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Press Release: Los Angeles Unified School District, Industry Partners, Philanthropists and Linked Learning Alliance Celebrate Gold Certification of Educational Pathways

December 10, 2019 | Linked Learning Alliance


Contact: Rachel Zaentz, Linked Learning Alliance,, 202.525.9864

Los Angeles, CA – Leaders from the Los Angeles Unified School District, local industry partners, philanthropists and the Linked Learning Alliance joined today in congratulating four college and career pathways at four LAUSD high schools for being among the first in the nation to achieve Linked Learning Gold Certification™, the highest distinction achieved by schools offering Linked Learning pathways.

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. Gold certification is based on evidence that a pathway successfully integrates these core components of the Linked Learning approach. It is the Linked Learning field’s highest standard for college and career preparation.

Critical Design and Gaming School (C:/DAGS) at Augustus F. Hawkins High School, East LA Performing Arts Academy (ELAPAA) at Esteban Torres High School, Environmental Science, Engineering & Technology (ESET) pathway at Carson High School and the Medical and Health Sciences pathway at Roosevelt High School are the first of more than 70 Linked Learning pathways in LAUSD to earn this distinction, paving the way for hundreds of pathways across the country. They are being recognized for exemplary efforts in preparing students for a full range of postsecondary opportunities and the careers that will continue to be in high demand in the decades to come.

“We are so proud of the four Los Angeles Unified pathways that have achieved Linked Learning Gold Certification,” said Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, Interim Chief Academic Officer. “With Linked Learning, we are ensuring that more students, schools, and communities throughout L.A. Unified have the tools and support they need to prepare students for the postsecondary opportunities that fuel our region’s economy today and in the future. It is a pleasure to celebrate and express gratitude for these outstanding educators, industry partners, and students who are working together to create a shared bright future.”

"It is a pleasure to celebrate and express gratitude for these outstanding educators, industry partners, and students who are working together to create a shared bright future.”
Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, Interim Chief Academic Officer at Los Angeles Unified School District

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. Statewide, there are 12 Gold Linked Learning pathways and hundreds of Silver certified pathways striving for Gold.

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. In addition, 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.

The Linked Learning approach, piloted in nine California districts a decade ago, is now embraced as the high school strategy for a growing number of districts across the state. Today, Linked Learning is working in more than 100 California school districts, with 550 pathways operating in 225 high schools. The approach is also taking hold in 19 other states, including Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

“LAUSD exemplifies the power of plus, by ensuring all students are ready for the rigors of both college and career,” said Anne B. Stanton, President of the Linked Learning Alliance. “We know from over a decade of Linked Learning that when we combine college and career preparation, and provide them with a taste of postsecondary opportunities and the workforce, we put every student in position to find their own direction. When a pathway gets to Gold, you can see how Linked Learning ignites students’ passions. Students work harder and dream bigger because their education connects with them and connects them to their communities.”


Linked Learning Alliance

The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning—an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more.