As we launch the request for proposals for the 2019 Linked Learning Convention, I want to take a moment to dive into why we chose Palm Springs, CA for our next gathering. When the Linked Learning field convenes next March, we will not only be stepping into a picturesque resort town in Southern California — we will also be embraced by a region that has boldly decided that, in spite of economic and educational challenges, its young people deserves a better future.
The Coachella Valley, where only 11 percent of hispanic adults and 30 percent of all adults have a college degree, is a living testament that in order to make the Linked Learning vision a reality, it requires support from the entire community. With 6,500 students enrolled in 47 career pathways offering Linked Learning, the region’s decade-long crusade to prepare its students for success, lead by OneFuture Coachella Valley, is the result of employers and educators coming together to transform the high school experience. Armed with a roadmap to success, the Valley’s young people are now able to imagine their place in the new skill-based economy.
And it’s not just the Coachella Valley. An hour drive west of Palm Springs is San Bernardino, another example of a community that has transformed itself. San Bernardino City Unified School District, which has a high percentage of students from low-income households and a graduation rate of 67 percent just six years ago, now outpace the county, state, and national averages for graduation rates with 89 percent.
We want the 2019 Convention to be a place where we can celebrate and learn from the incredible on-the-ground work around the Linked Learning field, and there is no better place to do so than in the Coachella Valley. I welcome you to join me in Palm Springs March 19-21 to see first-hand the work going on in the region and to collaborate, network, and build our collective experiences so that we can better serve and prepare the young people of our communities for this rapidly changing world.
Anne B. Stanton
President Linked Learning Alliance
October 4, 2018