A female student using a keyboard and an ipad with a female teacher next to her

A practical approach to team-based action planning

When it comes to building an action plan for your student, a committed team and a coordinated approach are critical

After the team has identified the post-secondary vision and goals, it’s time to develop an action plan. It is important to think about the steps that need to be taken and the services that are needed for the student to make progress towards their vision and goals. 

Specific team members, including the student and family, are assigned responsibility for each piece of the plan. This plan will define the who, what and when for moving forward.

Developing a successful action plan

A strong, successful action plan includes:

  • A clear and shared appreciation of the talents and capacities of the student.
  • A common understanding of what the student wants to do after high school
  • Agreement from the team to meet regularly to review activities
  • A strong advocate or family member to ensure that the interest of the student is being met.
  • A person committed to making connections to the local community
  • The understanding that this is the beginning of a process that continues throughout a lifetime – not a product.

Source: National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Connecting post-secondary goals to a clear action plans

A well-defined set of actions will help guide the student on their path to meeting their post-secondary goals. Here are some examples of goals that are tied to clear, achievable plans.


After graduation, Jane will participate in vocational training in the food services industry.

Action steps: 

  • Jane will do online research to identify two certificates needed to work in the food services industry. She will share her findings with her family and counselor. 
  • Jane will identify three vocational programs and will do research on the application process. Jane’s family and counselor will meet to discuss the list. 
  • Jane will research job opportunities and will work with her job coach to complete at least one application form. 


After graduation, John will participate in at least two recreational activities each week in the community.

Action steps: 

  • John will use his communication device to identify four recreational activities that he enjoys. 
  • John’s orientation and mobility and classroom teacher will practice the skills John needs to access the community center and participate in group activities. 
  • John’s family and counselor will research and identify three accessible recreational activities in his home community that are tied to his interests. 
  • John’s family will identify the cost and staff support he will need to access each activity.

Want more information? Understood.org offers more in-depth sample plans:

Stay in the conversation about post-secondary transition.

Our experts are changing the way people think about preparing students with disabilities for their post-secondary journeys – in college, career and the community. Stay up to date about the latest insight, research and resources.


Transition Talks workshop: Transition planning overview and series kick-off

Screenshot of Google Docs with focus on dictation button and text

Educational Example of Using Speech to Text and Dictation

Student walking with cane on college campus

Developing post-secondary goals to guide the transition plan