January 6, 2003
Editors: Lezlie Ingvalson & Lu Ann Tauer

 

MnACTE/SNP Home Page: http://www.mnactesnp.org

President's Report

Greetings, and welcome to another school year. I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable summer. Also, that your school year has started out as a productive and successful one. At the October general meeting, 31 members attended and the new board members began their duties. As I take over the presidency from Steve Czech, I want to thank him for the past two years of outstanding leadership. During his term we saw change and growth in how we operate as an organization. The development of our web page and the use of electronic communications with our members were major accomplishments. I hope that these areas will continue to evolve and will be utilized more. A listing for job openings is being discussed as an addition to the web page. In September, Steve helped MnACTE add a web site that can be accessed by going to http://www.avaonline.org/about/states/index.cfm This leads me to address the goals that I have set for this year. One big goal is having a successful Statewide Conference. It is set for March 6 & 7, 2003, and it looks like the committee has planned yet another GREAT conference. Look elsewhere in the ECHO for information and registration. In addition to the biannual conference, we want to sponsor regional networking/training meetings that will enable our members to become better informed on what is happening around the state. The idea is to get coordinators together to not only receive information, but to give us feedback on ways MnACTE/SNP can better represent them. This brings me to the need for developing a single database of individuals from across the state that would like to be included and/or be members of MnACTE/SNP. The last major goal is to continue working with CFL regarding our programs and ways to ensure positive improvements for the special needs students we serve. Part of this is the Work Focus Group on which a number of members serve. We will also continue working with MnACTE on legislative issues and a possible MnACTE statewide conference for all the divisions. In closing, I look forward to serving this organization of Special Needs Personnel, and will try to work with the members to promote a positive image for all of us who work with students with special needs. I wish all of you holiday greetings and I look forward to seeing and visiting with you at the conference in March.

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
rlindgren@parkrapids.k12.mn.us

Statewide Comprehensive Conference

Check your mail for "MAKING CONNECTIONS" the MnACTE/SNP statewide comprehensive conference! The registration form is now out. We will hear about diversity from Tou Ger Xiong who will have us listening, laughing and learning. We will hear from Sisters Michelle Meyers and Kay O'Neil on the topic of life being too short to not have a good time. Many of your colleagues will share practical information about interagency connections, the Individual Interagency Intervention Plan (IIIP), gang and violence prevention, stress and more. The conference will be held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center on Thursday, March 6th and Friday March 7th. We are limited to 150 attendees so get your registration in early! If you have not received a registration form, you can get one by accessing the MnACTE/SNP web site at http://www.mnactesnp.org.

Submitted by:

Paula Krippner
Rosemount Apple Valley Eagan District #196
Rosemount, MN

 

 

 

Networking Opportunity

Join other work experience coordinators as we meet on January 28, 2003 at 3:00 p.m. at Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins. This is a chance for us to get together to discuss issues, share ideas and support each other. Eisenhower Community Center is located on Highway 7, west of 169. Questions? Contact Colleen at colleen_hagger@hopkins.k12.mn.us

Submitted by:

Colleen Hagger
Hopkins Public Schools
Minnetonka, MN

 

 

 

Community Organization Supports Students with Special Needs

The Optimist Club of Richfield, Minnesota has had a longstanding relationship with students in the Richfield area, and specifically with student with special needs in the work experience programs at Richfield High School and the Transition Plus Program at Lincoln Hill Center. The Richfield Optimist Club is one of over twenty clubs throughout the state of Minnesota. Members of Optimist Clubs International provide service and activities to students all over the world. Members believe that "optimism is a way of life." Their motto is that, as community leaders, they are "friends of youth." The Richfield Optimist Club has demonstrated this in many ways.


The Richfield Optimists sponsor or financially support community wide youth events throughout the year including hockey, cook outs, Little League and "Take a Child Fishing Day." Their dedication to supporting students with special needs with their vocational development has been outstanding. There are several ways the club does this.

Perhaps the most exciting for students is the 15 year tradition of honoring "Students of the Quarter." Each quarter, two students from each location (Richfield High School and Lincoln Hills Center) are selected by their work experience coordinators for excellence in job seeking or job performance. Students may apply only if they have completed all work in their class and are earning at least a "B", are currently working or are actively seeking employment, and have received a positive evaluation from their employer. They must also complete a written essay entitled, Why I Deserve the Student of the Quarter, Award. The students chosen receive a cash award at one of the weekly Optimist Club breakfast meetings. Besides receiving a complimentary breakfast, they also get the opportunity to be honored by community members and they may also choose to give a short speech.

