May 30, 2003
Editor: Steve Czech
Thanks to everyone who submitted articles!

MnACTE/SNP Home Page:

President's Report

As this school year comes to a close and we each reflect on how our students have progressed and grown, we can do the same with ourselves. Personally, I have found this year to be very successful for MnACTE/SNP as well as myself. The following are some observations and comments with the completion of my first year as president. I want to thank the board members for their commitment and all the effort they have put into the organization to serve its members. I especially wish to thank Steve Czech, Past-President, for helping me throughout the year while learning this position and what needed to be done. We held another successful statewide conference. Thank you to all who helped with it as well as those who attended. At the conference we presented awards to some very deserving recipients, and I would like to congratulate them again. In addition to the two student award winners, five other students will also receive the Student Grants of $250 each. There have been a few coordinators' meetings in the metro area during this year, and there was one in Brainerd for those in the northern part of the state. Next year, our goal is to expand these meetings throughout Minnesota in an effort to provide networking and professional growth opportunities for more members. To be notified of these meetings, make sure you are on my email list next September with your updated address. Also, keep checking the website,, for the latest ECHO, etc. Thank you to all those who agreed to run for one of the positions on the board, to everyone who voted, and congratulations to those who were elected to serve on the MnACTE/SNP Board. Those elected will begin their term at the Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, October 9, 2003, at 12:30 at Hennepin Technical College-Brooklyn Park Campus.

Relax and have a great summer.

Submitted by:
Robert W. Lindgren
Work Experience Coordinator
Area High School
401 Huntsinger Avenue
Park Rapids, MN 56470
218-237-6479 &endash; office
218-237-6401 &endash; fax


Annual Meeting: Thursday, October 9th, 2003. Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park - Buffet lunch will be provided for current members who attend.

Name Change: The Department of Children Families and Learning officially has a new name: The Department of Education.

2003 Minnesota Work-Based Learning Manual "Connecting Youth to Work Based Learning, Blue Print for a Quality Program" has been published in CD format or hard copy. The cost is $20 each and can be ordered by contacting Diane Klapak at:

MN Department of Education
Division of Lifework Development
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113-4266
Phone #: 651-582-8386
Fax #: 651-582-8492

Make checks payable to: Commissioner of MN Dept. of Education

ACTE Region III Leadership Conference, June 18-20, 2003. Dubuque, Iowa. Click on link for registration form: ACTERegistrationforDubuque.doc

ACTE National Conference: Orlando Florida, December 11 - 14, 2003. Consider attending. It's a great conference. For more information:

Reminder: If your address or email address changes, please let me know at, and I'll make the electronic changes along with letting membership know. This is important, as we are doing more electronic notices and less paper mailings. Also, let others know about the website and our organization. During these times, membership in MnACTE/SNP is important. It is also important that you consider joining MnACTE and ACTE. These organizations are very crucial in getting key legislation passed such as the permanent levy and the reauthorization of Perkins.

MnACTE & ACTE Website: Check out the Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Education and the Association for Career and Technical Education web sites. Our statewide umbrella association has their fall, winter and spring newsletters plus other association information. The national association also has great information regarding CTE news.



MnACTE/SNP 2003 Award Recipients

The 2003 Conference Outstanding Career and Technical Special Needs Students of the Year, Patricia Carlin and Amanda Eidem of Transition Plus, Anoka Hennepin District 11, were recognized at the conference luncheon this year along with the Indirect Service Provider of the year, Jon Hamilton, the Teacher of the Year, LuAnn Tauer, the Direct Service Provider of the Year, Eric Sime and a special award this year to Ron Dittmer in Recognition of Outstanding and Distinguished Service to MnACTE/SNP for 26 years.

Patty is attending Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and plans to transfer to St. Cloud State University where she would like to earn a teaching degree. She is employed by Kindercare and has received vision services throughout her years with Anoka-Hennepin. She has learned to advocate for herself in order to be successful at work and in college.

Photo: Bev Stahlberger (case manager), Patty, and Chris Swenson (work coordinator).

Amanda works at For Kids Only as an assistant teacher. She has a desire to work in a health related program and has taken classes at Anoka-Hennepin Technical College and at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Amanda was injured by a lightning strike at age 16 and has had to relearn her entire repertoire of skills including how to walk and talk. She has been tireless in her efforts. To read more about Amanda, see a story that was published in the Anoka Union below.

