Linked Learning Alliance Announces 2016 Linked Learning Champion Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2016
Hilary McLean, Executive Vice President | E: hilary@linkedlearning.org | T: 916.248.4848

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Linked Learning Alliance today announced the 2016 Linked Learning Champion Award winners.  The Champion Awards recognize individuals or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, leadership, and success in implementing and expanding quality Linked Learning opportunities for students in California. The winners will be honored at the Linked Learning Policy Convening on Monday, April 25, 2016 at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA.

“The 2016 Linked Learning Champions have made unique, sustained, and impactful contributions that are expanding and improving Linked Learning opportunities for students across grade spans and institutions,” said Darrell Steinberg, Chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Board of Directors. “These outstanding and influential leaders inspire and activate partners in the Linked Learning field to prioritize quality while expanding access to this approach so that more Linked Learning students can realize their full potential and prepare them for college, career and life.”

The 2016 Linked Learning Champions are:

Cynthia Brown, Director of Pathways at Porterville Unified School District – Educator Champion
Cynthia Brown has been actively involved and instrumental with the implementation of Linked Learning and Pathways with the Porterville Unified School District. She began as a high school counselor when Linked Learning pathways were developed and has become the region expert that all school districts in the central valley and throughout California turn to with any questions. She serves as a mentor for the 10 high schools serving districts in the Tulare-Kings Innovate consortium funded under the California Career Pathways Trust grant program. Cynthia Brown also facilitates and helps lead professional learning and mentoring opportunities for Linked Learning educators across California and in other states.
The Educator Champion Award will be presented at approximately 9:20 a.m.

Assemblymember Chris R. Holden – Policymaker Champion
Assemblymember  Holden authored Assembly Bill 288 which expands access to dual enrollment opportunities for high school students. This legislation will greatly expand opportunities for Linked Learning students to participate in dual enrollment by easing the formation of secondary and postsecondary partnerships. The increased strength and occurrence of these partnerships could lead to acceleration of postsecondary degrees and certificates for students, decreased rates of remediation, and increased potential for greater alignment between systems to ensure a seamless transition from high school to postsecondary.
The Policy Champion Award will be presented at approximately 9:40 a.m.

Ed Hidalgo, Senior Director of Staffing at Qualcomm Incorporated – Employer Champion
Ed Hidalgo spearheaded the launch of an initiative called the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab, which works to expose San Diego middle school youth to technology and engineering careers, while also providing on-site volunteer opportunities for Qualcomm employees. Building from Hidalgo’s success at Qualcomm, San Diego has launched a new workforce program that will enlist the help of local employers like Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and SeaWorld to replicate the Thinkabit Lab experiences at five locations throughout the region. Hidalgo currently serves on the Linked Learning Alliance Council of Employers. As a member, he provides critical insight to the Linked Learning Alliance on the employer perspective in developing meaningful work-based learning opportunities
The Employer Champion award will be presented at approximately 1:36 p.m.

ConnectEd: The California Center for College & Career – the Anne B. Stanton Impact Champion:
ConnectEd is a founding leader in the Linked Learning movement, and was instrumental in establishing and supporting the Linked Learning network of schools, and the Linked Learning District Initiative. ConnectEd provides outstanding technical support for districts and educators so they can build their own capacity to expand and improve Linked Learning in the classroom. ConnectEd also led the effort to establish and coordinate the first iteration of certification for the Linked Learning field, grounding the movement in its commitment to high quality practice and continuous improvement.
The Anne B. Stanton Impact Champion Award will be presented at approximately 2:11 p.m.

The Linked Learning Policy Convening is open to the media. The policy convening will be held at the Crocker Art Museum, located at 216 “O” Street in Sacramento. The policy convening will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:40 p.m.

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About Linked Learning Alliance
The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning in California-an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. | www.linkedlearning.org