Developing College and Career Readiness through Individualized Learning Plans

The following blog entry was originally posted on the official blog of the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center) at the American Institutes for Research

College and career exploration and planning play a critical role in preparing students for life beyond high school while also creating personalized learning opportunities that increase their engagement and success in school. Individualized learning plans (ILPs) are one type of tool that middle school and high school students are using to define their personal interests and goals related to college and careers. ILPs also help students develop well informed plans for their courses and activities throughout school to prepare for their chosen postsecondary education and career paths. Thirty-five states currently use ILPs and many others are exploring policies that require the use of ILPs to guide students toward college and careers.

On Wednesday, May 29, The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF)the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center) at the American Institutes for Research, and the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership, which houses the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), are co-hosting a webinar on the use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) across the country. (Register for the webinar online.) In addition to an overview of research findings, this webinar will feature education leaders from South Carolina and Colorado who will discuss their ILP policies and implementation strategies.

In its 12th year of operation, NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that focuses on improving transition outcomes for all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. NCWD/Youth recently released the policy brief, Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduateswhich summarizes findings and recommendations from a multi-year individualized learning plans (ILP) research and demonstration project.

The policy brief highlights key findings from the ILP studies, which examined: whether and how ILPs may be considered a promising strategy for developing college and career readiness; and whether and how students with disabilities are participating in ILPs. The policy brief also recommends actions for a diversity of stakeholders including state officials, district/school officials, educators, organizations interested in supporting family engagement in schools, special education administrators and support organizations, national organizations, disability organizations, and Federal officials. Read or download the policy brief online.

More information about the ILP Research & Demonstration Project including the ILP fact sheet, the ILP how-to guide, journal articles, and details about the project partners is available at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp/.

By Curtis Richards, Director of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth and Director of the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

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