Linked Learning: Using Learning Time Creatively to Prepare Students for College and a Career
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Linked Learning: Using Learning Time Creatively to Prepare Students for College and a Career
Monica Almond, PhD, Policy and Advocacy Associate, Alliance for Excellent Education
Anya Gurholt, College and Career Pathway Coach, Oakland Unified School District
Tameka McGlawn, EdD, Director of Equity and Impact, ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career
Tiffany Miller, Associate Director, School Improvement, Center for American Progress
Following the Alliance’s September 23 webinar, “Leading with a Vision: Using Time Differently to Provide New and Better Student Learning Experiences,” that examines innovative models of more and better learning time in high schools around the country, this webinar will focus on the way that time is used through California’s Linked Learning approach to ensure that more students in the Golden State are leaving high school ready for college, a career, and life.
California recently made significant strides in promoting a college- and career-ready agenda through a $250 million investment that encourages regional partnerships among K–12 schools, higher education institutions, and businesses to implement promising strategies for creating a well-equipped twenty-first-century workforce, and the state is poised to double that investment. Much of this work is spearheaded through Linked Learning, which is an approach to education that transforms the traditional high school experience by blending core academic content with career-based learning in the classroom and real-world workplace experiences. This approach benefits from additional time for effective implementation of its strategies.
In this webinar, Tiffany Miller, an expanded-learning time researcher, will set the stage for the movement to increase learning time in underperforming schools across the country. Anya Gurholt will describe the strategies implemented in Oakland Unified School to increase learning time and the promising outcomes that resulted at Skyline High School, and Tameka McGlawn will discuss how Linked Learning and increased learning time work in tandem to promote effective educational experiences for students. Monica Almond will moderate the discussion. Panelists will also address questions submitted by webinar viewers from across the country.
This webinar is made possible with support from the Irvine Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
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Good afternoon. Welcome and thank you for joining us today for a joint webinar with the center for american progress, this webinar will explore the use of time to ensure that more students in golden state are leaving high school ready for college, for a career and for life. There is a flurry of activity surrounding this topic. Today we will discuss Linked Learning with a terrific panel of experts. Next week a joint report will be released.
First, let me provide some background. Last week there was a webinar, leading with a vision, using time differently to provide new and better student learning experiences. The webinar focused on more and better learning time in high schools around the country. For example, we learned about generation schools that implement the unique model in brooklyn and denver. Students in generation schools attend class 200 days a year and participate in regular core classes and intensive classes that require students to conduct research, engage in the workplace and participate in college and work planning. This grows from frustration and need. All one has to do is look at the disturbing results of the 2013 12th grade national assessment of college to understand how poorly prepared students are. Only 38% of america’s 12th grade students are proficient in reading and it’s even more dismal for african-american and latino students. Linked Learning, a california led initiative, offers a promising systemic approach to improve student outcomes for all students, particularly those that have been historically underserved. Linked Learning was first implemented in california high schools in 2009 and has expanded to both houston and detroit
so you may be asking, what is Linked Learning? I’m glad you asked. Our guests will give you the details but let me provide a thumbnail. Linked Learning transforms the traditional high school experience by bridging together rigorous academics, rigorous career and technical education, real world workplace experience and student support. To date, finding that students make more progress each year when compared with similar peers. Data also show that students in Linked Learning are more likely than their peers to graduate from high school and enter post second dairy education.
Over the next hour it will focus on district and level activities to increase time through the Linked Learning approach. We are also going to hear about efforts with increased learning time programs both inside and outside of the traditional school day.
