Marshall Adult Education


December 8, 2006


These announcements are posted on the internet.  If you do not receive them or cannot open the links, go to the website and read the announcements on-line.




1.  Office Notes -

  • 12-25 to 29 - 2006:  Christmas Break - No Classes - The office will be closed only on the 25th. 
  • 1-1-2007 - New Year's Day - The office will be closed & no classes.  ALL Classes will resume on January 2nd; If you are planning to be on vacation, you will need to find a sub for your class.

2.  Effective January 1, 2007, there will be a change in the fees associated with GED testing administered by the Marshall GED Test Center.  Fees will be as follows:


Ø      Total fee for testing all 5 subtests is $ 90.00

Ø      Agency payment is $ 90.00

Ø      Student payment is $ 70.00 with MN GED paying $ 20.00

Ø      Retests are $ 15.00

Ø      Partial tests are $ 15.00 per subtest for transfer students

3.  Time Sheets - The time sheets for December 1st - 15th, are due December 18th.  Remember, time sheets may also be emailed or faxed

4.  The minutes from the November 14 Consortium Meeting are on-line.  Read them here.


5.  CASAS - Be sure to be testing -- check the report that shows hours since last assessment.  This should give you some idea of who needs to be tested


6.  IBM MN is pleased to announce that  Marshall ABE has been selected to participate in IBM's Reading Companion grant program.  Congratulations!  The Marshall ABE is in great company with more than 180 schools and nonprofit organizations around the world that are part of this $2 million IBM grant initiative.   The Reading Companion program is the web version of the IBM Adult Literacy Reading Recognition grant program of which Marshall ABE was a participant.  This exciting new program will present the Reading Recognition series of stories over the web.  You can read more about the Reading Recognition program here.  This new grant is the same program except that it is now offered on-line. 
7.  Barry Shaffer has sent us information Verizon Literacy Foundation website.  There are some very neat resources at this website.  Check out Barry's suggestions and read what is available at the website here.
8.  The latest issue of NetNews on Testing Accommodations for GED, CASAS, and TABE is on-line. The information was reviewed by Jim Colwell and Todd Wagner for accuracy and relevancy in regards to large-scale testing in Minnesota Adult Basic Education (sent to us by Marn Frank, LDA of Minnesota).  If you cannot open the pdf, please email Marn Frank at for a Word text file.
You can read it here.
9.  From Jenny Schlukebier, Technology Services Manager, Minnesota Literacy Council
Dear Minnesota ABE Educators,
     We need your help to better understand educator use of educational technology as well as feedback from students about their access to and desire to learn through educational technology. We will use the information we gather to develop appropriate professional development efforts in the areas of educational technology.
     We are asking you and your students to complete a short survey (either online or on paper).  Surveys take less than 5 minutes to complete online and can be easily accessed through this website  Initial participants in this survey report that it is a great classroom exercise with your students!
     Surveys can also be distributed in print form to teachers or presented to students in the classroom and then faxed or mailed to us at the Minnesota Literacy Council (see contact info below). Forms can be printed out from the above website or we can mail you printed forms with return envelopes upon request.
     Once you have taken the survey, you can view survey results online. This can help you in determining how you’d like to integrate educational technology into your ABE curriculum and how to develop additional teacher training for your programs.
     Thank you for contributing to the development of curriculum and training for ABE programs in Minnesota.

NOTE:  Please help by completing this survey.  The MLC does an incredible job supporting ABE teachers and students with educational technology.  They will certainly appreciate your feedback.  CC

10.  From Barry Shaffer:

Dear Discussion Group Participants:
     Please hold the date of Friday, January 19th for our American Indian ABE Discussion Group meeting. The meeting will be in St. Cloud – probably at the Holiday Inn on Division St., but we haven't confirmed that yet.  When we do I will send a notice with directions.
     The meeting will begin at 10:00 am and end by 3:30 pm.  Lunch will be provided as well as mileage costs connected to the meeting. 

     As an fyi, I have 26 individuals on my discussion list – an excellent representation from those ABE consortia that serve American Indian ABE students.
     If you know now that you won't be able to attend, please let me know – so, regrets only.  Otherwise I will include you in the meal count.

11.  Be sure you check out the research briefs sent to us from Bella Hanson.  We receive a new one each week.  This week it is on Program Participation and Self-Directed Learning to Improve Basic Skills.


12.  Western Community Action recruiting volunteers to be trained to provide Income Tax preparation assistance.  Read more about this here (PDF File).
13.  From Shirley Anderson-Porisch:  Here's the statewide information on the To Your Benefit Workshops.  You may register through 
TO YOUR BENEFIT: Tax Credit Training for Direct Service Staff Working with Low-Income Clients
     * Training is targeted to service providers working with low-income clients. Learn about low-income tax credits, free tax preparation and tax education resources. 3 CEU's available.
     * 4 FREE trainings will be offered during January in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro. A FREE statewide videoconference training will be offered on January 17, 2006. Dates and locations listed below.
     * Sponsored by Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Extension Service, Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, Department of Human Services - Office of Economic, Minnesota Community Action Partnership & Accountability Minnesota

14.  The Volunteer Impact Leadership Training Series to be offered in two southwest and west central Minnesota locations in 2007.  The training dates for the Willmar series are Thursday, January 25, Thursday, February 22, and Thursday March, 22.  The training dates for the Worthington series are Wednesday, January 17, Wednesday, February 21, and Wednesday, March  21.  Read more about it here. 


