2019 Transition & Career Planning Conference

Learn, Adapt, Change: A Model for Readiness

Join your colleagues for the 14th Annual Transition and Career Planning Conference.

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT

Thank you for your interest in this conference. We hope to see you next year!

(keynote & follow-up session) Fear, Samurai and the Brain presented by Greg Evans

Seeds Training Web Journal

(all-day strand) Start the College Search with Why presented by Marie Eddy

PowerPoint Presentation.pdf (4.2 MB)

(session 2) Navigating Personal Learning Plans presented by Gayle Botelho

PowerPoint Presentation.pdf (2.3 MB)

(session 3) "Dear Achiever" Student Narrative Videos presented by Jessica Smith

Watch Shelby's video

Communicating with Professors worksheet.pdf (66.1 KB)

Letter to Future Self - Guide for Educators.pdf (92.4 KB)

Letter to Future Self - Guide for Students.pdf (58.3 KB)

Shelby's Letter.pdf (33.7 KB)

Shelby's Video Discussion Guide.pdf (83.8 KB)


Thank you for attending this year's conference. We hope you found it helpful and engaging. If you haven't had a chance, please take a few minutes to complete our online evaluation.

Please join us for the 14th Annual Transition and Career Planning Conference. This year's conference, Learn, Adapt, Change: A Model for Readiness, will feature keynote speaker Greg Evans from Seeds Training. This year's full-day strand is Start the College Search with Why by Michelle Eddy of Eddy Career Services.

Who should attend?
•    School counselors 
•    College career advisors
•    Teachers 
•    Technical center coordinators 
•    Administrators 
•    Agency professionals working in schools 
•    School-to-work professionals 
•    High school special educators 
•    Vocational rehabilitation counselors
•    Enthusiastic Merchants of Hope

•    Vermont Student Assistance Corporation 
•    Vermont State GEAR UP
•    Vermont Agency of Education 
•    Vermont School Counselor Association 
•    Vermont Voc Rehab 
•    The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation 
•    Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association 

Committee Members
•    Margo Austin, VSAC GEAR UP
•    Erica Borthwick, VSAC
•    Angela Bourassa, VT/NH CDA
•    Douglas Cullen, VT/NH CDA
•    Anita Long, VSAC GEAR UP
•    Toni Marra, Vermont AOE
•    Cathy Printon, VSAC GEAR UP
•    Anna Telensky, VSAC GEAR UP
•    Rich Tulikangas, VocRehab VT

Workshop descriptions are not available on the Eventbrite registration form, so please review them here and choose your workshops before registering.

  8:15 am

Registration and coffee

  8:45 am

Welcome and announcements
Opening remarks by Scott Giles, President & CEO, VSAC

  9:00 am

Keynote presentation: Fear, Samurai and the Brain, with keynote speaker Greg Evans, Founder, Seeds Training.

  10:15 am


  10:30 am

Concurrent workshop session 1 or conference strand "Start the College Search with Why" (must pre-register)

  11:45 am

Lunch and networking

  12:45 pm

Concurrent workshop session 2 or return to "Start the College Search with Why"

  2:00 pm


  2:15 pm

Concurrent workshop session 3 or return to "Start the College Search with Why"

  3:30 pm

Adjournment. Certificates available at the registration table

Workshop descriptions are not available on the Eventbrite registration form, so please review them here and choose your workshops before registering.

Morning Presentation

Keynote: Fear, Samurai and the Brain

The legendary Samurai culture was known for being fearless, but they were also incredibly smart. The code of the Samurai created a mindset and habits that are ideal for learning. This fast-paced, interactive keynote will give the audience an experience, a challenge, and tools to develop new capacities. Everything will be connected to modern classroom methodology and responsive to current educational change initiatives. Ancient wisdom meets modern application. Come unleash your ability to learn without fear.



An award-winning trainer, speaker, and storyteller, Greg Evans is experienced in training teachers, students, and parents. Since 1993, he has delivered Seeds programs in 16 countries. He has worked closely with researchers, authors, and curriculum designers to develop a unique blend of accelerated learning and experiential training, and he knows how to make learning fun. Greg's programs are dynamic, fast-paced learning adventures that achieve staggering results in compressed time frames and consistently exceed expectations.

