Fostering Youth Developmental Assets to Ensure Success

Tom Aloisi, Donna McAllister, and Stephen Tavella, with expert Dr. Bernice Garnett


Successful academic systems foster youth developmental assets and a healthy school climate. Intentionally building youth developmental assets - a set of 40 skills, behaviors and relationships, empowers students to become caring, responsible, productive adults. Development of these 40 positive qualities supports the PBIS framework in building social and academic competence for all students and the five components of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).
During this strand, school teams will:

This strand is appropriate for elementary, middle and/or high school teams. We recommend that 2 – 3 members from a BEST team participate so that these individuals can inform the afternoon action planning of the larger group.


Check back after May 1st.



Tom AloisiTom Aloisi, M.Ed., recently celebrated his one year anniversary at the Agency of Education as the Adolescent Sexual Health Program Coordinator. He manages a program called the Vermont Sexual Health and Education Program which works with 15 supervisory unions and districts to improve health services, health curricula, and school climate. Previously he worked at the Maryland and Washington DC departments of health working on HIV counselling and testing and STD prevention. Tom has over 20 years of experience in public health and health education including developing public information programs and HIV prevention curricula.

Donna McAllisterDonna McAllister, M.Ed., is a graduate of Montclair State College, New Jersey with a BA in Home Economics and from Southern New Hampshire University with Masters in Education.  After 35 years of classroom experience, she became the Health Education Consultant for the Vermont Agency of Education where she has been in that role since 2007. She co-chair of the Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force and has been involved with inter-agency collaborations around the implementation of Act One and more recently the impact trauma has on learning.

Stephen TavellaStephen Tavella joined the Agency of Education in November of 2014 as the Safe Schools and School Climate Coordinator. He has nearly thirty years of international and domestic experience in program development and management, strategic planning, training, business analysis, monitoring and evaluation. His experience extends to developing countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific, having lived in numerous cultures for extended periods of time. Most recently his efforts have been focused on project management, needs assessment, strategic planning, donor relations and interagency coordination in humanitarian relief operations in restive Rakhine State, Myanmar, and southern Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Dr. Bernice GarnettBernice Garnett is an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont, in the College of Education and Social Services. Dr. Garnett’s background is in public health and social and behavioral sciences. Her major research interests include childhood obesity and eating disorders prevention, bullying, discrimination, and harassment, youth health disparities, food access and food insecurity and comprehensive school health. Bernice received her doctorate in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.