May 14, 2001

Home Membership 2001 Awards Banquet Echo

Presidents Report

Thank you to all members who have put forth effort in making this year one of growth and success. Being relatively new to to this organization, I am continually impressed by the efficiency, work ethic and commitment of its board. I am proud to work side by side with such qualified professionals.

After reflecting on my first year as president, I am satisfied with MnACTE/SNP's activities for the 2000-2001 school year. During October's annual meeting, we set goals to:

1. Host the 2001 conference - "Capture the Future" (February 22 & 23, 2001)
2. Enhance "The Echo" by soliciting more articles from the board and membership.
3. Establish and follow through with a legislative agenda.
4. Maintain a working relationship with MnACTE in planning and delivering professional development opportunities and pursuing legislative initiatives.
5. Expand communication capabilities with membership by completing the development of a website and establishing an email group/listserv.

Our conference was a great success, "The Echo" has changed mediums and is being published more frequently. We worked with other career and technical educators to maintain funding for our programs (results of our efforts remain to be determined). We have membership on MnACTE's board and coordinate professional development opportunities and legislative pursuits with them. Finally, we have made a major transition to an electronic communication format.

This summer, MnACTE/SNP will continue to recruit new members by attending coordination techniques courses at The University of Minnesota and Bemidji State. I also encourage you to make an effort to help our membership grow. Please share our web site with your colleagues. A membership page is now up and running.

In future issues of "The Echo" I may be contacting you to write an article. For this issue, Sherri Gatchell and I communicated via email to feature a business in her community. We were able to make it work from Montivideo to Anoka with text and images. I think that's pretty exciting, and it was a fun experience. Please think about submitting a story next year. If you've got an idea, don't wait for me to get in touch with you :-)

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

(763) 506-7621




MnACTE/SNP Annual Meeting

When: October 11, 2001
Where: Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park (Room H117)
Time: 12:30-2:30
Lunch: 11:00am at HTC's Gourmet Dining Room (provided by MnACTE/SNP) Please rsvp to Bonnie Holt by October 4th. (763) 506-7626

MnACTE/ SNP Grant Award Recipients

The MnACTE SNP Grant Awards of $250.00 was given to 7 award recipients. The students nominated must be in their final year in school, have a current IEP or be identified as at risk, be involved in a vocational program or classes, or have post-secondary plans including training and / or employment. The following students received awards for 2001:

Chris Becker (Vector #287): After graduating in Spring Chris plans to attend Courage Center's Residence Program to further independent living skills. Following this he would like to develop his own free lance business in Electronic Publishing to utilize his Electronic Publishing Diploma. Chris also won the MnACTE/SNP "Outstanding Student of the Year" award presented at the Capture the Future Conference on February 22, 2001. Congratulations!!!

Erin Mahoney (Vector #287): Erin has emerged from education a confident, self-assured, directed leader. She will work full time for Petsmart as the Lead Cashier. Erin would like to further her computer training to have more opportunities at Petsmart. She is saving money to move into an apartment in her future. Congratulations Erin, you have overcome some speech obstacles and have come out shining.

Sheneika Robinson (Minneapolis Public Schools): Sheneika plans to study cosmetology at Hennepin Technical College. She would also like to find a job as an office clerk. Congratulations Sheneika, we hope this award will help you in cosmetology.

Ian Moriarity (Transition Plus - Anoka-Hennepin District #11) Ian's long range goal is to complete training as a graphic designer and to enter the workforce in that profession. He is currently a student at Anoka Ramsey Community College where he is taking course work for an associate of arts degree. Congratulations! Good luck in your future career endeavor.

Kyle Nielson (Eden Prairie High School): Kyle will continue in the Cabinetry Program at Hennepin Technical College planning to graduate and begin working in a wood working shop. He is very focused on this cabinetry goal and through persistence and dedication he has won state and national awards. Congratulations Kyle, your educational path can lead you to a bright future.

Susan Ralston (Mounds View Public Schools #621) Susan has been accepted by Brown Institute and plans to enter the Culinary Arts Program and wants to eventually become an executive chef in a five star restaurant. Sue has become more confident in herself through focusing on short and long term goals. Congratulations Sue, You have an exciting road ahead of you!

