underserved families that include a child with a disability. All of the Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities member programs regularly share and exchange resources and strategies for meeting the needs of underserved families.
The financial support requested in this proposal will allow the MPP to continue and expand our services to those who are vastly underserved in this 11 county region so that more parents are prepared to participate in educational decision making for their children with disabilities as intended under IDEA, and providers are better prepared to support them on their journey.
(iii) Importance of the results attained by the Mentor Parent Program
The Mentor Parent Program has a history of results. Over the past 20 years, more than 32,500 parents have received direct assistance from the MPP. Each family served by the program has received and benefited from assistance with basic life needs as necessary to enable them to focus on the disability-related needs of their children; received and been empowered by linguistically and culturally appropriate on-going informational and emotional support to parents about disabilities, disability resources, parents’ rights and responsibilities under IDEA, strategies for using procedural safeguards, strategies for communicating with education personnel and participating in the decision-making process and in the development of the IEP & IFSP, mediation, school reform issues, to enable them to participate as full partners in the educational decision-making for their children with disabilities. The MPP resolve disputes in an effective, expeditious manner and employs alternative methods of dispute resolution, if warranted and serves people with all kinds of disabilities ages birth–26.
In addition more than 8,700 professionals (educators and service providers) have received training and information from the MPP, both through individual contacts and group workshops and trainings.
In its effort, as outlined in this proposal, the Mentor Parent Program anticipates serving 5,000 parents over the course of three years. Each family served by the program will: receive and benefit from assistance with basic life needs as necessary to enable them to focus on the disability-related needs of their children; receive and be empowered by linguistically and culturally appropriate on-going informational and emotional support to parents about disabilities, disability resources, parents’ rights and responsibilities under IDEA, strategies for using procedural safeguards, strategies for communicating with education personnel and participating in the decision-making process and in the development of the IEP & IFSP, mediation, school reform issues, to enable them to participate as full partners in the educational decision-making for their children with disabilities; grow through training and on-going support to serve as Mentor Parents.
The importance of these results is that (1) traditionally underserved rural families in the Appalachian region of PA will be prepared to participate effectively in helping their children with disabilities to develop to their greatest potential; (2) additional un/underserved parents will be trained and empowered to serve as Mentor Parents—expanding the capacity of the Mentor Parent Program to offer its services across the entire 11 county service area of; and (3) service providers and educators in this region will become more knowledgeable in how to effectively deliver services to these families and will be able to better connect with their counterparts across the region; and (4) parents will understand their role in the special education process.
(b) QUALITY OF PROJECT DESIGN
On the following page, Figure 3, the Mentor Parent Program has included a logic model that illustrates this program’s conceptual framework for creating change for parents/families of children with disabilities and the professionals who work with them; how the day-to-day activities of the MPP will connect to the desired outcomes that the Secretary wants to see in CPRCs. The logic model designed for this program will also act as a tool to guide the evaluation process.
Following the logic model are the MPP’s goals, objectives, activities, responsibilities and timelines that support the program design as outlined in the logic model. Each objective has specific performance indicators tied to it to measure its success.
(iii) Goals, objectives, activities & anticipated outcomes
FIGURE 9.3 Mentor Parent Program
Mentor Parent Program–MULTIYEAR PLAN OF ACTION
GOAL: To enable parents of children with disabilities (birth–26) to more fully participate with professionals in meeting the early intervention, educational and transitional needs of their children.
OBJECTIVE 1: To increase parent knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities under IDEA, the availability and effective use of procedural safeguards (including dispute & resolution) to help their children with disabilities (1) meet developmental and functional goals, challenging academic achievement goals & (2) prepare them to lead productive and independent lives.
PERFORMANCE MEASURES: At the end of Year 1, 65% of participants will indicate an increase of knowledge/understanding as demonstrated on at least two indicators below; Year 2, 70%; Year 3, 75%; Year 4, 80%; Year 5, 85%.
EVALUATION INDICATORS: Attendance sheets from each workshop/training conducted; mentoring session evaluation sheets; personal interviews of participants; workshop/training evaluation forms; phone interviews and follow up
TOTAL NUMBER OF PARENTS/FAMILY MEMBERS REACHED OVER 5 YEARS: 9,000
Activities Responsibility Timeline
(1) Coordinate and conduct 10 community-based workshops for parents & family members targeting topics such as IDEA, IEP/IFSP development, least restrictive environment, inclusive settings, procedural safeguards, special ed. laws & regs., transition, response to intervention, developing self-advocacy skills, assistive technology, effective communication skills, resources available to assist children with disabilities and their families in school and at home, scientifically-based research practices, school reform and mediation, dispute and resolution. These annual workshops will employ both parents & professionals as presenters showing collaboration and partnership. Director, Family Coordinator Associate Director Mentor Parents Administrative Ass’t. Begin Year 1 & on-going
(2) Continue the operation of the toll-free Parent Helpline that offers parents Director, Admin. Ass’t. On-going information and referral services. Promotional activities (news releases, radio programs & newsletter dissemination, web posting on MPP site and school district web sites) will be done in each community to increase awareness.
