May 2022 Partner Plan Act E-Newsletter

May 25, 2022

“The systems make us hard. Rest keeps us tender. There is power in our collective rest and care.” -The Nap Ministry

Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3)

The fifth cohort of the Partner Plan Act Collaboration Institute launches in July 2022. Communities can apply as teams to receive coaching, consultation, and training over the course of a year from our CS3 coaches and trainers. Deepen your collective and individual knowledge on community systems, systems building, and systems change by participating in this free and unique opportunity! To apply and learn more, visit the Partner Plan Act website. You can also download the Application Description and Request for Supports.

The annual Partner Plan Act conference is one month away! This year’s theme is Equity from the Start: Taking Action, Shifting Power. The conference is free to attend, provides Gateways and ISBE CPDU’s, and will be entirely available in English and Spanish. Register today and share widely!

Collaboration Highlight

Parent Perspective – Mariam Abbas

This month we spoke with Mariam Abbas, who lives in Bloomingdale with her husband Syed and her two girls, 4-year-old Sakina and 5-year-old Zahra. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her experience with early childhood programs and services.

  1. What early childhood programs or services have your children participated in?

    The family participated in the Glenbard Parents as Teachers (GPAT) home visiting program. At 18 months, Sakina received Early Intervention (EI) services. Sakina is now in preschool and Zahra is in kindergarten.

  2. How did you find out about these programs/services?

    Mariam reached out to her local school district to inquire about preschool for Zahra. At preschool screening day for Zahra, she found out about GPAT, a home visiting program that would benefit Sakina.

    She learned about Early Intervention at Sakina’s 18-month check-up, when the pediatrician asked Mariam if Sakina was using enough words. At that point Sakina was only using two words, but Mariam was not familiar with early childhood language milestones. The pediatrician suggested Early Intervention services and the doctor’s office staff put her in touch with the right people.

  3. What was your experience in accessing or enrolling in these services?

    At first Mariam was hesitant to participate in a home visiting program. She wasn’t sure how it would work, and if it was the right choice for her and her family. However, the person who enrolled her was very welcoming and reassuring, making the process easier despite the great number of questions. That put Mariam at ease.

    Accessing Early Intervention services was a bit more challenging. Mariam trusted her pediatrician completely and knew that anything she suggested was in her children’s best interest. Even though the amount of information she had to take in was overwhelming, Mariam followed her doctor’s advice. But when she sought out EI services, she encountered issues with her health insurance that were confusing to navigate; therapy services would not be covered unless the parents paid a monthly fee. It took a bit to get the situation sorted out, and once the family agreed to the co-pay, Zahra began to receive speech therapy.

  4. What is working well for your children and family?

    Preschool is working well, especially for her youngest, Sakina. She likes to interact with other children and really enjoys the classroom environment. She is independent and is learning things that Mariam didn’t realize were possible to learn at such a young age.

    Because of COVID, however, Zahra attended preschool online, and didn’t benefit as much as she might have in person. Although she did learn, she didn’t have a chance to interact with other children or develop her self-confidence. Nevertheless, Mariam believes preschool in any form is essential for all young children.

  5. What can programs do differently to better serve you and your family?

    One issue that Mariam’s family has encountered is having their two girls attend different schools. Due to lack of space, the school close to their home was not able to accommodate both girls, so Mariam has to travel to two different locations every day. She also has to juggle two different school activities calendars, which can be too much at times. Mariam believes that schools should know which children come from the same family, so they can plan to place accordingly.

  6. How do you engage with the programs or services?

    Mariam is part of the Parent Advisory Council for the Glenbard Early Childhood Collaborative. She had a chance to join through participation in GPAT, where parents were being asked for feedback on various topics. She has enjoyed her work with the Council, especially in these difficult COVID times.

    In sharing her experiences with the parents of other young children, Mariam has sensed some resistance. As a result, part of her work with the Advisory Councils has centered around increasing parent participation in GPAT.

  7. How has participating in GPAT benefited your children and family?

    Participating in GPAT was a positive experience for the whole family. It provided enriching early learning experiences, while giving helpful parenting advice. Beyond that, however, Mariam found amazing support and guidance from her home visitor. She was a source of information and resources, but most importantly, she gave Mariam space to talk and vent.

  8. What could agencies do to make accessing programs and services easier for families?

    The most important thing they can do is build trust. Parents listen to trusted sources (parents who have participated in programs, doctors, school personnel, etc.) in trusted spaces like schools, public libraries, and community centers. If information or outreach does not come from a trusted source, parents are not likely to join.


Explore the different race, ethnicity and origin categories used in the U.S. decennial census, from the first one in 1790 to the latest count in 2020. The category names often changed in a reflection of current politics, science and public attitudes. Understanding how people have been categorized provides historical knowledge that helps us understand how we got to the racial and ethnic categories we have now. Pew Research Center has created a timeline available here, that can be downloaded as PDF here.

How to Bend Reality with adrienne maree brown

Everything humanity has ever created – the good and the bad – started with imagination. But what if we could harness the power of imagination to build a truly just future for Black people? The podcast Black History Year produced by PushBlack spoke with adrienne maree brown, an author and activist behind many books, including “Octavia’s Brood” and “Emergent Strategy,” that explore visionary ways to build a joyful, liberated future for Black people using nature, science fiction, pleasure, and afrofuturism as jumping off points.

Training and Events

Equity from the Start: Taking Action, Shifting Power | June 7 – 8, 2022

The annual Partner Plan Act conference will take place virtually from June 7- 8, 2022. The theme of this year’s virtual conference is Equity from the Start: Taking Action, Shifting Power. Over the past few years, we have explored why we should center race in community systems development conversations and last year, we reimagined what the system could look like. This year, we hope to show how we can shift power in our sector to the on-the-ground providers, community members, and parents, especially those who have been historically left out of these conversations.

For the first time, this conference will be fully translated into Spanish with the hope that we have a broader reach than ever before. And as always, this conference is FREE to attend and provides Gateways credits and ISBE CPDU’s. Help us spread the word by reaching out to Kristina Rogers (, so she can provide you with a marketing toolkit.

For the first time, this conference will be fully translated into Spanish with the hope that we have a broader reach than ever before. And as always, this conference is FREE to attend and provides Gateways credits and ISBE CPDU’s. Help us spread the word by reaching out to Kristina Rogers (, so she can provide you with a marketing toolkit.