Linked Learning Alliance Launches New Logo, Website, and Resources for Growing Linked Learning Field at Statewide Convening – Highlights Emerging State Policies Supporting College and Career Readiness for All Students

SACRAMENTO, CA -The Linked Learning Alliance debuted a new Linked Learning logo, website and implementation resources at a statewide convening today in Sacramento. The convening of more than 200 educators, employers, community advocates, researchers, and policymakers also focused on state policy efforts to improve students’ college and career readiness using theLinked Learning approach.

“The Linked Learning field is undertaking an incredible leap of scale,” said Christopher Cabaldon, Executive Director of the Linked Learning Alliance. “With dozens of school districts, employer partners, higher education, and community organizations participating in the new state Linked Learning Pilot Program, this approach is taking hold as a regional education and economic improvement strategy in many parts of California. This convening is designed to help solidify a shared identity among the large and diverse coalition of advocates for Linked Learning. We are also sharing knowledge and resources that can support implementation, and help participantsmake connections between Linked Learning practice and state policies regarding college and career readiness. This work is all necessary to support growth in the field while protecting the integrity of the Linked Learning approach.”

Linked Learning is an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with career-based learning in school and in real-world professional workplaces. Students can experience Linked Learning through career-themed pathways at small high schools, schools-within-a school, or as an option at large comprehensive high schools.

As interest in the Linked Learning approach grows and more districts are implementing Linked Learning as a district-wide strategy, the field adopted a new Linked Learning logo to rally a shared sense of pride and responsibility for quality implementation of the critical elements that make Linked Learning effective at preparing students for college, career, and life.

A refreshed Linked Learning website features new resources to help the Linked Learning field communicate about the core components of Linked Learning and its power to prepare all students for college and career. Many of these new tools and resources were highlighted at the convening along with best practices for how to use them to engage employers, educators, parents, policymakers, and other critical partners in the Linked Learning field.

“The Linked Learning approach is already showing impressive results in districts where it is being implemented; graduation rates are increasing and students are gaining meaningful and relevant experiences to prepare them for college and 21st-century careers,” said David Rattray, Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce Development of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Leadership Council. “Linked Learning advocates are working together to advance state Linked Learning policy in the evolving accountability landscape, push for stronger K-12 and postsecondary alignment, foster public support for Linked Learning, and encourage employers to offer work-based learning opportunities. We want all students to have opportunities that prepare them for college, career, and life.”

Convening participants delved into ways Linked Learning is influencing or could be impacted by a number of state policies including: evolution of the state’s Academic Performance Index; the Governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula and other funding initiatives; and alignment between K-12 and postsecondary systems in California.

There was also significant focus on ways to engage employers and expand quality work-based learning opportunities for all students. Establishing productive partnerships with employers is an important element of Linked Learning that can be challenging to scale district-wide.

In January 2013, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the selection of 63 school districts and county offices of education, to participate in a new state Linked Learning Pilot Program. The participating local educational agencies have committed to working with businesses and postsecondary institutions to implement Linked Learning as a district-wide strategy.

Representatives from nearly all of the Linked Learning Pilot Program districts were at the convening to network with and learn from many others who have long been involved in implementing and advocating for the Linked Learning approach. When the Linked Learning Pilot Program is fully implemented, more than one third of the state’s high school students will have access to Linked Learning opportunities.

For more details about the Linked Learning Alliance Convening, click here.