Voices from the Movement
In communities across California and beyond, Linked Learning students, educators, and partners give voice to what matters and what works for the learning experiences they are shaping together. Here we present just a sampling of the insights they offer.
Meaningful career exploration
“Normally you wouldn't have students handling expensive equipment, but [in my pathway] they really trusted us with that. It was neat to be able to use professional programs, professional cameras, and get a foot in the door with just using skills that professionals use.”
— Jonathan,* Graduate, New Media Academy, Hollywood High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
“I would describe my high school experience as an adventure filled with discovery and growth. I was able to discover myself, my passions and what I’m truly interested in after high school.”
“I know for some people it’s not accessible to be in an engineering lab or anything like that. At the school, everybody has access to all the machines and is able to learn and how to use everything even if they don’t want to, they'll know ... I think being able to have that much access is very helpful."
— Orlando,* Graduate, School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento City Unified School District
* Names changed to protect privacy.
Industry-themed academics, integrated across subjects
“The Business Academy does not just involve one class that teaches these skills. It includes English and history teachers as well that focus on aspects that may be used in the business world. For instance, in a regular English class, you may find students reading books that go along with the curriculum of the teacher. However in the Business Academy, the English class students would be reading books about entrepreneurship and how to have self-awareness—books that cater to the business, one could say.”
Connection during distance learning
“Our teachers have worked to make sure that we have group projects, and we get to still interact with people make sure that we’re not feeling like we’re alone that we have people to talk to. I think that’s something that I really appreciate it is feeling like I can talk to my teachers and fellow students, I don't feel like I'm isolated in my house. I feel like I'm still going to school.”
— Alivia Ross, Senior, Academy of Law and Justice, Cabrillo High School, Long Beach Unified School District
“Being at STEM Boyle Heights is an all-encompassing experience. We’re a tight-knit community, and I’ve had so many opportunities to try new things because my teachers encourage and support me.”
“Being in this program, you’ve built a really strong relationship with all of the teachers, and most of all the students, because of the fact that you are with them all the time and you get to stay with them for all four years.”
— Jazzy, Senior, Biomedical Science Academy, Eastside High School, Antelope Valley Unified High School District
Nurturing, supportive learning environments
“I was constantly supported, I was constantly ... appreciated. I felt appreciated, I felt ... welcomed. I felt like I had a warm environment to study in and if I need[ed] support sometimes, I even had teachers that would meet like an hour or 30 minutes before school was officially open. There were countless opportunities to meet individuals [for assistance] and learn something.”
— Carlos,* Graduate, Los Angeles High School for the Arts, Los Angeles Unified School District
“Linked Learning pathways create an opportunity for every student to be seen. What we do is, we create these smaller learning communities, where a small group of teachers support and hold a small group of students, and stay with them and stay connected to them for at least three out of their four years of high school. And during that time, we create structures, we create systems that make it possible for every student to be seen, to be heard and to be cared for.”
— Matin Abdel-Qawi, High School Networks Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
“Sending my son to Boyle Heights STEM Magnet HS was the best decision I could’ve made. Through the guidance and support of his teachers, my son has gained lifelong learning skills through their ‘learn by doing’ approach. STEM has shaped my son’s personality to feel confident enough to pursue a career in the engineering field. The teachers, the principal and the staff are all dedicated and passionate in serving our Boyle Heights community.”
— Gilda Gonzalez, Parent, STEM Academy of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Unified School District
* Name changed to protect privacy.
Integrated projects and hands-on learning
“During my junior year, my pre-calculus class was assigned a PBL to look at our community and identify an area of need. My partner and I chose to address the rising cost of homes in the Boyle Heights area and visualize the concerning rise through a data collection process that revealed sovereign results. To me, it was important to understand the conditions of some of the homes in my community.”
— Isai Rincon, Senior, STEM Academy of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Unified School District
“Maybe I am just biased, but I am thinking [everyone] loved [the integrated curriculum]. It was very hands-on, project-based. ... Students were able to see, literally, the fruits of their labor, the fruits of their learning, right away. It was applied learning ... I thought it was pretty fun. You’d learn while also applying stuff.”
— Alberto,* Graduate, Academy of Engineering, Harmony Magnet Academy, Porterville Unified School District
“We not only get to go on field trips, but we also do career journals often, which puts us through the process of the school you need to get that job, the schooling you need, how many years of schooling, what activities and daily experiences you're going to have for that job. And a friend of mine even decided to be a cytotechnologist because we went to a field trip to a certain Kaiser facility that was provided by the biomed class.”
— Mari, Student, Biomedical Science Academy, Eastside High School, Antelope Valley Unified High School District
* Name changed to protect privacy.