Transforming the High School Experience
In 2008, the Alliance for Excellent Education was awarded a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to examine high school reform efforts in California to help inform the national dialogue on how to better prepare students for the rigors of college and career, while simultaneously increasing the high school graduation rate.
The project specifically looks at the Linked Learning approach, which is grounded in a set of four guiding principles that focus on preparing students for postsecondary education and career; connecting academics to real-world applications; leading students to the full range of postsecondary opportunities; and improving student achievement.
The Linked Learning movement in California grew out of an effort to address the poor and inequitable student outcomes that have persisted throughout the state for decades—a trend that plagues every state in the union.
Collaborative is supporting the Alliance in the organization’s efforts to draw out the applicable lessons from California’s efforts to transform the high school experience and determine how best to share those implications with national stakeholders to help inform federal policy.
Collaborative worked in partnership with the Alliance, the James Irvine Foundation and ConnectEd—a group charged with advancing practice, policy, and research for Linked Learning—to develop a comprehensive and effective communications plan to help inform national education stakeholders of the impact of California’s Linked Learning Approach.
The efforts focused on a two-day rollout to Congressional staff, officials from the Obama administration and the larger policy community both to inform them of the specifics of the Linked Learning approach, but also to connect the approach to the larger implications for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Action.
Collaborative helped to develop a Hill briefing that included a broad range of stakeholders from California, including representation from the state department of education, the state teachers’ union, a local chamber of commerce, a community-based advocacy group, and a district implementing Linked Learning.
Collaborative moderated a well-attended Hill briefing that included representatives from the James Irvine Foundation, ConnectEd and other supporters who shared their on-the-ground experience in building support for and implementing the Linked Learning approach in California. The briefing was held before a range of audience members, including Congressional staff, officials from the Obama administration, state education officials, local education agency staff, national education groups and the press. The briefing resulted in a lively discussion in which panelists shared their viewpoints, experience and knowledge on what is happening in high school reform in California and how it applies to federal policy.
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