The Linked Learning Alliance Congratulates Districts Selected for State Linked Learning Pilot Program

SACRAMENTO, CA -The Linked Learning Alliance joins Superintendent

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Torlakson in congratulating the 63 districts and county offices of education that have been selected to participate in the first year of the AB 790 Linked Learning Pilot Program. Combined, the selected local educational agencies serve approximately 600,000 high school students across the state of California. A list of local educational agencies selected to participate in the state Linked Learning Pilot Program is available here.

“This is a giant leap of scale that will give many more students in many more regions around the state access to Linked Learning,” said Christopher Cabaldon, Executive Director at the Linked Learning Alliance. “When the State Linked Learning Pilot Program is fully implemented, Linked Learning will be available to more than one third of the state’s high school students. The Linked Learning Alliance is committed to supporting local educational agencies in the pilot as they work with employers and community leaders to take Linked Learning to scale district-wide.”

Linked Learning prepares students for college and career – not just one or the other – and transforms high school education by igniting students’ passions. It works by integrating rigorous academics with career-based learning in school and in real-world professional workplaces. Students also are provided academic support and counseling. Research has shown that in schools that have adopted the Linked Learning approach, attendance rates are increasing, student test scores are increasing and dropout rates are decreasing. Compared to students in traditional high schools, Linked Learning students are graduating at higher rates, enrolling in colleges and universities in larger numbers, and even earning more in the four-year period after high school.

“These 20 pilot projects combine two of California’s greatest strengths: our diversity and our capacity for innovation,” Torlakson said. “They aim to serve hundreds of thousands of students from districts all over the state, and I am confident they will help students use their time in school to learn real-world skills and graduate prepared to contribute to the future of our state.” (Read Torlakson’s full press release here.)

The state Linked Learning Pilot Program was established in 2011 by Assembly Bill 790 (D-Furutani), a measure sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Linked Learning is helping to create students who are ready to succeed in college and career, leading to an advanced 21st-Century workforce for California,” said David Rattray, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Leadership Council. “We believe in the power of Linked Learning to transform students’ lives so they can be the business and industry leaders that will steward a strong economy in the future. It is critical that the business community is part of the effort to improve and expand Linked Learning opportunities for students.”

Members of the Linked Learning Alliance, including ConnectEd, The California Center for College and Career, National Academy Foundation, and the College and Career Academy Support Network,worked with the California Department of Education on the development of a Request for Applications for the pilot program and provided intense outreach, coaching, and support to prospective applicants. The deadline to apply to participate in the first year of the pilot was November 30, 2012.

“Districts in this pilot have much exciting work ahead,” said Gary Hoachlander, President of ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career, and vice-chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Leadership Council. “The Linked Learning field is poised to provide technical assistance and support to pilot districts and their partners as they work to make Linked Learning a district-wide strategy.”

“The tremendous response from districts seeking to participate in this pilot reflects growing recognition that Linked Learning can better prepare students for college, careers, and life,” said Anne Stanton, Program Director for the James Irvine Foundation which provides philanthropic support for the Linked Learning movement. “The James Irvine Foundation invests in Linked Learning because it is an investment in the future of California. We are encouraged that many thousands of additional students in California will have access to Linked Learning as a result of this pilot program.”