Steps ahead for Linked Learning, and the Alliance

A Message from Anne Stanton, Linked Learning Alliance President, and David Rattray, Chair, Alliance Board of Directors

A 2006 experiment has blossomed into 570 pathways in 20 states-all within a vibrant field that expands by the month. Linked Learning’s relevance and growth give rise to powerful aspirations: We want a majority of California students, especially those in low-income households, to participate in Linked Learning. And we want a marked national increase in the number of college and career approaches that are anchored in equity and quality.

These aims are worth pursuing, as they represent real benefits for young people, families, communities, and regional economies. The Linked Learning Alliance is responding in kind, embracing strategies to spread and sustain the rigorous, inclusive Linked Learning approach. Our way forward leads with equity, elevates quality, and focuses on sparking new partnerships between secondary and postsecondary institutions as well as employers. These directions emanate from an intensive review and planning process, infused with hundreds of stakeholder voices, completed this fall.

To help Linked Learning achieve its potential, the Alliance must make new strides, evolving from our initial California charter to become a national resource, attracting a broad mix of funders, building capacity, and adding to an already strong portfolio of services and supports. The Linked Learning Alliance board set the stage for this type of evolution in 2015, taking action that year to establish the Alliance as an independent nonprofit.

We are now proceeding with structural changes aligned with Linked Learning’s next era of reach and impact. The Alliance governance framework will take new form in 2019: The system of councils and panels created over the last decade to serve an emerging field will be streamlined as we revamp our board model. Well over 100 leaders, drawn from all sectors, have brought expertise and energy to Alliance councils and panels-tackling topics ranging from employer engagement to research and evaluation. We are fortunate to have their continued involvement as vital advocates, connectors, and exemplars for Linked Learning.

The Alliance staffing model is also changing: We are moving from contracted services to in-house employment. For several years, we have relied on the capable, committed professionals at Capitol Impact to conduct core functions for the Linked Learning Alliance. This arrangement began to morph in January of this year when our board appointed Anne as President and the first Alliance employee; we are now ready to make the full shift to dedicated staffing of this mission-based nonprofit enterprise.

We make this shift with deep gratitude to Capitol Impact for their many meaningful contributions. Their central role in the field’s formative years makes them a forever part of the Linked Learning legacy. And it’s easy to imagine that their experience, skills, and values will keep them connected to this work in any number of ways in coming years.

In cooperation with the principals of the firm, including Alex Taghavian, who served as Alliance Vice President, we are managing this transition to provide uninterrupted services to our many constituents.

In this spirit, we are very pleased to make the following personnel announcements:

We are thrilled to announce that Roneeta Guha has been appointed to the role of Vice President of Strategy and Impact.  Roneeta joins the Alliance from the Learning Policy Institute where she was a Senior Researcher, co-leading and managing policy, practice, research and communications on major state and national initiatives. She brings a long history with the Linked Learning field and the approach’s impact on both systems and students’ lives. Roneeta was a principal investigator of SRI’s independent and multi-year evaluation of the California Linked Learning District Initiative. She has also served on the Alliance’s Board of Directors and as the Chair of the Alliance’s Research and Evaluation Council. Roneeta brings a deep commitment to improving educational opportunities for all children through evidence ­based practice and policy.

Hilary McLean will be separating from Capitol Impact at the end of the year and has agreed to continue working with the Alliance as a senior consultant into the spring of 2019. She will help manage the Linked Learning Convention 2019 and will support the Alliance’s communications, governance and operational transitions. We could not be happier to continue to have Hilary’s passion, skills and leadership in service of the Linked Learning field.

Program associate Khrystan Policarpio, who is currently on staff at Capitol Impact, will become an employee of the Alliance, and will be an essential collaborator to support continuity and quality in key services and work streams.

Dan Storz, a seasoned educator with experience leading and building educational systems will provide transition support services as a consultant to the Alliance in 2019, focusing on Linked Learning Certification.

This is an important and exciting time for the Linked Learning Alliance, and we look forward to sharing continued updates with you. You will also hear much more about our strategies and aspirations in coming months, and this content will be highlighted at the Linked Learning Convention, March 19-21 in Palm Springs. I hope to see you there, and I encourage you to contact me at any time with questions, comments, or suggestions for the future of our work together on behalf of young people.

Thank you, and happy holidays,

Anne and David

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