Portfolio Testimonials

Today we’re highlighting two “testimonial” videos from the transition portfolio training series. The videos offer different perspectives as to how portfolios can benefit teachers, Pre-ETS instructors, employment services providers, parents, and—especially—students.

The first video is from Niki Ford, a supervisor and teacher of her school’s employment training program. After switching to online portfolios three years ago, she’s seen multiple benefits. Having a one-stop-shop for documents and records helps families when their students leave school—and it means they won’t need to call you years later for a copy of a resume or the name of that job experience supervisor from sophomore year.

Niki also reports that digital portfolios create “incidental learning opportunities,” when students begin to see their portfolios as a reference and a problem-solving tool. In her sample Google Sites portfolio, she demonstrates the use of a table of contents to easily navigate the many documents they’ve added. Cool idea: The sample included quick-reference scripts for things like calling in sick.

Video number two is from Mary Ellen Jones, the youth and family supports manager for Stone Belt. Mary Ellen, who also oversees Pre-ETS and Project SEARCH, explains how helpful portfolios can be from an adult service provider perspective. A good portfolio, with documentation about a student’s strengths, preferences, and former experiences, gives providers a chance to jumpstart the Discovery part of the employment process. Mary Ellen also likes the transferability of portfolios—students can continue to build their portfolios and take them from one provider to another.

And finally, she encourages all of you to reach out to your Pre-ETS providers and make portfolios a collaborative work in progress. Pre-ETS providers also need portfolio information, so “do it together,” she says. “We want to make this a little less daunting for all of you.”