Melissa and Albert smile for a photo while they sell glass art

*Photo was taken in December 2018


Did you know October is National Disability Awareness and National Disability Employment Awareness Month? It’s a time to raise awareness and honor the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities currently working and striving toward equal access and opportunities in the workplace. Many of our BSD students and graduates have worked hard to break stereotypes in the employment field, moving on to reach success in jobs and demonstrate that work and career are obtainable! Students find success at jobs with supports such as assistive technology, job coaches (funded by DDA), visuals, and may other types of provisions. Learn more about how BSD collaborates with our embedded employment vendor, the At-Work! Agency, to support our students who participate in the King County School-To-Work Program: https://youtu.be/zm1_PzChg7k.

The Bellevue School District also provides community-based experiential learning opportunities for young adults with disabilities ages 18-21 through the  Evergreen Transition Program (ETP). The program aims to foster independence in the areas of employment, education/training, and life skills – consisting of six classrooms and serves a wide array of student’s needs and abilities. The program collaborates with students, families, caregivers, community partners, state agencies, and employment vendors in order to help pave the post-secondary path of success. If any families have community connections to local businesses that may want to partner with BSD to assist with vocational training, connect with Jennifer Strehle: strehlej@bsd405.org. Learn more about Evergreen Transition Program here: https://bsd405.org/programs/transition/ .

While community-based instruction and job development has been significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic, there are still some great vocational experiences happening among our students.


Melissa Loy: Melissa, a 3rd year student in ETP in the STW Program, attended a job fair at Fred Meyer in Bellevue on Friday. She spent the entire week, prior to the event, preparing for an interview by completing mock interviews with her At-Work! job coach, Katherine Randall, and her para educator, Widya Shepardson. Melissa attended the job fair with Katherine and Melissa’s former high school teacher, Heather McLean, who encouraged Melissa to attend the fair and supported her with the interview process. Melissa interviewed with the HR representative, for the position of Parcel Clerk, and was hired on the spot! She will have orientation and begin training in approximately two weeks.


Melissa, smiling for a photo
Callahan smiling and holding white paper

Callahan McCarthy:  Callahan, a 3rd year student in the Evergreen Transition Program, has spent the month of October preparing to get a job by practicing vocational tasks at a variety of businesses in the community with his job coach Jenna Heberden from the At-Work! Agency, BSD’s embedded employment vendor as part of the School-To-Work Program (STW). He went to Brick & Mortar Books where he helped shelve books and learned the inner workings of book stores. He also helped perform the opening duties at Natural Pet Pantry in Kirkland such as counting the money drawer, checking the thermostat on the freezers containing the pet food, putting the store sign and plants our front, etc. This month Callahan has been doing mock interviews with Jenna and working on his resume/cover letter with one of the paraeducators Cassandra Swoope in teacher William Jay Johnson’s classroom. Additionally, last year Callahan worked a paid internship for one of the Bellevue Rotaries and served as a greeter during their weekly luncheons at downtown Maggianos.


Albert Feng: Albert, a 3rd year student also in ETP and participating in the STW Program, recently completed a site assessment at Seattle Barkery during the month of September. Seattle Barkery is a local pet bakery. He was able to get a behind the scenes look at how a pet bakery operates, and had the opportunity to practice tasks such as bagging treats and stamping treat bags. Albert, a member of Erin Turner’s classroom, enjoys keeping busy with hands-on vocational tasks. He is a hard worker and is looking forward to obtaining a paid job this year.


Albert wearing a Seahawks shirt, smiling at a table with glass decorations