February 25, 2002

Editors : LuAnn Tauer , Lezlie Ingvalson, & Steve Czech

Presidents Message

A noticeable trend appears to be developing within our organization. Members have increasingly become more involved in our initiatives and activities. This development has emerged from both outstate and metro area members, and the board is encouraged by these efforts. One of our most pressing goals is to continuously inform and involve membership on policy that may directly affect our profession. It is quite enjoyable to work with members who may not have time or resources to serve on the board, but have an interest in the betterment of their vocation. I encourage all members to become more involved and share your talents and expertise toward improvement of our profession and organization.

Over the past few months, I have had several inquiries and conversations with members and nonmembers regarding the establishment of statewide regional networks. Our board meetings are held in the metro area and members outside this region find it difficult to attend. It has been suggested that to better serve our membership, we should investigate the establishment of regional groups for informational, networking and problem solving purposes. I would appreciate any ideas or interest from members regarding how to begin this process. Email: czech@anoka.k12.mn.us

Enjoy the arrival of Spring!

Steve Czech
MnACTE/SNP President
Transition Plus
403 Jackson St., Suite 206
Anoka, MN 55303

(763) 506-7621




Bonnie Jackson Recognized in Pioneer Press for National Vocational Special Needs Teacher of the Year Award

This article was written by Jenee Osterheldt and appeared in the Pioneer Press on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Bonnie Jackson teaches life.

"I always tell my kids, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,' " said Jackson, work experience coordinator for Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul. "I don't get people jobs, I give them the tools to get and keep jobs."

This type of motivation caught the attention of the National Association of Vocational Education Special Needs Personnel. In December, the organization selected Jackson as Teacher of the Year for her work at Arlington High School in St. Paul.

Jackson deserves the recognition, said Bill Dunn, principal of Arlington High School. She designed and implemented the work experience program for Arlington High School. By assessing each student's needs and abilities, Jackson matched students with career exploration opportunities.

There are a couple of things that impress me about Bonnie," Dunn said. "She is very professional. She knows her job and knows how to meet the needs of her students."

She also has great relationships with the people she works with, he said.

While she enjoyed her experience at Arlington, Jackson wanted to return to the classroom where she said her strengths are and challenge herself with a new school.

Jackson currently teaches vocational education to students with disabilities at Highland Park Senior High School.

Out of 1,400 students enrolled at Highland Park, 200 of them have disabilities.

People assume special education indicates a low IQ, Jackson said. There are physical, mental, emotional and learning disabilities.

"Teaching self-advocacy is important," she said. "I teach my students to recognize their disabilities and to not be ashamed. It's OK to have a disability."

Jackson has 55 students involved in career exploration or paid internships at local businesses. She stresses the importance of teens becoming productive, self-sufficient adults.

The most challenging part of teaching is reaching each student, she said.

"You can't expect them all to fall into line. It's like putting together pieces of a puzzle," Jackson said. "I always try to do the best I can by each student, to push each individual to reach their full potential."

Winning the award for her work was an honor and a humbling experience, Jackson said. "We come in, do a good job and go home," Jackson said. "So it's not an aim or an expectation. It's great to be honored by your peers."

Jackson, who grew up in Hopkins, didn't know exactly what her job would be but she knew she wanted to work with people.

She majored in vocational rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Once she started student teaching, she knew she wanted to teach teens, Jackson said.

"I'm glad I fell into this, because it is the perfect job for me," she said, adding that after 24 years, it still is.

When asked what keeps her coming back, she joked "the money."

"Like anything, there are days when you think you can't do it anymore," Jackson said. "But something always happens and reminds you it's the right fit."

Her reminder is her students.

She recalled what they said when she won the award and asked if they were going to throw her a party.

"They said I wouldn't have won the award had they not done what they were supposed to be doing," Jackson said. "They said I should throw them a party."

She did.


ACTE Conference/NAVESNP Awards Banquet

The conference was very well attended by Minnesota people. It was fun to see all the voc eddy's such as Bonnie Jackson, Dan Smith - Lezlie and Brian, Jim Brown, Lloyd Petri, Kris Laughlin, Ron Dittmer, Jean Ness, and the many more that were there also.

The weather was great, in the 70's most of the time. New Orleans is a great city for a large conference, as they have great facilities and good entertainment. The food was super and you can walk to almost anywhere, especially Bourbon Street.

