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Goal 1: Improved Educational Outcomes

From 2014 to 2019, together we:

Hosted, supported, and evaluated the Minnesota Collaborative Outcomes Education Plan initiatives

How did we do this? We:

  • Hired a Coordinator of Educational Advancement & Partnerships
  • Contracted with researchers, local experts, and national experts to support the Collaborative Plan.
  • Developed a charter with Collaborative Steering Committee members with a formal commitment to support the Collaborative with DHHSD, Vocational Rehabilitation, and State Services for the Blind, University of Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Prep Program, Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Education. 
  • Created four age-based workgroups for 50 statewide representatives from agencies, advocacy organizations, rural, urban and suburban school districts, and administrators. Over 50% of the members in each group are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. The workgroups meet quarterly to set and implement goals to support the Collaborative Plan. 
  • Hosted the first Collaborative Conference in 2015 with national and local speakers, held conferences in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Each year, approximately 350 parents and professionals attend. Over 95% report that they are satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied in the conference evaluation.  
  • Hosted a summit and developed a five-year strategic plan for the Collaborative Plan (2019-2024) in collaboration with the Wilder Foundation and Collaborative Plan members. Created video stories of the impact of the Collaborative work over the past ten years. 

Advocated and supported culturally and linguistically appropriate, evidence-based services for all Minnesota children and families.

How did we do this? With the Collaborative Plan stakeholders, we:

  • Developed accurate, comprehensive information conveyed in an unbiased manner for families with babies newly identified as deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing and a yearly review process. The resources are available in both hard copy and online. 
  • Created transition-age professional development webinars and professional guidelines with the National Deaf Center for teachers.
  • Hosted training for the Visual Communication Sign Language Assessment tool and ensured that Deaf Mentors and Early Intervention Teachers have the skills to measure visual language development. Led efforts to create a pilot program to measure the impact of Deaf Mentors on early language development. 
  • Created a Guide for Adult Services for students who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.
  • Developed data sharing agreements with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System and the Statewide Longitudinal Data System. Now we can measure the progress of children who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing from birth, to graduation, to employment. 
  • Developed the guide to help professionals, parents and students develop communication centered Individualized Program Plans full-length and mini-lessons in English and ASL in video format. 

Advanced legislation and policies that provide a framework for academic placement, communication centered IEPs, and high standards for staff to provide culturally appropriate instruction in all modalities.

How did we do this? We:

  • Obtained dedicated funding from the legislature that supports Deaf Mentors, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Role Models, and Parent Guides. Returned to the legislature and increased funding as the demand for these serviced increased.
  • Added Deaf Mentors and Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf to the Newborn Hearing Advisory Committee and extended their sunsets twice so they can continue their good work. 
  • Won passage of funding so that parents of deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Pre-K students can choose to send them to the Metro Deaf School to three through five.
  • Advocated for state funding for SLEDS when the federal funding stopped. 
  • Added a definition in the statute of Interveners for children who are deafblind. 
  • Created an Education Policy Committee that makes policy recommendations. 
  • Provided guidance to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) on the impact of the new tiered system and teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Led efforts at the Council on Exceptional Children to engage deaf and hard of hearing professionals in their leadership and national policy initiatives. 
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