Monday, November 19, 2007

SpEd Forms Upgrade

I installed an upgrade patch to the SpEd Forms server today. It contained mostly bug fixes.
One thing you may notice is that the two links that controlled which version of the forms you see on the forms page has been replaced with a drop down list box. The system should stay stuck on the 2006-07 forms better now.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New AT FYIs available

The new AT FYI is available. (Actually, the last three issues!)
To download the September issue, click here.
To download the October issue, click here.
To download the November issue, click here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Podcasting Powerpoint

I promised the Region 5/7 AT team that I would post my powerpoint presentation and sample podcast here. So...
To download the powerpoint, click here.
To listen to the sample podcast, click here. (Yes, it will be in iTunes too.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How to get an 'Orphans' student

If you request access to a student who has the 'Orphans' case manager, you should contact me instead. Nobody monitors the 'Orphans' login so no one will see your request.

Monday, October 15, 2007

SETT Framework DVD Available

We have copies of a DVD explaining the SETT Framework for AT. If you're interested, let me know and I'll get you a copy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No Charge To Schools and Students has announce that they've recieved a grant "to fully support all schools and students with qualifying print disabilities in the United States, K-12 and post-secondary, with access to the entire collection of accessible electronic books and to software for reading those books. As of October 1, 2007, we will cease charging these schools and students anything to join"
This is great news for students and schools. Go to for more information.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SpEd Forms Upgrade - New Forms!

I upgraded SpEd Forms today and the upgrade included the new Due Process forms. To use the old forms, you must click on the 2006-07 link on the student's forms page! Here's a short movie demonstrating how to flip back and forth.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Is your SpEd Forms printing screwed up?

About this time of the year, I get many questions about printing. Many teachers get new computers, or their software gets updated over the summer months. This can result in the web browsers (Internet Explorer, Opera) getting set back to 'factory defaults'.
The most common symptoms I hear about are:
  1. pages getting cut off on the right side
  2. headers and footers containing dates and URLs
The solution is to follow the browser setup instructions. They are located right on the login page, just below the password field, or you can click on the link above.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

UDL Workshop

There is a UDL workshop on October 3, 2007 in Duluth done by Dr. David Edyburn. I've seen him before and I really like his approach.
Click here to see the flyer.

How to get students off your list

Here's how to get students off your list:

If you are the case manager, you have two options:
  1. Transfer the student to a new case manager.
  2. Exit the student. (goto Edit Setup for the student. Set the ‘Status End (exit reason) drop down list box (underneath ‘Status’) to the appropriate code.
If you are NOT the case manager, you can remove them from your list by going to the student’s forms page and clicking the ‘Remove from my list’ link just below the navigation buttons in the top/right corner of the page.

Note: If you ARE the case manager AND transfer the student, you’ll STILL need to do the step for when you are not the case manager after you complete the transfer.

Things you should know

I've been getting a few questions over and over this year. All these questions have already been answered on this blog. Below is a short list. Click on the links for a video answering the question.
  1. How do I transfer a student to a new case manager?
  2. A student is missing from my list. How do I see inactive students, exited students and students sent to me from other districts?
  3. How do I request a student from another case manager?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SpEd Forms Upgrade

I upgraded the SpEd Forms server today. The biggest change seems to be a 'tabbed' menu at the top of the forms page. It should be pretty self explanatory.
In addition, the Department of Education posted new recommended Due Process forms at:
The updated forms will be posted incrementally on SpEd Forms servers over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New MN State Disability Website

I got this info this morning from Joan Breslin-Larson. The website looks clean and easy to use. Check it out!
(ST. PAUL) – Beginning today, Minnesotans have a single source on the Internet – – for quick and easy access to state government-agency programs, products and services dedicated to disability issues.
“This is the ‘blue pages’ for state government disability resources,” said Dan McElroy, Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the project’s sponsor. “Our goal is to empower people with disabilities, their family members and friends, and anyone looking for an easy-to-access, easy-to-understand starting point on the Internet for state government resources.”
Site users can locate resources in any of four ways: by topic – such as education, employment, housing or transportation; by state agency; through an A-Z index; or by a search. The site currently has more than 220 links, each with a brief description of a program, product or service offered by various state agencies. The site will be updated on a regular basis and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as generally accepted accessibility standards. is a collaborative effort of numerous state agencies, including the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Commission Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, Minnesota State Council on Disability, Ombudsman Office for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, State Services for the Blind, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division, STAR and Rehabilitation Services. The Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology designed and built the site.
The site was developed under the auspices of the state’s Drive to Excellence government reform initiative, which seeks to increase quality and customer service and reduce costs in the Executive Branch of state government.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Grade Level Rollover Complete

