Back to School Resources:

Developing Individual Student Learning Plans

This page is part of a larger series titled Back to School Resources 2020.  To see the full list of topics, visit the Back to School Resources 2020 Landing Page.  



Wrapping support and services around students with significant support needs looks different as we think about planning for re-entry this fall. Many educators are being asked to create multiple re-entry plans, which may include plans for both in-person learning and the potential of switching to remote learning.  There are new systems and guidelines being put in place to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment for all students and staff. Parents are reaching out with questions that teachers do not feel prepared to answer. What can be adapted? Who can be exempt? Who gets to decide?

In the midst of change, it is important to stay grounded in the principles and values that align with building communities of belonging and to use a person-centered mindset to guide our planning and our practices. Planting our feet deep in the roots of what we believe will impact how we respond to change and how we answer new questions. It is with this mindset that we can develop learning plans to meet the needs of individual learners.

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Journey of Belonging: Key Beliefs  

The journey of building communities of belonging begins with the belief that we bring glory to God when we live, learn, serve, and worship together in interdependent community. Check out All Belong’s Journey of Belonging Key Beliefs document, which provides statements to serve as a road map, guiding you and your school towards a more inclusive community.  

A Person-Guided Approach explained:

As you begin meeting with teams to plan for individual students, the following pages, taken from All Belongs Person-Guided Transition Planning Toolkit- may be used to create common language and a united mindset.

Explore a Preview of the Person-Guided Plan Below:

Already an All Belong member?  You can access the full Person Guided Transition Plan Document, located in the member center. Click here for more information.

Year-end planning and spring meetings for individual students looked different for Educational Support Service (ESS) teachers this spring, and this new school year will look different too. Without the traditional opportunities for teachers to connect with their incoming students and their families last spring, even more attention and communication may be needed in order to start the year off right.

We encourage you to consider the following questions as you think about what the first week of school will look like for students who receive a significant level of support and have individualized learning plans. 

Do I know how the parents and student felt about last year?  

(yes we discussed this at the year-end meeting) (Yes, I sent a survey home) (No, I will send a survey or schedule a meeting) 

Parent Reflection: Helpful information to have when developing the new learning plan.  

  • What were the high and low points of remote learning? 
  • What were the educational highlights of the year for your student? 
  • What were the social highlights? 
  • What concerns do you have that were not addressed or we need to continue to address next year?  
  • Are there additional ways in which the school can support you and your child next year? 

Do general education teachers and other staff members who will be interacting with the student need more information about the student? 


Prepare One Page Student Profiles  

What is a One Page Student Profile?

What is a One Page Profile?

A One Page Profile, also referred to as Student at a Glance, captures the important information about a student on a single sheet of paper. Distributed to general education teachers and others who will be interacting with the student, it helps build relationships as adults meet the student knowing what is truly important to them.

Middle and High School Example: One Page Profile for a 6th and 9th grade student   (from All Belong’s Person Guided Transition Plan Document)

Go to 6th Grade Example

Go to 9th Grade Example

Middle and High School Example Template


Example: One Page Profile 3rd grade student:  

Go to Example

Elementary Example Template

Does the student need individualized visual supports? 

1. Does the student need a school welcome story?  Use with students transitioning to a new building and to communicate changes in the school environment  
2. Does the student need visual strategies for wearing a mask?
3. Does the student need a plan for building up tolerance with wearing a mask? This requires reaching out to parents this summer and offering suggestions.
4. Does the student need to visit the classroom and meet the teacher prior to the open house or first day of school?
5. Does the student need individualized visual supports for learning the new rules at school related to social distancing and new routines that are put into place?

Consider students who would benefit from having the visual support several weeks prior to school starting.  See Learning New Routines for more information and examples.

Does the student have a remote learning plan? 


Schools need to be prepared for a shift to remote learning where all students can achieve success. In order to do this, we begin by working with the family, and this is especially important for students who require a significant level of support. Many students’ access to the remote learning plan will be dependent on the support they receive from those they live with.  