Maybe that was more than a thumbnail. On my immediate left is tiffany miller, the associate director for school improvement at the center for school awareness. Path is right here in washington, d.c. it is dedicated to improving the lives of americans through progressive ideas and action. You can follow cap on twitter @ed progress. Tiffany, thanks for partnering with us. Next to tiffany we have anya gurholt from oakland unified school district in oakland, california. This is one of the nine districts that make up the california Linked Learning districts. It’s made up of school districts such as long beach, los angeles, and san diego that uses Linked Learning for high school transformation. Great to have you, anya. Anchoring our panel today is dr. Tameka mcglawn. Director for equity and impact connect ed. It partners with communities to transform education through Linked Learning. Can you follow connect ed on twitter at connect ed org. Our panelists will have an opportunity to address questions submitted by you, our viewers, from across the country. Please join a conversation by sending us your questions using the box below this video window. If you’re on twitter i encourage you to tweet about today’s webinar or ask us questions using #linklearning. Finally, if you miss any of the webinar or want to share it with colleagues, archived video will be available tomorrow at all4ed.org webinar.
Tiffany, we’ll start with you to learn more about the movement to increase learning times across the country. First, can you help us understand what we mean by learning time?
thank you, monica. Thank you for the wonderful introduction. Increased learning time, that’s a good question. I have been working in the field of increased learning time studying at school time programs, expanded learning time, extended time for a number of years. We use a lot of different terms to describe this type of work. It can be somewhat confusing. Wanted to step back and iron out especially the terminology that we’ll be using in the report that will be released next week. Increased learning time is often used with the u.s. department of education. It’s most prominent in their school improvement grant program also known as s.i.g. s.i.g. is a formula grant program administered to states. States then take that money and make it — turn it into competitive grant programs for school districts. Typically the neediest districts and those that show they have provide school turn around, two of those models actually require schools to increase learning time.
So exactly what is meant by increased learning time? It’s kind of self-explanatory. It is significantly lengthening the school day, week, year to spend more time on core academic subjects, enrichment activities and it provides teachers with more time for planning, collaboration, and to engage in professional development. So there’s also another set of terms to describe somewhat similar work, and that’s out of school time programming and extended learning time. I think a pretty strong argument could be made for sort of separating out the two terms, but forsake of brevity i’ve combined them here. When we talk about out of school time, we talk about things outside of traditional school day. That could be after school programs, before school programs, summer learning, could be going to community center to participate in swimming at the y, boys and girls clubs, things like that. Next, expanded learning time. And i’m actually going to spend a little bit more time talking about expanded learning time and how that differs from the other two sets of terms. Expanded learning time is something that’s been near and dear to cap almost since it started about ten years ago. It is aimed at high poverty underperforming schools and it’s an initiative to significantly incompetent be crease the length of time that students spend in school. This is something that is mandated for all schools — sorry, for all students if possible. The amount of time that the school is lengthened is significant. It’s between 25 to 30%, which translates into about two hours or so per day. And students are really the center. They’re the purpose for extending the learning day.
And thinking about expanded learning time, it’s more than just tacking on minutes at random. It’s more than just shaving off a couple of minutes of recess and trying to narrow down transition time between classes all of which is important when you’re thinking about how to organize your day and really be efficient. Expanded learning time is a complete redesign of the school day and it’s intentional. It’s planned. You’re constantly reviewing data in order to make sure that the time that you’re using is really effective. You’re going to have that lengthened school day and you’re going to want to make sure that the students are really getting the most out of it. So what exactly are these students doing when they’re in expanded learning time schools? Well, yes, they are doing — they’re having more time to focus on core academics. We are asking more of our students than we have ever before. It’s providing them for more time with important enrichment activities, something that we could all say helps produce a well-rounded education for students. So they’re participating in arts, music, dance, physical education, community service. Often some of the most successful expanded learning time schools are partnering with community-based organizations and after school programs are coming in to help pull this off. They’re getting enrichment which is helping to close opportunity gaps. We know that students often from high poverty schools are missing out on opportunities to participate in enrichment activities. They’re getting more time for hands on academics, it could be robotics, it could be getting tutoring and mentoring. There are a variety of different activities going on in expanded learning time school.
