Individual Learning Plans: “Taking the nation by storm.”

This post (December 31, 2013), featured on the website of The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD), outlines the features of the Individual Learning Plan, or “ILP”, which is a tool that is spreading like fire across the country in school districts across the country.

There is a movement afoot – a change in focus, a change in the way many school districts around the country are attempting to prepare all youth for adulthood. Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) are taking the nation by storm. If you haven’t heard about ILPs yet, you will no doubt hear more about them in the future. To help you get acquainted with this important new trend, here are a few basics about what ILPs are and how they work.

As of this writing, 36 states and the District of Columbia either require or use some form of an Individualized Learning Plan for students, although some states use different names for the ILP. For example, Connecticut has a “Student Success Plan,” Oregon has an “Education Plan and Profile,” and Missouri uses a “Personal Plan of Study.” Some states begin student planning as early as 6th grade, with most starting the process around 8th grade.

(NOTE:  The chart referenced above may be out of date for some states.  For example, Utah has changed it’s “SEOP”  [Student Education and Occupation Plan]to “CCRP” [College and Career Readiness Plan”]). Check your state for the most recent developments.)

The post describes the appropriateness of the ILP with IEPs and how families can become more involved.

ILPs are designed to help link a student’s career or education goals to education and enrichment opportunities in high school. They can provide a level of planning, assessment, and coordination that is beyond the intent of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)….

Many families have not yet been informed about what an ILP is, if their youth’s school district is using ILPs, and what they can do as parents to assist in the process. Families are encouraged to ask the school guidance counselor or principal if ILPs are used in their district and what the process is called. It is helpful to find out how the plan is structured, where it is housed (as a paper document or online), and when during the day the student is working on it. Ask your youth about his or her ILP and discuss how the goals stated in the ILP were identified. You may be surprised to find that the ILP allows the youth to better understand the link between what they are doing in school now and how that is preparing them for life as an adult later. Working on the ILP together also creates an opportunity for the youth and the family member(s) to have conversations about the youth’s growth into adulthood.

Read the blog post in its entirety here.

Read the policy brief on ILPs here.


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