Spring Session: January 16 - June 7, 2024
Fall Session: August 1- December 20, 2024
SDRC Vendor #: PY1700, Code: 102, Subcode: Expl
To be added to Explorer's interest list, please click here.
A 2-year vocational training opportunity consisting of a series of four 5-month sessions
for individuals interested in exploring community or self-employment.
Under the Employment First Policy, employment of individuals with developmental disabilities is one of the State's highest priorities "regardless of the severity of their disabilities." Individuals who are employed have a greater sense of independence, connection to their local community, and confidence from working side-by-side with non-disabled peers earning their own paycheck.
In March 2022, Beacons worked with the San Diego Regional Center to bring Beacons' successful PathFinder program to a broader range of individuals with developmental disabilities. Explorer teaches a wide variety of vocational skills for up to 80 weeks (four 5-month sessions over a 2-year period, or longer depending on the IPP team and workshop availability). Training occurs at local businesses and onsite.
Headed by a credentialed special education teacher, Explorer blends hands-on learning with exciting subjects such as Creative Design Skills, Canva Graphic Design, Customer Service Skills, Entrepreneurial Skills, and Soft Skills. To build stamina and self-regulation skills, Explorer also integrates fitness to help prepare our trainees for the rigors of employment. Explorer also hosts Makers' Markets and other fun activities to help trainees build skills working with actual customers, taking orders while learning how to use cash registers, and much more! (Check out our calendar for upcoming event dates to visit and learn more!)
Since starting, Explorer has helped 45% of its trainees find employment. Whether it's 1 hour a week, or 20 hours a week, Explorer will help trainees find a path of their choosing based on their interests and skills.
Workshop hours: Skills are taught in 45 - 60 minute increments between 9 am to 2 pm over four 5-month sessions 2, 3 or 5 days a week depending on schedule and space availability. Mornings usually include community-based learning, and afternoons usually provide onsite instruction (e.g. creative design, entrepreneurial skills, etc.)
Ratio: Explorer has a ratio of 3:1.
Total Hours: 240 hours per 5-month session (with the option for additional hours as needed per IPP team agreement).
SDRC vendor number:
Vendor Info: PY1700, Code: 102, Subcode: Expl
Please start by reviewing our entrance criteria to see if Explorer is a good fit for your applicant.
1. Interest List: . If you are interested in applying for Explorer please let us know by filling out our Interest Form. An Explorer staff member will contact you for an interest interview to discuss current availability and Explorer's program requirements.
2. Application/SDRC (or Independent Facilitators) follow-up: After the interest interview, if it determined that the applicant is a good fit for the program, you will be sent the Explorer application. You will also need to contact your service coordinator to have their IPP and CDER sent. Note: In order to meet the requirements for Explorer, it is necessary for the applicant to have a vocational goal in their IPP.
3. Screening/Intake Meeting: After the application, IPP, and CDER have been received by Beacons, our Explorer team will contact you to set up an intake meeting to meet the applicant and make sure the workshop supports the applicant's IPP goals, and that the applicant is interested in the vocational purpose of PathFinder Explorer.
4. Forms: If accepted into Explorer, the applicant will then need to complete and submit the following:
Training overview: The Explorer option offers approximately 80 weeks (four 5-month sessions) of vocational exploration and training over a two-year period using a schedule that introduces and teaches skills in a wide variety of areas (e.g. creative design, customer service, entrepreneurial skills, soft skills, job getting and keeping skills, and more!)
The curriculum and instructional model for Explorer uses pacing designed for individuals with developmental disabilities who need more time to learn and practice skills than what the original PathFinder program option offers. Each workshop session includes pre-and post assessments for each unit to measure progress, extra hours for additional instruction if needed or wanted to meet a level of proficiency, materials and/or licenses needed for a subject area, soft skills training, creation of person-centered plans for post-workshop transitioning, job application and employment placement support, and much more! One of the 5-month sessions will supplement vocational training with robust person-centered planning to support transitions from Explorer and equip the trainee and trainee's team with information on post-Explorer options.
Ratios & Enrollment: 3:1 ratio with no more than 15 trainees per workshop module.
Devices: Trainees may bring their own device, but Beacons also has available 15.6" yoga touchscreen Chromebooks with a mouse accessory, 12.9" iPads, an interactive 65" touchscreen monitor, and other devices as needed.
Materials: Each trainee will be provided with his/her own materials and desks and chairs are sanitized for safe learning onsite.