so, that’s how it benefits students but there’s also a benefit to teachers as well. So it provides teachers with a significant amount of time to spend on planning and collaboration and professional development. I believe there is one survey out that is up here on the screen now, i believe, where overall on average teachers are — have reported that they have about 15 minutes, 15 minutes worth of collaboration daily. That’s not a lot of time. I don’t know what you do in 15 minutes, but at expanded learning time schools you could have upwards of 85 minutes for more time to hone your craft, tailor the instruction and sort of improve overall instruction and learning for students. So what i would like to talk about is the importance of time. I was very brief with my slide on the research but am happy to send any research along. There are a lot of studies that positively associate more time in learning with higher academic achievement. And for the most part, again, these are studies that are looking at high quality instruction, very if he cussed instruction. It’s not simply lengthening the school day for the purpose of lengthening the school day. It has closed achievement gaps and increased student achievement.
so thinking about the use of time in high schools, when you’re thinking about significantly lengthening the school day, there’s one approach that you can take at the elementary school level. The students, they’re more likely to listen and not leave school after school, they might be waiting for a bus to pick them up or waiting for the parents to pick them up. At the high school level you have to take a different approach. You have to keep in mind that high school students are able to vote with their feet, so to speak. So you need to make sure that your lengthened school day is really connected to real world experiences for high school students. That means taking them to college campuses to get a taste of what it’s like to go to school, to go to college. Helping them with the transition to college and career. You don’t know exactly what route they might take and you want to be able to expose them and help them with that transition. You want to offer them apprentice ships and especially paid internships and wanting to give them that opportunity. High school students may want to take care of siblings, they may need to work and they need the money so they have to work after school. There’s a lot of competing interests with high school level. You want to make sure when you’re lengthening the school day, when you’re using that extra time at the high school level that it’s really meeting the needs of your particular group of students. So i’m not going to spend too much time because it’s covering length learning and they know may more about it than i do. There are two different approaches to thinking about time use at the high school level and actually two different approaches within Linked Learning it sufficient. Some schools have significantly lengthened the school day through use of s.i.g. grants and others are using existing time creatively. There’s a lot of things to get done in the length learning approach. High schools are taking different approaches in order to get that done. You talked about generation schools. I know that you recently had a webinar about them so i won’t spend too much time talking about that.
we have video for that.
right. They’re doing amazing things. Like you said, they’re significantly lengthening the school day. 200 days per year for their students. What’s most interesting about that to me in addition to giving the students more time to learn as they’re doing wonderful things there, the teachers, they’re still teaching for 180 days. So they have a very different way that they think about their staff and teachers and staggered teachers’ schedules. It’s a very interesting model. I encourage you if you haven’t had an opportunity to view the webinar to do so and learn more about generation schools.
one follow-up question to what you shared with the audience. Increased learning time isn’t a new phenomenon. How many schools are participating in some of the extended learning time activities across the country?
as of right now the latest count i had was about 15 — at least 1500. Probably — and that figure is probably about a year old right now. So there’s momentum behind the movement especially with infusion of incentives from the obama administration, they have been very supportive of increased learning time policies. So schools that have a s.i.g. grant and are implementing the two turn around models that require increased learning time are doing so. There’s other programming available as well.
great. Thank you. Thanks so much, tiffany.
you can learn more about tiffany’s work and the center for american progress online at americanprogress.org. The link is available at the url at the bottom of our screen. Now let’s turn to anya. Before you joined oakland unified school district as a career pathway coach, you were at a school. Tell us about the efforts that are underway to increase learning time.
thank you, dr. Almond and tiffany. The primary reform strategy now is a Linked Learning initiative. My personal interest in linked learning, as dr. Almond mentioned, stems from eight years of teaching in a Linked Learning pathway and an assistant principal position responsible for seeing three link pathways at skyline school. More recently as a Linked Learning pathway coach for oakland unified school district. With Linked Learning at oakland unified school district’s primary reform strategy, we have about 27 Linked Learning pathways in oakland that cover a variety of industry sectors that might be education, computer technology, green energy, media, public health and so on. And we have Linked Learning pathways in approximately 13 of our oakland high schools. And right now about half of the students in oakland unified school district, a little less than half, are enrolled in Linked Learning pathways. As far as the demographics that oakland unified school district serves, 38% of our students are latino, approximately 31% are african-american. 41% are asian. Only 12% are white and then the final side percent are pacific islander and native americans.