I attended many great sessions, but the one thing that I did notice was that there was not a lot of sessions in the special needs area.

One of my objectives for attending the conference was to see and congratulate Bonnie Jackson from St. Paul schools for her National Award of Outstanding Vocational Special Needs Teacher of the Year (NAVESNP). I thought that I was to be the presenter of this award, and I did, when she won the state award. The awards at the luncheon were all presented by NAVESNP people, who did a very good job. I did have a speech prepared and bought a new suit, oh well, I needed one anyway.

The luncheon was very well attended. They even had to set up more tables and some people didn't get food. The wait staff got into a fight during the luncheon, but that stopped in due time.

Bonnie's husband, Bob, and her parents flew down to New Orleans to show support for Bonnie. In addition, many St. Paul colleagues came to support and congratulate Bonnie. This award that she won, recognizes outstanding efforts, accomplishments and dedication made by a vocational instructor of students with special needs.

Bonnie won a credit voucher of $500.00 to be used for the purchase of Piney Mountain Press Education products. She also received a $200.00 travel stipend from MnACTE/SNP to compliment funding provided by St. Paul Schools for attending the conference. Congratulations to our National voc Eddy of the Year.

Submitted by:
Dean Shawbold
Transition Plus Services Coordinator
White Bear Lake Schools
White Bear Lake, Minnesota





Tom Strom Attends January Board Meeting

At our January meeting, Tom Strom met with the Board Of Directors to discuss issues the Department of Children Families and Learning (DCFL) and MnACTE/SNP could work on together.

Tom stated a possible opportunity to strengthen state requirements for Work Experience Programs has presented itself through the ongoing development of the Minnesota State Plan for Transition Services to Youth with Disabilities. Many Work Experience Coordinators have contacted DCFL for advice on issues surrounding their programs. Common concerns include increased caseloads and decreased time to coordinate/supervise students. It also appears that some school districts are assigning work experience responsibilities to special education teachers and receiving special education state aid. These programs have not been approved by DCFL and the districts are not held accountable for meeting state standards including vocational licensure. There appears to be less authority from the state on how schools offer programs, and local districts are developing programs that most easily meet their needs. What is happening in our state does not reflect best practice.

The new Minnesota State Plan For Transition Services To Youth With Disabilities may provide a vehicle by which our programs can be improved. This plan is in developmental stages and is intended to help bring the state into compliance with federal transition laws. It is in our organization's best interest to become a resource to those who are responsible for this plan, and we have recently formed an advisory group to work with the divisions of Special Education and Lifework Development at DCFL. Deb Johnson is our main contact, and we have scheduled our first meeting for 2/28/02. Several MnACTE/SNP members will be involved in this process, and as it develops, we will keep you updated.

Also, Tom made the board aware of a self-assessment document developed by DCFL which is based on program standards and measures. This tool could be used to assess your program and make improvements. The document is available online at the DCFL website.

I also have information on the program improvement process that Anoka-Hennepin District #11 used for our WEH programs. Email me with questions if you are interested in more information.

Submitted by:
Steve Czech
Work Coordinator
Anoka-Hennepin District #11
Anoka, MN


Students Cook and Serve Lunch

Tina Andreotti and Ryan Molloy are special education students who cook and serve lunch four days a week at Lincoln Hills School. Tina is from the Transition Plus Program and Ryan is from the Connections Program. These programs serve students ages 18-21.

TIna started cooking and serving lunch at Lincoln Hills in the fall of 2000. The district was having a difficult time finding a head cook for the school. So, Lu Ann Tauer, the teacher at Transition Plus, though it would be a good work site for students in Transition Plus. The district was considering canceling the lunch program until Transition Plus offered to staff the program. The program has been a big success!

A staff person supervises either Tina or Ryan on their days to cook. They each work two days a week. The students and staff in the building are happy because the students have done a good job and they can still get hot lunches. The lunch program serves about 50 people a day.

Tina and Ryan enjoy their jobs and have learned many skills in the process. The former head cook, Cherill trained them in sanitation, cooking and serving skills. It took some time to learn the whole process. They also learned people skills while serving lunch.

Ryan's comment about the program is, "I hope I can keep this job as long as I'm in the Connections Program because I like the job."