All-Day Strand

Start the College Search with Why


College is expensive. Before students take on debt that will have an impact on their adult lives, they need to understand why they're pursuing a degree. Postsecondary education decisions start with students having an understanding of who they are and what types of careers might bring them the most satisfaction. Only then will they be able to make smart choices on where to go for the education they need in order to live the life they want to live. This day-long strand will be broken out into the following focus sessions:

Session 1: Self-Exploration

Self-exploration should start early, in order for students to make the most of their middle school and high school experiences. Understanding how they learn best and what interests them the most will result in students making informed decisions on pathways to learning. Ideally, this will lead to successful matriculation into postsecondary opportunities that will prepare them for career success. In this strand, you'll discover a variety of self-assessments designed to help students discover their interests, personalities, values, and learning styles.

Session 2: Career Exploration

The job market is constantly changing. Today’s students are preparing for careers that may not event exist yet. Ten years ago, the title “data scientist” didn't exist, yet today data science is one of the hottest fields in the job market.

That doesn’t mean career exploration is futile. Students need to understand how skills and education lead to job satisfaction, and how adaptability is a key to success. In this strand, we'll explore various online tools that students can use to educate themselves on ways to best prepare for the world of work.

Session 3: Gaining the Necessary Education

Now that students know who they are and how they want to make a difference in the world, where do they go to get the necessary education? This strand covers the variety of options, from apprenticeships to advanced degrees, by accessing several online resources.

Presenter: Marie Eddy, Certified Career Services Provider, Eddy Career Services

Session 1 Concurrent workshops or all-day strand

Performance Assessment and Proficiency-Based Learning: Ensuring Learners are Prepared for the Future


This workshop will focus on tools that support the development of quality performance assessments that integrate content and transferable skills. The goal is to assess both content knowledge and transferable skills to ensure that students are ready for the next level in their progression of knowledge and prepared, upon graduation, for college and careers.

After this workshop, participants will know about resources available to support the development of performance assessments, and will understand the components of a quality assessment and the ways to integrate transferable skills into an assessment.

Presenters: Pat Fitzsimmons, Proficiency-Based Learning Team, Vermont Agency of Education; Margaret Carrera-Bly, Science Specialist, Vermont Agency of Education; Heidi Whipple, Mathematics Specialist, Vermont Agency of Education

Keynote Follow-up: Engagement Buttons


Student engagement is no longer a mystery. Neuroscience, accelerated learning, and experiential training methods are all gaining traction as real tactics for increasing participation. Come experience multiple strategies for boosting engagement that can be implemented in any curriculum. You'll learn a diverse set of tools that can be used alone or in concert to move students forward and jump-start an excitement to learn new things. We'll show you how to hit the buttons.

Presenter: Greg Evans, Founder, Seeds Training

Career-Building & Lifelong Learning Through Registered Apprenticeship: A NH/VT State Scan

HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

This workshop will provide attendees with an in-depth overview and understanding of Registered Apprenticeship and job-related skills and education. The workshop will review the benefits of apprenticeships for high school-aged students and will debunk common misconceptions about apprenticeships. Presenters will also provide detailed examples of ways that a high school student can enter an apprenticeship program as part of a career path into a meaningful, well-paying job.

We'll provide a state scan of existing apprenticeship opportunities in a variety of fields in both New Hampshire and Vermont. We'll share details on ways that you can refer students to apprenticeship opportunities. For New Hampshire in particular, we'll share information on how apprenticeship programs are connected to the state’s community colleges

Presenters: Emily Zeien, ApprenticeshipNH Grant Manager, Community College System of NH; Judy Bourbeau, Apprenticeship Program Supervisor, VT Department of Labor; Becky Dansereau, Apprenticeship Field Representative, VT Department of Labor; Anne Banks, Workforce Development Administrator, Community College System of NH

Considerations for Approving Flexible Pathway Learning Opportunities (WORKSHOP IS CURRENTLY FULL)


Participants in this session will be introduced to the tool called Vermont Flexible Pathways: Considerations for Approving Flexible Pathway Learning Opportunities. This tool is intended to be a guide for school and district representatives to make an informed decision about whether a particular learning opportunity is effective, equitable, compliant, and safe. By completing this tool, schools and school personnel will create a profile of the flexible pathways they offer that can easily be communicated to students, families, and the community.