Another way the Optimist Club supports our students is by providing a post-secondary education scholarship to one or two students each year. These substantial scholarships give students, who might not qualify for other scholarships, an opportunity to continue on with their education. Students must apply for these scholarships in essay form and Optimist Club members select the winner(s).

A final way that Optimist Club members support our students is through their volunteer work directly with our students. Several Optimist members are also on the Richfield Work Advisory Committee, which supports and advises both vocational programs at Richfield High School and Lincoln Hills. John Hamilton, an Optimist Club member and a member of Richfield's Work Advisory Committee, stated that members of the Optimist Club, "provide an opportunity to work with those students who may not have a chance to work with another group of adults in the community." Volunteer activities include being a classroom guest speaker, interviewing students for mock interview competitions and visiting students in various vocational programs.

Members of the Optimist Club at Richfield have been wonderful mentors and supporters of both students with special needs as well as the staff members who serve them. This community partnership is an excellent example of an educational and business partnership that could be modeled around the state. For further information, please contact Patricia Larson @ 612-798-6367 or LuAnn Tauer @ 612-798-6305.

Submitted by:

Patricia Larson
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Have you heard about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)? It is designed to help individuals from certain target groups secure employment by providing a federal income tax credit incentive to employers who hire them. WOTC only covers new hires and requires the completion of two forms that are processed through the Department of Economic Security. Employers can receive an income tax credit of 40% of an employee's first $6,000 in wages ($2,400). The employee must have worked a minimum of 400 hours for the employer to qualify for the tax credit. Nonprofits and government agencies do not qualify. There are eight (8) ways for a person to qualify for the tax credit. The two most common qualifiers for our students would be:

  1. Vocational Rehabilitation client with a written plan from a State or Veterans Administration Counselor within the past 24 months.
  2. SSI recipient who has received SSI benefits within 60 days prior to the date of hire.

For forms and more information go to the following website: http://www.mnwfc.org/wotc

Submitted by:

Steve Czech
Anoka-Hennepin District #11
Coon Rapids, MN

 

 

Urgent: Contact Your Legislators

It is more important than ever that you take action to maintain Career and Technical Education (C&TE) Funding. With our poor economy and huge budget deficits, cuts are looming. We again face the loss of set-aside money for state C&TE programs, and it appears President Bush is eyeing Perkins funding.

Please use the following information to act on behalf of C&TE. Also, share it with your colleagues and friends outside the framework of C&TE.

State

This year the state legislature will again decide whether or not to provide direct funding to C& TE. The past two years, school districts have had the right to levy for C& TE funding. The levy expires annually and must be reinstated by the legislature. Please contact your representative and senator and ask that they support reinstating the levy. A total of around 11 million dollars throughout the state has been levied for each of the past two years. Our students depend on the programs this money supports. You can find contact information for your state representative and senator at the following links:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/hmem.htm
http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.htm

Federal

President Bush is considering the elimination of Carl Perkins money and shifting its funding toward Pell Grants. He believes Perkins dollars are going to post secondary schools anyway, and this would help boost a program that is in need of greater resources (robbing Peter to pay Paul). The president does not appear to understand or acknowledge that secondary schools are allocated 40% of Perkins dollars. This money is used to work with students in C&TE programs. We need to do what we can to maintain this funding. Please contact your representative and senators in Washington and express your concern. You can find their contact information at the following links:

United States Senators

United States Representatives

Submitted by:

Steve Czech
Anoka-Hennepin District #11
Coon Rapids, MN

Work-Based Learning License Endorsement Training Opportunity

December 17, 2002

The Metro ECSU is excited to announce an additional distance-learning training opportunity beginning January 2003 for agencies interested in committing staff and resources to complete the Teacher Coordinator of Work-Based Learning License Endorsement.

The training includes 10 credits (5 two-credit courses) that will be provided in collaboration with Bemidji State University. The first course will be completed winter/spring 2003. The second and third course completed summer 2003, and the fourth and fifth courses completed fall 2003 and winter 2004. The courses include IT 5930 Student Organizations in Industrial/Career and Technical Education, IT 5930 Career Development Theory and Practice, IT 5850 Foundations/Philosophy of Career and Technical Education, IT 5888 Work/Occupational Assessment of Learning, and IT 5889 Coordination Techniques of Occupational Education. Descriptions of each course include:

IT 5930 Student Organizations in Industrial/Career and Technical Education

Designed to acquaint the student with the issues of planning and implementation of student organizations. Additional topics include student organization at the secondary and post-secondary level and their relationship to state and federal policy and legislation.

IT 5850 Foundations/Philosophy of Career and Technical Education

This course is a study of the history, philosophy, and practices of career and technical education. It includes a survey of curriculum characteristics, certification requirements, professional organizations, and career options.