Tina says, "I learned to keep my cool when serving lunch. It can be fun if you try."
Submitted by:
Joan Pelfrey
(Paraprofessional at Richfield Transition Plus)
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN

ACTE Presentation
"Dealing with Difficult Personalities"

Despite the fears that many educators expressed at the thought of flying, which contributed to a lower than expected attendance total, the 2001 ACTE convention proved to be educational and entertaining. Several amenities, such as between session refreshments and the exhibitor's lunch were trimmed. But the individuals who made the trek to New Orleans were rewarded with some inspiring speakers and numerous choices of thought provoking breakout sessions.

My personal favorite was "Dealing with Difficult Personalities" by Dr. Askins of Western Kentucky University. All of us deal with people daily that we feel are difficult or resistant to ideas that we deem rational and imperative. Conversely, others may see our insistence on a certain course as resistant to their totally logical solution to a given hypotheses. We all have no trouble spotting the classic characteristics of difficult people in others, especially in the ones whose opinions we disagree with. It is much more of a challenge spotting these negative characteristics in colleagues with whom we agree, and almost impossible in ourselves. Resistance to change, invasion of our turf and fear of the unknown make it difficult to inaugurate new ideas and opinions. We not only have to fight these resistances in others, but make sure that we are receptive to the ideas and opinions of others. Keys to conquering these resistances include: being likable, giving status to the resistance, not aggravating the situation, not forcing the person into a defensive position, compromising and patience. The secret to dealing with difficult personalities is first and foremost to treat other people's ideas and opinions as we want our own opinions treated.

Submitted by:
Ron Dittmer
Work Coordinator
St. Paul Schools
St. Paul, MN





Mark Your Calendars!
Region III Leadership Conference
June 19,20,21

"Touching All Bases: Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century" is the theme for the ACTE Region III Leadership Conference. Held on June 19,20,21, you will want to attend this great conference at the Double Tree Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota right next to the Mall of America. Plans for the conference are well underway complete with inspiring and informational speakers, relevant industry tours in the local area AND lots of fun!

Lloyd Petri, Minnesota's Region III representative, is chair of the conference: he has done a great job inviting key leaders in career and technical education as well as getting the best people to help him plan the event:

Senator Paul Wellstone, ACTE 2002 Policy Maker of the Year, has been invited to attend and will be recognized at this conference.

ACTE President Diane Mondry from North Dakota will speak at the Awards Dinner on June 21st. Janet Bray, ACTE Executive Director, plans to attend the meeting also Our own Dan Smith, Region III Vice President, will attend and provide us up-to-date information on ACTE activities and events.

Program chairs, Robert Meyer from Rochester and Kathy Pearce from Anoka-Hennepin, promise there will by dynamic sessions that address current topics and issues for all career and technical educators.

Business and industry tours include the Summit Brewery in St. Paul, the Ford Assembly Plant in St. Paul, and the Minnesota Business Academy in St. Paul according to chair Steve Mumma from Wayzata.

Of Course, social chair Kris Laughlin from Robbinsdale assures us there will be plenty of networking opportunities in the late afternoon and evening hours.

We hope you can join us! Registration fee is $150.00. Conference registration deadline is June 3, 2002. Checks only are accepted. Make checks payable to:

Minnesota Association for Career & Technical Education
C/o Florence Newton
500 World Trade Center, 30 E. 7th St.
St. Paul, Mn 55101

For further information, contact Lloyd Petri at (651) 297-1484 or e-mail at

Chris Becker Receives National Student Award

Wayzata High School and VECTOR Program graduate Chris Becker won the National Association of Vocational Education Special Needs Personnel/Piney Mountain Press, Inc. Student Award at their national convention in New Orleans on December 15, 2001. This award goes to a vocational/technical student who is a member of a special population and has overcome barriers to achieve highest potential for success. The purpose of this award is to assist the winner to access or complete a vocational/technical program. Chris received $1,000.00 from NAVESNP and Piney Mountain Press, Inc. for this accomplishment.

