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Aspirations Partnerships

Our goal: To build a school's capacity to graduate all students with a plan for their future education and career


Since 2014, Aspirations Partnerships has worked with six schools. We are currently working with Harwood Union, Missisquoi Valley Union, and Brattleboro Union schools. Here are some quotes from previous partners and professional development participants:

Our work with Aspirations has been a true collaboration. Together we have created activities and celebrations that promote college and career readiness, that are now part of the fabric of our school. We are currently developing a 7-12 college and career readiness curriculum. The work we have done through Aspirations will be part of Twinfield for years to come. Our new school motto is; “Make Your Dream a Plan!” 

-Mark Mooney, Twinfield Principal

Being a member of the Harwood Union Aspiration Team has been a bright spot for me. The work our team (students, staff, and community members) are doing is energizing and exciting. School change takes time, the Aspirations partnership commits to giving us the time, tools, resources, and supports HU needs to make sustainable change.”  

-Sally McCarthy, Director of Counseling, Harwood Union High School

"AMAZING. The pacing, processing, collaboration, action planning… I have done a lot of PD in my day, and this is the best I have attended.” 

- Anonymous Senior Survey PD Participant


Aspirations Partnerships are capacity-building projects.  

Aspirations School Specialists work with school leaders, teachers, and students to cultivate a vibrant and equitable post-high school planning culture.  

We want ALL students to have equitable access to information, support, and experiences to help them plan for their future education and career.

We offer multiple ways to partner with VSAC Aspirations.  All services are provided FREE OF CHARGE, with generous funding from the Vermont Legislature.  


Ways to Work with Us
  • 4-Year Partnership - Guided by data, the purpose of this partnership is to build a school’s capacity to graduate all students with a plan for future education and training.  A VSAC Aspirations School Specialist works with a school convened Steering Committee to create goals and an action plan to support all students at your school in planning for life after high school.  A 4-year partnership is focused on growing your school’s culture around post-high school planning.  This will involve many initiatives.  In contrast, a consulting partnership focuses on one initiative.
  • Consulting Partnership - Working with a small group of school leaders, the Aspirations school specialist facilitates school change in one area of focus that the school identifies.  Driven by data, consulting services typically last for approximately one school year depending on school needs and bandwidth.  Examples of consulting work include (but are not limited to): 
    • Helping schools create post-high school curriculum for advisory.
    • Designing professional development so that all staff are trained in the basics of post-high school planning.
    • Creating customized outreach materials to aid parents and guardians in supporting their student in post-high school planning.
  • Professional Learning - Individual educators, as well as groups of educators from the same school or school district, can engage in professional learning with Aspirations. Contact us to schedule a training in your area or join one of our already scheduled dates, on these topics: 
    • Senior Survey:  Access school-specific data to produce results
    • ESPP:  Educators Supporting Post-high school Planning:  a series of professional development that provides the skills, information, and tools for educators to confidently and competently engage in supportive conversations with students on post-high school planning. Some examples include: Do You Speak Financial Aid? and Nurturing Student Strengths and Interests.
Examples of Partnership Activities

Focus Area

Examples of Partnership Activities 

Informed Students & Families
  • Parent Newsletters
  • PHS E&T webpage
  • Parent Events and Information Sessions
    • Managing College Costs
    • Flexible Pathways 
    • FAFSA Forms Night
    • Post-High School Planning Nights Per Grade
PHS E & T Curricular Integration
  • Advisory, TA, or Class Meeting Curriculum
  • Curriculum Co-development
    • For Advisory, TA, or Class Meetings
    • For a post-high school planning course
  • Student access to career labs in core subjects at all levels.
Communication, Events & Field Trips
  • Career Site Visits
  • VSAC Events & Workshops
    • College and Career Pathways
    • Vermont Career Connect
    • Advancement Grant Workshop
  • Peer Round Table/Alumni Visit
  • Red Carpet Event/Senior Celebration
  • Vermont Tech - Try A Major Day
  • CCV Access Days
  • Women Can Do Conference
Educator Agency
  • Provide knowledge, information, and skills so that teachers can support students with navigating the post-high school process. 
    • Teachers have information and resources in their classrooms aimed at supporting diverse paths after high school.  
    • Teachers connect and integrate careers into classroom subjects.
Professional Learning
  • Diving Deep Into School-Specific Data
  • Connecting to Flexible Pathways
  • Making Career Connections in Every Classroom
  • Making Post-Secondary Education Affordable
  • Creating Equitable Post-Secondary Opportunities
  • School Needs-Based Professional Learning
  • ESPP: Educators Supporting Post-high school Planning PD series with credit from VTSU Castleton
Committed Leadership
  • Collaboration with school leaders to demonstrate a commitment to post-high school planning by: 
    • Allocating & leading regular in-service time
    • Accessing an equity “lens” when developing the school schedule and events. 
    • Highlighting areas that can be embedded in school systems planning.
    • Facilitating annual reflection on data-informed practices
Multiple Diversified Pathways
  • Program growth that includes equitable access to:
    • WBL courses
    • Dual Enrollment
    • Early College
    • Career and Technical Center
    • Career Labs
    • Job Shadows
    • Internships
Strong Partnerships 
  • Area EOC counselor
  • Colleges
  • Apprenticeships
  • Internships
  • Mock interviews
  • Career-labs

Aspirations Partnership School Rubric — This rubric is used to identify a school’s strengths and weaknesses for Post-High School Education and Training (PHS E&T) and to spur productive reflection and action planning.


Contact Ellen Bagnato ( or Lauren Hood (