So one thing that we knew early on about Linked Learning is that it would require increased learning time, not only for students, but also for teachers. Even before skyline implemented linked learning and before oakland unified school district implemented it in a moore systemic model, we saw it specifically for teachers. This occurred in 2010 when we redesigned our freshman house and one of the things that we did during that redesign is we — within the six-period day we gave each freshman teacher two periods with no students. So one period was traditional preparation, grade papers, run to the restroom, but we also gave them a second period with no students that was solely dedicated to collaborating with their colleagues. They shared contents or common students. Some collaborated with other teachers in their industry sector. We saw that this redesign had a phenomenal impact on teacher practice. Within a six period day it would look like this. Two periods here, followed by prep, time to collaborate and in the afternoon a couple more classes. However, not all teachers in 2010 had the luxury of collaborating every day. We saw that stark contrast between those that could collaborate and those who could not. For example, this was a particular challenge for teachers who were in a linked learning pathway to not have that hour a day to talk about whether it be integrated curriculum, more common students. We decided to think really creatively how could we as an open school with very little resources, how could we redesign the school day without actually increasing the number of minutes that we were asking teachers to be on the clock and students to be at school. What we did is we designed a seven-period day at skyline high school. This was really in response to the need for teacher collaboration. With that seven period day, every teacher on campus was teaching five classes, they had one period to collaborate and one period for traditional preparation. Of course, during that time teachers were able to do a variety of things with one another. Again, they were planning integrated projects, they were examining student work, analyzing student work, finding out where there were gaps in understanding. And as you will see, skyline was able to adjust that schedule, the bell schedule, without altering the 8:00 to 3:00 day. So, whereas, on the six-period schedule each period was 58 minutes, now each period is 51 minutes and whereas our old passing period was six minutes long, it’s now five minutes long. The 33-minute lunch does remain the same. So how does this seven-period day extend learning time for teachers and students. Now that all skyline teachers have approximately 50 minutes addai, they really are able to create personalized support systems for students. They’re able to reflect on those integrated projects that they’ve implemented and tweak them so they’re even more meaningful. They’re able to align some of their common instructional practices, classroom protocols and this also benefits students, right? So students now have an additional class period every day where they’re able to, for example, remediate courses that they previously failed. They can take additional electives like an a.p. course or in linked learning they’re able to take a career technical education course while still being able to take other electives like dance or p.e. also within the structure of the seven-period day, it creates more time for students to engage in work-based learning so that might be an internship. It might be outside job experience, inside job experience such as a peer tutor for example. And/or they might do job shadowing. They might go off campus and do a job shadowing, something of the sort. There’s a couple of other things that oakland unified school district is doing to extends the learning time for both teachers and for students. So one thing we’ve done is we have offered summer internships for all juniors who are enrolled in a Linked Learning pathway. Those summer internships are specifically tied to the industry sector of the pathway. People might have an internship at a local elementary summer school. Student in the computer academy might have an internship with a particular computer tech for students in the public health industry might have an internship at a hospital. We’ve extended summer learning time for teachers. We have what’s called the summer institute for Linked Learning teachers. This is a two to three week professional development where teachers come together and perhaps design pathway student outcomes or, again, tweak their curriculum. It’s also an opportunity for core teachers, cla teachers, science teachers to integrate the academy theme into their core class.
Then finally there’s one more thing that oakland unified school district has recently implemented to increase learning time, two of our teachers are looking at an eight period block schedule. Rather than fitting eight periods into one school day, that would be a lot of transition time. Here you’ll see a sample eight period block schedule. Within this teachers are able to collaborate twice a week for a full hour and a half and once a week for a half hour. Also, students within the eight period block schedule, they’re able to complete 80 credits within a school year versus only 60 credits within a school year. This bell schedule, we were able to do this while still staying within the confines of approximately 8:00 to 3:00. These are just some of the strategies that oakland unified school district is doing to extend learning time for our students as well as our teachers.
