Conference on Integrated Learning: The School-To-Career Connection

The Integrated Learning Conference  (ILC) is the best conference the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) puts on all year. It is my favorite event because all the best teachers bring their best practices (from around the Commonwealth) and share their work. I always return to school with renewed energy and thinking.

I will be presenting on two topics this year: (1) E-Portfolios and (2) Hatboro-Horsham’s Futures Fair. I’m going to post my presentations and handouts so attendees can easily refer to the links and resources provided.

1. Portfolios


A Career Portfolio is the tool your students need—whether they are looking for a job or seeking admission to college. This session will guide you through a step-by-step process of building a targeted collection of documents that provides employers and admissions offices with concrete evidence of what a student has done and presents their potential for the future. Learn how a carefully considered and well-presented portfolio can best validate a student’s skills and accomplishments and be the most effective self-marketing device for a great job and/or college admission. Includes electronic portfolios.

Student E-Portfolio example: Meet Hannah Hatboro *

*Hannah Hatboro is a fictional character. Her portfolio was designed to model similar portfolios created by students in our school.

Hannah Hatboro Resource Handout

2. Futures Fair

BRIEF DESCRIPTION “Making It Here” was the theme of Hatboro-Horsham’s 2011 Futures Fair and reflects the hope of the community that if students are made aware of local educational and career opportunities they’ll stay in the area or return after college to pursue their life paths. A Futures Fair is a hybrid event that connects high priority professions, post-secondary programs and 21st Century Skills to employment opportunity in our region. Learn how our community, school, business stakeholders, education foundation and post-secondary institutions partnered to teach students that they really can “make it here” (prepare for interesting professions that offer opportunity and family sustaining wages in our region).         

Download my PPT presentation to view slide notes.


Career Awareness and Decision Making

The Center for Professional Development in Career and Technical Education @ Temple University hosted a workshop for school administrators on the topic of Career Awareness and Decision Making. It was great!

First on the agenda was Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director of the Leigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. She brought with her an enthusatic and committed team. A few of the topics addressed:

1. The 3 D’s (Economic Development = Workforce Development + Career Development). I was first introduced to this idea by my friend Betty Holmboe of the Capital Region.

The formula reminds us that if our state is to attract industry and business partners (Economic Development) it must have a skilled workforce prepared to take the jobs demanded by industry. Workforce Development is regional. Do you know what the high priority professions are in your region? In the Delaware Valley, where I live, high priority professions include all health sciences, engineering and everything “Green.” As educators, we need to know what the high priority professions are in our region. We need to make aware, connect and prepare kids for opportunities to work where they can earn family sustaining wages! That’s Career Development.

2. New flash! Sixty-nine PA Superintendents have signed and committed to Career Pathways in their school districts!

3. On social networking: You need to be there b/c that’s where your students are! Students feel you are disrespecting them if you are not there (news to me).

4. In 2011 it’s not “You can be anything you want to be…”, it’s “You can be anything you want to be in (high priority field).”

5. Career Gates videos now on YouTube.

Query “Career Gates” on YouTube for the full series.

6. PA RCEP Virtual Career Fair

Next on the agenda was Tom Speicher and Glenn Spoerke from Penn College. They introduced an exceptional documentary series. It is not Penn College specific–the series is career specific.

The career-exploration documentary series degrees that is produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology in conjunction with WVIA Public Media. The award-winning series airs on public television. Complete episodes also can be accessed online through this website and YouTube .

Take a look at this one to see how great these documentaries really are:

Go to for teacher lesson planning guides to this documentary.

The afternoon presentations featured David Garnes, PDE/BCTE, Career & Technical Education Advisor. David updated our group on SOAR Programs in PA. And to wrap up, Jerilynn Millvan, PDE/BCTE, addressed nontraditional programs of study for adults and postsecondary CTE.

Great way to spend the day. Thanks to Temple’s Chet Wichowski for organizing the event.