Contact Information: Explorer@BeaconsNorthCounty.com
BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed
Director: Bethany Britt, M.Ed.
Bethany was born and raised in Southern California and is a graduate of La Costa Canyon High School so she has endless contacts throughout our community to enrich activities for Explorer. She is also a trained self-determination facilitator and well-versed in the supports and options available in the community to help self-advocates learn more about their local area and service options.
Bethany has a BA in Special Education from Arizona State University and a Masters in Educational Counseling from National University. She holds credentials in Pupil Personnel Services, Educational Specialist of Instruction Level II and CrossCultural Language and Academic Development in the state of California.
Bethany taught special education in a Moderate/Severe program for the Chandler Unified School District and coached the girls JV soccer team for Hamilton High School for two years. After returning to San Diego, she taught in both Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe programs for the San Dieguito Union High School District for 13 years. During her time at SDUHSD, Bethany helped lead the TAP program at Torrey Pines High School and La Costa Canyon High School. In 2015, Bethany won the Collaborative Team Award for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.
Bethany is a valued member of the Beacons team and brings her years of experience to help optimize learning, increase confidence and facilitate social connections.
Andi Woolley joined Beacons from the Job Corps and contributes not only her compassion for others, but also her prior experience as a Title 1 teacher, Job Corps reading instructor and Title 1 Paraprofessional. Andi has her bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies, a UX Design Certificate, and A.A. in Elementary Education.
Andi supports Explorer as its Assistant Director and as as a lead vocational training instructor. Her many contributions also include the design of trainee assessments and lesson plans to enhance learning and measure progress to help trainees work towards their self-determined goals. She also brings a wide range of creative and technical skills to help trainees with their creative design and entrepreneurial skills, and is a frequent activity leader at Club Beacons.
Andi has taught a wide range of students for the Fremont County School District and will help Beacons continue to improve its options to meet the growing needs of those Beacons serves.
Emily Landers has almost a decade of experience working with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including caring for a family member with an intellectual disability. Emily has a bachelor's degree in Psychology, with coursework in Learning and Memory, Adolescent Psychology and Early Childhood development, and a background in lesson planning and positive classroom management strategies. Emily's has also served as a coach for the YMCA and the LYCO Champions League, managing players and volunteers with (and without) intellectual and physical disabilities. Emily is also bilingual (Spanish and English).
Emily supports Beacons' trainees as a lead instructor in creative expression and digital arts. She has also supported Beacons as an activities planner and social facilitator for Club Beacons, and as a substitute instructor for the "original" PathFinder vocational training program in the Creative Design workshop and other areas.
Shae Alai supports Beacons as a Club Beacons facilitator as an associate instructor. Shae has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University. She continued her coursework, working on a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology. Shae also has earned a California Teaching Credential in English and became an Education Specialist in 2007. Over the last 20+ years Shae has worked in the education field working as a tutor, a resource specialist and an English and Language Arts teacher. Shae is also a certified yoga instructor. Shae loves being involved as a school club advisor, volunteering in the community (working to support kids in the inner city and the homeless) and enjoys being a part of Sierra Club and trail hiking throughout the world.
SHAE ALAI, M.A.
Sandra Guadjardo is an Associate Instructor for Beacons and joined Beacons as an accomplished preschool owner, director, and teacher bringing 30 years of experience of early childhood education, staff management, operations planning, and financial management. Sandra has training in ASL, special-needs education, Child Family Community, and Early Childhood Education.
Sandra has spent the last 2 years working with special-needs children and young adults, and she has a life-long passion for this community. Sandra joined Beacons this winter as an instructor in our Explorer program on Tuesdays and Thursdays and helps as needed in both the Pathfinder and Explorer programs.
When Sandra is not working she enjoys surfing, yoga, playing piano, singing, and spending time with her adult children and husband Joe.
Shane Sheridan is excited to join the Beacons team officially in our Explorer Program as an Associate Instructor. He grew up in Washington State in a small town right on the Canadian Border. After moving to Northern California, his newly inherited brother-in-law who has developmental disabilities quickly became one of his absolute best friends. He had the opportunity to be his respite care provider and it quickly ignited a passion in his heart for this population.
A few months ago he had the opportunity to join the Beacons team as a facilitator for Club Beacons. He has found joy getting to know the participants and trainees through Club! In July, he was able to transition to full time as an instructor for the Pathfinder Summer Workshops and is now joining the Explorers just in time for the Fall 2023 session.