thank you. Thank you, anya. That is great. There’s lots to learn from oakland. So now we’ll turn to dr. Tameka mcglawn whose work have made her a leading voice in the Linked Learning community. Dr. Mcglawn, tell us how Linked Learning and pathways are working with students, parents and communities to provide them with what they need to increase learning time both inside and outside the learning content.
thank you, dr. Almond. I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you and tiffany and anya. Much gratitude for the alliance for excellent education for having us here today. My intent is to offer a bridge as an anchor to some of the commentary that tiffany and anya provided with the notion of bridging expanded learning time with Linked Learning and how do we begin to emphasize through the length of equity all students being sufficiently prepared for college, their careers and life after high school. That’s the trajectory is of their design. They have officially prepared them well. The other piece is understanding the need to build systemic coherence from a structural lens when we think about having to maximize time in, during, after, out, away from school with the structural shift that Linked Learning posits as the needed shift. They can’t use the model of 1917 to serve today’s progressive young people, et cetera, to build their economy. When i think of the overarching work i think, wow, one band, one sound. What a way to convince structurally shifting in some of the highlights that oakland has taken on and how to maximize time as tiffany highlighted when becoming created by design. Speaking of time and excellence and equity, how do we serve other students, other people’s children as regardless of what we owned. As an educator, teacher, counselor, principal, superintendent, board member, business and industry partner who’s invested in this type of approach how do you start thinking of serving other people’s children like you would your own. In the concept of excellence by design we think, hey, this doesn’t automatically keep students at the center. Some do, some intend to and some have intentions to but how do we look at effective strategies like expanded learning time and Linked Learning to create that type of alignment and coherence with educational experiences so that we see the results in real time? For those systems that are actually invested in making true change in transforming the way they do business in public education have clearly defined student outcomes that are measurable, they have outcomes that drive all aspects of the school program, program of study, master schedule. Their systems of student support are integrated and meaningful. Most importantly they are designed for the student in line. I want to highlight a recent study as a reference point on leveraging time for school equity. Fantastic report that elevates relevant indicators around more and better learning time. It’s not just more time added, it’s how are you effectively utilizing time in a more efficient way within the classroom and away from the classroom. There’s learning opportunities all the time for young people. So in thinking about some of the common goals specific to the alignment, college and career readiness, it’s not one or the other. The intention is the and. When you think of the and by design, you minimize the dichotomy in stratifying the tracking that has historically plagued some of our educational systems.
i don’t know. How do we think about the and?
youth development skills. Competencies. What do we want students to know and use?
project based learning was mentioned earlier and how do we know? We ask students. Student voice is critical. They will tell you. As you said, students will lead by their feet whether or not they’re engaged in their learning and whether or not they’re motivated and excited about what learning can occur when the adults that are providing that quality instruction, those enrichment activities, those ways in which students are leading their own learning, what a powerful combination. Another common goal with expanded learning time and Linked Learning is the work based learning opportunities, out of the classroom experiences, service learning, career explorations, the college visits so that you create more opportunities around what it is students are excited about because they’ve been exposed to a range of things. Then ultimately, broad stakeholder and community engagement. How do we start to think about the communities that our students come from as assets and build on the strengths of those community members and those institutions within those communities and see them as partners in this work because they have rich opportunities to offer the student and the families and communities which we’re in service to. As we think of Linked Learning, we think of a systemic approach, one band and one sound. How we’ve designed the structure, what does the quality of instruction look like? So that students are always at the center of discussion. Creating systemic structures from within the classroom. We know you’ve heard of common core.
never heard of that.
