In November 2014, Oakland voters passed a ballot measure (N) that will bring about $13 million a year to Oakland high schools to fully develop Linked Learning as a strategy for improving rates of graduation, college enrollment, and career employment after high school. But the public’s $13 million annually is only a portion of the approximately $120 million in public and private funds that has already been committed to Linked Learning through 2020. Urban Strategies Council has launched a project to track student progress and funding for one of the largest student success initiatives to date in the Oakland Unified School District: the Linked Learning/Career Pathways initiative.
WHAT IS LINKED LEARNING/CAREER PATHWAYS?
Career Pathways are designed to provide pathways from high school to post-secondary education and training, leading students to a college degree or certification for a high-skill, high-wage job. OUSD has committed district-wide to Linked Learning, a Career Pathways model focused on four key components:
- a college-preparatory curriculum;
- a robust and coherent sequence of career-related coursework;
- work-based learning; and
- personalized student support services.
WHAT ARE THE INTENDED RESULTS?
The initiative is aimed at improving outcomes for more than 9,000 students attending OUSD high schools, expanding the Linked Learning framework so that every high school student progresses through a career pathway from 9th grade until graduation. We should expect higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates and more students attending college.
HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING INVESTED?
So far, more than $120 million has been committed through 2020 for expanding and maintaining the Linked Learning initiative in OUSD. In addition to the Measure N parcel tax, which will generate an estimated $13 million annually through 2024, multi-source, multi-year funding also began in 2014, through private funders, grants from the state’s Career Pathways Trust fund, and the allocation of state Local Control Funding Formula funds.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT TRACKING PROJECT AND WHY ARE WE DOING IT?
Urban Strategies is collecting data and developing a tracking tool that will empower stakeholders across the city to contribute to the development and monitoring of Linked Learning programs at every high school in the district. Our specific plans are:
- Identify key outcomes and indicators for Linked Learning through literature reviews and consultation with local partners
- Track progress on key student outcomes and incorporate into an online tracking tool
- Track the sources and uses of funds for Linked Learning and incorporate into an online tracking tool
- Provide learning opportunities for the community to use the tracking tool to inform site level decision making
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN LINKED LEARNING PLANNING NOW?
All high schools have formed planning teams and are in the process of designing an education improvement plan based on the Linked Learning framework. The plans will be reviewed by OUSD senior staff, and recommendations made by April to the Measure N Commission on how to fund the Linked Learning programs. If you would like more information on planning so far at your high school, contact your school’s Design Team leader.