Jonathon Reynolds (Monticello School District #882) Jonathon will attend the Occupational Skills Program In Willmar, MN to gain further vocational training and to live in an apartment on or close to campus. He is really taking responsibility for these post-secondary goals as this will be a "dream come true" for him. Congratulations Jonathon, it is wonderful that you followed your dream.

Congratulations to these 7 Award Winners and to all who were nominated. Each of the applicants were on their way to transitioning into healthy, success filled futures.

Submitted by:
Susan Hoch
Transition Coordinator
Mounds View Public Schools
Roseville, MN


Employer Spotlight

Montevideo is a farming community of about 5500 people in southwestern Minnesota. It is also the home of Western Printers, a business housed in a rectangular building overlooking the Minnesota River Valley. This company is responsible for printing ten different newspapers, four shoppers in Minnesota and South Dakota, along with newsletters for several companies--four out of the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area and one from Kansas City, Missouri.

The company, managed by Curt Dahl, employs 30 people, among whom are three adults and one student with special needs. Two of these adults started while in high school and have remained. They are trained and supervised by job coach Becky Macziewski of Heartland Industries, a program designed to teach special needs students and adults job skills and help them become independent members of the community.

Through the cooperative effort of Western Printers and Heartland Industries, the employees have learned team work, responsibility and take pride in their job and themselves. The caring dedication and hard work of Kurt and Becky has led to an excellent opportunity for students and adults with special needs. It is an opportunity that will benefit the community and its residents for years to come. Thank you Kurt, Becky and everyone involved with the program at Western Printers.

Submitted by:
Sherri Gatchell
Special Education Teacher
Montevideo Public Schools
Montevideo, MN


Dean Shawbold Recognized for Hal Birkland Award

As printed in White Bear Press 4/4/01

The efforts of employees and volunteers at the White Bear lake Schools haven't gone unnoticed this winter: A recent award was given to Dean Shawbold, of the district's special education department.

Shawbold, the transition/work experience coordinator for the South Campus, was given the Hal Birkland Lifetime Achievement Award by MnACTE/SNP, an organization comprised of individuals involved in career and technical development of students with special needs.

Working for the St. Paul Public Schools in career and technical education for most of his career; Shawbold came out of retirement to work in the same field for White Bear Schools. According to his colleague, Bonnie Jackson, Shawbold won the award because he has been a "trailblazer" throughout his career, spearheading numerous programs which help disabled students to get jobs.

The award is given once every two years during the organization's state-wide convention in February.

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


Student Success Story

Andrea Baldwin is a student in the Richfield Transition Plus Program. Last spring, Andrea was nominated as the "Post Secondary Training" student of the year by the Transition Plus Staff. Andrea received this award because of her hard work at Hennepin Technical College-Eden Prairie in the Medical Receptionist Program. Andrea has also been a long time employee at the Cub Foods Deli in Edina. As a result of Andrea's hard work in class and on the job, she has recently been transferred full time to the Cub Foods Pharmacy.

Andrea's perseverance and willingness to advocate for herself have been exceptional. Andrea will graduate this spring and plans to remain at Cub Foods part time and look for a position in a medical office. Hats off to Andrea!

Submitted by
LuAnn Tauer
Work Experience Coordinator
Richfield Public Schools
Richfield, MN






Winter Conference "Capture The Future"

The weather on February 22nd and 23rd had the usual MN chill about it. At the same time things were warming up at the Radisson South in Bloomington as Dr. Don Bartlette, 'Macaroni at Midnight' shared his story of earning his first 25 cents. The day continued with the Awards Luncheon followed by many interesting break-out sessions. Day Two continued with more speakers, more topics and the kaleidoscope presentations. Those in attendance stated there were an abundance of topics covered in the many break out sessions. The conference concluded with 'Shirley from Des Moines' who had everyone laughing away their stress. Evaluation comments from participants stated that the conference lived up to its reputation once again. It was a great place to see so many friendly and familiar faces. A big "thank-you" goes out to the conference committee members, Radisson staff, vendors, presenters, and the keynote speakers!