(3) Disseminate information about disabilities & MPP services to local and regional agencies for display and family outreach Director, Admin. Ass’t. Family Consult., Mentor Parents On-going
(4) Maintain MPP website (www.mentorparent.org) to post relevant info. Director, Admin. Ass’t. Family Consult., Mentor Parents On-going and calendar of events; translate info. to appropriate format that meets the literacy, disability-related or language needs of the consumer and distribute.
Mentor Parent Program—MULTI YEAR PLAN OF ACTION
GOAL: To enable parents of children with disabilities (birth–26) to more fully participate with professionals in meeting the early intervention, educational and transitional needs of their children.
OBJECTIVE 2: To increase parent participation in school meetings by conducting one-on-one mentoring sessions either in person or by phone to prepare parents to act as equals in the mutual determination process of their child’s programming.
PERFORMANCE MEASURES: At the end of Year 1, 75% of parents participating in the mentoring process will report an increase of knowledge/preparation to more fully participate in school meetings as demonstrated on at least two indicators below; Year 2, 78%; Year 3, 83%; Year 4, 85%, Year 5, 88%.
EVALUATION INDICATORS: mentoring session evaluation sheets; personal interviews of participants; phone interviews and follow up
TOTAL NUMBER OF PARENTS/FAMILY MEMBERS REACHED OVER 5 YEARS: 4,000
Activities Responsibility Timeline
(1) Recruit and train parent volunteers to act as Mentor Parents. Mentor Parents will be trained to provide information on disabilities, procedural safeguards & IDEA, programs and services; support, guidance, and advocacy assistance. Support to parents may also include literacy assistance (including LEP), basic life needs and agency referral. Director, Family Consult. On-going Training 4× per year
(2) Mentor Parents and the Program Director will also pay particular attention to parents of children who may be inappropriately identified as having disabilities when, in fact, they do not and will work with parents and school officials to resolve these issues. Director, Mentor Parents On-going
(3) The PA Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) will provide 2 information & training sessions to Mentor Parents who will assist other parents in understanding the value of mediation in trying to resolve conflict between themselves and school officials. Director to coordinate w/ODR Fall & Spring of each year
Mentor Parent Program—MULTI YEAR PLAN OF ACTION
GOAL: To enable parents of children with disabilities (birth–26) to more fully participate with professionals in meeting the early intervention, educational and transitional needs of their children.
OBJECTIVE 3: To increase professionals’ knowledge & understanding of disabilities and parental rights under the law.
PERFORMANCE MEASURES: At the end of Year 1, 70% of participating professionals will demonstrate an increased knowledge/understanding of disabilities and parental rights as demonstrated on two indicators below; Year 2, 75%, Year 3, 78%; Year 4, 80%; Year 5, 82%.
EVALUATION INDICATORS: Workshop/training written evaluations; increased parental participation in school meetings (school documentation); documentation of school professional inquiries to MPP; # of districts that list MPP as parent resource; # of requests for disabilities information
TOTAL NUMBER OF PROFESSIONALS REACHED OVER 5 YEARS: 3,000
Activities Responsibility Timeline
(1) To work collaboratively with Parent-to-Parent and PEAL (Region 2 PTI) to conduct 10 training sessions over 5 years to increase professionals’ knowledge of disabilities and parental rights under the law. Director to coordinate Fall & Spring each year
(2) Disseminate information to professionals on various disabilities and other topics including but not limited to: IDEA, special ed. laws and regs., IFSP & IEP development, dispute & resolution, transition and assistive technology. Director, Admin. Ass’t Family Consult., Mentor Parents On-going
(ii) Extent to which design is appropriate/addresses needs of target population
The Mentor Parent Program, a community-based parent program and currently funded CPRC with a 20 year history of providing supports and services to underserved families in rural northwest PA, has developed successful strategies for meeting the diverse needs of the families it serves. These successful strategies are replicated in the design of the project activities and the Mentor Parent Program staff has been implementing these best practices targeted to the needs of these underserved families for more than 20 years, so is fully capable of carrying out the project design.