how is that integrated and how do we see this? In reframing reform so it’s not the reform of yesteryear. So we have to practice something different and i’m thinking and our behaviors and in our actions. So creating those instructional shifts that lead to policy shifts and resource allocations where we put our money where our mouth is. If we’re invested in young people, we’re willing to do something different. When we think of the system, we think of student at the center, the classroom, the pathway in the school and then we think of the district, right? We think of a systemic structure that says we’re invested in our students so then they become invested in ourselves. Everything is about creating trajectory. I want to highlight some of the features within the assets grant, okay? And asset is the safety and enrichment for teens. It’s a 21st century community learning program. I give them great acknowledgment because what they’ve done is aligned some of those resources where in california the districts that are highlighted in the report that is soon to be released by the alliance and from the center, there has been an intentional effort by those districts within california that have said, we want to have the standard learning time in Linked Learning. With our opportunities at connected to partner with children and partnerships with children and youth, we have worked systemically as a region using our resources and my valuable teammate. And jessica gunderson at department of children and youth. We have worked to support the state but the federal level investments in afterschool groups and practitioners to say how do we work with our after school resources, external community based resources to create a coherent educational experience. In, during, after, out, await from school.
i highlight some of these quickly, when we talk about alignment, it’s by design, not by mistake. How do we start to be specific. They insist upon collaboration which was mentioned by tiffany and anya in terms of how do we design the school day intentionally. 15 minutes isn’t enough to even bake a full set of cookies. How do you get to collaboration in a meaningful way which students are at the summer for for expectation. If we want to design it, we have to be able to measure it. Then we have to build in mechanisms to monitor if we actually did what we said we’d do as a result of student performance and outcomes and results. Also we want to look at as anya reported the pathway program of studies. They had to be intentional about that master schedule. The master schedule can be an anchor in decision making by default if there isn’t by design a willingness to say that structure is not serving all of our students well. Are we willing to think about an eight period day, four by four block schedule. Are we willing to say to our after school care providers, let’s have you work with our core academic teachers to create a project that weaves throughout the school day into the after school time. There has to be some alignment that we elevate in some of the consultancy that we look to secure assets funding.
> then we also talked about shared professional development? We’re asking practitioners to change their practice. Leaders differently about how they lead. With this in mind sometime you have to learn together. That’s another aspect. Ultimately tools and resources to support common work. Resources and tools are always going to be essential in growing the work. Even as the adults engage in this work, we’re always learning. So lastly one of the things i want to highlight is the program elements and collaboration and partnerships. When we think of the alignment, we think of some of the academic indicators and we think of some of those intentional goalposts for learning, rigorous goalposts, work-based learning experiences, integrated personalized student support. So we want to encourage how do we start to map your language so that the thinking, the sale saying, the doing is in alignment when you’re looking to secure resources. Lastly, how do we work and partner together differently? We’re asking of something different, something of a different nature when we’re saying transfer your practice. Be willing to let go and shift that paradigm so the emphasis is on creating more results for students so that the choice when they graduate and they go on to pursue whatever it is that they desire, they’ve been able to do so because they haven’t been limited by being under prepared. At connected ed we see this as mutually compatible avenues to reform the way we do business in public education.
indeed. Here here. Thank you, dr. Mcglawn. You can learn more about connect ed online. Now that we’ve learned about the way that time is used to improve the learning experience and link in. I’m hoping that our panel can help us dig deeper. Anya, specifically for you, skyline has been kind of the panicle and has been a leader in this work for oakland. I know that they’ve had some great results. If we can spend some time talking about — i know oakland will have 100% of their students in pathways in oakland. In particular, talk about some of the results?
absolutely. Of course our findings are preliminary as this is a newer initiative, but we see some very, very exciting and promising results coming out of the linked learning initiative and oakland unified school district. Last year, 2013, 2014 school year graduation rates for Linked Learning students was 83% and that’s compared to only 65% graduation rate for nonpathway students. That’s nearly a 20% increase in graduation rates for pathway students. Also looking at the suspension rate, we’ve noticed that the suspension rate for linked learning pathway students is already 17% lower than nonpathway students. As tiffany mentioned, students having the ability to be in classrooms or school days make a significant difference. And i think, you know, the — i would say the final exciting results to me is looking at students who are able to fulfill their university of california and california state university requirements. We call those the a through g requirements in california. Again, in 2013 and 2014, 57% of our Linked Learning pathway students fulfilled their course requirements to attend a uc or csu. That’s compared to only 36% statewide. So we do see some very exciting and promising results. I think that as we move forward to full implementation and have 100% of students in Linked Learning pathway classrooms, we’ll get more information on it.