Submitted by:
Paula Krippner
SPED Supervisor
Rosemount Apple Valley Eagan District #196






2001-2002 Slate of Officers


Steve Czech

Past President:

Karin Tomervik

President Elect:

Bob Lindgren


Deb Davis


Ron Dittmer


Beverly Rath


Susan Hoch
Barb JoliCouer
Winston Kindem
Pat Ujifusa


Bonnie Holt
Kris Gerard
Mick Seme

Transition Coordinator:

Ann Hicks
Beth Quest
Sue Sorensen
Luann Tauer

Administrative Affiliates:

Paula Krippner
Nancy Recibe

Post Secondary Rep:

Eric Sime

Paraprofessional Rep:


Ad Hoc Members

Diane Berk
Lezlie Ingvalson
Darla Jackson
Dean Shawbold

Ad Hoc members are appointed by the board and did not appear on the ballot. If you are interested in attending board meetings as an ad hoc member, please contact Steve Czech (contact information is in the presidents report).


Packaging First, Employment Services for People With Disabilities

Transition Plus Services, a Saint Paul Public Schools program, accesses a variety of community resources that provide job training and placement services for our transition age students. One of the excellent resources we use is Packaging First. They provide an individualized and highly supportive job setting for our students who have limited work experience and need to develop work skills to compete in the workplace. John Grant, director of Vocational Programs at Packaging First, and his staff deliver these services in a caring and compassionate manner, encouraging the maturation and growth of our students. It is a great partnership, and it is a pleasure to focus the spotlight on them for their considerable achievements. John Grant provided the following information on Packaging First:

Packaging First, a Division of Lifetrack Resources, provides employment training services designed to assist students and other individuals with disabilities specifically in getting and keeping employment. Packaging First offers employment preparation and training, entitled Work Adjustment Training, in a cultural diverse manufacturing work setting. Emphasis is placed upon the importance of developing or demonstrating essential work habits, important for future vocational success.

Students are provided an opportunity to perform a variety of work to assess their skills and abilities. Work assignments may vary from simple step to complex as well as sedentary to physically engaging. Staff are available to establish goals, provide training, offer accommodations, and provide feedback on work performance. Services are tailored to the needs of the individual student. Please contact John Grant, Director of Vocational Programs-Packaging First at (651) 26S-3482 for further information. Visit our web site at  

Karin Tomervik
NVAESNP President
St Paul Public Schools
St Paul, MN


Remembering Hal Birkland

Hall Birkland passed away on April 10, 2001. What follows is a short description of his contributions to our profession and a letter to his family from MnACTE/SNP.

Hal began his career in education as a teacher in Jackson, MN and also worked for 15 years in Pipestone. He accepted a position with the Minnesota State Department of Education in 1968 and began work to provide vocational experiences for youth with special needs. He was instrumental in establishing Work Experience Handicapped and Disadvantaged programs throughout the state and retired in 1987.

Hal also was instrumental in the birth of The National Association of Vocational Education/Special Needs Personnel in 1974. He helped lay the ground work for NAVESNP through assisting in the creation of its constitution and bylaws. He served as NAVESNP's first treasurer.

Hal was a pioneer in his profession, and an award was established in his honor to be given to ten recipients. The final awards were given in February of this year.

Hal Birkland Award Winners since the award was established:

2001: Tom Eidal, Jerry Lassila, Dean Shawbold

1994: Bill Gulbrandsen

1992: June Long

1991: Vern Schultz

1990: Ken Fagerlie

1989: Tony Stauber

1987: Sue Holms

1986: Hal Birkland

April 25, 2001

To the Family of Hal Birkland,

It was with great sadness that the Minnesota Association of Career and Technical Education/Special Needs Personnel (MnACTE/SNP) and its members received the news of Hal's death. Through initiating the Work Experience Handicapped and Work Experience Disadvantaged programs throughout Minnesota, Hal created opportunities for youth with disabilities that exist to this day. We consider Hal the father of this movement, which has matured into an essential component for the transition of youth with disabilities to adulthood.

MnACTE/SNP was proud to honor Hal through our organization with the Hal Birkland Award. As its founder, his gift to our profession was immense. At our latest conference we were able to honor his work with the final three recipients of the Hal Birkland Award. Many attendees commented on the presentation by Hal's daughters, Lynn and Susan, and were appreciative in learning of Hal's background concerning the history of our profession.

Please accept this $100 memorial to St. Stephen's Foundation in memory of Hal. We are pleased to make this donation to an organization he supported.