Chris was first recognized as the 2000 Minnesota Association of Career and Technical Education/Special Needs Personnel (MnACTE/SNP) Outstanding Student of the Year at the MnACTE/SNP Conference in February, 2001. Chris exemplifies all the qualities of excellence that truly define the word 'outstanding' and is very deserving of this award. Chris completed his fourth year with the VECTOR Program in May, 2001. Chris received services from VECTOR that have supported him in his effort to earn a diploma in Electronic Publishing from Hennepin Technical College. He also accomplished this goal in May, 2001.

Chris' journey toward discovering his full potential started when he was 6 months old. It was then that he was diagnosed with spastic Cerebral Palsy. Chris is a quadriplegic. Speaking is difficult, but most people can understand him if they listen. Because he can write only with his mouth, he has learned to develop enhanced memorization skills. He uses a head mounted laser and lightboard or a turbo mouse to operate his computer. He relies on others, and his helping dog Bryn to have most of his personal needs met. As Chris says, he could have given up many times, but he has a mission 'to make an impact on the world', so this thought does not enter his mind. Everyone who works with Chris or knows him as a friend concur that he approaches all of life's demands with a positive attitude, determination and perseverance. Chris has developed good self advocacy skills that he uses with his PCA's, instructors, and peers. He is a very well rounded individual involved in many extra curricular activities while maintaining a good balance with all of his school commitments. He is a role model and mentor to other students, demonstrating an excellent work ethic, effective use of resources to reach his goals, and is self motivated. Chris' peers find in him an excellent resource who cheerfully, patiently, and with great skill and enthusiasm shares what he knows to help them become better more successful students.

Congratulations, Chris!

Submitted by:
Darla Jackson
ISD 287, Vector
Brooklyn Park, MN





A Continuing Partnership - Simonson's and Osseo Area Schools

In November 1998 Simonson's Salon & Day Spa in Maple Grove entered into a collaborative School-To-Work experience with Osseo Area School's Community Based Vocational Assessment and Training program (CBVAT). Simonson's is a full-service salon and spa offering hair, face and body, nails, and day spa services in Maple Grove, MN.

Bill Hoff is the fifth student to participate in such a work-based learning experience with the salon. Bill was hired in April 2001, and has continued his employment for the current school year working 1.5 hours a day. Bill performs a variety of tasks while on the job. Most of his time is spent on washing, drying and folding towels. In addition he takes care of light custodial tasks, and occasionally works on special projects, which have included assembling gift packages for guests. This paid career exploration offers Bill the chance to develop interpersonal and technical skills, which will enhance any career he chooses. Throughout this experience Bill has had the support of many adult mentors. Terry Toops, his work coordinator, supported Bill through the application and interview process. Beth Miller and Terri Hauser, his trainers, support Bill on the job guiding him as he learns general work expectations such as dependability, cooperation, and initiative. His Simonson's supervisor, Theresa Steichen, recognizes the salon is an active learning environment in which Bill can learn by doing, and develop and improve his work skills and abilities. With the CBVAT program prior work-based learning experience for Bill has included employment at a video rental store and an optical lab class at a technical college.

While working Bill earns high school credit for graduation and is enrolled in a work seminar at Osseo Senior High School. He continues to learn the specific skills needed to help him succeed on the job, and is able to practice them on the job. Theresa provides Bill with feedback in a variety of work-skill areas through daily communication and formal evaluations every three months.

Salon staff enjoy working with Bill and can be seen interacting daily with him. Theresa says she enjoys the opportunity to offer students a paid work experience while exploring careers. Bill says he enjoys his daily work at the salon, and his complimentary haircuts by staff are a favorite benefit! The Osseo School's CBVAT program looks forward to a successful and continuing School-To-Work partnering relationship with Simonson's.

Submitted by:
Terri Toops
Work Coordinator
Osseo Area Schools
Osseo, MN

Together We are Better
National Paraprofessional Conference to be Held in Bloomington

The 21st National Conference on the Training and Employment of Paraprofessionals in Education, Rehabilitation and Related Services will be held at the Radisson South in Bloomington May 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2002. Since the national conference is scheduled in Minnesota, there will not be a state paraprofessional conference in Hutchinson this spring. MnACTE/SNP has been an active sponsor of the Hutchinson conference.

At the National conference, participants will gain knowledge of new dimensions in the roles, preparation, supervision and career mobility for the paraprofessional workforce. The conference is targeted toward paraprofessionals, policymakers and administrators in state and local education and personnel developers in 2 and 4 year colleges and inservice programs.