Participants will also receive an overview of the Vermont Flexible Pathway: Student-Specific Approval Tool. This tool is intended to be a guide for students and their advisers to make informed decisions about whether a particular flexible pathway can be included as a credited component of the student’s personal learning plan.

Through a facilitated interactive session, participants will have the opportunity to use these companion tools with colleagues across the state to examine their current flexible pathway opportunities.

Presenters: Jess DeCarolis, Division Director, Student Pathways; Toni Marra, Dual Enrollment and Early College Program Coordinator, Personalized Learning Team; Veronica Newton, Program Manager, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, Personalized Learning Team 

The Transferable Skills Toolbox and Woodworking as a Work-based Learning Opportunity, Part 1



Participants will be provided with an experiential learning experience that will expand their knowledge of Vermont’s Transferable Skills and provide multiple examples of increasing career readiness. The format of the workshop utilizes The Restorative Classroom model to describe, process, and reflect on learning experiences. Also, the workshop is really fun!

Participants will increase their skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Work-Based Learning: Opportunities and Getting Started
  • Transferable Skill Development for Employment
  • Proficiency Based Learning: Still Transitioning

Presenters: Jerry Cassels, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, Paine Mountain School District; accompanied by two high school and two middle school students 

Training Interns and Partnering for Success (TIPS)


Learn how the statewide TIPS Internship Program—managed by Careers CLiC and funded primarily by the McClure Foundation, the Vermont Department of Labor, and VSAC GEAR UP—is:

  • advancing college and career readiness for more than 450 Vermont students in 28 high schools
  • measuring student attainment of transferable skills
  • being applied toward Proficiency-based Graduation Requirements
  • incorporating work-based learning experiences into student Personalized Learning Plans
  • engaging more than 260 employers statewide
  • aligned with Act 77 and the Vermont Agency of Education Work-Based Learning Standards 
  • delivering to Vermont youths quality work-based learning experiences that meet all state guidelines

Explore the content of the TIPS career readiness course and internship placement tools. Participants from Vermont high schools can sign up to receive lesson plans and internship materials at no cost.

Presenters: Lorin Durand, Program Manager, Careers CLiC; Kathi Terami, Executive Director, Careers CLiC

Session 2 Concurrent workshops or all-day strand

Professional Roundtable on Creative Solutions for High School Students to Utilize Dual Enrollment, Early College, and Adult Tech Ed

HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

We'll share a brief overview of the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation-funded project in Franklin County, which aimed to increase dual enrollment and early college access for students with barriers to postsecondary education, as well as provide additional funding support to high school students taking adult technical education classes to earn a credential (e.g. LNA, welding) before graduation. Hear from Franklin County guidance directors and tech center representatives as they talk about their challenges and creative solutions. Gretchen DeHart will discuss the overall partnership with high schools and CCV’s creative solutions to serving high schoolers. In order to share expertise and statewide best practices, we may break into smaller groups to expand the conversations around challenges and creative solutions.

Presenters: Jessica Smith, GUIDE Program Coordinator, VSAC GEAR UP; Gretchen DeHart, Coordinator of Academic Services, CCV St Albans; panel of Franklin County Guidance Directors

The Transferable Skills Toolbox and Woodworking as a Work-Based Learning Opportunity, Part 2


This is a continuation from Session I. Please visit the Session I workshop description page. If you're interested in attending, please be sure to sign up for both sessions!

