Dauphin County Technical School: Student Culminating Career Portfolio

Posted on Categories Classroom Assessments, Curriculum Planning, Employability Skills, Postsecondary Transitions, Student Engagement

At a Glance

As part of the Dauphin County Technical School (DCTS) curriculum, each student is expected to complete a Culminating Career Portfolio by the end of senior year. The portfolio consists of four major components, and students are provided resources and support from a team of staff members as they work on it.


Implemented in 2007, the Culminating Career Portfolio originally was designed to comply with the PDE Student Project requirement. After the PDE requirement was terminated, the portfolio was continued because it provides students with plans, skills and tools that are essential for career acquisition and retention. The purpose of the portfolio is to ensure that all DCTS students develop:

  • Effective plans for a successful future;
  • Skills necessary for post-secondary success; and
  • A tool to use during the job application and interview process.

Students are introduced to the portfolio during Freshman Seminar. DCTS Assistant Principal, Gwen Mosteller, meets with each Program of Study for students in grades 10 through 12.

The portfolio contains four major components:

  • Comprehensive Career and Technical Best Works – This component includes samples of the student’s best work (as selected by the student), commensurate with the highest level of competency attained in the program area each year.  The student also includes written explanations and reflections designed to prompt self-assessment and evaluation of critical academic, career and technical, and career education skills.
  • Interview and Senior Exit Survey – In an effort to improve their job interview skills, students in their junior year participate in mock interviews conducted by business and industry leaders. During their senior year, students are required to complete an exit survey (https://goo.gl/forms/9C8AFbHeQzGAKIbe2).   
  • Acquisition Documents – To complete this component, students are required to research careers, plan courses, learn about their personalities, strengths and weaknesses related to careers, and to document their progress as they do so. A career inventory is completed during freshman year under the guidance of Vocational Transitional Counselor Lori Ribbans. Students also create a resume, cover letter, letters of request and other documents related to professional and career communication. 
  • Community Service – Students must complete twenty hours of community service (five hours per year). They are expected to find community service opportunities on their own, but DCTS administrators provide assistance as needed.

Students are provided extensive support and resources as they work on their portfolios. The project is directed and monitored by a staff team including each student’s CTE Instructor and English Teacher, Cooperative Education Instructor, Guidance Counselor, Instructional Coach, Librarian, Vocational Facilitator and Transition Coach, and a local employer who provides a practice job interview.

Students receive the following resources:

  • Career Portfolio Tracking sheet,
  • Community Service Guidelines,
  • Community Service Form,
  • Culminating Career Portfolio Response Page,
  • Directions for Folder Creation and Project Reporting, and
  • Screencast Directions for Folder Creation and Project Reporting.

DCTS administrators plan to continue including the Career Culminating Portfolio as part of the school’s curriculum. They note that their greatest challenge is time. For other CTCs that want to implement a similar practice, DCTS administrators suggests that a dedicated committee be created to oversee the process.  They recommend that the committee meet monthly during the initial startup phase and then on a quarterly basis.


DCTS administrators note that the Career Culminating Portfolio provides an opportunity for every student to receive instruction, guided practice, independent practice and mentoring in career acquisition and retention skills. Graduates leave with a visual portrait of their accomplishments, which can serve as a valuable resource as they pursue further education or careers.


Dauphin County Technical School

Sandy Traynor, Assistant Director

Gwen Mosteller, Assistant Principal