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New Alliance for Excellent Education Guide for Leveraging COVID-19 Funding for Evidence-Based Strategies

July 23, 2021 | Linked Learning Alliance

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted college-going rates and FAFSA application rates, especially among students who face the greatest barriers to postsecondary success. With new state and federal funding for COVID-19 recovery, districts have the opportunity to invest in evidence-based practices to keep young people engaged in high school and on the path to postsecondary.

The Alliance for Excellent Education, in partnership with the College in High School Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center, Linked Learning Alliance, and National College Attainment Network, has released a new guide that walks through available COVID-19 funding and how districts can invest these funds in evidence-based strategies. Many of these strategies are grounded in Linked Learning principles.

Given the troubling trends in college enrollment, the guide recommends increasing college access supports for high schoolers, including summer bridge programs, increased access to college advising, and early college opportunities like dual enrollment. The guide also encourages districts to invest in college and career exploration through models like the Linked Learning approach. Early access to career learning through work-based learning, internships, and CTE courses engage young people during their high school experience, keeping them on track to enter higher education or their community’s workforce upon graduation.

By investing in programs that bring college and career exploration into the high school experience, districts can create smoother transitions for students as they move from K-12 into postsecondary. Dual enrollment, work-based learning, and other evidence-based practices allow students to fully explore their interests, experience hands-on, real world examples of college and the workforce, and prepare for their futures earlier. Leaders from across the education continuum can work together early and often to ensure that students leave high school prepared to confidently take the next step in their journey.

As the nation recovers academically, economically, and emotionally from the COVID-19 pandemic, education and economic leaders have a chance to deepen existing college and career readiness work and create new programs that engage young people in real, relevant ways. Access the Alliance for Excellent Education’s guide here. For additional insights into how to keep young people on their path to purpose this summer and beyond, explore A Summer Like No Other: Accelerating Learning for High School Students.