Presenters: Jerry Cassels, Work-based Learning Coordinator, Paine Mountain School District; accompanied by two high school and two middle school students

Matching Student Career Interests with High-Pay, High-Demand Jobs in Vermont 


Observe an engaging classroom career exploration activity that helps students understand which career clusters their interests fit within and how to navigate the Pathways to Promising Careers resource. Afterward, participants will break into two groups—middle school and high school—to provide constructive feedback on the lesson guide and to brainstorm ways to customize it for different grade levels and formats (to use as a stand-alone activity, integrate into another course, add to a work-based learning program, etc.). All participants will leave with a copy of the lesson guide and Pathways brochure to use in their schools

Presenters: Kathi Terami, Executive Director, Careers CLiC; Amy Tietjen Smith, Operations Manager, Careers CLiC

Navigating Personal Learning Plans


This interactive workshop will review the following topics:

  • the PLP systems currently in place within the Burlington School District
  • highlights and challenges—with solutions
  • the benefits of PLPs
  • the connection with flexible pathways and student-centered learning
  • the connection with transferable skills
  • life after high school—benefit of the PLP portfolio aspect

Presenter: Gayle Botelho, District PLP Coordinator, Burlington School District

Have You Ever Truly Felt What It Is to Be Heard?

Pushing the Boundaries of Traditional Education: Creating A Human-To-Human Connection That Explores the Influences That Transform Us 

HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

Our unique session includes participant engagement—such as table talk and pair share discussions—with movement, student testimonials, handouts, and discussions regarding an integration framework of the ELO process and significant case study explorations. Participants will:

  • understand what the essential components of all rigorous ELOs require
  • learn how to design an ELO
  • create a sample ELO plan

Presenters: Joy M. Gobin, ELO Coordinator, Lebanon High School; Ashley Veenema, Science Teacher and ELO Designer/teacher, Lebanon High School; accompanied by two Lebanon High School students

Let's Talk Gender: What's Your Story? 


Change The Story (CTS), an initiative designed to advance women’s economic security in Vermont, created a conversation toolkit that provides local Vermont data about the economic status of women and encourages people to talk about gender norms and implicit biases in order to better understand how gender affects all of us. Designed to be used by all genders, the toolkit provides definitions, data, and prompts that encourage conversations with youth and adults alike (middle school students need specific scaffolding and support). This workshop will provide a balance of information about Change The Story, Vermont-specific data and findings to provide context, an introduction to implicit bias, and an interactive session. Participants will have the opportunity to use the cards and will leave armed with a deck of their own, ready to facilitate conversations in school settings, with colleagues at work, at home, or in the community.

Presenters: Jessica Nordhaus, Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Change The Story; Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan, Coach & Principal, Catalyst Consulting 

Session 3 Concurrent workshops or all-day strand

Busting Gender Biases in Career Exploration: Expanding Possibilities for All Genders (WORKSHOP IS CURRENTLY FULL)


This interactive workshop is designed to increase your knowledge and understanding of the impact of gender on career education, exploration, and decisions. We'll provide resources and ideas for expanding all students’ understanding of the false constraints that cultural bias and occupational segregation can place on them and their plans for the future. The impact of gender bias in career decisions and in the workplace affects all individuals equally, and the workshop will be relevant across all gender categories.

We'll begin with an ice breaker activity in which participants will talk in pairs or small groups about their early career exploration and subsequent work experiences, including the ways in which gender may or may not have played a role in that experience (report-outs will provide touch points for later discussion). The goal is for each participant to leave with an action step that they can bring back to their work settings

Presenters: Alison Lamagna, Education Program Manager, Vermont Works for Women; Nell Carpenter, Education Program Coordinator, Vermont Works for Women

Start with Laughter! Engaging Students Using Theater Improvisation Techniques to Address Career and College Topics (WORKSHOP IS CURRENTLY FULL)


Are you often lecturing or providing lots of information and wishing there were a more engaging way to get the same message across? Educators will learn basic theater improv structures and techniques to take back to the workplace to use with their students. Participants will learn by doing. During this workshop, participants will have a chance to try several improv structures and think about ways in which they could adapt/use them back in their work.

