National Indian Parent Information Center (NIPIC)
Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS)

Present the Second Annual

Strengthening the Circle: 2009
Including children and young adults with disabilities

Hotel Information:
Marriott Pyramid North
5151 San Francisco Road, NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109
Phone: 1-800-262-2043
Tuesday, June 16
Wednesday, June 17, 2008

Conference 2009 Pictures

Winner of donation
Conference Forms

About the Conference

Each year the National Native American Parent Center presents an Annual Conference for Native American family members, tribal leaders, health professionals, mental health workers, tribal and public school administers; teachers, counselors, educators, and staff, BIA and IHS staff, elders and others who are interested in ensuring the Special Education needs for Native American students who are age 0 – 26.

This year we were again in New Mexico! We were excited this year to work in Collaboration once more with Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS) Parent Center.

Workshops and presentations focused on strategies and methods to increase the family’s participation in the special education process. We offered information on Best practices working with Indian students with disabilities that produces successful educational outcomes. We also offered information on: Successful strategies that promote collaborative relationships between tribes, schools, and families; Successful methods in positive Behavioral interventions, and the latest research and data on effective classroom practices and strategies for Native American students.

Conference Goals:

  • Families will be giving skills to increase their ability to advocate for their child in the special education process
  • Families will learn stress reduction techniques to assist them with having a child with disabilities.
  • Professionals and parents will have knowledge about:
    • Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Tips for participation in the IEP & IFSP process
    • Positive Behavioral interventions
    • Parent leadership skills
    • Successful strategies for improved educational outcomes for children with disabilities

Key Note Speaker: Ronalda Tome

Ronalda Tome

Ronalda Tome currently serves as a parent educator for the EPICS project, where she works in serving educational needs to parents and students in all 19 Indian Pueblos, and three tribes in New Mexico.

She has recently been appointed to the New Mexico Advisory Council for Special Education, and serves as a committee member.

Ronalda Tome has served in Indian education for more than five years in both Colorado and in New Mexico.  She has contributed locally to the Jefferson County Public Schools Indian Education, and for Denver Indian Family Resource Center.  She was a facilitator for the Nurturing Parent Program, assisting families in their recovery from abuse.  She assisted in bringing families together with cultural relevance to build strong families.  Ronalda served for three years with the Indian education office for Jefferson County Public Schools in metropolitan Denver as a community liaison.  She served as a member of the Jefferson County Parent Teacher Association before moving to New Mexico 2 ½ years ago.  She also served at the County and State level PTA in various committees and special functions.  Ronalda was selected to serve in the Native Employee Alliance, and worked with the minority educators alliance for Jefferson County Public Schools.  She worked with the Equity Department in training teachers to understanding cultural diversity.

Ronalda is the creator and author of Creative Circles, a multisensory reading and learning method that uses culture, art, music, and creative expression.  Students who have been introduced to Creative Circles have shown positive results and increased reading and writing skills.  Ronalda also presented Creative Circles at the National Indian Education Association for the last three years.

She was previously bestowed the honor and award of NIEA Parent of the Year for 2005, in Denver, Colorado.  She was recognized by the Mayor and City Council of Arvada, and given an Award for Excellence by the Jefferson County Public Schools for her advancement in education among Native American students.  Ronalda also served on the Diversity Council for Jefferson County Public Schools.  She also served with the Colorado State Gifted and Talented Association.

Ronalda was on the steering committee for mental health, Healing the Circle, with Denver Indian Family Resource Center.  She was also on the planning committee for the 2005 National Indian Education Association conference in Denver.

Ronalda was appointed by the New Mexico Secretary of Education and Governor to the New Mexico Individuals with Disabilities Education Act State Advisory panel.  She has held working discussions with the Office of the Mayor for the City of Albuquerque to create increased understanding of the problems and needs for Indian families and students who reside in our urban communities.  She is on the New Mexico Advisory panel for parent involvement.  She wishes to assist parents to become stronger advocates in understanding their rights in Special Education, Title 7 programs, JOM, and other state and federal education initiatives.  She served as a Parent Representative for the Albuquerque Public Schools Indian Education Committee, and was recently appointed to the Superintendent Interview Committee for APS. Currently, Ronalda is working with National Parent Teacher Association in creating cultural relevancy when it comes to Native Families and sits on the NM PTA as Diversity Chair.

She was the presenter at the first Jemez and Zia Pueblos education summit, parent workshop on advocacy this year.  She is the presenter of Circle of Culture, for PEAK Parent Center, and Circle of Courage, which she currently uses in her position as a parent educator in New Mexico.

Ronalda attended the University of New Mexico majoring in Athletic Training and Anthropology.  She is currently a student at the University of Northern Colorado, completing her teaching credentials in special education.  She is Navajo, and grew up in Crownpoint, New Mexico.  Her three children are in the Gifted and Talented programs in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Strengthening the Circle: October 2008