IT 5930 Career Development Theory and Practice

This course is designed to acquaint professionals with the various phases of career development and to develop an understanding of the principles, methods and procedures that can enhance the occupational assessment with school systems.

IT 5889 Coordination Techniques of Occupational Education

This course involves the role of the teacher-coordinators in the design and implementation of internships and other cooperative experimental learning methods.

IT 5888 Work/Occupational Assessment of Learning

This course involves an investigation into the use of informal and formal techniques used in the design and implementation of occupational assessment with school systems.

There are 15 slots available. Priority will be given to districts who are not currently committing resources and staff for on-line or on-campus work-based learning licensure endorsement through the ECSU. The Metro ECSU will contribute 75% of tuition costs plus fees. The employing agency will support the participant with the remaining 25% of tuition plus costs for books. During the 2002-2003 academic year, Bemidji State University charges $190 per graduate credit. The license requires the completion of 10 graduate credits which represents a total tuition cost of $1,900. The ECSU's 75% share of tuition would be $1,425 plus fees. The 25% share of the school district is projected to be $475 plus any costs for books. It should be noted that tuition could increase after August 2003 if Bemidji State University increases its rates for tuition for the 2003-2004 academic year.

Interested applicants must complete and return the registration form to Deb Johnson no later than January 17, 2003. The form can be faxed or mailed. Applicants must agree to complete the entire Teacher Coordinator of Work-Based Learning License course sequence, and agencies must agree to support the participant with tuition and book costs.

We hope your district will consider participating in this training which provides work-based learning coordinators the expertise to develop transition services and work-based learning experiences for youth with disabilities.

Workplace Ethics: Implications for Students with Special Needs

In the spring and summer of 2002, I completed the requirements for my Master's in Education at the University of Minnesota by completing a project on workplace ethics as it relates to work experience coordinators and the students that they serve. This study was a descriptive, non-experimental, quantitative survey of licensed work experience coordinators currently working with high school and transition-aged (18-22 years old) youth across the state of Minnesota. Data was collected over a 20-day period from May 30, 2002 through June 20, 2002. One hundred questionnaires developed by the author were mailed to work experience coordinators located throughout the state of Minnesota, 49 were returned and 42 were used in the study. The questionnaire requested demographic information and used rating scales and checklists to gather information.

The purpose of this study, then, was twofold: to determine if work experience coordinators in Minnesota teach workplace ethics to students with special needs, and, what is the prevalence of student dishonesty in work-study situations. First, I investigated the frequency and effectiveness of instruction, as well as resources used. Then, from the employment side, I sought specifics when dishonesty was cited as the reason for dismissal, and, what workplace factors, as perceived by coordinators, foster or deter student dishonesty.

An alarming percent (88%) of coordinators reported that at least one of their students had been fired for dishonesty in the workplace. This would suggest that there is a great need to improve the efficacy of skills taught in the classroom as well as improving placements and successful employment in the workplace. A large number of coordinators also requested a specific written follow-up to the questionnaire, indicating their avid interest in this subject.

Work experience coordinators were mixed in their use of specific workplace ethics curricula. Although over three out of every four coordinators taught a specific unit in this area, only 59% rated their curriculum as either effective (53%) or very effective (6%). This would suggest room for improvement. The amount of time spent teaching this unit was also mixed; however, the majority (38%) spent at least ten or more hours each school year. Coordinators mentioned using a variety of methods to teach this unit; scenarios and videos were listed as the most frequently used. Curricula specifically for students with special needs were limited in scope; several coordinators stated that they developed their own materials to address this issue.

The majority of reasons students were fired from their jobs for dishonesty were, in my opinion, quite serious: stealing money or merchandise, stealing time,(returning late from breaks or time card fraud) and lying directly to the employer. More interesting, perhaps, are the environmental factors suggested by coordinators that might affect why the student was fired for being dishonest in the first place.. There was a wide variation in answers among coordinators including 23 responses in the "other" category. These will be outlined below. The most frequent factors listed by work experience coordinators that may influence student dishonesty included negative peer influence (45%), easy access to food or merchandise (31%), and lack of direct supervision by manager (29%). Less frequent reasons given included working for an inexperienced manager (14%), low pay (14%), a lack of security measures (cameras, alarms, etc.), (10%), and poor financial accountability (cash register balances, etc.) (10%).

When given the opportunity to choose the "other" category to respond, work experience coordinators gave over 20 reasons that contribute to student dishonesty in the workplace. These could be grouped into four areas: making poor personal choices, negative family and home influences, result of the student's disability, and a personal lack of morals.