A plan that is tailored to the individual student with agreed upon goals by all involved will have a better chance of successThere must be a relevant purpose for each activity that the student and family participate in. Ensuring this relevant purpose will set the foundation for engaged learning.  

The  Family Support Planning Guide is an extension of the typical person-guided questions we use when gathering information from parents and students. Learn the hopes, joys, and needs of your families by actively seeking to hear their stories.  

  1. Focus on Families

  • Caring for families is a priority as we care for their physical, spiritual, and mental health.  
  • Learn the hopes, joys, and needs of your families by seeking to hear their stories.  
  • Create individualized student plans based on information you gathered using the family support planning guide. 
  • Communicate regularly and adapt the plan as needed.  
  • Include social and emotional support for families  
    • Label feelings 
    • Know how to respond to BIG feelings 
    • Proactive strategies: play, move, practice gratitude, creativity  

  1. Set a schedule and clear expectations 

  • Help families and students plan a routine. Studentlearn better when they have dependable and predictable schedules.  
  • Be Flexible  
    • Think weekly vs. daily plans:

Example: Connor’s Jobs is an example of a kindergarten student’s weekly plan created by a teacher at an All Belong member school. This parent plan provides details on which materials to use and gives rationale for the activities that Connor is doing based on his individual goals.  (A special thanks to Jenny Gorter from Hudsonville Christian for use of this example)

  • Set regular meeting times/check-ins with a combination of whole group, small group, and individuals. 
  • Record short videos of yourself to provide flexibility for families. This allows students to watch it when it fits best into their schedule, and gives them the opportunity to  watch it more than once. Record lessons, reading a story, or just saying hi and letting them know you’re thinking about them 


3.Identify Learning Intentions  

  • Learning Intentions show students the relationship between the tasks they are completing and the purpose for learning. Follow All Belong’s blog for recent articles on Assessment and Learning 
  • Clearly state what it is you intend for the student to learn from the activity or learning experience.  
  • Help families connect the learning intention to daily life at home. Start with their current routines and experiences and offer learning extensions if parents are interested. For Example:  
Paula Kluth,


  1. Allow for flexibility and student choice

  • Take advantage of the flexibility you have to let families and students work within their special interests.  
    • Use the student’s affinities and interests as learning opportunities. If a student loves Legos and is working on one to one correspondence or color naming, plan the practice activities using Legos. 
    • Create actives around special interests instead of using as a reward. If a student loves comic books and graphic novels, have them create a story using this format. For a student who loves to hunt with a parent or relativehave them create a “blind” inside the house to use for reading or school work. Chooses materials about hunting to incorporate into the learning standard.  
    • Create a digital portfolio to provide space to file videos of an experience, images, and student work.. Use these as you facilitate communication with peers. 
  • Allow choice for: 
    • The order of tasks they need to complete 
    • The writing utensils to use 
    • The amount of time to work before a brain break  
  • Create Choice boards/tic-tac-toe boards 
    • Connect to adapted curriculum standards or individual goals within the seven areas of development. 
    • Can serve as a substitute for adapting daily work.
An example of a Choice Board, by Paula Kluth,

  1. Social Inclusion

We experience God’s love through belonging in community. 
We need each other to be our best. 
All individuals are needed for a community to be complete. 

This is what we believe and what is communicated and modeled to students throughout the school year. The reciprocal nature of giving and receiving in relationship with others remains a human need, even during this time of social distancing.   

  • As you think about appropriate social experiences and Circle of Friends meetings, resist thinking “I can’t do ____ online”. Instead, gather the students team and discuss: 
    • What are common goals for the student?  
    • How can the goal be accomplished virtually? 
    • What do our students enjoy?
  • Find ideas for Staying Together While We Are Apart 
  • Encourage students to record a short video of what they are working on and share with peers. 

Additional Helpful Resources:

  1. Time at Home with Your Child Who Craves Routine 
  2. Teaching AAC to Caregivers Manual 
  3. Information on Offering Controlled Choices
  4. Suggestions from Students for Supporting Virtual Peer Engagement  
  5. Interactive Graphic Organizers 
  6. Simplify Material Using Graphic Organizers: Ditch That Textbook
  7. Online Board Game Options