Photo: Karis Wong (case manager), Amanda, and Chris Swenson (work coordinator).

The Outstanding Career and Technical Education Special Needs Indirect Service Provider of the Year is John Hamilton. John has served on the Richfield School's Work Experience Advisory Committee for more than 25 years. He is a member of the Optimist Club and with John's support, the Optimist Club has been active in generating money to support the work program. John has found time to go "above and beyond" with his support and he is a strong and loyal supporter of the work program.

Photo: Pat Larson (work coordinator), John, and LuAnn Tauer (work coordinator).

The Special Needs Teacher of the Year is LuAnn Tauer. LuAnn has been working for the Richfield School District for seven years and is the original Transition Plus Program work experience coordinator and teacher. LuAnn brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to her students and coworkers. Problems are challenges turned into opportunities for LuAnn. LuAnn has also been named Minnesota River Valley Special Education Cooperative's 1990 Outstanding Teacher of the Year and is a recipient of the Richfield School District Extra Mile Award.

Photo: LuAnn Tauer (work coordinator) and Leslie Ingvalson

The Special Needs Direct Service Provider of the Year is Eric Sime. Eric has been employed by the Minnesota State College and University System for 12 years. He currently is working at Rochester Community and Technical College. While working at Anoka-Ramsey Community College as Director of Access Services, Eric and staff at Transition Plus, Anoka-Hennepin District 11, developed a 2 credit course called "Introduction to College". The course was specifically designed to address issues that are faced by students with special needs when attending college. Eric is able to challenge students with humor, honesty and a positive and gentle influence.

Photo: Eric Sime and Steve Czech

A special award was given this year in recognition of Outstanding and Distinguished Service to Ron Dittmer. Ron has worked with the St. Paul Public Schools for 35 1/2 years and all of those years he has worked with students with special needs. Ron joined the Minnesota Vocational Association and then MnACTE/SNP in 1977. He has served as President Elect, President, Treasurer and Regional Representative to the national organization, NAVESNP. Working with the Association was a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor for Ron. The opportunity to network with other professionals and being knowledgeable regarding legislative information has made membership in MnACTE/SNP fun and interesting. June Long, a longtime leader in Career and Technical Education for students with special needs, now retired, was able to present the award to Ron. Thank you, Ron.

Photo: Ron Dittmer and June Long

2003 MnACTE/SNP Grant Awards

MnACTE/SNP has awarded financial grants to a total of seven special needs students. The $250 grants will be distributed to Patricia Carlin and Amanda Eidem, Special Needs Students of the Year.

Other students receiving awards are:

Steven Edward Widerski, Transition Plus, St. Paul. Steve is enrolled in the Network Engineering degree program at Saint Paul College with a goal of working full time as a computer networking engineer. Steve has participated in two internships related to his networking goal and an internship for Northwest Airlines. Steve also works part time as a cook, driver, bowling alley technician and stocker. In addition, Steve has earned the Eagle Scout rank. Steve has received services for a significant learning disability in the area of written language.

Ruth Schader, Transition Plus Program, White Bear Lake. Ruth has attended classes at Northeast Metro Technical College in the Child Development program. She currently works at Playschool Child Care Center, North St. Paul, and her goal is to become a kindergarten teacher. Ruth plans to attend the St. Paul Technical College this summer to continue her post secondary training. Ruth enjoys her involvement in the Bible Study Group at her church. Ruth has received services for EBD.

Greg Olson, Career and Life Transition Program, Roseville. Greg has worked at GAP and is currently working at The Mermaid. He is able to complete three or four tasks simultaneously while running an industrial sized dishwasher. Greg does very will with managing the flow of dishes for banquets with 300 guests. He moves dishes from dirty to clean and back on the shelf with great efficiency. Greg worked with a job trainer to develop his job skills and made adjustments in his behavior. This resulted in a successful job experience for his employer and himself.

Rachel Gragert, Transition Plus, Anoka-Hennepin District 11. Rachel has attended Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Hennepin Technical College. Her career goal is to work in the health field, and she recently completed all but the clinicals in Phlebotomy. Rachel works full time at Travelers Express. She is the mother of a young daughter, Destiny, and has worked hard to find suitable housing, maintain a vehicle, and provide appropriate daycare for Destiny.