The project design is appropriate because parents of children with disabilities have developed it. These parents not only understand the needs of their neighbors and communities, but also the service & education system in the region. The design outlined below will address the needs identified by the families the Mentor Parent Program has been serving. Each family will receive: Assistance with basic life needs as necessary to enable families to focus on the disability-related needs of their children with disabilities; culturally and linguistically appropriate on-going informational and emotional support about disabilities, disability resources, parents’ rights & responsibilities under IDEA and mediation, and school reform issues, and positive behavioral support strategies to enable them to participate as full partners in educational decision-making; and training and on-going support for those who wish to serve as Mentor Parents. Each professional will receive: Opportunities to attend workshops and training sessions designed to enhance their understanding of the needs & realities of underserved families who have children with disabilities and strategies to enhancing the support they provide to these families; and requested information on disability issues, positive behavioral support strategies, IDEA & any other related issue.
By the end of Year 5 of this project, The Mentor Parent Program will have provided service to an estimated 10,000 underserved families, thereby enabling these families to (1) understand their children’s disabilities; (2) provide follow-up support for the educational programs of their children with disabilities; (3) communicate more effectively with special and regular educators and other professionals; (4) participate more fully with providers in the educational decision-making in securing the services that are guaranteed to them under IDEA; (5) obtain information about the range of services and resources available at the national, state and local levels to children with disabilities and their families; and (6) understand the provisions for educating children with disabilities under IDEA. The program will have also provided training in cultural competence to 3,000 educators/service providers thus enhancing their capacity to work with underserved, impoverished families (including the homeless) in sensitive & responsive ways.
(iii) The extent to which the Mentor Parent Program establishes linkages with other agencies providing services to the target population
The Mentor Parent Program has developed some significant organizational linkages over the course of its 20 years of service. In addition to the natural linkages with school districts, medical facilities and service providers, the Director and Associate Director have developed important relationships at the local, state and national levels that help them meet the needs of local parents. Maintaining these linkages is an important aspect of operating the program in an effective manner. Many linkages/collaborations are outlined through letters in the Appendix.
Significant Regional Linkages:
Riverview Intermediate Unit—a regional education service agency serving 11 counties in western PA, provides in-kind office space, meeting rooms for workshops, supplies and materials, as well as financial support for two parent workshops per year. (see letter of collaboration in Appendix)
Significant State Linkages
PA Department of Education—PDE has strongly endorsed this proposal.
Education Law Center-PA—a non-profit law firm based in Philadelphia that provides free legal assistance to families of children with disabilities pledges its support in continuing this partnership by providing parent education workshops, written materials for parents, and assistance for individual families. As their Program Coordinator stated in a letter of cooperation, “It’s unfortunate—but true—that the northwest has always been an underserved portion of Pennsylvania. In fact, you (The MPP) are really the only ball game in town in that part of the state! Your familiarity with local school officials, community leaders, and the officials of the Children & Youth and Mental Health/Mental Retardation systems provides an excellent foundation for a successful Parent Center.”
“It’s unfortunate—but true—that the northwest has always been an underserved portion of Pennsylvania. In fact, you (The MPP) are really the only ball game in town in that part of the state! Your familiarity with local school officials, community leaders, and the officials of the Children & Youth and Mental Health/Mental Retardation systems provides an excellent foundation for a successful Parent Center.”
Education Law Center-PA
Pennsylvania Office of Dispute Resolution—A service of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Mentor Parent Program has had ODR conduct parent and professional training programs in northwest Pennsylvania. The program will continue to maintain this linkage to support the mediation process & train Mentor Parents so as to better disseminate the features of this service for parents and schools.
PEAL—Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership Center—the newest PTI developed when OSEP reapportioned Pennsylvania and divided the existing funding to support two PTIs. PEAL serves Region 2 (43 counties) in Pennsylvania and as the Executive Director states in her letter of collaboration to the MPP—“. . . The Mentor Parent Program has developed expertise in serving parents in rural communities in 11 counties in northwestern PA. Working together with the MPP will be a tremendous asset for the PEAL Center . . .” (see letter of collaboration in Appendix)
Philadelphia HUNE, Inc—a federally funded CPRC located in Philadelphia that has worked with the MPP for more than seven years to assist families with ESL issues. HUNE assists with translation services and cooperative support for rural families of Hispanic origin.
PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of MR & Mental Health—The MPP provides services to the region through the State IM4Q (Independent Monitoring for Quality) project through the Office of Mental Retardation. The IM4Q Program was begun in response to a 1997 recommendation of the OMR-PAC in its Multi-Year Plan. MPP was recognized by the Bureau Director for having more than 50% of its board members and/or IM4Q monitoring team members as people with developmental and other disabilities or family members of people with disabilities. This relationship of encouraging participation of people with disabilities is critical and a core value of the MPP.
Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network—Regionalized training centers funded through the Department of Education.
PA Protection and Advocacy Program Significant National Linkages:
The Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities—is a consortium of 13 community-based, parent-directed programs (including the Mentor Parent Program) and the diverse parent constituencies they serve. Each of the community-based parent programs of the Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities provides comprehensive and culturally and language-appropriate training, information and support services to traditionally and historically un/underserved individuals with special needs and their families. Families served by the programs of the Grassroots Consortium live in un/underserved rural and urban communities and predominantly in empowerment/enterprise zones. The purpose of the Grassroots Consortium and each of its member programs is to ensure that all families assume their role as active decision-makers in the education of their children with disabilities. The Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities will support the work of this proposed project by sharing best practices, resources and materials from each program.
The Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers—a federally funded organization that provides technical assistance for establishing, developing and coordinating parent training and information projects under IDEA. The Mentor Parent Program has used this organization’s services over the years and will continue to rely on it for technical assistance during this proposal’s funding period.
The Beach Center on Families and Disability—is a NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center located at the University of Kansas. The Beach Center and the Grassroots Consortium have a long-term partnership characterized by shared vision, collaborative activities, and reliable reliances. Specifically, Beach Center staff will be readily available to the project director of this project to assist in any capacity that will be helpful in accomplishing the program goals. (see letter of collaboration in Appendix)
(iv) Extent to which the MPP encourages parental involvement
The Mentor Parent Program began as a grassroots organization of parents that grew up through the community. It maintains that core characteristic from which it grew—a parent driven, family-centered program.
The MPP has operated as a multi-county region since its inception because, in a rural region with a low population density, many services are often offered only on a regional basis. These founding parents created a regional Board of Directors, the majority of which is comprised of parents of children with disabilities, that is representative of the geographic community the program serves. The board establishes policy and guides the focus of this program so it maintains its core characteristic of being parent-driven and family-centered.
The Mentor Parent Program has a Board of Directors comprised of 13 members, 54% of who are parents of children (birth to age 26) with disabilities. This board was created in 1990 and has been active in program activities since its inception. The Board of Directors meets quarterly to review activities undertaken by the program and its staff, make modifications, and to discuss future activities. Board members also are local advocates within their respective communities for the program in terms of locating resources and networking with other community-based groups.
The proposal’s Director and Associate Director are people with disabilities and are also parents of children with disabilities. MPP staff is comprised of parents and has operated in the community for more than 20 years. Each has personal experience in navigating the mazes of service systems in this region, they know about disability issues, special education and community resources. Because they are trusted and respected by parents and professionals in the region, and because they are delivering the services that families need, parents will be much more comfortable in taking advantage of the services that the Mentor Parent Program offers. The MPP works with parents, schools and agencies to problem solve and develop outcomes to benefit families & children with disabilities.
Parental involvement is encouraged in a variety of ways: (1) support for meeting basic life needs; (2) education and training about disability issues and their rights and responsibilities under IDEA; (3) one-to-one informational and emotional support; (4) resource materials made available at the appropriate literacy/language level, and (5) opportunities for personal and professional growth through workshops and Mentor Parent trainings. All of these services will be provided by parents to other parents.
(v) Extent the Mentor Parent Program encourages consumer involvement
The consumers of the services of the Mentor Parent Program include parents of children with disabilities and their families, educators, and service providers. The Board of Directors for the MPP, which is made up of 54% of parents, allows for consumer involvement in planning and implementing all aspects of this project. Other parental involvement as consumers was discussed in the previous section.
As far as the involvement of educators and service providers, it happens on a variety of levels. Two service providers and one educator serve on the board so that their concerns and visions of the program can be expressed. However, most of the interaction from these consumers comes in meeting the needs of both the parents and children with disabilities.
The staff from the program has built alliances with service providers to facilitate meeting the basic life needs of many of the families it serves. Although advocates in both the educational and service settings, Mentor Parent Program staff work to build bridges with providers to obtain the appropriate educational and human services that the child with disabilities requires. It teaches self-advocacy skills to parents and their children with disabilities and encourages relationship building with providers. The collaboration has continued to grow and expand with positive outcomes for families and children with disabilities in an area where resources are limited and school districts struggle with budgets.
“The focus of the Mentor Parent Program efforts to provide parents with the information, communication skills, and opportunities to participate as knowledgeable decision-makers in the education of their children along with providing the families with a network of field-based support seems to be the right combination of assistance to promote informed parent participation in the educational decision making process . . . PaTTAN is deeply invested in the work that you and your staff . . . perform for parents.”
