Families and College and Career Readiness: What Schools Can Do to Engage Families in the Individualized Learning Plan Process | NCWD/Youth

From NCWD-Youth: “Families play an important role in helping their youth become college and career ready. Based on a number of research studies, literature reviews, and program evaluations, one can conclude that active family engagement supports the positive academic, career and life outcomes for youth with and without disabilities. Families’ aspirations and expectations have been shown to directly affect students’ aspirations and expectations of themselves and their actual achievements. High parental expectations for student success and achievement have been found to be the most significant influence on high school seniors’ achievement, including completion of high school credits needed for graduation. Included among the positive outcomes linked to family involvement are improved achievement test results, decreased risk of dropping out, improved attendance, improved student behavior, higher grades, higher grade point average, greater commitment to schoolwork, and improved attitude toward school. Further, studies have shown that family involvement is linked to higher rates of college enrollment.

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 describes suggestions from families of youth with and without disabilities about actions schools can take to improve family engagement in the ILP process. The information was 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 sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The overall purpose of this larger study was to examine whether ILPs were a promising college and career readiness practice for all youth and whether and how youth with disabilities are participating in these efforts.”

Learn more via Families and College and Career Readiness: What Schools Can Do to Engage Families in the Individualized Learning Plan ILP Process | NCWD/Youth.


OPWDD Web Conference on Self-Directed Planning: Sept. 17th

Because of the turnout of September 9th’s Web conference, the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is offering an additional Web Conference for individuals who are self-directing and their families. This will provide additional updates and answer questions from participants.

This Web Conference is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm

To participate in the conference, individuals and families may connect via the Web or directly through the phone.

Participants will need to pre-register for the Web Conference, if they wish to ask questions.
To register, click on the following link
Then Click on the gray button in the middle of the screen that says “Register.”

Participants who only want to listen, may join by phone by calling : 1-415-655-0003
and entering the access code: 293 873 571

Funding, News

Transformation Agreement | OPWDD

From NYS OPWDD: “New York State and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS have identified a series of shared goals that will improve opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities in the areas of employment, integrated living, and self-direction of services. These goals are captured in a transformation agreement. They include:

  • Developing new service options to better meet the needs of individuals and families in a truly person-centered way, including allowing for more self-direction of services;
  • Creating a specialized managed care system that recognizes the unique needs of people with disabilities, and is focused on a habilitative model of services and supports;
  • Ensuring that people live in the most integrated community settings;Increasing the number of individuals who are competitively employed;
  • Focusing on a quality system that values personal outcome goals for people, such as an improved life or access to meaningful activities; and
  • Working to make funding in the system sustainable and transparent.

To support the transformation agreement, OPWDD will have access to additional funding and technical assistance through the federal government’s Balancing Incentives Program. OPWDD will also begin participating in New York’s Money Follows the Person demonstration, which lends federal financial support for individuals who wish transition from institutional settings into community settings. Updates will be posted in this section of our website.”

Read for via Transformation Agreement | OPWDD.


IEP Meeting Checklist for Parents | Center for Parent Information and Resources

From the Center for Parent Information and Resources:

“Parent Advocacy Network’s SPAN’S IEP Meeting Checklist for Parents provides an outline of how to prepare and what to expect at the IEP meeting. You may wish to review this checklist prior to starting your IEP meeting; you may wish to send a copy to your team prior to the meeting so they can use it to prepare. As you go through your IEP meeting, check to make sure that each of the issues on the checklist is addressed by your team. If it is not addressed, ask your team to discuss it.”

Download via IEP Meeting Checklist for Parents | Center for Parent Information and Resources.


Calling All Transition Teams in NYS! Do you know a young adult with hearing & vision loss between the ages of 14 – 21?

Calling All Transition Teams in NYS! Do you know a young adult with hearing & vision loss between the ages of 14 – 21? The Interdisciplinary Transition Team Initiative (ITTI) is an academic year-long transition planning initiative that incorporates evidence based practices for young adults who have combined hearing and vision loss between the ages of 14-21, their families and educational team members.

The overall purpose of the ITTI is to bring interdisciplinary team members together to identify and support the goals of a young adult who is deaf-blind. Once transition teams have been established they will participate in two face-to-face sessions and monthly web meetings over the 2014-2015 school year. These monthly sessions are supplemented with transition planning activities. The teams are provided with guiding principles and practical tools that have proven successful for transition-age young adults who are deaf-blind. Staff from the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative will provide on-going support throughout the initiative.


  • Young adults who are deaf-blind (combined hearing & vision loss)
  • Between the ages of 14-21
  • Resides in New York State


  • Young adult who is deaf-blind
  • Commitment from transition team & support from administration
  • Family participation
  • Attendance at two face-to-face meetings (1 in Fall 2014, 1 in Spring 2015)
  • Participation in monthly web meetings
  • Completion of transition planning activities
  • Local travel

The ITTI kicks-off September 2014! For more information or to register your team please contact:

Susanne Morrow


*If you live outside of NYS but are interested in participating, please contact us and we will connect you with your respective state deaf-blind project.