I've completed the grade level rollovers for SpEd Forms and AIMSweb. Student grade levels should now reflect where they will be in the Fall.
In the case of AIMSweb, they should also be moved to their correct school.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Grade Level Bumps

I'll be bumping up all student grade levels in SpEd Forms and AIMSweb on Friday, August 3 in the morning. After I'm done, the grade levels will reflect where the students should be this fall.
I hope everyone is having a great summer. I've been very busy! Right now we are rewiring our network to accommodate our expansion into our lower level and the installation of a new phone system. The coop is a disaster with everything moved around and wires hanging out of the ceiling. I may post pictures if I can find a few extra minutes.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Phone Number Changes

All of the direct dial phone numbers for the coop that began with 855 now begin with 454. For example, my number was 855-5531 and is now 454-5531.

SpEd Forms Server Scheduled Downtime - July 6

The SpEd Forms server will be unavailable, all day, July 6, 2007. The downtime is for maintenance at the network operations center in Brainerd where the server is housed.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

SpEd Forms Updated

I just completed an update to our SpEd Forms software. Along with some third party billing updates, here's a list of changes for teachers:
  1. The “Summary of Performance” is now available.
  2. A companion extended school year checklist has been linked to the existing “Extended School Year” form.
  3. On the forms menu, the “Special Education Data Sheet”, “MARSS Student Data” and “Release of Information” forms are now listed with the “Notice of District’s Proposed Action or Denial” for easy access.
  4. When an evaluation report is finalized, a prompt now appears for the new student evaluation status and the evaluation date is updated in Student Setup.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Coop Retirements

I'd like to wish a fond farewell to Kathy Daly, Judy Stevens and Roberta Bohlke. They are retiring this year and will be missed. They all have different last days, so you'll have to check with them and wish them well!
(Who wants to bet which ones flunk retirement!)

PBEC Podcast Issue 9

This is the final podcast of the 2006-2007 school year. This issue covers:
  1. There is a demo on this blog showing how to transfer a student to a new case manager.
  2. There is a demo on this blog showing how to request access to a student.
  3. Don't change student's grade level in SpEd Forms or AIMSweb. (I'll do that.)
  4. Set up extended school year services just like regular ones, just set the dates.
  5. We'll be getting a new server computer for SpEd Forms over the summer.
  6. I'll be upgrading SpEd Forms the first week of June.
  7. I'm expecting a major SpEd Forms upgrade with forms changes before September.
  8. I'll be collecting SRI data next week and upgrading Read180 over the summer.
  9. I'll be doing a session at the summer institute workshops in August.
  10. Up to the MN*AT is in June. Just $10 a day!
  11. I'll be posting important notices to the blog over the summer.
Have a great summer!

How To Request Access To A Student

I've put together a short Quicktime movie demonstrating how to use the 'Request Access' feature in SpEd Forms. The feature allows you to send a message to the current case manager to request access to a student's forms.
Click here to see the demo.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How To Transfer A Student To A New Case Manager

I've created a short Quicktime movie demonstrating how to transfer a student to a new case manager. Click here to see the demonstration.

How To View 'Exited' Students in SpEd Forms

If you've had a student 'disappear' from your list, it's probably because the student has had a status change and is 'inactive' or 'exited'. I've put together a short Quicktime movie demonstrating how to show students in your list who are 'inactive' or 'exited' in SpEd Forms. This is a reposting, but I think it's important as I've been getting alot of questions about it lately.
You can view it by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cognitive Coaching FoundationSM Seminar

A Cognitive Coaching FoundationSM seminar is again being offered in Brainerd by Loretta Norgon this summer: June 11-14 and Aug 13-16*.
Some of you took the full training a few years ago, and some completed the first half of the training at that time. If you are interested in the full eight days or if you would like to pick up the second four days; please get back to Loretta as soon as possible.
There will be no registration cost to Brainerd district employees.
Here's a link to the flyer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New AT FYI Available

The newest (and last for the school year) AT FYI is available on our website.

