LBUSD News (02/02/11) 'Linked Learning' Leads to College Skip to main content
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'Linked Learning' Leads to College

A new study shows that the “Linked Learning” high school reform method — which the Long Beach Unified School District is helping to pioneer — more than doubles the rate of college entrance for minority students and increases college enrollment rates for all student populations.

Linked Learning combines rigorous academics with real world experiences that prepare students for both college and high-paying, high-demand jobs.

The release of the latest study comes as more Long Beach high schools are implementing Linked Learning, and LBUSD is unveiling a new website dedicated specifically to Linked Learning programs.

The Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Academy at Long Beach’s Jordan High School last year was the first of two schools in California to achieve Linked Learning Certification, an assurance of quality by the educational nonprofit ConnectEd organization (

Linked Learning pathways combine challenging academics, demanding technical courses, and work-based learning focused on an industry theme such as arts and media, engineering or biomedicine.  Studies show that these pathways connect learning with students’ interests and career aspirations, leading to higher graduation rates, increased college enrollments, higher earning potential and greater civic engagement.

The newest study, released by the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) and The James Irvine Foundation, compared results for students in the Fresno and Clovis (CA) unified school districts where Linked Learning is offered.  Increased college entrance rates were seen in community colleges, California State Universities and the University of California.

The study especially showed significant improvement in community college enrollment.  After high school, 71 percent of students who participated in Linked Learning attended a community college, while 60 percent of a demographically similar group of non-Linked-Learning students attended community college – a difference of 11 percentage points.  The same percentage difference holds true one year after high school.

Read the full study at  Type CART in the search field.

In Long Beach, the Linked Learning method builds upon high schools’ Smaller Learning Communities that have been developed over the years to create more personalized learning experiences within large high schools.

Four more Long Beach high school programs are slated to obtain Linked Learning Certification this year, including the engineering program at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, the visual and performing arts program at Renaissance High School for the Arts, Millikan High School’s COMPASS visual and performing arts program, and Millikan’s PEACE Academy emphasizing social justice.

LINKED LEARNING -- Cabrillo High School student Kevon Thompson learns about the music and video recording industry as part of a John Lennon Educational Tour Bus visit to the school.  Linked Learning connects students with industry experts to make school more engaging.