On an informational note, you will find reference to the final Hal Birkland award recipients at MnACTE/SNP's website:

Lynn and Susan are shown presenting the award to Dean Shawbold. We are also creating a history page for the site and plan to include further information about Hal. You may want to check periodically for updates.


Steve Czech
403 Jackson St, Suite 206
Anoka, MN 55303


Chris Becker: "MnACTE/SNP 2000 Outstanding Student of the Year Award"

Chris Becker was recognized as the 2000 MnACTE/SNP Outstanding Student of the Year at the MnACTE/SNP Conference in February. Chris exemplifies all of the qualities of excellence that truly define the word 'outstanding' and is very deserving of this award. Chris is in his fourth year with the District #287 VECTOR Program, (VECTOR is a transition program for 18-22 year old young adults based out of the Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park Campus' of Hennepin Technical College) Chris has received services from VECTOR that have supported him in his effort to earn a diploma in Electronic Publishing from Hennepin Technical College. He will accomplished this goal by 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. When Chris is not busy working on his Electronic Publishing degree, he is horseback riding, swimming, bi-skiing down a snowy slop, taking yoga classes, writing poetry, or participating in Soo Bahk Do, a form of karate. When Chris was a baby, he began an Infant Stimulation Program at Courage Center. Water therapy was his favorite. At age 9 he was accepted onto the Rowdies Swim Team. At his first Courage Country Championship meet, he swam a lap in 16 min. 27 sec. He got a standing ovation for his determination because he did not give up. Each year he did a little better, reaching a low of 1 min. 50 sec. for a lap. Today he still tries to swim 2x's per week for a cardiovascular workout.

He takes Hatha Yoga classes through Courage Center to help with his karate. The instructor, has taught Chris how to gain the inner muscle strength and balance that is needed for advanced karate forms and daily living skills. He teaches Chris how to see the Karate movements from minds' eye and stresses that just because he cannot walk doesn't mean he can not learn.

Chris has been in Soo Bahk Do for almost seven years. He has been preparing and moving through the colored belt ranks for over 5 years. Chris has been working on the requirements to become a Cho Dan candidate. As instructors coached Chris, the began to see his techniques come alive and believed that with some modification, Chris as a quadriplegic could with perseverance, learn the physical, mental, and spiritual training requirements of Soo Bahk Do. This martial art is based on an ancient Korean doctrine of loyalty, obedience, respect, consideration, perseverance, courage, concentration, endurance, honesty, humility and self control. Chris has had to compensate for many basic principles of this art form because of his physical challenges. He has had to use more spiritual and mental powers to strengthen his inner balance and centering for attack and defense techniques. He has had to learn to use his wheelchair as a mechanism to add force and emphasis to his movements, and learn to believe that he could defend himself. Because of his CP it is very difficult to separate mind and muscle. His mind gets too many signals at one time. His muscles freeze, and he has to learn to slow down, and find that less muscle is more. Soo Bahk Do has taught Chris to learn inner strength and balance to bring precision and focus to his movements. On February 10, 2001 Chris tested for his Black Belt, and became the first person in the world in a wheel chair to earn a Black Belt.

Chris is a full-time student,but has still found time to develop a web page for the VECTOR Program. He also has excellent grades, having earned a GPA at Hennepin Technical College of 3.86. After completing his training this spring Chris plans to move into Courage Centers Independent Living Program. He also intends to pursue his career goal of developing his own free lance business in Electronic Publishing, or if the opportunity presents itself, work for an existing company utilizing his Electronic Publishing Diploma.

In a letter of recommendation from his Electronic Publishing instructor, Angelique Hoglund shares the following: "I can truly say that I have never met another person like Chris - he is definitely a member of the 'special' population, but for more reasons that I can list. Chris is dedicated, hardworking, and extremely independent. The wonderful thing about Chris is his willingness to share his knowledge with anyone who needs it - an invaluable trait for the technical field he has chosen. Chris seems to tackle everything with a smile on this face. He is most deserving of the special recognition, 'Outstanding Student of the Year', because that is exactly what he is: outstanding."

Submitted by:
Darla Jackson
ISD 287, Vector
Brooklyn Park

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Steve Czech
Date Last Modified: 5/14/01