Dr. Ellen Romett
PA Training & Technical Assistance Network
Dr. Ellen Romett, Managing Director of the Pa Department of Education’s PA Training and Technical Assistance Network, has written, “The focus of the Mentor Parent Program efforts to provide parents with the information, communication skills, and opportunities to participate as knowledgeable decision-makers in the education of their children along with providing the families with a network of field-based support seems to be the right combination of assistance to promote informed parent participation in the educational decision making process . . . PaTTAN is deeply invested in the work that you and your staff . . . perform for parents.”
In addition, the Mentor Parent Program has become a resource to both educators and service providers. The Director is frequently contacted by school administrators and service providers for assistance with special education problems in the schools. Many schools in this region are desperately poor and consequently, their staff members are not always afforded the opportunity to obtain the most current professional development, especially in special education. The Mentor Parent Program has been assisting schools in filling in the gaps by providing workshops for district staff on a wide variety of topics.
Plans for Addressing Section 427 of GEPA
As a parent information and support program for families who have family members with special needs, the Mentor Parent Program offers its services to children, parents, extended family members, service providers, and educators without regard to gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. To address disability barriers, the Mentor Parent Program holds all programming & workshops in fully accessible, community-based sites. Program staff work out of their homes and travel to meet with parents at community sites that have to be accessible by law. All materials will be made available in Braille and on audiotapes, as needed, to meet the needs of individuals with visual and/or hearing impairments. In addition, staff members will verbally translate informational resources, either personally or via audiotape, for individuals who are unable to read due to literacy or language issues.
(c) QUALITY OF PROJECT PERSONNEL
Nondiscriminatory Employment Practices
The Mentor Parent Program will not discriminate in educational programs, activities or employment practices based on race, color, national origin, gender, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, ancestry, union membership or any other legally protected classifications. This policy is in accordance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Mentor Parent Program has and will continue to make positive efforts to seek to employ qualified individuals with disabilities in project activities (Section 606 of IDEA). The MPP encourages applications for employment from persons who are traditionally underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability.
(i) The qualifications, including training and experience, of the Project Director
The Director of the Mentor Parent Program is Kim Rhodes, an individual with disabilities and a parent of children with disabilities. Ms. Rhodes began serving the MPP as a trained, volunteer Mentor Parent in 1999 and, for the past seven years, as a MPP staff member-Family Consultant. As a Family Consultant, Rhodes has: educated and encouraged families with children who are attending gifted, regular and special education; taught skills to families so they may become more confident in advocating for their child’s needs; Maintained regular face-to-face and telephone contact with:
■ Individuals, family members and legal guardians
■ Gifted, Regular and Special Education professionals
■ Service providers, including local, county, state and federal organizations and programs
■ Collaboration with other advocates
In addition, Rhodes has informed and educated families on services, information and referrals available through the Mentor Parent Program, assessment procedures, and procedural safeguards; provided information and assistance available for transition processes involving preschool, elementary, high school and post secondary education students; and has been responsible for regular attendance at meetings, trainings-formal/informal, seminars, workshops and conferences, as needed, to stay current on the most updated regulations and procedures. Rhodes’ greatest strength has been her grassroots involvement as a Mentor Parent/Family Consultant advocating assisting and maintaining effective communication between MPP families and schools for the past 11 years. Her resume appears in the Appendix.
(ii) The qualifications, including training and experience, of key project staff Associate Director (.15 FTE): The MPP Associate Director, Marie Fairman, is an individual with disabilities and the parent of children with disabilities. She has been involved with the MPP for more than 10 years as a volunteer Mentor Parent and, since 2008, as Project Coordinator for the MPP’s IM4Q Project—monitoring and collecting data, and conducting interviews with consumers and family members to assess their satisfaction with Mental Retardations services. For the past three years she has also worked for the PA Department of Education as a Peer Monitor whose responsibility includes monitoring the special education programs and services provided by local education agencies. Her resume appears in the Appendix.
Family Consultant (TBD): This project will employ one part time Family Consultant (.85 FTE). The person to be hired as a Family Consultant position must be certified as a Mentor Parent; have participated in this effort as a volunteer for five years or more; have positive, established relationships with schools and service providers; and be an excellent communicator. Employing qualified staff with disabilities is a priority of the MPP. This practice will continue.
