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Linked Learning Included in US Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook

April 12, 2021 | Linked Learning Alliance

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the ED COVID-19 Handbook: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting all Students’ Needs. The Linked Learning Alliance is pleased that Linked Learning was included as a strategy for accelerating learning as students return to in-person instruction (see page 28). Thanks to the incredible work of our coalition, which includes thousands of educators, students, school and district leaders and industry partners, the Alliance was invited to craft input for the guidance content. Our field has been working tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep students connected and continue on their path to success in high school, postsecondary, and beyond.

Based on input and reflections from thousands of students in Linked Learning pathways, we know Linked Learning can keep students connected to their sense of purpose and college and career goals. Research also shows that Linked Learning students earn more high school credits, graduate at increased rates, and enroll in college at higher rates than their peers in traditional high schools. Linked Learning has especially positive effects for students who start high school behind academically and for students of color. With fewer students completing FAFSA applications and enrolling in higher education due to the pandemic, it is vital that students have access to real, relevant college and career learning opportunities that keep them engaged and motivated in learning and reaching their unlimited potential.. Through a rigorous certification process, Linked Learning pathways not only drive success, but equity, in their communities by providing the highest quality opportunities for students.

Building on these recommendations, Anne Stanton, president of the Linked Learning Alliance, and Deborah S. Delisle, president and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education, co-authored an op-ed in The 74 encouraging education leaders to use COVID relief funds to reimagine the high school experience through Linked Learning. The piece underscores the need to look ahead at what we want for our students: skills that will help them thrive in both college and careers and, in turn, to lead our communities and industries in the future.

As schools and districts consider their reopening plans, Linked Learning is proven to increase student engagement, provide social-emotional learning and student supports, and prepare students for the full range of college and career opportunities after high school. We are grateful to see the work of the Linked Learning field highlighted in the Department of Education’s COVID-19 handbook and look forward to s seeing more schools embrace Linked Learning to transform systems and keep young people on the path to lifelong success.