Workshop Offerings

parents, caregivers, students, educators,
administrators, health professionals

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Complete Workshop Offerings (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Who is SPAN?

The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. (SPAN) empowers families, professionals, and other individuals interested in the well-being and educational rights of children. We work towards this goal by providing information, training, technical assistance, support and the exchange of ideas. SPAN’s special commitment is to those children with the greatest need due to disability, poverty, discrimination based on race, sex, or language, or other special needs. SPAN’s goal is to enable all children to become fully participating and contributing members of society. SPAN’s multifaceted program is carried out by a bilingual, multiracial staff of parents of children with and without disabilities.

Contact SPAN

To register for a workshop, please contact us!

Toll-Free: (800) 654-SPAN x100
Phone: (973) 642-8100 x100
Fax: (973) 642-8080
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Workshop Fees
SPAN is a non-profit agency. Each year, SPAN provides a limited number of free county-based and regional workshops open to all. Due to fiscal constraints, fees are charged to districts, agencies and service providers sponsoring additional parent or professional workshops. Except as noted, individual workshops last approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, and include both presentations and interaction among all participants. Please contact SPAN’s Training Coordinator for full fee information.

Sponsor a Workshop
If your school, parent group or organization would like to sponsor a SPAN training or workshop in your area, please contact SPAN.

SPAN Annual Conference

Each spring, SPAN’s annual conference is a forum for a wide range of workshops and exchange of current issues. Look for information on our website.


All workshops are available in English and Spanish. Sign language interpretation can also be made available. If you have additional translation needs, please let us know.

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Categorical Index of Workshop Offerings

Click on any category below for a listing of related workshops

Rights Improving Schools Family Strengthening Achievement
Violence Prevention Leadership Development Health and Mental Health Parent to Parent

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Alphabetical Index of Workshop Offerings

Click on a letter below for a listing of related workshops


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Categorical Index of Workshop Offerings

Click on any workshop title below to view its description


Violence Prevention

Health and Mental Health

Improving Schools

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Leadership Development

Parent to Parent

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Family Strengthening


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Alphabetical Index of Workshop Offerings

Accessing Your Child’s Records

Provides parents with information regarding their rights to access their children’s school records, correct and/or remove misinformation, and restrict access of professionals and others to those records without parental consent.

Basic Rights in Special Education

Provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities as parents of children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the New Jersey Code, and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Parents learn to identify their dreams and goals for their children, and learn laws and advocacy strategies that will help them help their children reach those goals. Parents of classified children and children who are having difficulty in school but may not be classified benefit from this training.

Bilingual and Immigrant Student and Family Rights

Provides families with information on the rights of bilingual/limited English proficient and immigrant students and families, including the right to access appropriate services, non-discrimination requirements, and strategies for involvement of immigrant and limited English proficient families.

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Challenging Behaviors

Concentrates on how to use positive techniques to understand challenging behaviors and establishing an environment that encourages desirable behavior in children.

Character Education

Families and schools have a profound effect on their children’s character development. This workshop will explore character education and offer practical ways in which they assist in their child’s moral and social development.

Child Care and Anti-Discrimination Laws

This workshop for parents and child care providers summarizes the non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, and provides tools and resource information to ensure that these anti-discrimination laws are applied to protect children with disabilities and special health needs in all child care settings.

Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher

Participants will learn different ways for communicating with their child’s teacher.  These strategies are designed to create a two-way communication in which parents and teachers can keep each other informed of the child’s academic and social well-being.

Conflict Resolution

Defines parents’ due process rights and ways to resolve conflicts, emphasizing working through the ranks to resolve conflict as close to the source as possible. It is designed not only for parents who are experiencing serious communication breakdown, but also for those perceiving initial problems.

Creating Family Friendly Schools

Schools, districts and parent organizations can choose any combination of the twelve available training modules to examine their current parent involvement policies and practices and begin to build a culture of continuous, sustained effective family involvement that can greatly contribute to student achievement and success in school. The training focuses on creating an awareness of existing cultural differences and strategies educators can use for improving and developing more effective school-family partnerships. Much of the content involves experiential learning, which actively engages people in their own learning and connects their own experience to new subject matter.

Creating Positive School Environments

Helps parents and professionals understand the factors that contribute to positive school environments. Strategies for evaluating and improving school climate are discussed, and examples of the impact of those strategies are provided.

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Developing an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for Achievement

Families are introduced to their role in developing and implementing an effective Individualized Education Program for their children with special needs. This workshop provides a step-by-step overview of the IEP process and demonstrates how families can participate as equal partners in that process. Useful parent tools including the Positive Student Profile and the IEP worksheet are disseminated. Families also learn about the federal requirements for IEPs, and the mandate that they participate as equal partners in IEP development.

