The Check & Connect Program and the Crow Wing County Transition Interagency Committee hosted a workshop on Thursday June, 13th at Central Lakes College for professionals working with students with Intellectual Disabilities who wish to go on to higher education. The day-long workshop was attended by 50 people ranging from high school teachers, social workers, college administrators, mental health professionals, and state vocational agencies.
The featured speaker for the workshop was Sharon Mulé (photo above), project coordinator and member of the Check &Connect team at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. Currently, she is the coordinator for The Florida State Personnel Development Grant: Successful Graduates, a project to implement Check & Connect in Florida, as well as Connecting through Service, a student retention project at the Fond duLac Ojibwe School in Cloquet, Minnesota. She also provides national training on Check & Connect. As a trainer, Ms. Mulé has extensive experience providing workshops to professionals and parents, including workshops special education, transition to adulthood, adolescent development, spirited children, single parenting, and parenting through divorce.
Also in attendance was the Project Director for Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College, Dr. Jean Ness from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Other speakers include Heidi Hahn from the Paul Bunyan Education Co-op in Brainerd, Mary Sam from Central Lakes College, Andria Belisle from Central Lakes College, Lloyd Petri a Project Consultant for the Check & Connect program, Brian Miner of Central Lakes College, Steve Shoenbauer of the Northern Lights Educational Co-op, and Georgia Robillard of Lake Superior College.
Students with disabilities exiting high school often have a great desire to seek higher education, but according to national studies less than 8% of students receiving special education services in high school go on to postsecondary institutions. The workshop focused on the collaborative efforts between agencies involved in helping students with disabilities plan for their futures by improving access and retention.