Jamie Ward, Transition Plus, Anoka-Hennepin District 11. Jamie recently completed the coursework and passed the State Board Test for Certified Nursing Assistant. She is employed full time with benefits in her chosen career. Jamie is scheduled for evening hours which suits her well as she is a "PM" person. She works extra hours, extra shifts and makes herself available to her team when they need additional help.

Thank you to all of the individuals who nominated the recipients of the MNACTE/SNP awards and thank you to all the award and grant receivers.

Barb Weldon
Transition Plus
Anoka-Hennepin District #11

Central Lakes, Pine Technical and Ridgewater College Offer Occupational Skills Program For Students with Disabilities

The only 3 programs offered in Minnesota at the college level!

OSP Cast for One Act Theater Performance "People Like Us". This is an elective course offering at Central Lakes College.

The Occupational Skills Program is a vocational, life skills program offered in a college setting for persons with mild disabilities. Students in this unique program attend to reach two main goals.

1. Securing and maintaining competitive, entry-level employment.

2. Learning life skills needed to live in the community of their choice.

These goals are presented offering a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training at entry-level service occupations throughout the community. Courses in the program offer experiences that promote social, physical and emotional growth in a college setting.

OSP students learning in the classroom.

Students in OSP are totally integrated into college life and the community. Private housing is available to students in all three communities utilizing bus service and within walking distance at Central Lakes College program.

OSP Students in the Auto Mechanics Dept. at CLC

The Occupational Skills Program. A college education for individuals with disabilities making the transition to employment and independent living.

For more information contact:

Central Lakes College-Brainerd, Tammy Flatgard-Coordinator, 800-933-0346 Ext. 8077

Pine Technical College-Pine City, Deborah Proctor,-Coordinator, 800-521-7463

Ridgewater College-Willmar, Mary Gafkjen-Coordinator, 800-722-1151 Ext. 2987

Submitted by,
Tammy L. Flatgard
OSP Coordinator
Central Lakes College
800-933-0346 ext. 8077
Direct: 218-855-8077
FAX: 218-855-8220

Rochester Community and Technical College Announces New Para Education Program

Beginning this summer, Rochester Community and Technical College will offer a Para education program developed to meet the recently legislated "No Child Left Behind" Title I requirements. The program offers two options, a certificate and an AAS degree. There will be courses that introduce the student to the multiple roles of the paraprofessional, including the philosophy, historical and legal foundations of education. Characteristics of the learner, including those with special needs, will be explored. Program enrollees will be exposed to child development theory from birth through high school ages and learn how to assist the classroom teachers in providing reading instruction. A new course has been created to encompass disability issues with emphasis on disability law and accommodations. Courses are offered in late afternoon and early evenings so that current school employees can continue working while attending courses.

If you'd like more information, please contact Lori Wright at 507-285-7237 or

Submitted by,
Eric Sime
Rochester Community and Technical College

Adventures at the Olive Garden

As first days on the job go, this one was definitely not going the way we had it planned. Even with extra staff available, one of the students was becoming increasingly agitated due to a change in his normal routine and the urinal was refusing to shut off, causing a massive flood in the men's room. I didn't know what to do first &endash; call the behavioral analyst or start looking for a plumber. So began our relationship with the Olive Garden Restaurant.

It all started when one of are staff was eating dinner there and she approached the manager about possible job openings. He mentioned they were looking for a morning cleaning crew and she was quick to let him know about the Bridges program. As work coordinators, we followed up on the lead and a relationship was soon formed. They were willing to hire 3 workers and we would supply a job coach. The job duties were laid out, the students had been interviewed, new supplies had been ordered and with high hopes on both sides we were set to begin.

As my loafers started to take on water, my first thoughts were "what in the world have we gotten ourselves into?" We always tell the students to never give up, so as tempting as it sounded, that wasn't an option. The sticky valve eventually was freed and the torrent gradually subsided. We pushed a wall of water to the supply closet and quickly located the mop and bucket. After the floor was cleaned, we took stock of the situation. We muddled through the morning and after a few months, things finally settled into somewhat of a routine. Oh sure, there were some speed bumps along the way. Like the time a student hit a manager during a staff meeting because the vacuum cleaner gave a little puff of blue smoke and refused to work. Or the time a student got mad at the job coach and chased her around the restaurant prompting a call to the police. Or when a student had to be reprimanded for stealing after dinner mints, causing a warm brown mess in his pants pocket. On the other hand, there have been positives as well. Such as the compliments mangers give us after the suits from corporate come for an inspection on the cleanliness of the restaurant. Or giving us a big discount when we stay for a soup and salad lunch. Or the pride a student feels when he brings his family to the Olive garden for dinner and the hostess and waiter call him by name. All in all, the relationship has worked very well for both parties.