(d) ADEQUACY OF RESOURCES
(i) Budget is adequate to support the proposed project
This budget provides the resources and the services of the MPP, using its 20 years of experience and best practices to serve the 11 county region targeted in this proposal. With the resources provided through this project, a Family Coordinator will be strategically located out in the field to assist in the coordination of Mentor Parent Program components, assisting the Director and Associate Director in getting services to families in need. Additional Mentor Parents will be trained and additional parent training opportunities will be offered. The outcome of these expanded resources will be the extension of the web of support for parents and families of children with disabilities in the central and western regions of PA,—truly underserved communities.
This budget supports the Director (.85 FTE), the Associate Director (.15 FTE), one Family Consultant (.85 FTE) and a part-time administrative assistant. This is a labor-intensive program because of the one-to-one support component. Because of the extreme ruralness of this region (over 3,000 sq. miles), travel costs (mileage calculated at the IRS rate) are high. It will support the toll-free parent hotlines, a real lifeline for parents who are too poor to have long distance on their phones. This budget also supports the duplication and creation of reading-level/language appropriate information and resources for the parents this program serves. It provides funding for a quarterly newsletter to assist the program in getting the word out on training opportunities, parent rights, disability issues, etc. And it will support the website for the program, which is maintained and updated by program staff.
Costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and significance
There are many reasons that contribute to the cost-effectiveness of this proposed project:
■ The Director has been working to meet the needs of this rural, underserved and impoverished region for more than 11 years. She has on-going and trusting relationships with parents and professionals across the service area. This project needs no start-up time, but can hit the ground running.
■ The Board of Directors members live in this region of Appalachian Pennsylvania and are largely parents of children with disabilities. They are well connected to parents, educators and service providers and provide these linkages to the community as a part of their board service. Many who originally requested services from MPP are now Board Members.
■ There is an existing corps of volunteer Mentor Parents that will be strengthened through this plan. These volunteers provide added value to the small staff this project supports. These volunteers requested services from MPP and now want to continue to support this program.
■ There are strong existing linkages with local, regional, state and national organizations that recognize the value of the MPP and have pledged to provide a variety of priority-related collaborative programs and services to meet the needs of families and children with disabilities. (see letters of collaboration in Appendix)
(e) QUALITY OF THE MANAGEMENT PLAN
(i) Adequacy of management plan
Evidence of Past Experience
The Mentor Parent Program, a community-based parent program, has more than 20 years of experience serving parents and families of children in this economically and educationally underserved region. It has been funded by the US Department of Education, first as an experimental rural PTI, and currently as a Community Parent Resource Center. The Mentor Parent Program exists to provide support and services to parents of children with disabilities through a coalition of united efforts of parents, educators, service agency personnel, and professionals to effectively meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families in the Appalachian region of rural Pennsylvania.
The MPP has been meeting this mission over the years by (1) providing one-on-one mentoring and support to build self-advocacy skills; (2) providing representation and advocating for the rights of underserved, impoverished rural children with disabilities and their families in the human services and education systems; (3) providing assistance and training opportunities for underserved parents and families; (4) building home-school partnerships through the modeling of positive advocacy practices; (5) acting as a resource for community-based information; (6) creating a web, a network, of parent support through the vast ruralness (over 3,000 sq. mi.) of this region to meet the needs of underserved parents & families of children with disabilities; (7) acting as a voice on the state and national level on behalf of rural parents and families of children with disabilities; & (8) providing assistance & support in addressing transition issues.
The Mentor Parent Program approach is recognized throughout the state. Sue Scott Dolan, Director of the PA Parents and Caregivers Resource Network, writes in her letter of collaboration for this proposal, “The Mentor Parent Program has led the way in collaborative relationships with other parent projects, professional agencies and schools and brought about astounding results . . . Your personal attention toward assisting families with low literacy skills to develop the strength and abilities they need to be partners on school based teams is matchless. The 14 years of collaboration between the MPP and the PPCRN has brought information and support to rural and urban families across the state. Our deeply held core values of giving personal, respectful support and going the extra mile has helped to reach families who are often forgotten.”
Management Design-
Board of Directors
The Mentor Parent Program currently has a Board of Directors comprised of 13 members, 54% of whom are parents of children with disabilities, 2% are ethnic minorities. Board members are representative of the rural region currently served. Board members represent each county served through the program. The board was created in 1990 and has been active in program activities since its inception. The Board of Directors meets quarterly to review activities undertaken by the program and its staff, make modifications, and to discuss future activities. The Board also participates in an annual review of the program staff as a required part of the evaluation process. Board members also are local advocates within their respective communities for the program in terms of locating resources and networking with other community-based groups.
