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  • Developed and distributed guidance consistent with the new Classroom Acoustics Standards so that school boards/school architects can consider the laws as they upgrade HVAC systems to improve air quality in schools. The infographics are on MNCDHH's website.
  • Developed and distributed the Transition Road Maps for students who are DHH, specifically on transitioning to post-secondary settings and transitioning to work. 
  • Completed and distributed a DeafBlind Students Needs Assessment with Wilder Research.  
  • Published and distributed the Foundations of Language and Literacy video series with the University of Minnesota and the University of Tennessee to support families and early interventionists. 


  • Created and distributed the Student Access During COVID-19 video series. 
  • Distributed Clear Masks to Minnesota Hands & Voices, Deaf Mentor Family Program, and to any school that requested Clear Masks.
  • Developed new Communications Opportunities" pages for the Parent Resources Binder that is distributed through EHDI - MDH and MN Hands & Voices.
  • Completed a Gaps Analysis process to identify the gaps in the Minnesota mental health system for students who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing as well as set up supports for the Minnesota State Academies to follow through with setting up a day treatment and residential program.
  • Published the Education Resources pages on MNCDHH's website. 
  • Completed a Gaps Analysis on supports for families with deaf and hard of hearing children from diverse cultures and varying home languages. 
  • Provided data to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board to support their rule making process for Tiered Licensure.
  • Worked with the State Longitudinal Education Data System and presented aggregate data to the Collaborative Plan stakeholders, the MDE DHH Advisory, and to the EHDI Advisory. 


  • Distributed "Minnesota Needs Teachers" news which outlined programs and grants available to those who want to become DHH teachers.
  • Distributed "Availability of D/HH Licensed Teachers: The Data and the Story" which explains the shortage of DHH teachers and what is being done.
  • Released the Wilder Report, which includes the Collaborative Plan for the next five years. The 2019-2014 Collaborative Plan 2.0 was developed after gathering consensus from stakeholders.
  • Conducted a gap analysis of existing resources and developed a plan to provide more services and resources to students and families.
  • Developed a professional development webinar series on supporting student's Social-Emotional Development. This project was done in collaboration with the Minnesota Low Incident Projects. Scheduled to be released in June 2019.
  • Distributed a newsletter with resources for students who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and they are either attending college or preparing for college. Authored by Dann Trainer and Haley Kimmet from the University of Minnesota Disability Resource Center.


  • Distributed a 4-part video series on the laws and system in place for language acquisition and kindergarten-readiness for children in Minnesota who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.
  • Released five videos in which 5 members of the Collaborative Plan shared stories about some of the work performed during the first 10 years.
  • Hosted a summit to develop a strategic plan for the next 5 years of the Collaborative Plan.
  • Surveyed teachers of students who are deaf/hard of hearing about their students’ access to instruction, social-emotional needs and use of the IEP Discussion Guide in planning. The survey report prompted new collaborative goals in each of the areas addressed.
  • Developed Results Based Accountability (RBA) measures for IEP Discussion Guide.  Currently collecting baseline IEP samples for comparison to IEP samples to be collected in 2022.
  • Surveyed students about their access to instruction in the mainstream settings.  The results prompted initiatives in supporting captioned materials in CART services for students identified to benefit from each.
  • Entered into discussions with MDE about the accessibility of high stakes education testing.  Currently setting a pilot study to better understand the validity and reliability of current test materials and procedures.
  • Planned “Pathways to Life” Transition Age summer program for 10th and 11th graders who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.
  • Identified gaps in service for students who are deaf with disabilities and transitioning from school to work/life.  Working with the Olmstead office to ensure that V.R. or SSB services along with county services provide support for an optimal plan.
  • Hosted an Educational Policy meeting to develop a plan for upcoming legislative sessions.


