As a coach with ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career, I have been working with several high school “Linked Learning Pathways” in Oakland, CA. Linked Learning is a promising approach to the redesign of high schools, so that all students will be prepared for the full range of post-secondary and career opportunities. Linked Learning provides students with a program of study that integrates rigorous academic courses required for admission to CA public institutions with technical courses organized around broad industry themes, and includes work based learning experiences and support services. Coaches support the teams of teachers as they design their Pathway, develop a clear sense of what they want their graduates to “know and be able to do,” craft culminating performance assessments so they will be able to tell if their students know those things, and create interdisciplinary project based learning settings so that the learning experience of students is radically different from high school as we know it. Linked Learning is one of the best approaches I have seen to implementing the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. As a coach, I
also help teachers (and other coaches) to create “communities of practice” where they can develop as professionals, “stewarding” their own knowledge as it informs their improving practice, in cycles of inquiry and continuous improvement. Having worked with many high school reform initiatives over my twenty-seven years coaching and consulting, I am really impressed with the quality of ConnectEd’s approach and the tools and materials that have been developed to support the work.