Lack of moral integrity/poor choices/poor home environment was rated the highest by coordinators, even though it wasn't even a choice listed on the survey

A proactive theft prevention program in the workplace is critical to insure the success of students with disabilities in work-study settings. When placing students in work-study programs, work experience coordinators should specifically choose employers that meet the following criteria:

  1. The employer stresses the importance of ethics, both personal and corporate, during the interview and orientation process.
  2. The employer explains the consequences for theft and dishonesty, namely being fired or prosecuted for the crime, and then follows through when such an occurrence happens.
  3. The employer utilizes the most up-to-date methods to prevent and detect employee theft and dishonesty.
  4. The employer strives to create a positive work environment: competitive wages, opportunities for advanced training and promotion, and competent, fair managers.
  5. The employer provides avenues for the employee to express concerns regarding ethics concerns and education; specifically, to improve communication through the use of anonymous tip lines, unions, and other resources.
  6. The employer has an established mission statement/code of ethics that all employees, from entry-level workers to the CEO are expected to follow.
  7. The employer provides personal ethics training. Several studies suggested that this is the easiest and best way to reduce minor theft, or pilfering. If employees know it is wrong or is considered dishonest by their supervisors, they are less inclined to engage in these behaviors.
  8. The employer promotes a sense of pride and ownership among its workers; they are recognized for their work accomplishments, ethical behaviors and service to the community.
  9. The work experience coordinator should maintain good communication with each student's employer. Should any ethical issues arise, the coordinator can assist the student and the employer in resolving the situation.

The second part of the solution to workplace dishonesty resides in the classroom. Work experience coordinators must seek to find the best ways to teach workplace ethics effectively so that their students will be successful as young adults in the world of work.

Ethics should be taught at all grade levels but specifically as it pertains to workplace dilemmas. Specific recommendations for work experience coordinators are suggested and include the following points:

  1. In the classroom, teach a workplace ethics as a stand-alone unit, and/or, if possible, team-teach with a social studies or history teacher focusing on the history of moral decision-making.
  2. Insist upon excellent standards of student behavior and responsibility in the classroom, emphasizing a high level of responsibility regarding class attendance, cooperation and completion of assignments.
  3. Reward and encourage good conduct and ethical decisions in the classroom and in the workplace. Establish classroom or school-wide programs such as "Student of the Quarter," "Random Acts of Kindness" or "Good Citizenship" awards.
  4. Be a good role model yourself to set a high standard for your students. Discuss your personal ethical motivations and how they result in positive actions. Be on time to class, work hard, and discuss your own moral dilemmas and how you have dealt with them.
  5. Utilize a variety of strategies to teach students workplace ethics. These might include role-playing activities, discussions using scenarios, case studies, or ethical dilemmas, educational videos, guest speakers on ethical issues, and self-reflection
  6. Continue to develop and search for more resources to teach workplace ethics.
  7. Share curricula and teaching strategies with other coordinators.

It is my hope that other researchers will continue this work and expand on the ideas presented in this paper, perhaps surveying employers and the students themselves. I also hope that work experience coordinators across the state might find this information useful as well. If you would like me to e-mail you a copy of the entire paper, or if you have more questions about the study, please e-mail me at patricia.larson@richfield.k12.mn.us

Submitted by:

Patricia Larson
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN

 

 

 

Paraprofessionals & New Legislation

The No Child Left Behind Act has new requirements for paraprofessionals who provide instructional support to students in programs supported with Title I, Part A funds. Paraprofessionals hired after January 8, 2002, must have 1) completed two years of study at an institution of higher education; 2) obtained an associate's (or higher) degree; or 3) met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics (or as appropriate, reading readiness, writing readiness and mathematics readiness). Paraprofessionals hired on or before January 8, 2002 and working in a program supported with Title I funds must meet these requirements by January 8, 2006.

Each state has been charged with further defining/clarifying each of the requirements as it relates to the process and procedure the state is putting in place to ensure compliance with the federal legislation.

It is a generally accepted assumption that when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is reauthorized, paraprofessionals working with students receiving special education will be required to meet similar standards. In anticipation of this, the State Paraprofessional Consortium is recommending that paras/job coaches request and keep certificates of attendance from workshops, conferences, etc. they attend.