We, as coordinators, have learned a lot from the partnership as well. I was very apprehensive about placing a student with potential behaviors there, but his Mom assured me he could do the job and she was right. He worked there for over two years before graduating and moving on to an adult service agency. I am now a little more willing to take a risk with other students that I have concerns about. We had to change job coaches a number of times before finding the right fit. Everybody has their niche and these people have been very successful at other work sites. Most importantly, students will rise to the challenge if given a chance. The students working there take pride in their performance, work hard and take the initiative to learn new tasks.

The Olive Garden &endash; a great place to work!

Submitted by:

Mike Bisping
Work Experience Coordinator
Anoka-Hennepin District #11

Amanda Eidem, Student of the Year, Recognized in Anoka Union

Posted: 5/9/03

Student struck by lightning has whole new outlook

by Elyse Kaner
Staff writer

Amanda Eidem doesn't remember much about what happened to her six years ago. School was over for the day and she was leaving the building. It was raining. "I just remember walking out of the high school and that's about it," Eidem said. That's when lightning struck, sending a charge through Eidem's body that would change her life forever. Her heart stopped beating for five minutes, she said. For 16 days, she lay in a coma in a Texas hospital. When she awakened, she was left with a traumatic brain injury, rendering her unable to walk, talk, eat or move. It's been a long haul, for Eidem, of Andover, &endash; years of physical, speech and occupational therapy &endash; but she is back on track and looks forward to being on her own some day. "I've already been through hell and back. I'm not going to stop now," the 22-year-old said.

After the accident, Eidem was disoriented. Although she was in Texas, where she had moved with her father about a year earlier, she thought she was back in Minnesota where she previously had lived. "I was really distraught," she said. In the hospital, she learned to walk again. "I learned how to stand and how to take steps and walk because my injury was so severe," she said. But Eidem needed further rehabilitation and when she was released from the hospital, she was sent to Pate Rehabilitation Center in Dallas, where she worked four to six hours a day to regain her strength. Every morning, she wrote her name and about the accident to get her brain to remember what had happened. She stretched and performed balancing exercises to get her muscles to work once again. She practiced dexterity skills with a ball and walked on a treadmill. "It was hard to get the signals from my brains to my limbs," Eidem said. She made baskets and fit PCV pipes together to make a model swing set. And she continued to work on her conversational speech and phonics.

After the accident, she had difficulty speaking. Her tongue wasn't working. "So the words were all gargled," said Chris Swenson, of Transition Plus in Anoka (a special education school for students 18 to 21 years old with disabilities) where Eidem began attending school for a few days a week after she returned to Minnesota in 1998.

Eidem also had to relearn how to eat. "I used to shake a lot &endash; tremors from the brain. We sat at tables and worked at picking up things," she said.

The accident has changed Eidem tremendously, she said. It has opened her eyes to disabilities. She now has a whole new outlook on life. Although it has taken time to realize her limitations, Amanda said, "I can do anything that I set my mind to do." May 28, Eidem will graduate from Anoka High School. Her cap will be decorated with a gold tassel for academic honors that she earned before her accident.

Currently, she is working part-time at For Kids Only, a child care center in Andover. At first, she was worried no one would hire her because of her memory and speech deficits, she said. But she was wrong. She recently received her three-year jacket, working at a job she enjoys. She plays games with the kids, reads to them, prepares snacks, washes dishes and relieves teachers when they go on break. But what she likes best about the job is when she gets hugs and a big smile from the kids, and they say "I remember what you taught me," she said.

Eidem continues to work out to regain her strength and motor skills. She thinks about getting back in shape, using step machine or doing step aerobics, like she used to. She doesn't walk on the treadmill much any more. "I go too fast for it," she said. She looks forward to the day when she will move from her father's house into a place of her own. She thinks about possibly becoming a nurses aid in the future.

In March, Eidem received a Student of the Year Award from Minnesota Career and Technical Association for Special Needs Personnel at the Earl Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. She delivered a speech in acceptance of the honor &endash; her first public speech since Sept. 3, 1997, when she was struck by lightning. "You could hear a pin drop in the room," said Karis Wong of Transition Plus.

Eidem's message? Don't give up.