Developing School Compacts for Learning Under No Child Left Behind

Leads parents and professional team through the steps of building and implementing a School Compact for Learning, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Tailored to the needs of the school, these facilitated sessions provide information, strategies, examples, and checklists to help parents, educators, and community members develop effective, workable compacts that can improve your school, increase family involvement, and increase student skills and achievement.

Discipline: Process and Substance

Children do not lose their constitutional rights when they walk through the schoolhouse door. This workshop summarizes the rights of children with and without disabilities in the area of discipline. What can administrators do? What are the limits on their authority? What are some alternatives to out-of-school suspension? When and before whom must suspension or expulsion hearings be held?

District Self-Assessment: An Instrument for Change

All the stakeholders, including professionals and parents, are key players in New Jersey’s local self-assessment and have clear roles for participation. This workshop describes the self-assessment content and yearlong process and provides the information necessary to participate effectively at the local district level. The results of the self-assessment serve as a method to monitor a local district’s compliance with federal and state requirements and can assist the district in developing an improvement plan that sets the stage for ongoing and continuous progress. Discover how you can be a participant and active agent for change!

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Early Intervention: Transition to Preschool Services

Focuses on the transition from early intervention services to the public education system and the development of the first IEP.

Families in Early Intervention

Developed in coordination with the Regional Collaboratives for Early Intervention. Provides an overview of the system for infants and toddlers and their families and will include the development of the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).  

Family and School Collaboration: A Cultural Perspective

Provides ways to foster culturally sensitive, culturally competent relationships between families and schools in order to enable all children to become fully participating and contributing members of our communities and society at large.

Family Support

Family Support means more than providing respite care. This training covers the Family Support Act, family-centered principles, and the role of Regional Family Support Councils.

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Getting Started: Creating an Environment for Inclusion to Grow

An awareness workshop presenting a vision for inclusion, clarifies definitions and concepts, sets inclusion within the context of school reform, and considers how effective home/school/community partnerships benefit all students.

Helping Your Child with Homework

Parents will gain an understanding of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and how homework can help their child achieve them, as well as practical strategies to assist your child at home in the development of positive study skills, while supporting classroom learning.

Inclusion: It’s the Law and It’s Doable

Provides the guiding principles of inclusion, information about the laws affecting it, how children are more alike than different and where to turn for assistance when necessary.

Inclusion/LRE (Least Restrictive Environment)

Provides an overview of the IEP process, describes the legal requirements for Least Restrictive Environment and stresses the value of inclusion of children with disabilities for all children, their families and communities.

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Making Healthy Health Decisions

Families need information and communication skills to ensure that their children receive appropriate health care. This workshop provides hands-on strategies and information about the health care and insurance systems; communicating and working with healthcare professionals; and healthcare advocacy.

Making Inclusion Happen

Learn how to teach to individual abilities and adapt activities to meet the needs of all children.

Making Room at the Table

This three-hour program of guided activities is designed for families, administrators, policy makers and other key players to develop the awareness and skills they will need to become involved in service design and delivery, policy development, community building and leadership training.

Making the Grade Using the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards

Participants will gain a better of understanding of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and the ways in which they can assist their child in the development of skills critical to academic success.

Medicaid Managed Care

Provides an overview of Medicaid managed care for children and youth with disabilities; “demystifies” managed care terms; and highlights strategies for effective selection of providers, partnership with providers, and participation in decision-making in health decisions affecting children with special health care needs.

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Observing and Recording Behavior

Reviews typical child development milestones, observation strategies and how to share this information with parents.

Parent Leadership Development Institute: Parents/Communities as Effective Partners in School Reform and Improvement

A series of eight workshops providing information on effective education practices, state and federal education laws, including the Abbott v. Burke decisions, No Child Left Behind, Title I and other state and federal laws impacting schools. Participants will learn the information and strategies to increase effective, informed parent involvement in school improvement at local and state levels. Especially geared toward preparing parents for participation on school-based management teams.

Parent/Professional Collaboration

Partnerships take work and trust. This workshop focuses on collaborative teaming, communication, and advocacy. Specifically designed for parents and educators or health professionals to learn these skills together.

Parent/Teacher Conferences for Improving Student Outcomes

This workshop outlines ways to improve communication during parent-teacher conferences. Suggestions are also offered to help parents participate more effectively in parent-teacher conferences dealing with children’s behavior and learning.

Positive Behavioral Supports for Children with Challenging Behaviors

Provides an overview of a cycle of failure that often results for students with behavioral challenges. Focuses on intervention with students who exhibit challenging behaviors (e.g. aggression, self-injury, tantrums). The emphasis on educational strategies helps students learn alternate behaviors that can lead to long-term change. Information on due process rights of children in the discipline process is also provided.

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Questions Parents Ask About Schools

From preschool through high school and beyond, parents are looking for answers to concerns - from homework to preparing for college. This workshop is tailored to the age(s) of the children’s parents and caregivers. Schools/districts are encouraged to work with the workshop leader to provide answers specific to the school or district.

