Linked Learning continues to shine

Washington, D.C. delegates to visit Monache, Harmony Magnet Academy

Porterville Unified School District’s Linked Learning education has caught the attention of Washington, D.C.

The Alliance for Excellent Education, based out of Washington, D.C., will visit Porterville Unified on Sept. 25 to learn more about the district’s Linked Learning Pathway programs.

Alliance for Excellent Education is a national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, are ready for success in college, work and citizenship when they graduate from high school. It’s something Porterville Unified — home to 14,000 students, 86 percent of whom are low income, and 86 percent of whom are students of color — already does.

“Through the district-wide implementation of Linked Learning, participating students are graduating from high school and succeeding on other indicators of success at higher rates than their peers,” said Bob Wise, president of Alliance for Excellent Education; and former governor of West Virginia, in a letter to several delegates when he invited them to PUSD.

“I hope you are available to participate and learn about one of the nation’s most promising efforts to prepare today’s students for the 21st-century economy,” Wise wrote.

The participants will include Congressional staffers, U.S. Department of Education staff, and staff from the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

“We’re very proud. This speaks volumes, from an independent, outside perspective, of Porterville Unified,” said John Snavely, PUSD superintendent.

The delegates plan to visit Monache High School’s Environmental Science Academy and Multimedia Technology Academy; and Harmony Magnet Academy, home to The Academy of Engineering and The Academy of Performing Arts.

Presentations will be offered by school and district staff and students at each school. Employers will also offer a deeper understanding of the various components of Linked Learning at Monache, a comprehensive high school, and at Harmony Magnet, a wall-to-wall high school.

Snavely said Alliance had already heard a lot about Porterville Unified’s Pathway programs — the district’s nine career-themed pathway programs that also offers high school students academies of finance, health sciences, digital design mass communication, emerging agriculture technology, and a program in law, justice and education.

For that reason, Alliance spearheaded a presentation, and invited Snavely and other PUSD delegates, and members of the James Irvine Foundation, to the nation’s capitol at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

“Now they are taking it to the next level,” Snavely said about the upcoming Porterville visit.

Wise said he invited several delegates to “view, first-hand, the impact of the Linked Learning approach in the rural setting of Porterville.”

Though Alliance officials said they would like to visit a school district near a large metropolitan area in the Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay areas, Snavely said, no other district has the information Porterville can offer on Linked Learning.