As an result of the accident, Eidem told the audience, she was placed into a new and different world, not knowing up from down. "I'm just so grateful that I have this chance to see the world at a different view, and say 'this is where I am' and look to see what else is out there, because my life didn't stop at (a) brain injury," she said. "It just took the road less traveled."

"One last thing. Whatever life throws at you, hit it out of the park. Enjoy the time in the sun and keep trying. And do not give up &endash; never."

Northern Minnesota Coordinators Gather for Informational Sessions and Networking

On May 8 we held the MnACTE/SNP Board meeting in Brainerd followed by a networking opportunity for coordinators who work in northern Minnesota. This was the beginning stage of MnACTE/SNP's goal to have regional meetings around the state. Several coordinators from the north as well as a couple from the Metro area were in attendance. The participants varied in experience from well seasoned coordinators to those who were just starting classes to get their endorsement. This mix provided for very worthwhile networking and questions. In the three and half hour meeting we covered a variety of topics. One presenter was the Occupational Skills Program Instructor, Tammy Flatgard, who gave an overview of the program; (see her article). The other presenters gave overviews and updates on a variety of topics including: services provided through the Brainerd Community Support Services regional office, the job coach skills and knowledge competencies portion of the para training requirements, the new WBL manual(see announcements section to order one), skill standards, along with updates on the courses for WBL endorsement and legislation. We had a good question and answer period, and decided to have another meeting at the same location in October, preferably during the day. MnACTE/SNP's goal is to have similar meetings around the state next year that will focus on a couple topics, and provide opportunities for networking. If you are not receiving information regarding organizational activities, please email me and I'll add you to the list.

Submitted by:
Robert W. Lindgren
Work Experience Coordinator
Area High School
Park Rapids, MN

Culver's: An Outstanding Employer

As I'm attending an employee review, I am once again amazed at the commitment Mike and Krisi Kult naturally express to their employee, a student with special needs. In the variety of areas within the evaluation, Mike consistently reinforced Ben's work ethic, behaviors, attitude, etc. with a sincere "And, I want to Thank-you for that. " In turn, Ben's excitement was displayed through his eagerness to be able to have hours added to his schedule.

Mike Kult, General Manager at Culver's in Coon Rapids and his wife, Krisi have been working with our Transition Program for over a year. They have displayed a genuine interest in helping Ben to be successful in the competitive work environment. From a work coordinator's vantage point, Mike and Krisi have been excellent communicators in conveying both positives and challenges in support of Ben.

Culver's is fortunate to employ Mike and Krisi Kult; and our community is fortunate to experience the management style of Mike and Krisi Kult.

Submitted by,
Deb Olsen and Ann Hicks
Transition Plus
Anoka-Hennepin District #11

Updates in Minnesota Career and Technical Education Legislation

  • The Career and Technical Education levy is permanent. This is a major development. Our parent organization, MnACTE, CTE administrators, and agricultural educators were very persistent and influential in this legislation.
  • Career and Technical Education language changes were adopted for transition services. This was done to clarify programs for learners with disabilities and allow funding of paraprofessionals (as well as licensed technical tutors) as approved by the Department of Education.
  • Student Organizations have a $625,000 annual appropriation which includes language that no organization should receive less than it received in 2003.
  • Districts are obligated to report data on career and technical education as required by the Department of Education.

MnACTE/SNP Board of Directors Election Results for 2003-04

This slate of officers will be adopted at the annual meeting on October 9th, 2003.


Bob Lindgren

Past President:

Steve Czech

President Elect:

LuAnne Tauer


Sue Sorenson


Beverly Rath (Trial Basis)


Beverly Rath

Newsletter Editor:


WEH/ Work Based Learning Coordinator - Special Needs

Pat Larson
Deb Olsen
Ann Hicks
Rick Rivard

WED/Work Based Learning Coordinator

Winston Kindem
Mick Seme
Wayne Turkowski
Barb Weldon


Bonnie Holt

Transition Coordinator:

Nicki Karulak
Beth Quest
Karen Young
Colleen Haggar

Administrative Affiliates:

Paula Krippner

Post Secondary Rep:

Eric Sime

Paraprofessional Rep:


Ad Hoc Members

Susan Hoch
Lezlie Ingvalson
Darla Jackson
Barb JoliCouer
Kim Landecker
Nancy Recibe
Dean Shawbold
Karin Tomervik





Steve Czech
Date Last Modified: 5/30/03