Submitted by:

Lezlie Ingvalson
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN

 

 

 

 

Transition Programs Receive Grant Money

The Richfield Transition Plus and Connections programs were recently awarded $300.00 from the Richfield Public Schools Dedication Fund to enhance the social skills of students needed to obtain and maintain employment and other adult life skills. The grant money will be used to collaborate with The Learning Exchange, an agency that provides community education to children and adults with disabilities. Some examples of classes taught include: Conversation How Tos, Fine Dining and Manners, Dating and Relationships and Basic First Aid. Staff from the Learning Exchange will come to Transition Plus and Connections and teach the classes. Money from the grant will be used to fund the teaching time and materials. The goals for students are to improve their social skills that will be used through out adult life and to establish a familiar relationship with Learning Exchange staff so that they will enroll in community education classes on their own in the future. The first class was held December 10th and focused on appropriate table manners and how to function in a fine dining situation.

Submitted by:

Lu Ann Tauer
Richfield Schools
Richfield, MN

 

 

 

National ACTE Convention Report

The 2002 National ACTE Convention and Career Tech Expo was held December 12-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There were over 8,000 teachers, administrators, counselors, policymakers, exhibitors and business leaders participating in this comprehensive career and technical education gathering. There were daily keynote speakers, division sessions, general and special track sessions, as well as exhibitor workshops. On Saturday, the Delegate Assembly took place, with elected representatives from each state discussing and making key decisions regarding ACTE's policies. Throughout the convention, the Exhibit was open, containing over 250 exhibitors showing off what is new in products and services for career and technical educators.

This year the convention was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. As always, there were many sessions to choose from and the exhibit area was comprehensive. Each day started with a general session including keynote speakers and awards being presented. Minnesota was well represented with award nominations from Region III, and MN also had one national winner, the "2003 ACTE-McDonald's Outstanding Career And Technical Educator," Mary Eagon Jacquart, System Director for Ed. Grant Programs at MnSCU.

Every year the attendee's from Minnesota gather Friday evening for a meal and visiting, this year it was held at the Hilton with well over 50 people taking part.

On Saturday evening the Assembly of Delegates took place. I was one of six Minnesota delegates to attend. This is when ACTE hears and decides on Bylaw Amendments and Policy Resolutions. The proposed Bylaw changes were approved, except "Article V.B-Board of Directors" which was sent back to committee. All the Resolutions proposed were passed.

The sessions that I attended were mainly in the Special Needs Division strand, and when possible I attended some pertaining to the Reauthorization of The Perkins Act. The opening session for Special Needs featured keynote speaker, Gary Meers from the University of Nebraska, who provided some thought provoking information in a humorous way. The session was short due to a major Perkins session starting, where we learned about what has been happening and trying to layout possible timeline of when specifics may be known. We were told that the letters, emails, phone calls, etc. have made a difference, and we need to continue, not only with our concerns, but also with examples of how Perkins has been successful. We also received updated information on some other key legislation that is up for reauthorization, and the ACTE's "Key Issues for Reauthorization of the Perkins Act" was presented. For more complete summaries of Perkins discussions at ACTE's Convention, go to http://www.acteonline.org, to the link titled "News Room", then "Frontpage News", and more. There you will find the following links that cover questions about Perkins funding very well &endash; "Perkins the Hot Topic at ACTE's Convention" and "D'Amico Links Skills Training With National Security Needs at ACTE Convention."

The Special Needs sessions mainly dealt with best practices in various levels and settings. I also attended both business meetings for the Special Needs Division and NAVESNP, as well as the joint Awards Luncheon. There seems to be some discussion between the two groups toward looking at common issues that can be addressed with one voice while also doing some joint activities. It appears that a lot of effort will be required before results are realized. Once again, the ACTE Convention was well worth the effort to attend, and the chance to network with others from across the country is so beneficial. I invite you to think about attending the 2003 ACTE Convention in Orlando, Florida, December 11-14, 2003.

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
rlindgren@parkrapids.k12.mn.us

Registration Form

Teacher Coordinator of Work-Based Learning License Endorsement
January 2003
Bemidji State University

 

Teacher File Folder Number:

Name:

Title:

District Number and Name:

School Address:

Home Address:

Work Phone:

Home Phone:

Work Email:

Home Email:

Fax Number:

My school district will commit 25% of tuition costs plus required books for the applicant's participation in the training.

.

.

Special Education Director's Signature (above)

Director's Printed Name & Date (above)

This training opportunity is offered to special education teachers interested in completing the licensure endorsement program Teacher Coordinator of Work-Based Learning. Participants must hold a special education teaching license as issued through MR 8710.5000-5400 or 8710.5600-5800 and commit to completing the entire licensure program.

Please return the registration form to:

Deb Johnson
Work-Based Learning Consultant
Metro ECSU
4001 Stinson Blvd NE, Suite 402
Minneapolis, MN 55421
Email: djohns@ecsu.k12.mn.us
Phone: (612) 638-1541
Fax: (612) 638-1547

Steve Czech
Date Last Modified: 1/7/03