Project Staff Job Descriptions/Time Commitments
FIGURE 9.4 MPP Management Flow Chart
■ Project Director (.85 FTE)—The Director is an individual with disabilities and a parent of children with disabilities and will serve in a full time capacity and will be responsible for the following: networking with existing parent support groups in the MPP service area; coordinating parent trainings and workshops; supervising the Family Consultant
and Administrative Assistant; providing mentoring services to parents; representing the Mentor Parent Program on national, regional, and state levels; completing and submitting reports to the Department of Education, OSEP, Alliance, and Regional TA; preparing vouchers in a timely manner and submit for payment to the fiscal agent; facilitating, organizing, implementing and evaluating overall goals, objectives and activities of MPP; preparing statements and supporting data in responds to questions, and meeting with the board to discuss operations and formulating policies and procedures; attending local meetings within the 11 rural counties MPP serves such as: LICC, Transition Council, Local Task Force, Early Head Start, Head Start; communicating with OSEPs thru email/phone consults; and performing other duties as assigned by the Board of Directors.
■ Associate Director (.15 FTE): The Associate Director is an individual with disabilities and a parent of children with disabilities and will serve in a part-time capacity in this project and will be responsible to: assist in presentations, workshops and help facilitate meetings, trainings that are sponsored by MPP; assist in developing and coordinating network communication for public awareness and educating agencies; assist/coordinate special projects, data for brochure, handouts, and MPP materials and update MPP manual; attend all regional, state and national meetings/represent the Mentor Parent Program on National, Regional, and State levels; assist in facilitating quarterly board meetings providing, written/oral summary reports; assist in managing budget expenditures: tracking expenditures, complete reports for the board; assist in preparing vouchers in a timely manner and submitting for payment to the fiscal agent; assist in completing and submitting reports to the Department of Education, OSEP, Alliance, and Regional TA; assist in preparing statistical and progress reports as mandated by Department of Education, OSEP, Alliance and Regional TA; assist in facilitating, organizing, implementing and evaluating overall goals, objectives and activities of MPP; assist in preparing statements and supporting data in responds to questions, and meet with the board to discuss operations and formulating policies and procedures; attend local meetings within the areas served by MPP.
■ Family Consultant (.85 FTE)—The FC will be a parent of a child(ren) with disabilities or an individual with disabilities who will perform the following duties: provide local dissemination of information; coordinate local parent training in cooperation with the Project Director; network with local service agencies, school districts and the area intermediate unit; attend regional Local Interagency Coordinating Council, Transition Council & Local Task Force meetings, as well as others assigned by the Project Director; refer potential Mentor Parent candidates for review to the Project Director; provide mentoring services to parents; assist in the coordination of presentations; perform other duties as assigned by the Director.
■ Administrative Assistant (PT hourly)—will be a parent of a child with a disability or an individual with a disability who will perform the following duties: provide administrative support for all activities for the project; collect all data & maintain data base; perform clerical duties; other duties as assigned by the Director.
■ Mentor Parents—are volunteer parents who are trained and certified, assigned by the Project Director, and agree to perform the following duties: build a trusting relationship with parent/family in need; provide one-on-one mentoring; provide advocacy in meetings; • will contact the Director for assistance & follow-up; assist in securing resources to meet family needs; empower families and individuals with disabilities to make decisions; help reduce barriers with professionals and service providers; • will be an integral part of sharing concerns and needs of families and communities.
Use of Resources and Personnel to Achieve Objectives
Following is Figure 5, the Personnel Loading Chart, which describes the percentage of time each staff member will be devoting to each project activity.
Fiscal and Administrative Control
The Mentor Parent Program was incorporated and received its federal IRS 501(c) 3 status in 1995. However, the program’s board has chosen to contract with Riverview Intermediate Unit to provide the program’s bookkeeping and payroll services. The Riverview Intermediate Unit is a regional education service agency, an arm of the PA Department of Education. It has in place all the required personnel and systems needed for fiscal control including accounting procedures to assure compliance with EDGAR regulations and state-of-the-art procedures for accounting. Program control remains with the Board of Directors and the Project Director. This allows the unhindered focus of the program to remain on serving the families. The Riverview Intermediate Unit’s fee for this service is discussed in the budget section of this proposal.
FIGURE 9.5 MPP Personnel Loading Chart
(ii) Adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous improvement
This section includes the evaluation plan, which references the logic model, and discusses how the project ensures feedback & continuous improvement and provides outcome-based, objective and quantifiable data.