15.  If you've missed an announcement from a previous week, you can always find it on the Announcements page.  All announcements are archived at:

16.  Find a link that doesn't work?  Let me know!  I'll fix it right away!  ~CC


17.  From the Trivia Department:   Looking for that perfect toy for your kids (or grandkids).  Check out the Toys of the Year 2006 at the Family Fun webpage. 
18.  Thought for the week:  Patience is the companion of Wisdom.  ~Augustine

19.  Tech Tip:   StumbleUpon Toolbar



I am not big on Add-on Browser Toolbars. These toolbars are add-on utilities to Internet Explorer (or other internet browsers like Firefox).  Many search engines and websites now have their own toolbar.  There’s a Yahoo Toolbar, an AltaVista Toolbar, an MSN Toolbar, an Ask Toolbar, an AOL Toolbar, a Wikipedia Toolbar, A Merriam-Webster Toolbar, an ICQ Toolbar, an ESPN Toolbar … and about a zillion other toolbars.  Many of these toolbars may be useful, but you can see if you choose every toolbar out there, you won’t have any space on your screen for your web browsing.  So you need to pick carefully which toolbars you really want to use.


There are some really bad toolbars that you don’t ever want to get on your computer.  These are intrusive toolbars that spy on your internet browsing or interrupt your internet use with endless pop-up ads.  These toolbars are installed sometimes without you even knowing it by carelessly clicking on links on some web pages.   So beware of these types of toolbars.


OK – like I said, I am not a big fan of toolbars.  With all the toolbars available, I only use one – the Google Toolbar.  The Google Toolbar has been around for 6 years now – and it keeps getting better and better.  You can read a Tech Tip about the Google Toolbar here:

But keep in mind that this Tech Tip was written in July of 2005 and the Google Toolbar has gone through several revisions since then.  The current version of the Google Toolbar is Version 4.0.  If you want to choose just one toolbar (like me), get the Google Toolbar.  It’s the best!   It is available here:


Ok – so after all the rigamarole about using only one browser add-on toolbar, I am going to recommend another toolbar to try out.  I have downloaded it and added it to my Internet Explorer – and it is really cool!


The name of the toolbar is Stumble – or StumbleUpon.  StumbleUpon is a free program that gets added to your Internet Explorer – or to Firefox if you have made the switch to that browser.  When you download the software and install it, you select some preliminary topics of interest to you from nearly 500 topics.  You can later add more topics, as well as delete some of the topics you initially selected.


Stumble then becomes part of your browser as a toolbar.  It offers you a myriad of features that allows you to surf the internet for sites that are of particular interest to you based upon those interests that you selected.


To actually use the program, you simply click on the word Stumble in the toolbar and you are instantly sent to a website based upon your interests.  At each site that you “stumble” upon, you can rate the site with a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down.”  So you can surf or “stumble” to your hearts content – and the websites that you stumble upon are really cool.  The chances are, you will never find these sites by doing traditional searches with Google or some other search engine.


As you continue to surf (“stumble”) upon websites and rate them, the program continues to refine your preferences and give you more and more relevant sites according to your interests.  It’s kind of like the “Tivo” of web surfing – for those of you that use Tivo.  It learns about what you like and supplies you with that web content.  Rating pages improves your stumbles.  Rating just a few sites a day will further refine your preferences, matching you to more similar people and more interesting sites.  Very cool!


OK – that’s not all.  If you want, you can choose to interact with other StumbleUpon users.  You can email other users from within the application while keeping your anonymity.  You can comment on any website you stumble upon and build a social network as you surf.  Well, I haven’t done any of this stuff yet – but I have enjoyed surfing the net in a way that is non-threatening, relevant, and actually fun.


Now if you are nervous about adding things to your computer that will invade your privacy, be sure to read the StumbleUpon Privacy Policy.  They clearly state what they do and will not do with the information you give them.  And you actually give them very little information.


In the nutshell, this software will help you find interesting web pages you wouldn’t think to search for or have the time and patience to search for.  I recommend that you give this toolbar a try.  You can go to the StumbleUpon website and install the software on your computer.  If it is not all that it is cracked up to be, simply go to the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel and uninstall it.  You can also uninstall it directly from the Stumble Toolbar.  I have a feeling, though, that after you get it on your computer, you’ll never take it off!


Here is the StumbleUpon website – give it a try! 


Marshall ABE Links



Southwest ABE - home page for Granite Falls, Jackson, Marshall, and Worthington consortiums.


Marshall ABE Bookmarks - tons of cool bookmarks - educational and non-educational


Tech Tips - Read new and old Tech Tips here.


Reading Skills for Today's Adults - new stories posted regularly


Announcements - Weekly announcements are posted here each week on Friday.



Back to Announcements Page

Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

E-Mail:Marshall Adult Education