Have you tried Google Scholar?

"Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research." --Google

Want to learn more? Click here. Or click here to try it.

Summer Institute

The Summer Institute workshop schedule is done. I'll be doing two sessions. One with Dr. Marc Markell on CBM and AIMSweb. The other I will be doing with Margaret Knebel. Margaret and I will cover SpEd Forms changes, AIMSweb and new Assistive Technology.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Up to the MN*AT Brochure

The brochure for the Up to the MN*AT conference has been released. It will be held June 25-28, 2007 at the MN Dept of Ed in Roseville. There are specific strands for AT in a flash and vision.
See you there!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Did You Know?

Here is a link to a video titled, Did You Know that Gaynard sent to the coop staff. It's about six minutes of interesting facts and predictions. It will make you think!

Monday, April 30, 2007

TheraSimplicity Trial

At Charting the Cs, I learned that you can get a 30 day free trial to TheraSimplicity if you'd like to try it. It's normally about $190 for a single license.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Podcasting PowerPoint

As promised, here is the Podcasting PowerPoint I used at Charting the Cs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

No Politician Left Behind

Here's a sample podcast that we did at Charting The Cs.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Podcasting Handout

Here's a copy of the podcasting handout I'll be distributing at Charting the Cs. I've also done a short podcast describing the items in the handout.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Closing the Gap Preconference Workshops

Closing the Gap has announced their preconference workshops. Lots of good stuff including presentations by Linda Burkhart, B.S. and Denise DeCoste, Ed.D.
This year's conference will be held October 18-20 at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel and Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

2005-06 EC:SE Data Available

The latest EC:SE data is available on the EC:SE page of our website. The data is available in PDF format for the Aitkin, Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus and Pillager school districts.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New AT FYI Available

The latest issue of the AT FYI available on our website. This issue focuses on Scaffolding Learning. Have a look!
Back issues are available. Let me know if you'd like to see them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Closing Date for Referrals

It's that time of the year again - closing date for referrals. Our maximum target date for completing assessments is 30 days. We suggest that any referrals for assessments that need to be completed by Co-op staff before the end of the school year reach us by April 11.

We will not establish an absolute cut off date. We will make every attempt to complete all referrals we receive. However, we need your cooperation in preventing chaos the latter part of May.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Six Scholarships for Charting the Cs Available

We have six scholarships available for the 16th Annual Charting the Cs Assistive Technology Conference scheduled for April 23–24, 2007 at St. Cloud Civic Center in St. Cloud, MN. The scholarships cover the registration fee only. Let Margaret Knebel or myself know if you are interested!

Click here for the brochure.

I'll be there as I'll be doing two sessions on Podcasting! See you there!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Universal Design for Learning Workshop

Pacer is offering a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) workshop on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, 6:00-9:00pm at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. This is a great opportunity to learn about UDL!
To register, click here.
To see the flyer, click here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Show Students in 'Other' Districts

When a student is transfered to you from a case manager in another school district, the student will not automatically appear on your list. Use the 'Show' drop down list box to show students in 'Other' districts or 'All' districts. You can then edit the student setup and change the 'Serving District' to your district.
Here's a short movie showing how.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Special Education Data Sheet

Want to save yourself some work? Instead of printing page 1 and page 4 and sending it to the coop, print the Special Education Data Sheet and send that instead.
This is a new form that summarizes all the data we need from pages 1 and 4. It can be found at the bottom of the left column in the 'Additional Forms' section of the student's Forms page.
Life is Good!

Problem MARSS Numbers

MARSS numbers are 13 digit numbers. The new update of SpEd Forms requires that the MARSS number be exactly 13 digits with no spaces, alphabet characters or special characters. Special characters are things like underscores (_), asterisks (*) or tildes(~). Some reports will not run if the MARSS number does not meet the standard.
If you have a non-standard MARSS number for a student, please change it. Here is a short movie showing how to change it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Printing the MARSS Page

If you encounter an error when trying to print the MARSS page, you need to set the 'School Year of Data' drop down list box to the appropriate reporting year.
Here's a short movie demonstrating how to fix the error.

