March 29, 2004
Editor: Steve Czech

MnACTE/SNP Home Page:

President's Report

As another year winds down for our organization, I hope you and your students have had a year of success and growth.

With many districts having spring break over the week of our next scheduled board meeting, the date has been changed to Thursday, April 15th. Diane Miller from MDE will have a presentation at 1:00, so the meeting will be short. Please attend if you can. Our May 13th meeting is in Faribault, so watch for emails regarding the agenda and location. We are hoping to draw coordinators from southeastern Minnesota and the south metro. The meeting will be followed with networking and information sharing.

As the end of the year draws near, consider running for the MnACTE/SNP Board. Contact Steve Czech at,, by April 15th if you are interested or have questions. A draft ballot will be presented at the board meeting, however nominations will be open until its approval (person must be present or have accepted a nomination).

MnACTE/SNP is accepting applications for this year's Student Grant Awards. Up to six students will be awarded $250 grants. Nomination forms are on our website and any current member may nominate or sponsor a student. Also, MnACTE is accepting nominations for the four Minnesota CTE Awards until June 15, 2004. It would be great to have some MnACTE/SNP members nominated.

Start planning now to attend next year's statewide conference. This is the last major ECHO edition for the year, but look for a short end of the year report just before summer. Have a nice Spring and end of the school year.

Submitted by:
Robert W. Lindgren
Work Experience Coordinator
Area High School
401 Huntsinger Avenue
Park Rapids, MN 56470
Office: 218-237-6479
Fax: 218-237-6401


Fuddruckers: An Outstanding Employer

Through the eyes of a work coordinator, finding an employer who will extend themselves by inviting young adults with special needs to learn work skills in their competitive site is truly a gift. Fuddruckers in Coon Rapids is that gift for our Transition Plus program in the Anoka-Hennepin School District #11. Through the generosity and diversity commitment of the management (Brent Curnow, current general manager and Chris Vande Yacht, former general manager), several young adults from our program have been given the opportunity to learn the duties, responsibilities and importance of keeping a restaurant setting clean as well as practice the "soft skills" necessary of a good employee.

The employees work an early shift of 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., Monday-Friday; they learn and maintain job skills with the assistance of a job coach. Brent sees the school district making an investment into this valuable situation by employing the job coach while he's making a commitment to employ the young adult workers. He's pleased with the situation and sees the relationship as being beneficial for all involved.

Tim F. (student), Brent Curnow (general manager), Kevin M. (student)

Transition Plus feels fortunate to work with Fuddruckers; the community is fortunate to have an employer like Fuddruckers in our local area. Thank you, Fuddruckers, Coon Rapids, for being a supportive business. We appreciate you!

Submitted by,

Deb Olsen
Work Coordinator
Transition Plus
Anoka-Hennepin School District #11 

Partnership Creates Opportunities for Students

I have been working with the students of the Anoka Hennepin School District's Transition Plus program for over a year now. I have come to know the students and staff well and feel as though I am part of a team, although I am the "new kid on the block". I work for Anoka County's Transition and Customized Employment program, which is a federally funded program working with transition students in the county, Transition Plus students being the largest of the population. I have many students on my case load, and each one has unique abilities, that is why I was not surprised to find that some of them were interested in the construction trades, some in carpentry, some cement masonry.

One student I have been working with has been working as a framer for a year and a half now, and there are many more following in his path. Through the help of work coordinators from Transition Plus and TCE staff alike, we were able to discover a connection to the Carpenter's Union. The members of this union have been very helpful and informative.

This winter, I was introduced to a student who is interested in cement masonry. At first, I did not know how I was going to be able to help him since I did not know what "cement masonry" was. The wonders of the Internet brought me the knowledge I needed and led me to the apprenticeship coordinator for the local union for cement masons. Surprisingly enough, the man in charge of the apprenticeship program is the father of two girls I had worked with a few summers back. We had an immediate bond, and it has been a wonderful experience.

Transition Plus and TCE staff have all learned a lot about the construction trades, and it is all due to the friendliness of members of the unions. Both groups have presented to the students of Transition Plus, as well as other schools, and are more than willing to bend over backwards to ensure comfort and education for all involved. The cement mason's union is now beginning an "industry orientation" course, which is geared toward young adults searching for a career path. It is a two-week, 80-hour course presenting the basics of the industry, giving the young men and women a chance to explore the idea without diving headfirst into an unknown realm. We will remain in high hopes that this new discovery of the union trades will continue to have positive effects for TCE and Transition Plus.

Kristen Harris
Transition To Customized Employment
Anoka, MN

Membership News

It has now been a year since the board approved a change in the membership renewal process. I am pleased to say that things are going smoothly. Member's renewals are now due in either March or October and are valid for one year. NAVESNP, our national organization, coincides with us in the renewal process dates.

The fees you pay are divided among our organization and the National Association for Vocational Special Needs Personnel. Twenty dollars stays with our state organization and twenty dollars helps support the national organization. Additionally, if you choose to become a member of MNACTE or ACTE, those fees are forwarded to those organizations.

We have 100 members who are current. We also have 8 retired members. Once a person retires, they remain on the mailing list but are not expected to pay dues. The number of current members fluctuates and we would like to see it grow. If you have colleagues who are not members, encourage them to join. If you have let your membership lapse, please renew. A renewal form is available on our web page. You may print it and send it to me with your fees.

We encourage you to maintain your memberships and promptly send in your renewals. This really helps in cutting down on numerous reminders and mailings. If you have any questions or concerns about your membership, please feel free to contact me.

Have a great spring!
Beverly Rath


Reminder: If your address or email address changes, please contact Bob Lindgren at It is important to keep current email addresses as we are doing more electronic notices and less paper mailings. Also, let others know about the website and our organization.