  • Added an online link to the Resources Binder for Families of Children Identified as Deaf or Hard of Hearing, which is in e-reader format to make it accessible for families who live in Greater Minnesota. Contributed by MNCDHH, Minnesota Department of Health, and the University of Minnesota.
  • Reviewed JCIH Goals and Crosswalk with Minnesota Systems. Contributed by Kathy Anderson, Nicole Brown, Anna Paulson, and Kara Tempel.
  • Organized  VCSL training in Minnesota for Deaf Mentors and Early Interventionists. Contributed by Kathy Anderson, Joan Breslin-Larson, Danelle Gournaris, and Anna Paulson.
  • Successfully lobbied for funding increase for the Deaf Mentor Family Program. 
  • Reviewed Minnesota statute and compared to national initiatives about LEAD-K.
  • Produced a webinar for parents by parents about Developing a Communication and Language Focused IEP: A Discussion Guide. Contributed by MNCDHH, Minnesota Department of Education, Kelly Anderson, Digiterp Communications, Ann Mayes, Nanette McDevitt, Jody Waldo, Mai Lor, Adan Burke, Sunny Brysch and many individual community members.
  • Developed mini-lessons for professionals that are associated to Developing a Communication and Language Focused IEP: A Discussion Guide. Contributed by the Minnesota Department of Education and MNCDHH.
  • Snapshot survey requesting real-time information from students who are D/HH. Contributed by Brenda Ackerson, Joan Breslin-Larson, and Anna Paulson.
  • Tracked tiered licensure legislation.
  • Social skills checklist: reviewed for the Minnesota Department of Education. Contributed by Ann Mayes, Susan Rose, and Valerie Shirley. The checklist was authored by Julie MacRae and Sara Noble.
  • Pursued data from the State Longitudinal Education Data System. Contributed by Elise Knopf, Anna Paulson and Meredith Fergus (Office of Higher Education).
  • Updated and disseminated the Post-School Outcomes Survey (2nd year). Contributed by Mary Cashman-Bakken, Jay Fehrman, Elise Knopf, and Anna Paulson.
  • Hosted the 2017 Collaborative Experience Conference. The members of the conference planning committee were Brenda Ackerson, Mary Cashman-Bakken, Diane Dohnalik, Jay Fehrman, Debbie Golos, Michelle Isham, Katy Kelley, Elise Knopf, Susan Lane-Outlaw, Laura Godfrey, Ann Mayes, Chelsea Paulson, Deanne Rothbauer, and Terry Wilding.


  • Developed a mechanism for family access to all available resources and information that is accurate, well-balanced, comprehensive, and conveyed in an unbiased manner. 
  • Assisted in successful effort to secure funding for Adult Basic Education (ABE) at Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD)
  • 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.
  • Introduced The Discussion Guide for Language and Communication Focused IEPs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Learners, a tool designed to assist professionals serving students with varying degrees of hearing loss. They will be able to use the discussion guide to developing language and communication-focused individualized education programs through the special education process.


  • Secured funding for improved technology for Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD).
  • Created a Portfolio of Suggested E.C.-Deaf/Hard of Hearing Interventionist Resources. Contributors: Kathy Anderson, Cassie Haga, and Kristi Townshend.
  • Continued an ongoing process of conducting a system-wide assessment of our progress of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) recommendations. The assessment tool was developed by Nicole Brown and Candace Lindow-Davies.
  • Conducted a pilot study on progress monitoring of deaf and hard of hearing academic students. The research lead is Susan Rose.
  • Developed a Discussion Guide for Developing a Communication and Language Focused IEP (Individualized Education Program). Contributed by Kelly Anderson, Melissa Buck, Deanne Curran, Mandy Fredrickson, Carla Larson, Emily Manson, Ann Mayes, Nanette McDevitt, Susan Meredith, Jody Olson, Susan Rose, Mark Schwartz, Valerie Shirley and Jody Waldo.
  • Coordinated an ASL family class. Collaborative partners: ASLBlend, Independent School District (ISD) 917, ISD 196 and MSAD. Instructors: Jessalyn Akerman-Frank and Kristin Engelhardt-Fischbein.
  • Instated an August administration date of the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) in order to meet the needs of out-of-state teacher applicants. Collaborative partner: Amy Amundsen.
  • Created a transition age professional development webinars and professional guidelines. Contributors: Mary Cashman-Bakken, Jay Fehrman, Katie Huttmeier, Elise Knopf and Greta Palmberg.
  • Developed the Indicator 14 Post School Survey Tool of collaboration with Jayne Spain of Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Pepnet 2 Minnesota team.
  • Hosted the 2015 Education Symposium for over 300 participants. Professional Team planning committee: Mary Cashman-Bakken, Bart Clement, Diane Dohnalik, Jay Fehrman, Beth Hamilton, Kitri Kyllo-Larson, Cathy Lyle, Jody Olson, Susan Rose, Brooke Pedersen, Melissa Sweetmilk, Kristi Townshend and Ann Vaubel. In addition, we hosted a Parent Conference with the 2015 Education Symposium. Contributed by Kathy Anderson, Emily Burke, Mary Cashman-Bakken and Deanne Curran. We also thank the support staff for the symposium: Michele Isham, Emily Smith-Lundberg, and Brenda Ackerson.


  • Recruited and hired a Coordinator of Educational Advancements & Partnerships.
  • Hosted a successful statewide education summit.
  • Passage of funds for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD): $700K for asset preservation and $10.5 million for a new dorm.


