For Immediate Release Contact: Hilary McLean
September 11, 2012 Phone: 916-441-2917
Linked Learning Alliance Encourages Districts to Participate in
New Opportunity to Better Prepare Students for College and Career
SACRAMENTO - The Linked Learning Alliance is encouraging school districts to apply to participate in California's new Linked Learning Pilot Program to identify and study ways that Linked Learning can be taken to scale within districts and be expanded within regions around the state.
"Linked Learning is effective because students succeed when they see the connection between what they learn in school and their future aspirations," said Christopher Cabaldon, executive director of the Linked Learning Alliance. "A number of schools and districts across California are already using Linked Learning to prepare students for college and careers. It takes hard work and coordination to offer high quality Linked Learning programs, but the engagement of students and increases in student achievement make it very worth the effort. This pilot gives California the opportunity to study ways to expand Linked Learning so that many more students can benefit from this effective high school reform. We encourage many districts to participate."
Linked Learning is an approach to improving student outcomes in high school by combining rigorous academics with career-focused technical training, work based learning, and student supports.
The Linked Learning Pilot Program was established by AB 790, authored by Assembly member Warren Furutani and sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year. The California Department of Education recently released the Request for Applications for the Linked Learning pilot program and has asked for responses by November 30, 2012.
"When kids see a real pathway between school and careers, they are much more likely to stay on it," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "This Linked Learning Pilot Program will help kids across the state succeed."
Up to 20 school districts across California will have the opportunity to participate in the Linked Learning Pilot and can include school districts, county offices of education, and direct-funded charter schools that serve high school students. The California Department of Education and members of the Linked Learning Alliance will provide technical assistance and support for interested districts during the application phase and for those selected to participate in the pilot. The pilot work will also build on and be informed by an existing network of schools and districts that use the Linked Learning approach to prepare high school students for college and careers, including the Linked Learning District Initiative which was established with support from the James Irvine Foundation.
The Linked Learning Pilot Program encourages participating districts to form regional partnerships and work closely with community organizations and businesses when planning and implementing career-themed Linked Learning programs.
"Linked Learning is effective at preparing young people for success in the competitive 21st Century economy, which is critical for California's future," said David Rattray, Senior Vice President for Education and Workforce Development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the legislation to establish the Linked Learning Pilot Program because we know it works. We want more young people to have the skills and experiences that will allow them to be successful in the workforce and contribute to our state economy."
The bill that established the Linked Learning Pilot Program did not appropriate any funds to support the pilot program but did specify that as resources become available the State Superintendent of Public Instruction will allocate these funds on a competitive basis to participating districts. The Linked Learning Alliance applauds passage of SB 1070, a measure authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, which allows the State Superintendent and the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to direct funds dedicated for career pathways to be used to support the Linked Learning pilot.
"Senator Steinberg deserves credit for recognizing Linked Learning's effectiveness at improving student outcomes and reducing dropouts," Cabaldon said. "We urge Governor Brown to quickly sign SB 1070, and look forward to working with Superintendent Torlakson and the California Community Colleges Chancellor to ensure that career pathway funds can be used to help districts successfully participate in the Linked Learning Pilot Program."
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