In addition to a wide variety of breakout sessions, nationally known keynote speakers, Eric Chester and Crystal Kuykendall will provide motivation, techniques and knowledge for overcoming challenges facing today's educators.

Registration fee is $150 for administrative/professional personnel and $60.00 for paraprofessionals.

For more information and registration material see http://www.nrcpara.org/conference.html

Submitted by:
Lezlie Ingvalson
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN





Job Olympics was a Blast!!!

On January 25th, Richfield High School Work Coordinator, Pat Ujifusa and Richfield Transition Plus Instructor and Work Coordinator, Lu Ann Tauer put on the first Richfield Job Olympics. Students from Pat's work development classes and the Transition Plus Program competed in a variety of areas. Students were judged on interviewing skills, application completion and resume writing. The judging panel was made up of members of the Richfield Work Experience Advisory Committee, which included past teachers, Optimist Club members, employers, school board members and adult day training providers.

Students were expected to fill out job applications neatly, with correct spelling and with complete information. There was even a "trick" illegal question that students were expected to respond to appropriately. Students were allowed accommodations such as having a pocket information sheet to copy information from and help with writing. In the mock interview competition, students were expected to dress appropriately, have good eye contact, show confidence and ask and answer questions well. In the resume writing contest, students needed to include content such as a specific objective, education, work history, name, address and telephone number, references and special skills or leadership positions.

Both Richfield High and Transition Plus Students prepared and practiced ahead of time and the competition was fierce. Certificates, ribbons and prizes were given out for first, second and third place in each category and a special "Most Professionally Dressed" award was given to the best dressed competitor. Two Grand Prizes were given out to the two top overall competitors which included a free nights stay at the Doubletree Grand Hotel-Airport. Grand Prize winner Micah Johnson stated, "This was cool, I got a lot better at interviewing."

Submitted by:
Lu Ann Tauer
Work Coordinator
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN





Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone
Named ACTE Policy Maker Of the Year

Congratulations to Minnesota's Senator Paul Wellstone who was recently named ACTE 2002 Policy Maker of the Year award. This prestigious award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant impact on policy related to career and technical education. Senator Wellstone will be honored at the ACTE Policy Seminar to be held on March 17-19, 2002 in Washington D.C.

Throughout his eight years of public service in the United States Senate, Senator Wellstone has made education, workforce and economic development a priority. He currently serves on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee and has served on conference committees negotiating final terms of legislation, resulting in a positive impact for career and technical education. Recent legislative accomplishments include major contributions to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Individual with Disabilities Act.

We are grateful to Senator Wellstone on his continued support. If you would like to send a word of thanks to Senator Wellstone, please e-mail or write him.

Upcoming Events

  • Region III Conference, Bloomington, MN. June 19-21, 2001
  • MnACTE/SNP Statewide Conference March 6 & 7, 2003. The location will be the Earl Brown Center in Brooklyn Center.

Legislative Update

As some of you may have heard, HF 351 (the budget reconciliation bill) passed out of conference committee on 2/20/02. Going into conference committee, secondary vocational education was in the bill as a permanent levy. The formula was the same as current law with one change. They raised the $7,500 minimum to $10,000. Unfortunately, during the conference committee on the 25th, Senator Pogemiller (Minneapolis) argued that secondary vocational should not be a part of HF 351 and wanted to remove the entire provision from the bill. After a few hours of debate and a lot of behind the scenes work an amendment was brought to change the permanent provision and only allow secondary vocational education to be a ONE YEAR levy. Yes, it happened again. They only renewed the levy for one year. The formula will still be current law with a raising of the minimum from $7,500 to $10,000.


2001-2002 MnACTE
Legislative Theme

"3-50-3" is our slogan for all MnACTE members this 2001-2002 school year. We ask that every career and technical educator in Minnesota follow this idea.

  1. 3 letters to your local legislators
  2. $50 donation (reimbursable back to you through state dedicated funds)
  3. 3 face-to-face visits with your state legislators.

It's a realistic request for all of us. Think of the impact on our state!

Contacting Your Legislators

Do you know who your state representative and senator are? Do you know their e-mail address or phone number? It's easy! Click on or use the following websites for names and e-mail addresses:



Steve Czech
Date Last Modified: 2/25/02