  • Conducted research through the Management Analysis Division on surveys of parents and a separate one for teachers that set baselines for goals and benchmark for the Minnesota Collaborative Plan. Solicited and received donations from two interpreting agencies to provide gift cards to parents and teachers to provide incentives to complete research surveys. The result was high participation rates and better data.
  • Successful statewide education conference for our Education Collaborative with a national facilitator. Received a 95% satisfaction rate.
  • Increased funds for Deaf Mentors and Parent Guides for children (birth to 6) who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. Funds will come from an increase in the blood spot fee. Increase from $470K for the biennium to $1.8 million a year for parent guides and from $200K for Deaf Mentors to $512K a year.
  • Restore continuing education clock hour requirements in ASL and deaf culture for teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Conducted a reliable and valid survey conducted by the Management Analysis Division paid for by interagency agreements and contributions by Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation and State Services for the Blind to obtain data that can be used to set benchmarks for goals to improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.


  • Engaged in special education re-licensure process with the Board of Teaching. Created a website that explained the history of deaf education law in Minnesota and created a website that describes the requirements needed to become a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in Minnesota. Encouraged broad stakeholder engagement by publicizing comment periods. We now have an evidence-based set of standards that will help kids get the kind of teacher needed to help them succeed.
  • The Minnesota Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee produced recommendations to the Commissioner of Health and Commissioner of Education. The full document is available, "Recommended Knowledge and Competencies for Professionals Working with Young Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their Families" (PDF).
  • Partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD), and Minnesota Hands & Voices to create a 1 hour video, "Does my child have a hearing loss?" This video was filmed by ECHO, which is part of TPT. The video is available in ASL, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and English.


  • Mandated Outcome and Improvement Plan Report for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing that is sent to members of the House and Senate Education Committee- the state and the feds don’t require that the statewide testing results have disaggregated data on the 13 disability groups that are covered by IDEA. We advocated for deaf and hard of hearing data to be disaggregated so we could use the data to improve outcomes and used evidence-based research to make recommendations on improving outcomes.
  • Hosted the Minnesota Collaborative Outcome Plan for Children Who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. Cross-agency Steering committee with Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, Department of Employment and Economic Development (Vocational Rehabilitation and State Services for the Blind) and yearly education summit. Over 30 school districts, nonprofits, parent and deaf and hard of hearing advocacy organizations have committed to using and collecting data to improve outcomes for kids birth to 21 who are deaf and hard of hearing.


  • Mandate that the state has a Coordinator of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) in the Minnesota Department of Education. The coordinator's role is to ensure a seamless transition between the identification of hearing loss and educational intervention. (Minnesota Statutes, section 125A.63: Resource Centers: Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Blind or Visually Impaired.)
  • Funding secured for the EHDI Advisory Committee; representatives from stakeholder groups to develop EHDI medical and educational guidelines. (Minnesota Statutes, section 144.966.)
  • Mandate that all infants must be screened for hearing loss at a hospital or birthing center. (Minnesota Statutes, section 144.125.)
  • Funding secured for Parent to Parent Guides. The Department of Health has contracted with Minnesota Hands & Voices to offer this service. Every family is contacted within days of their baby's diagnosis and provided with support and unbiased information about communication, educational opportunities, and medical options. Guide by Your Side is offered through Hands & Voices and is designed to provide emotional support and specialized knowledge from trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Funding secured for the Hearing Aid Loaner Bank. The Minnesota Department of Health has signed a contract of $70,000/year with the University of Minnesota to run the Hearing Instrument Loaner Bank. Loans of hearing aids provided to families with babies with hearing loss immediately upon request. Every family who has requested help has received it.
  • Funding secured for Deaf Mentors. They provide American Sign Language (ASL) exposure by providing in-home instruction and adult role models. The Department of Human Services received funding for the program beginning July 1, 2007. 
  • All of the EHDI legislation can be found in Minnesota Statutes, Section 144.125 and Minnesota Statutes, Section 144.966.


  • Passed Tuition Assistance for Deaf Students. MNCDHH and MADC worked together and got a bill passed that gives tuition assistance to deaf students of any age who qualify for Pell grants. The tuition assistance program provides the remainder of the tuition. 
  • Passed legislation that requires all new construction of Minnesota schools to follow new classroom acoustic standards. This law requires that all school districts have to include in their design for new schools how they considered compliance with the American National Standard Institute's recommendation of a maximum of 35dB background noise and .6 to .7 seconds reverberation time. Studies show that kids have a six month to two-year language acquisition delay because of classroom noise.  The cost is estimated at $65,000 and was included in the education budget.


  • Adoption of National Access Board and American National Standard Institute Classroom Acoustic Standards by the Minnesota Department of Education for new school construction. Research shows that 90% of all classrooms are so noisy students in the back of the room can’t hear their teacher. The new guidelines help planners incorporate good acoustics into their design.


  • Mandate that all sign language interpreters who work in schools have national certification. Prior to the law, only 5 interpreters had certification. Now over 300 do.
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