The Rights of Homeless Students

The federal McKinney Act provides basic protections to homeless students and families. This workshop provides an overview of the rights of homeless families and students in the education system, and summarizes the obligations of school districts to provide appropriate educational services to homeless students.

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New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards require youth to demonstrate proficiency in “cross-content workplace readiness” skills. This workshop tells parents and professionals how to develop a School-to-Work program to meet this goal.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Focuses on the right to services and accommodations for students with disabilities and special health/emotional needs who may not be eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)/ special education.

Social Problem-Solving: Building Skills to Resolve Conflict

Whenever parents and professionals work together, the possibility for conflict exists. This workshop for parents and professionals assists participants to identify their "feelings fingerprints" (signals of conflict), understand the steps of effective "social problem-solving," and practice applying those steps through role-play. 

Solution Circles

This is a facilitated process for creative problem solving. Solution Circles can make IEP meetings and other discussions between families and schools or other institutions more productive. The method involves understanding the essence of issues in a fair and concrete way, exploring a variety of possible solutions, and determining steps toward solving the problem. The emphasis is on getting solutions quickly, rather than rehashing the problem.

SPAN Resource Parent Training

Provides 6-session program on educational issues and individual advocacy strategies with an emphasis on special education law and practice to prepare parents to volunteer to support and provide technical assistance to other families.

Special Education and School Reform

The stated goal of many of today’s school reform efforts is to raise the performance of all students; but does all really mean all? Identify issues that arise in school reform and examine the various ways that students with disabilities must be included in these efforts. For parents, special educators and general educators!

Strategies for Inclusion: Making It Happen

Planning and Implementing Inclusion in Neighborhood Schools: Learn to plan for the inclusion of a student by developing a positive student profile, formulating goals, and coordinating the individualized supports for the student to fully participate in the total school community. Also addresses staff preparation, administrative supports, and collaborative planning techniques.

Strengthening Families Program

Family-focused behavior-oriented prevention/intervention program that helps improve parenting skills and communication, establish clear family rules and decrease family conflict. Includes parent skills and family skills training components. All three components are included in each of the fourteen sessions.

Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities

This twelve-session curriculum is a unique integration of various prevention/intervention strategies geared toward reducing violence against self, the family and the community. Presented within a “cultural framework” and focused on helping parents and children enhance life skills necessary for functioning in today’s society. Integrates positive discipline approaches as a vehicle for fostering high self-esteem, self-discipline and social competence in children. Parents are provided with a mechanism to connect with community resources and encouraged to form community action groups to address social, political and economic issues related to the prevention of family and community violence. Structured into five component areas: Cultural/Spiritual, Rites of Passage, Enhancing Relationships, Positive Discipline, and Community Involvement.

Students in Foster Care

Summarizes the general and special education rights of students in foster care as well as those of birth and foster care parents. It provides an overview of the responsibilities of school districts to address the academic and other needs of children in foster care.

Supporting Academic Success

Provides helpful hints for parents on supporting their child’s academic success at home while working with professionals to devise plans to assist children facing academic difficulties at school.

Surrogate Parent Training

Series of comprehensive workshops provided to school districts who have identified members of the community who are willing to advocate and make educational decisions on behalf of children with special needs whose parents cannot be involved. Information on education laws and strategies for effective parent/professional collaboration that prepares surrogate parents to be partners in the special education process on behalf of children in need.

Surrogate Parents in Early Intervention

A special workshop provided to members of the community willing to advocate on behalf of an infant whose parent cannot be involved in their early intervention program planning because of death, illness, detention in prison or other serious loss.

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There Ought To Be A Law! Parents Engaged in Public Policy Advocacy

This two-part workshop helps parents understand their role in making sure that legislators and other government policymakers address the issues of children and families. After completing the workshop, parents become part of a statewide network working on behalf of children.

Title I and No Child Left Behind Helping Students Meet Academic Standards

Provides parents with information regarding their children’s right to services under Title I and their right to parental involvement regarding their individual child’s educational progress as well as the overall Title I program of the school. Also focuses on the benefits of schoolwide projects for overall school improvement.

Transition from School to Adult Life

Discusses issues relating to transitioning from school to adult life, identifying outcomes and developing goals as part of the IEP process. Parents and young adults will become knowledgeable regarding resources in the community in order to build linkages, and ensure a dignified life as a contributing citizen.

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Understanding ADHD

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) represent 3-5% of America’s school-age population. They can and do succeed when adults who work with them understand that their behaviors respond to instruction and intervene in positive ways. This workshop has been developed to help educate parents, teachers and others about ADHD. It consists of areas addressing diagnosis (what it is, who can diagnose it, services/interventions), disability categories under which a child may qualify for services, behavior management and instructional strategies.

Using Multiple Intelligences to Help Children Learn

Each child has unique gifts and strengths that may not be identified through traditional assessments. Learn how to identify each child’s unique “multiple intelligences” and gain teaching strategies designed to help bring out the best in each child.

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