Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) are a relatively new strategy being used by schools in a number of states to enable students to document their course taking and post-secondary plans and ensure these plans are aligned to their career goals. ILPs are also used to document the college and career readiness skills that the student has developed, and are more generally understood as a career development strategy that enables youth to develop self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management skills. As a result of engaging in these processes, ILPs are believed to result in youth understanding the relevance of how their school and out-of-school learning opportunities prepare them to pursue post-secondary degree training and degree programs as well as enter desired careers and occupations. Family engagement is a critical part to the success of ILPs.
This brief discusses families’ perceptions of whether and how they were engaged in schools’ implementation of ILPs, and provides suggestions from families of youth with and without disabilities of actions schools can take to improve family engagement in the ILP process. Information is derived from a web-based review of relevant literature as well as focus groups and surveys involving 1,400 parents of youth with and without disabilities and 526 school personnel in ten schools across four states as part of a larger five year study of ILPs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.