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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #13-2
January 4, 2013
Contact: Lara Azar
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

First Participants Selected for New Pilot Program
Linking Academics and Career Readiness

SACRAMENTO—Twenty participants throughout California will be the first to take part in a new state program designed to help students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in careers and college, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

Legislation (AB 790) by former Assembly Member Warren Furutani approved last year called for the establishment of these Linked Learning pilot programs. The participants selected by the California Department of Education in conjunction with outside partners include school districts, county offices of education, and several regional consortia of education agencies. The pilot program will be used to assess how Linked Learning can be expanded to schools across the state.

"Linked Learning" programs use coursework, technical training, work-based learning and related support mechanisms to forge real connections between high school and college and career. Students in these programs are demonstrably more likely to graduate from high school than their statewide counterparts, and do so with the skills and knowledge that California employers say they need.

"These 20 pilot projects combine two of California's greatest strengths: our diversity and our capacity for innovation," Torlakson said. "They aim to serve hundreds of thousands of students from districts all over the state, and I am confident they will help students use their time in school to learn real-world skills and graduate prepared to contribute to the future of our state."

Participants in these Linked Learning pilot programs are listed below with a brief description of their projects:

Antelope Valley Union High School District in Lancaster will be working to smooth transitions for students from its feeder K-8 districts throughout high school and into their postsecondary educations through its dual enrollment program and collaboration with Antelope Valley College. Because Lancaster is in a remote area, businesses there have a difficult time recruiting and retaining qualified employees. Linked Learning will help the district develop a homegrown employment base.

The Cabrillo College Santa Cruz County College Commitment (S4C) Consortium is a partnership of four school districts and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. The partnership is led by Cabrillo College and will implement Linked Learning through the theme Water: Rivers to the Bay by concentrating on the marine environment and water issues that are critical in Santa Cruz County.

The Capital Region Academies for the Next Economy (CRANE) Consortium is a six-county regional partnership that includes Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yuba, Yolo, and Nevada counties. The consortium comprises 21 school districts and county offices of education reaching some 70 high schools and 197,000 students. Led by the Sacramento County Office of Education through collaboration with NextEd, the consortium also includes community colleges, businesses and business associations, hospital systems, labor organizations, city and county government, and a wide range of public sector agencies. With such far-reaching collaboration, the CRANE Consortium has the potential through Linked Learning to completely shift how schools throughout the greater Sacramento region prepare students for careers and college.

Centinela Valley Union High School District will be instituting a "small schools" project to foster greater teacher creativity, ensure stronger administrative and counseling support for staff and students, and structure Linked Learning programs to serve students' needs.

The Diablo Delta Corridor Project (D2CP) Consortium is a partnership of three school districts within Contra Costa County, with Antioch Unified School District serving as the mentor for the other districts in the consortium. The districts will collaborate with the Contra Costa Economic Partnership to focus on the Manufacturing industry sector as well as the Energy and Utilities industry sector, which reflect the growing career opportunities in that region.

East Side Union High School District will make Linked Learning the primary educational delivery strategy for its schools through the pilot. District officials expect their Linked Learning plan to increase student engagement in learning, reduce the dropout rate, raise student achievement, increase transition rates to postsecondary education, and prepare students for successful careers.

Elk Grove Unified School District will base its pilot implementation on its 16 California Partnership Academies and the district's success in connecting academics to workforce development. Elk Grove Unified will enhance districtwide systems of support for its Linked Learning programs to increase access to career pathways for every student in the district. The district also plans to serve as a model for other districts around the state that are starting or retooling their pathway programs.

The Linked Learning San Bernardino Consortium is a partnership of five school districts within San Bernardino County and is led by the San Bernardino County Office of Education with support from ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career (ConnectEd). The consortium will combine its resources to blend challenging academic curricula with career technical instruction, provide work-based learning experiences for students, foster and integrate student support services, and work to bring Linked Learning systemwide within its districts.

The Linked Learning San Diego Consortium is a partnership of five school districts within San Diego County as well as Long Beach Unified School District, which is serving as a mentor to the other districts in the consortium. The partnership is being supported by ConnectEd and the University of San Diego. The consortium will work to develop and share innovative Linked Learning strategies among its members, take advantage of economies of scale through regional collaboration, build transition strategies with feeder middle schools, strengthen collaboration with local institutes of higher learning, and serve as a model for replication of best practices.

Los Angeles County Office of Education will implement Linked Learning programs in its community day schools and will serve as a model for surrounding school districts that wish to improve the educational prospects for similarly at-risk students. The Linked Learning curriculum will be focused on the Arts, Media, and Entertainment industry sector to take advantage of the broad variety of opportunities in the Los Angeles area as well as the natural interest students have in these career fields.

Los Angeles Unified School District will be expanding its Linked Learning programs across the full spectrum of industry sectors. The district already has developed a strong network of business, postsecondary, government, and community-based partners specifically for supporting the expansion and sustainability of Linked Learning in the second largest school district in the nation.

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District will focus on implementing the Common Core State Standards in conjunction with Linked Learning. This will allow the district to provide strong academic and career-focused instruction so its students can be empowered to discover their interests and passions while pursuing promising 21st century career paths.

Oxnard Union High School District has formally adopted Linked Learning as its districtwide comprehensive high school reform strategy to lead the district into the 21st century. The district will work with community and business stakeholders to help its students be prepared to meet the unique needs of living and working in Ventura County.

Palm Springs Unified School District has a strong record of achievement with their many California Partnership Academies and will be building on that through the pilot to provide personalized learning environments that lead to rich opportunities for student success.

Sacramento City Unified School District will be working to achieve three goals through its participation in the pilot: further development of career and college readiness in all its high school students, greater engagement with its students' families and the communities within its district, and district organizational transformation to increase its instructional efficiency and effectiveness. The district has set a goal of having at least 60 percent of its high school students enrolled in Linked Learning pathways by the 2016-17 school year.

The San Lorenzo Unified School District will be implementing Linked Learning in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards to foster collaboration within the district and with other districts, provide integrated and student-directed instruction, and use relevant technology and industry trends to ensure student success.

The Santa Rosa City Schools will be implementing a green business and sustainability pathway combining the Business and Finance industry sector with the Building Trades and Construction industry sector. Trends in Sonoma County show that jobs as well as student interest are growing in these areas of the economy. Through the Linked Learning pilot, students will be prepared to meet college admission requirements or successfully enter the workforce directly after high school.

The Tulare-Kings County Linked Learning Consortium is a partnership of seven school districts across both counties and is being led by the Tulare County Office of Education. Porterville Unified School District will mentor its fellow districts in the consortium. This partnership will take advantage of the districts' shared pool of expertise and resources to focus on the needs of their students and of their region to improve student success and develop a rich talent base for their communities.

The Vallejo City Unified School District will use the pilot to further its efforts to implement a "wall-to-wall" Linked Learning system in which all students in the district will enroll in an industry pathway of their choosing.

West Contra Costa Unified School District will be building on its 19 career academies that serve 35 percent of the district's high school students. The district will seek to grow its programs internally while also serving as a mentor to districts around the state.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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