The evaluation plan uses both quantitative (frequency counts) and qualitative (focus groups, parent surveys) methods to evaluate project objectives in four areas:
(1) Project Management—Evaluation of the attainment of project objectives
(2) Documentation—Specific data on the number of parents who receive services
(3) Satisfaction—Evaluation of parental attitudes re: the quality of services received
(4) Impact —Evaluation of the benefits that occurred for underserved and culturally diverse children/adults with special needs & their families from the services they received
The data collected in the evaluation plan is totally consistent with the data required for the annual report to Congress (20 U.S.C. 1434(A)(3)(b)).
The Project Director will be overseeing the on-going project management through her regular staff meetings and phone follow-up visits with volunteer Mentor Parents who are matched with a family. The Director will be responsible for monitoring progress in meeting the stated objectives and making program modifications as needed. The Board of Directors will be kept apprised of the project status at its quarterly meetings through the Director’s report.
Documentation will involve database entry and computerized charting of the frequencies associated with each objective. The Mentor Parent Program participates in the Alliance’s AIMS database. The Alliance Information Management System (A.I.M.S.) is a database created by The Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers specifically to collect statistical data. This database stores information about individuals and organizations that have contacted the parent center for assistance and resources related to a child with a disability. It maintains contact information about the individual, mail lists to disseminate information for each child, grant-related information, and a history of individuals’ contacts with the parent center. A.I.M.S. is an efficient tool for collecting and monitoring statistical information. All staff has been trained to enter the information. Technical assistance is provided through the Alliance via e-mail, website, or phone. The Mentor Parent Program can manage their information on the database at their location. Each location is secured with a Security Group User Name and Password. Each User Name has a level of security. The database administrator has a high level of security and can access all records within their individual parent center. Other users of the database would have a low level of security that enables them to only to add information. The data is used for the Alliance’s annual publication/report: Parent Centers: Helping Families Data Outcome.
Satisfaction and impact will be measured through surveys, phone interviews and focus groups conducted by an outside evaluator. The MPP will engage the services of an outside evaluator to conduct this portion of the evaluation and report to the Board of Directors. The MPP will engage an evaluator with experience in evaluating federally funded programs and who is a person with disabilities or the family member of a person with disabilities.
FIGURE 9.6 The Evaluation Plan
Conclusion-
The Mentor Parent Program, with its 20 year history of achieving results for parents and families of children with all kinds of disabilities in a large multi-county area of rural Appalachian Pennsylvania, is a natural choice for the Community Parent Resource Center Project.
■ The parent and professional infrastructure exists so that project implementation will not be interrupted.
■ The MPP Director and Associate Director, have worked both as volunteers and staff in this program for the past 11 years and have helped build and maintain a parent-driven program for those previously un/underserved. They continue to build alliances among other parent programs, service providers, and educators so that parents and their children with disabilities can get the services and resources they need.
■ The MPP has the support of many statewide organizations and the PA Department of Education. (see letters in Appendix)
■ The MPP has served as one of Pennsylvania’s CPRCs for nine years. The program has the fiscal experience and support to manage federal funding and has a history of success in doing so. The MPP is familiar with the reporting systems and data gathering required for OSEP.
The Mentor Parent Program asks that it be selected again to be a CPRC serving those in rural Appalachian Pennsylvania.
A Parent’s Reflection on the Mentor Parent Program
“When my son failed first grade, I learned that he has ADHD. I researched ADHD to learn how to help him with the school issues he was having. With all the research I did and knowledge I gained, nothing I said or did helped him succeed in school. I believe that was because I was ignorant of the federal and state laws that are in place to help children like him. By the time he reached 7th grade, I was very worried that he would end up quitting school . . . It was at our most dire moment that I heard of the Mentor Parent Program. That was 12 years ago.
Today my son has gone to Tech school and is working and being a productive member of society. I truly believe it is because of all the help and support the Mentor Parent Program gave us! . . .
Over the years, I have learned a great lesson. Northwestern Pennsylvania only has you, the Mentor Parent Program . . . (no one) else has ever come to our rural area to do needed workshops or help us attain the information that we so greatly need to help our children succeed in the educational arena. We do not have the language needed to get school “professionals” to understand our children’s needs. You have helped give that to us . . .
Because of the great works I have witnessed your program provide over the years; and because of the help and support you have given me to learn the laws and how to help other parents, it has been a great pleasure and honor for me to return the favor by working for your program as a volunteer mentor (parent). In becoming a volunteer mentor, you have supported me in acquiring more needed knowledge of the ever-changing laws by going to workshops throughout the state and sometimes even further. As I am sure it is a challenge for your program to serve such a vast and wide-spread rural area, we can never thank you enough. The Mentor Parent Program has put a bright light in a very dark area of our and our children’s lives . . .”
Barbara A. Kelly
Parent and volunteer Mentor Parent

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