Presenter: Margo Austin, Lead GEAR UP Counselor, VSAC

Let's Talk #Harassment: Tools to Identify and Prevent Workplace Sexual Harassment 

HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

Change The Story (CTS) partnered with Work-Based Learning Coordinators, the Agency of Education, and subject matter experts to create a conversation toolkit that raises awareness about what sexual harassment in the workplace is, how to identify it, and what to do if it happens to you or a co-worker. Designed specifically for young people entering the workforce, the toolkit provides definitions, examples, data, and prompts with which to build conversations with youth and adults alike. This workshop will provide a balance of relatable research, (clear) legal definitions, personal stories, and student videos that illustrate scenarios to react to. There will also be an interactive exercise. Participants will have the opportunity to use the cards and will leave armed with a deck of their own, ready to facilitate conversations.

Presenters: Tiffany Bluemle, Director, Change The Story VT; Jason Finley, Work Based Learning Coordinator, Randolph Technical Career Center

"Dear Achiever": Creating a Virtual Peer Mentor Network Through Student Narrative Videos 


VSAC's GUIDE program (Giving Undergraduates Important Direction in their Education) aims to provide a successful transition from high school to postsecondary education for Vermont's GEAR UP students. Our hope in this Dear Achiever project is to create a virtual support network for students to see themselves in current GEAR UP GUIDE students who are successfully navigating their first year of college. The project also works to encourage our GUIDE students to reflect on their own resilience by writing a letter to a younger student (or self).

Too often, students see bumps in the road as verification that they don't "belong in college." We want all of our students to know that bumps in the road are a part of the process and that they're not alone. We'll walk you through the process of making a 3–5-minute video as if you were a college student. We'll share videos we've made and provide you with time to brainstorm strategies for bringing this project to life in your school communities. We'll include time to talk about curriculum ideas and ways to incorporate these videos into career and college readiness for 7th–12th grade students. We hope to hear your great ideas and have you leave feeling inspired!

Presenter: Jessica Smith, GUIDE Program Coordinator, VSAC GEAR UP

VT Flexible Pathways Collaborative

MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

How do we leverage our collaboration to support Vermont's secondary students in Flexible Pathways experiences? Through a series of focused work sessions, we created the Vermont Flexible Pathways Collaborative, a team that explores an integrated, experiential career advisory model for secondary schools, clarifying career pathways, considering potential partnership models to support secondary students in postsecondary and career success, and expanding communication between traditionally siloed institutions and organizations. Our goals during this workshop are to reflect on new partnership models, envision ways to build a productive community of practice, and articulate new ways to support Vermont secondary students in Flexible Pathways experiences.

Presenters: Kris Breen, Program Development Coordinator, Burlington Technical Center; Jason Raymond, Digital Media Lab Instructor, Burlington Technical Center; Sam Nelson, Teacher, Shelburne Community School; Jana Fabri-Sbardellati, Teacher, Hunt Middle School

Assistive Technology (AT), an Essential Enhanced Service Through Linking Learning to Careers (LLC) (WORKSHOP IS CURRENTLY FULL)

HIGH SCHOOL and general focus

This workshop will provide an overview of LLC and its enhanced services, including assistive technology (AT) services. We'll review our process in determining appropriate AT interventions, describe the different levels of technology (aka the tech spectrum), and play a round of “Guess That AT.” This hands-on, interactive game is designed to increase your comfort level with and awareness of AT. Our goal is to have participants leave this workshop with an increased awareness of assistive technology, an improved understanding of tech spectrum and diversity of available tools, and an acquired knowledge to make a referral to the VATP program for students not enrolled in LLC.

Presenters: Laurie Cook, Assistive Technology Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation-Linking Learning to Careers; Rachel Knapp, Assistive Technology Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation-Linking Learning to Careers

Workshop descriptions are not available on the Eventbrite registration form, so please review them here and choose your workshops before registering.

Directions: Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT

Questions: Email printon@vsac.org 

Workshop descriptions are not available on the Eventbrite registration form, so please review them here and choose your workshops before registering.