As a coach with ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career, and later, as the Pathway Coach Coordinator for the Linked Learning Office in the Oakland Unified School District, I worked with a number of 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 high school redesign for deeper learning and equity.
As a coach, I
also helped teachers (and other coaches) to create “communities of practice” where they could 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 thirty years coaching and consulting, I am really impressed with the quality of ConnectEd’s approach, the tools and materials that have been developed to support the work, and the transformation of high schools to create more equitable and deeper learning for all students.