Monday, February 26, 2007

PBEC Podcast Issue 8 - SpEd Forms Upgrade

In this issue of the podcast, I discuss the major feature changes to the latest SpEd Forms release.
To listen, click here.

Universally Designed Technology in Schools Online Training

With the support of the NEC Foundation, PACER has created a free online training to help teachers, administrators and other professionals, and families learn about and implement universally designed technology (UDT) in K-12 schools. UDT supports a broad range of abilities and learning styles. It can give students with disabilities equal access to the curriculum and help schools meet the educational needs of all students.
For more information, click here.

How to view 'exited' students in SpEd Forms

I've put together a short Quicktime movie demonstrating how to show students in your list who are 'inactive' or 'exited' in SpEd Forms.
You can view it by clicking here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

SpEd Forms Upgrade

I've upgraded the SpEd Forms server. Here's a summary of the changes:
  1. Simplified user interface - "Student setup" and "Work with student information" have been combined into a single "Work with students" screen.
  2. Improved MARSS entry screen based on DOE MARSS Student Data form ED-01910-10.
  3. A new tuition billing calculator in "Student Setup" helps calculate total service hours.
  4. "Evaluation Status" is now called "Status". Includes two new student status options; 90 (General Education) and 91 (504 Plan).
  5. "Services Summary" has been improved and renamed "Special Education Data Sheet".
  6. The "Student Acknowledgement and Tuition Agreement" form has been added.
  7. A new client-side JavaScript spell check program has been implemented. Works with DesignMode and much better in all internet browsers.
  8. Request access to any student record in the site database by clicking on the "Request Student" button at the top of the student list.
  9. Measure and graph progress towards goals and objectives.
  10. The full working copy of the student record is now transferred when using the remote transfer between school districts.
The new user guide, reflecting the changes in SpEd Forms, is now available.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Charting the Cs - Update 1

The updated brochure for Charting the Cs is available for download! The update contains clearer information on hotel costs.

We have 10 scholarships available for the registration fee (only). Contact Margaret Knebel if you're interested.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Charting the Cs Brochure

The brochure for Charting the Cs is available for download!

Click here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How to Find and Fund AT in MN

PACER will be conducting a workshop titled How to Find and Fund Assistive Technology in Minnesota on Tuesday, March 6 from 6:00-9:00pm at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. This is the second in a four part series. If you attend three of the four workshops, you get a free membership in their AT lending library. To register, click here.

I attended the first workshop in the series last night and I highly recommend them!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Linda Burkhart Workshop

Linda Burkhart will be conducting a two day workshop titled Communication Strategies and Adaptations for Students with Severe Challenges. It will be held at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St Cloud on April 18 & 19, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

You can register online at

Click here for the brochure in PDF.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PACER trainings in Brainerd

PACER is conducting 4 trainings in Brainerd this winter/spring. The dates are 2/6,3/6,4/3,5/15. They will be from 6-9pm at WESB.

The first training is Tuesday, February 6: What Parents and Professionals Need to Know About Technology for Children with Disabilities
The workshop introduces the concept of assistive technology and related legal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA2004). Participants will receive tips on selecting assistive technology devices and an introduction to the Minnesota Assistive Technology Manual.
Click here to register.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Attachment Series DVD

We have an 'Attachment Series' DVD that covers Workshop #1 available for check out. It covers 'What is Attachment Theory...Really?'.

The Attachment Series is done by the Center of Excellence in Children's Mental Health.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Read 180

The coop is purchasing the Read 180 reading intervention curriculum from Scholastic for our member districts. The target implementation date is January 22, 2007.

I've created an email group that will facilitate discussions about Read 180 for our coop. If you'd like to join, just let me know.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Charting the Cs

The 16th Annual Charting the Cs Assistive Technology Conference has been schedule for April 23–24, 2007 at St. Cloud Civic Center in St. Cloud, MN. This is a great conference that is centrally located and low in cost. Plan to attend if you can!

I'll be there as I'll be doing two sessions on Podcasting! See you there!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Book Lexiles

Did you know you can search the database at and find the lexile reading difficulty level for any of the tens of thousands of books in their database?

Give it a try!