April 15th Board Meeting: Open meeting with guest speaker and ballot presented for next year's slate of officers.
Guest: Diane Miller, MDE, will speak at 1:00.
Location: Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park
Time: 12:30 (lunch beforehand)

May 13th Board Meeting: Student grant winners will be announced. Networking, opportunities for coordinators in the Southeast area of Minnesota.
Location: Faribault (specific site to be determined)
Time: 1:00.

Abbreviated Echo: The May/June edition will have announcements and end of the year information along with next year's meeting dates.

ACTE Region III Leadership Conference: June 23-25, 2004, Kansas City, MO

MnACTE/SNP Annual Membership Board Meeting: October 14th, 2004 at Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park.

ACTE National Convention: December 9-11, 2004, Las Vegas, NV.

MnACTE/SNP Statewide Conference March 3-4, 2005 at the Earle Brown Center, Brooklyn Center.

"It's Fun to Work at the YMCA . . .!

Many of the students at Bridges want to work in the childcare field until they experience it first hand. Dirty diapers and howling toddlers are not for everyone and require a special person with a knack for working with young children. For Katie Aus, however, it is a perfect match. Katie has been working at the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA Childcare Center for six years. Darcy Hokkanen, counselor with the Anoka County Job Training Center explains, "Katie is a young woman who exemplifies what collaboration of services can do to assist a young person in becoming successful as she prepares to graduate from the school system. By combining federal funds from the Workforce Investment Act and state funds from the Minnesota Youth Program, we have had the privilege of helping Katie meet her academic and vocational goals. As Katie has been completing her High School graduation requirements, she has taken advantage of the opportunity to work in the public sector while gaining important job keeping skills and work skills. She has become an invaluable part of the staff at the YMCA in the child care center. It is not uncommon to hear that Katie has volunteered for additional hours above the hours that she is paid for …she is so dedicated to her work there and really loves the children. Katie working at the YMCA is especially exciting because the YMCA is starting to complete more in-depth training with her in anticipation of her being hired on there as part of their permanent staff. We are so pleased to have Katie as part of our program as she has demonstrated what a young person can accomplish when given the opportunity." Stacey Ivy, manager at the YMCA daycare, has this to say about Katie, "I have watched her grow and learn. She is a part of the YMCA family. When Katie is not here the kids really miss her."

As Katie is preparing to graduate from Bridges and the Anoka-Hennepin District #11 school system, her smile and enthusiasm will be sorely missed. The staff wish her nothing but the best as she continues to learn and grow as a person, as well as continuing with her duties at the YMCA. It's fun to work at the Y . . .M . .C . . .A! Go ahead, sing a few bars . . . you know you want to!

Submitted by:

Rosann Tschida and Mike Bisping
Work Coordinators
Anoka-Hennepin District #11

Darcy Hokkanen
Anoka County Workforce Center

Stacey Ivy
YMCA, Coon Rapids

Overcomes Disability to Fulfill Livelong Dream of Becoming a Police Officer

It has always been her desire to be a Police Officer. And now, Megan Schroeder, student at Transition Plus in Anoka, is fulfilling her dream by participating in the Explorers Program, Champlin Police Reserves and the Civil Air Patrol. These activities are volunteer and require many hours of training.

Megan's passion has always been to help others and she was determined not to let her disability deter her from achieving her goals. Megan attempted a college course at Anoka Ramsey Community College and stated, " even though I did not achieve academic success the experience gave me a real insight to what I can and cannot do. I realized I would not be able to handle the schooling (paper pencil tasks) required to be a Police Office and I wouldn't meet the requirements to join the military. So, I did the next best thing and joined the Explores program." From there Megan was accepted into the training program for the Champlin Police Reserves and has also become involved in the Civil Air Patrol.

Megan's training in the Champlin Police Reserves will consist of learning how to drive a squad car, control traffic, detect drugs, give parking tickets and how to search a person. Megan said "it's all hands on training, with real experiences in the field."

Megan's involvement in the Explorers Program will consist of her participating in many competitions, which involves; first aid, traffic stops, domestics, burglary, search and arrest.

Megan has reached the status of senior member in the Civil Air Patrol program. As such, Megan provides support by supervising and counseling up to 30 young cadets ranging in age from 12-18 years old. Megan told me "everything in the Civil Air Patrol is at Military standards and regulations." Megan also is part of their color guard and competes in marching exhibitions.

At this time all of Megan's time spent in these programs is volunteer. Even though Megan will often times volunteer up to 20 hours a week she still has been able to maintain employment at a printing company, as well as, continue to participate in classes at Transition Plus.

Megan's goal is to eventually become a Community Service Officer, which would be a paid position. Megan is an incredible young lady that has shown much perseverance and overcame many barriers to achieve a dream she has had since she was a little girl. Megan's accomplishments should be commended. I am very proud of her.

Submitted by;

Kim Swanson, Case Manager / Work Coordinator
Transition Plus
Anoka-Hennepin District #11

2004 Awards

The following are awards that are or will be available to MnACTE/SNP members or students for 2004.

2004 MnACTE/SNP Student Grant Awards &endash; up to five available and you can find a nomination form at at the Grant Awards 2004 link
Deadline: May 7, 2004

2004 MnACTE Awards - The following link has the nomination forms: MnACTE Awards 2004 forms.doc
Teacher of the Year
Outstanding CTE
Outstanding New CTE
25-Year Award
Deadline: June 15, 2004

2004 NAVESNP and ACTE-Special Needs Awards &endash;
Teacher of the Year
Student of the Year
Direct Service Provider
Indirect Service Provider
Deadline: sometime in October 2004

2005 MnACTE/SNP Awards - Information on the nomination process will be available in the fall of 2004