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MRID Update
MRID Update's May-Jun 2018 edition

“Building a Case for Case Notes”

by Jenee Petri- Swanson

Absences happen. Whether it’s planned in advance or last minute, whether we like it or not, we’re human and life happens. It’s been said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” How can an educational interpreter help prepare their subs working in their absence?

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Internal Struggles of an Educational Interpreter:

7 Thoughts We’ve All Had

By:  Katelyn Wells


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Myth Busters: Working in K-12 is Isolating

By: Taylor Gjesdahl


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Growing Allies Through Rapport-Building

By Cheryl Fielitz 


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“Smoothing the Seams”

THIS is what deictic terms are, and HERE is Why Ed Terps Should Care

* Supplemental Assignment

By: Jenee Petri

(Special thanks to Doug Bowen-Bailey and Alex Zeibot for their contributions.)

In a 4th grade classroom, an art teacher is demonstrating how to create a pinch pot.  Her hands nimbly pinch and stretch the clay as she explains each step in the process.  The majority of students in the class watch her movements as they listen to her instructions – occasionally looking away to manipulate their own clay.  For one student, who is Deaf, the learning process is complicated.  Looking between the teacher and the interpreter, the deaf student struggles to stitch together all the different visual inputs to make sense of the instructions.    

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RID Credentialing Moratorium and Minnesota K-12 Educational Interpreters:

An Informal Interview with Mary Cashman-Bakken B.A., M.A., J.D.

The RID credentialing moratorium has been a hot topic this year, and we have heard many questions floating around in our community. The MRID Educational Interpreters’ Committee had brought your questions to Mary Cashman-Bakken at the Minnesota Department of Education. Read her answers below to gain insight as to how the certification testing changes will impact MN educational interpreters.  If you would like to learn more about the RID credentialing moratorium, you can click here and watch this vlog for the latest update.

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Educational Interpreting: A Changed Perspective

By: Morgan Magnuson

If I had been asked to sum up in a single word my entire, albeit brief experience as an educational interpreter, I would probably go with the word “surprising.” No, that’s not to say that I face shockers on a daily basis as I walk into school (although there have been a few of those, too). What I mean to say is that, when I more or less fell into a full-time position last year, I had a very different impression of the educational interpreter’s job than what I now have.

Upon graduation from my ITP at North Central University, I never imagined myself as a K-12 interpreter in the mainstream setting. From an amalgamation of various experiences, I came out believing that the job of a K-12 interpreter was too great a burden for a recent graduate such as myself; to be a language model - perhaps the only language model - for a young, impressionable deaf kid was something to be taken very seriously. However, at some point, via a variety of factors, that initial intimidation that I felt toward the role changed. I could tell the story of how I went from refusing to be an educational interpreter to thoroughly enjoying it, but I must move on to the point.

The point is this: it is an honor to be a part of the academic and social development of deaf youth and adolescents. Furthermore, it is humbling to see and, to some extent, experience a deaf student’s daily life - both the struggles and the triumphs - in the mainstream setting. It has changed many aspects of my work.

Yes, educational interpreting is still an intimidating job for me; there are few days when I don’t think about how the following seven hours could impact my kid, for better or for worse, for the rest of his or her life. That thought keeps me going, pushing myself to improve my skills and provide my best work. Sometimes it is exhausting work; sometimes I just have to plow through an impossible situation and be a team with my student; sometimes I leave an ethical scenario feeling like there was no right answer. But, surprisingly, I wouldn’t trade it for any other work because, at the end of the day, it is worth it.

Morgan Magnuson

Morgan Magnuson grew up in in the small town of Lindström, Minnesota. She took her first formal ASL class at St. Catherine’s University while still in high school, and attended North Central University’s interpreter training program. She graduated in 2014 and has since then become an educational interpreter for Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916. She was a member of the 2015 VRS Interpreting Institute’s School­to­Work program in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she further developed her work. Some pastimes that she enjoys include reading, rollerblading, running, and playing and officiating sports.

Interpreting IEP Meetings

An Informal Interview between Jenee Petri and Ashley Troke

Many educational interpreters in k-12 settings are employees of the school district and may be assigned to interpret IEP meetings. These meetings can take a lot of shapes and sizes.

It’s possible that the IEP meeting is to discuss a DHH student on an IEP who may or may not be present. You may be the regular classroom interpreter, or not. Maybe the student with the IEP is hearing, but one or more guardians are DHH. Educators on the IEP team, administrators, and/or meeting facilitator may be Deaf. Also, if you are not the regular classroom interpreter, that colleague of yours may be a participating member of the meeting.

This is not an exhaustive list of possible scenarios for an IEP meeting. With all of these variables, interpreter expectations will be equally wide and varied. It would be impossible to cover all there is to know about interpreting IEP meetings, or IEPs in general in one sitting. But a conversation is a good start!

In the following vlog, I conduct an informal interview of Educational Interpreter Ashley Troke. We share some tips, insights, and experiences related to interpreting IEP meetings. The vlog is casual and, while not intensive, hopefully informative!

In addition to the video, we have provided links to resources below which may further help educational interpreters seeking to better understand the IEP process, IEP meetings, and how to effectively interpret in that setting.

Please watch, consider, and contribute. As always, MRID would love to hear from you. You are MRID! We all share in the right and responsibility to keep this organization active, thriving, and advancing. Please, feel free to add your perspectives in the comments section below - typed or video.

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With many school districts adopting technology plans and implementing it in the classrooms, our work as K-12 interpreters is constantly evolving. While these advances certainly enhance students’ education in the classroom, they also not only enhance our work, as well, but can provide support in new ways. Here are some ideas:

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The E.I. in the I.E.P

* Supplemental Assignment

By Anna Paulson


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Where'd I Park the TARDIS?  The Pop-Culture Savvy Terp

By: Kaitlyn Mielke


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Fingerspelling and Decision-making in the K-12 classroom

* Supplemental Assignment

By: Jay Fehrman

In a 9th grade government class, a teacher is discussing how our government functions and how laws are made. You have the members of the Congress voting for and against the bills after they have been drafted at the committee level. Often at the committee level, there are sub-committees that work on the details of the bills before it is sent to the Congress.  

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Riding the Rails

By: Patty Gordon

ASL Version:

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The Dangers (BUT FUN!) of Creating Signs for STEM

 * Supplemental Assignment

By Johanna Lucht


Johanna in a maroon shirt sitting in a NASA cockpit

Johanna Lucht is an electronic engineer, who happened to be Deaf (and smart aleck), working at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. She graduated from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with BS (clean version) in Computer Science in May 2014.  
She is chilling in SoCal playing video games, chatting with friends, a bit of gardening, sewing quilts, acclimating to the desert, and several more.

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