March 2017
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Chisago County Work Skills Day Turns 40!

The 40th  Annual Chisago County Work Skills Day was held February 28, at Trinity Lutheran Church in North Branch.  More than fifty 11th and 12th grade students enrolled in Employability Skills Seminar classes from North Branch, Chisago Lakes and Rush City high schools competed in Job Applications, Job Interviewing and Job Problem Solving.  Over fifteen area business persons volunteered their time to serve as judges for the event, with multiple other businesses taking part in activities.   

Work Skills day is described as a “real life” opportunity for students to demonstrate skills learned in the classroom.  Not only is the experience memorable and engaging for students, the partnership between education and the community is of huge benefit for all involved!  Work Skills Day is a hilight of the year for staff and students alike.  Many thanks to the Chisago County Work Experience Coordinators, Mickelle Pohlmann (Chisago Lakes); Leah Palmer (North Branch); and Linda Lindeman (Rush City) for working cooperatively to plan the event.  



The purpose of the Breaking Down Instructional Barriers monthly articles are to focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help you incorporate Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) and Assistive Technology (AT) into every lesson to benefit every learner:

This month’s Spotlight on Breaking Down Instructional Barriers looks at Accessibility and addresses the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines:  Providing Multiple Means for Representation.  

                    Pencil erasing "in" from the word inaccessible. The word that remains is accessible.

You may notice some subtle (or not so subtle) changes to the documents and presentations produced here at SCRED over the next several months. While we have always prided ourselves on creating high quality, visually stimulating materials, we have come to recognize that our resources have not been up to par in terms of accessibility. Therefore, over the course of the next year, in a concerted effort to remain in line with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as the core mission here at SCRED, we will be placing an emphasis on ensuring that professional learning and resource materials posted to the SCRED website are accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities or preferences.  In general, accessible documents include the following:

  • Structural formatting, like headings, tables and lists that allow users to navigate the document

  • Descriptive text that explains pictures, charts and graphs to users

  • Layout, design and color that makes content accessible to use and understand

Other tips for ensuring that materials are accessible are as follows:

  • Use high-contrast colors

  • Avoid red or green fonts

  • Avoid funky transitions in presentations

  • Use pre-made presentation templates without adding text boxes

  • Use descriptive titles for electronic links (i.e., avoid titling a link to the SCRED website, “click here” and instead title it, “St. Croix River Education Website”)

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short

  • Avoid small print

  • Use bullets or numbers to list items, rather than embedding lists within a paragraph

By making a few simple changes like those listed above, users will be better able visually, auditorily, and conceptually to consume the information SCRED shares. If you would like more information on what makes an accessible document, feel free to head over to the Minnesota Office of Accessibility Website and explore the numerous resources they have made available!

As is the case with the accommodations we provide for our students, the SCRED staff is changing how information is provided to consumers without impacting the quality of the content we are sharing. Here is to accessibility for all!


St. Croix River Education District continues to provide this UDL and AT resource to all member districts’ staff.  All new staff are encouraged to register at

Here are links to the newest Infinitec Newsletters with more suggestions on what is new and how to get the most out of the Infinitec resource:

Infinitec Newsletter 2.21.17 Topic:  Infinitec resources for paras and parents

Infinitec Newsletter 2.28.17 Topic:  Infinitec podcasts

Infinitec Newsletter 3.7.17 Topic:  More resources on Core Vocabulary

Infinitec Newsletter 3.14.17 Topic:  Teens, sleep and start times

AT Regional (5/7) Committee Newsletter

ATFYI February 2017 Topic:  PODD Alternative Communication system

Copyright © 2017 St. Croix River Education District, All rights reserved.

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