Students and staff from Cabrillo and McBride high schools, joined by state and school district officials, recently celebrated attainment of key certifications for specialized academic and career pathways.
Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell and California Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Khieem Jackson accompanied leaders from the Long Beach Unified School District and the Linked Learning Alliance at Cabrillo High School to congratulate three educational pathways for achieving Linked Learning Gold certification. The pathways – the Academy of Law and Justice at Cabrillo, the Criminal Justice and Investigation Pathway at McBride, and the Engineering Pathway at McBride – are among the first in the nation to achieve this distinction.
“Long Beach Unified is a true pioneer in ensuring all students are ready for both college and career,” said Anne B. Stanton, President of the Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide coalition of education, industry and community organizations.
“The magic of Linked Learning is what we call the power of plus. When we combine college and career preparation, we put every student in a position to successfully pursue a full range of postsecondary options,” Stanton said. “By the time a pathway gets to Gold, you can see how Linked Learning ignites students’ passions. Students work harder and dream bigger because their education is relevant to their communities and lifelong aspirations.”
Linked Learning pathways integrate rigorous academics with technical coursework that is relevant to the needs of local employers. The pathways offer students work-based learning experiences aligned with their classes, and provide support services to help students graduate ready for entry into college and career. Gold certification is based on evidence that a pathway integrates these components of the Linked Learning approach.
The certification is the Linked Learning field’s highest standard for college and career preparation.
“We’re so proud of these three exemplary pathways for achieving Linked Learning Gold certification,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said. “Our educators are committed to a high-quality pathway experience for every student. We equip students for both college and career by working closely with industry partners to integrate academic preparation with rigorous real-world training. All students deserve an engaging learning experience that affords them a full range of options after high school. We want all of our pathways to go for Gold in the coming years.”
Certification is based on a series of standards identified by leaders in the Linked Learning field. Schools seek certification from the Linked Learning Alliance to validate the quality of their college and career pathways. The pathways gain Silver certification when they establish the core components of Linked Learning, or Gold certification when they demonstrate high-quality implementation of these components and equitable opportunities for all students.
“Congratulations to the Academy of Law and Justice at Cabrillo High School, the Criminal Justice and Investigation Pathway at McBride High School, and the Engineering Pathway at McBride High School,” Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell said. “High quality career technical education programs, such as those offered through the Linked Learning approach, engage students in their education and enable them to be both college and career ready. The exemplary pathways we are celebrating today are preparing students for success in college, career and life.”
California now has 12 Gold Linked Learning pathways and hundreds of Silver certified pathways that are striving for Gold.
Research shows that Linked Learning benefits students in urban, rural and suburban settings. When compared with their peers in traditional high schools, students in Linked Learning pathways complete more college preparatory courses and are less likely to drop out of high school.
The Linked Learning approach, piloted in nine California districts a decade ago, is now embraced as the high school strategy for a growing number of districts across the state. Today, Linked Learning is working in more than 100 California school districts, with 550 pathways operating in 225 high schools. The approach is also taking hold in 19 other states.