Back to: Alliance Blog

Press Release: California School Districts, Industry Partners, Policymakers, and Linked Learning Alliance Announce New Gold and Silver Certification of Educational Pathways

June 9, 2020

June 9, 2020
Contact: Rachel Zaentz
Linked Learning Alliance

California School Districts, Industry Partners, Policymakers and Linked Learning Alliance Announce New Gold and Silver Certification of Educational Pathways
Districts recognized for reaching highest standards in college and career preparation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — While schools reinvent education for the socially distant reality imposed by COVID-19, efforts to provide meaningful college and career preparation continue across the state. On this front, the Linked Learning Alliance is proud to announce two new Gold Certified pathways in San Bernardino City Unified School District and 21 new Silver Certified pathways in school districts including Antelope Valley Union High, Boston Public Schools, Cutler-Orosi Unified, Lemoore Unified, Lindsay Unified, Long Beach Unified, Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, San Bernardino City Unified, and William S. Hart Union High.

Linked Learning pathways integrate rigorous academics with technical coursework that is relevant to the needs of local employers, offer students work-based learning experiences aligned with their classes, and provide support services to help students graduate ready for entry into college and career. Students in Linked Learning pathways dream bigger, engage more deeply, and achieve more. They are better prepared to be equal partners in shaping the civic, cultural, and economic life of their community. Certified Linked Learning pathways demonstrate their fidelity to the approach and commitment to the quality implementation associated with improved student outcomes.

With their new Gold Certification, Digital Media Arts Academy and Business and Logistics Academy at Arroyo Valley High School bring the total number of San Bernardino City Unified School District pathways achieving this distinction to four, joining C.O.R.E. Academy’s Energy, Environment, and Utilities Pathway at Arroyo Valley High and Project Lead the Way Biomedical Pathway at Pacific High School. These pathways are recognized for upholding the highest standard in preparing students for a full range of postsecondary opportunities and careers that contribute to vibrant community life.

Leaders from the San Bernardino City Unified School District, industry partners and the Linked Learning Alliance joined Rep. Peter Aguilar, CA-31 in congratulating these two educational pathways for achieving Linked Learning Gold certification.

“High-quality college and career pathways are so important, whether our students go down the secondary track, or go to college, or go straight into the workforce,” said Rep. Aguilar during a recent online event celebrating the Gold certified pathways. "You’re training them for careers that matter, and through approaches such as Linked Learning, you're providing the tools and resources they need to thrive now and in the future.” Harold Vollkommer, Interim Superintendent of San Bernardino City Unified School District also echoed these sentiments, "I want to offer a huge congratulations to our teams who are making hope happen for our amazing kids. You bring to life our mission of having every student graduate both college and career ready!"

Certification is based on a series of standards identified by leaders in the Linked Learning field as important for improving student outcomes and preparing all students for college and career. Districts seek certification from the Linked Learning Alliance to validate the quality of their college and career pathways. Pathways gain Silver Certification when they establish the core components of Linked Learning and achieve Gold Certification when they demonstrate high-quality implementation of these components and equitable opportunities for all students.

“Gold certification illuminated the need to integrate real, hands on learning with rigorous academics to keep students engaged and on a path to success in both college and career,” said Natasha Flores, Digital Media Arts Academy Lead at Arroyo Valley High School. "It served as a central framework that allowed our team to coalesce around shared goals and an ambitious plan to ensure that our students go above and beyond their full potential.”

Students graduating from pathways are well prepared for college and career outcomes. Statewide, there are now 14 Gold Certified Linked Learning pathways and hundreds of Silver Certified pathways collectively serving thousands of California’s young people. "This certification process was a rewarding and invigorating experience,” noted Vincent Warsaw, Business and Logistics Academy Lead Teacher at Arroyo Valley High School. “It gave our team the opportunity to take an in-depth look at our pathway, evaluate our procedures, and to establish a systematic and sustainable approach to supporting the needs of our students while preparing them for college and career."

The newly Silver Certified pathways include:

Antelope Valley Union High School District

  • Littlerock High School Biomedical Science Academy

Boston Public School

  • Brighton High School Media Art, Design and Entrepreneurship (MADE) for Social Justice

Cutler-Orosi Unified School District

  • Orosi High School Academy of Engineering and Green Technology

Lemoore Unified School District

  • Lemoore High School Engineering Academy

Lindsay Unified School District

  • Lindsay High School Academy of Engineering Technology

Long Beach Unified School District

  • Cabrillo High School Academy of Global Logistics
  • Cabrillo High School Engineering and Design
  • Cabrillo High School Specialized Academy of Computer Media, Arts and Animation
  • California Academy of Mathematics and Science;
  • Jordan High School Media & Communication

Los Angeles Unified School District

  • Huntington Park Institute of Applied Medicine
  • STEM Academy at Bernstein High School Biomedicine & Engineering

Oakland Unified School District

  • Rudsdale Newcomer High School Health Pathway
  • Community Day School Digital Media Pathway
  • Dewey Academy Health and Fitness Pathway

Public Charter

  • Port of Los Angeles High School Graphic Design
  • Port of Los Angeles High School Digital Photography
  • Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy Design for Social Change
  • ARISE High School Public & Community Health
  • Indian Springs High School Academy of Manufacturing and Product
  • Valencia High School Medical Science Academy

San Bernardino City Unified School District

  • Indian Springs High School Academy of Manufacturing and Product

William S. Hart Union High School District

  • Valencia High School Medical Science Academy

Research by SRI International
shows that Linked Learning benefits students in urban, rural, and suburban settings. When compared with their peers in traditional high school programs, students in quality Linked Learning pathways complete more college preparatory courses, are less likely to drop out of high school, and are more likely to graduate within four years. Students entering 9th grade with low achievement scores demonstrate greater academic success in certified Linked Learning pathways and are more likely to enroll in college immediately after high school. English language learners in certified Linked Learning pathways earn more credits compared with their peers in traditional high school programs. Among African American students and students with low prior achievement who enroll in college, those in Linked Learning are more likely to enroll in a four-year rather than a two-year institution.

"When pathways reach a level of high fidelity through the certification process, they provide students with opportunities for both postsecondary and career success,” noted Pamela Kempthorne, director of college and career readiness for San Bernardino Unified School district.

The Linked Learning approach, piloted in nine California districts a decade ago, is now embraced as the high school strategy of choice for a growing number of districts across the state. Today, Linked Learning is working in more than 100 California school districts, with over 550 pathways. The approach is also being adopted in 20 other states, including Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

As districts transition to distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis, Linked Learning pathways continue to ensure students graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in college and career.

“Like educators everywhere who are taking bold strides for their students in this moment, those leading Linked Learning pathways amid this pandemic understand the urgency of keeping their high schoolers linked—to their teachers and mentors in local industry, to experiences they can build on for their future and ours. Right now, many are collaborating with students and colleagues to innovate new ways of connecting,” said Anne Stanton, president of the Linked Learning Alliance. “This newest cohort of Gold and Silver Certified Linked Learning pathways is another sign of promise and persistence for our students.”


The Alliance is the hub for the Linked Learning movement. We serve a broad coalition of educators, employers, community organizations, and technical assistance providers that together bring Linked Learning to life for hundreds of thousands of young people. We inform and support their work and give it voice. The Alliance was established in May 2008 and incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) in July 2015.