promising and exciting initial results. Dr. Mcglawn, as policy makers and researchers, we talk about teaching practice, systems, structures, what we’ll do to reform education. We rarely get to the student level and talk about what students want and what excites them. Share with us some ways that the Linked Learning approach is being inclusive through increased learning time, inside, outside, away from, i forget how you categorize it.
absolutely, dr. Almond. One of the things that i find fascinating and impressive around the pathways that are employing this alignment with expanded learning time and Linked Learning is the presence of student voice. So i’ll give a few examples of what we know has been effectively demonstrated in practice in the places where we’ve seen results like in oakland. So the role of students is elevated. Again, by design it’s purposeful. So, for example, there’s student leadership that’s part of the advisory board within the school context. Students are incorporated and involved in industry leadership associations. You might have the engineering professionals of california, they have representative students from these particular pathways as part of student voice within the leadership decision making. They’re very active. Whether it’s a council representative or a school based employee. They’re intentional in creating a partnership and making sure a student voice is present. We’ve seen several districts including sacramento, porterville, oakland has been featured here very well by anya and then la usc, they’ve been very purposeful about creating community based action research projects. It’s not just project based learning for the sake of project based learning, it’s created to create social justice, research base activities that are specific to a project. There’s a thesis that has to be written within the project so students are engaged in not only learning but also translating what they learned to have an impact on their communities. Another highlight that i think is quite positive is watching these schools promote establishments in operations within the school context. You might have, say, for example, at kearney high school a student ran enterprise. They take care of all of the athletic activities and/or they run a student store so they’re engaged in the business and engagement around those different types of establishments specific to school-run activities that are based in business and finance and engaging students in real meaningful ways where they get to make decisions about money. I have yet to meet a student who doesn’t enjoy understanding how to actually utilize money from a business standpoint. Another activity that most students that i’ve observed engaged in the Linked Learning and expanded learning time alignment is this notion of a willingness to conduct research using student voice. So, for example, coordinating focus groups with students who have been disenfranchised or who have dropped out of school to collect data when a school or program is thinking about designing a youth development program. What are the things that are going to be intriguing to students? Listening to those who haven’t participated or who chose to disengage or who for whatever reason wasn’t participating in a consistent way. How do you define activities to engage students who may have been in all the ap courses, have been able to access the information from the system. I think having pathways and programs that are willing to engage students’ voice, those are the places where i believe policy makers, educators, and other leaders in business and industry partners can strengthen where the student role is. They are empowering students.
kind of on that note talking about policy and policy plays such an important role in how this is funded and how it’s implemented and the accountability piece. Tiffany, many of the decisions around increased learning time are made at the local level. Decisions around lengthening the school day, local ops schedule. Before and after enrichment. In some cases they are supported but most often it is a local decision. What are the implications for state and federal policy to ensure that the necessary policy is in place to provide for more opportunities?
that’s a great question. I absolutely love to hear about all of the coordination of funding and resources that you all are doing out there in california. That’s incredibly important. California has a very long history of community based organizations and after school programs and sort of partnering together which is incredibly important and at the federal level 21st century community learning center grant funds are crucial, crucial in in order to make this happen. I know that that’s something that you all probably rely a lot on to make it happen. To be perfectly honest, we’re in a tight budget time. For things that are going well, when it’s something this important, the investment needs to be there. I would suggest that, you know, there is a substantial increase in funding for a 21% funding grant funds to support these and for a while flexibility at the local level. To include expanded learning time or for schools that might want to use it for after school programs or before school programs. You know, you need to have that flexibility. You need a substantial increase in funding as well. At the local — rather, at the states level, there’s actually some interesting movement in this field. Two states come into mind in particular, massachusetts has an extended learning time grand program and we’re just the leader in the field of doing that. New york just recently announced grantees for their own version of extended learning time for grants.
if i can add california to your list of growing states, tiffany. One of the things that i think has been beautiful with the stars aligning in california is the local control funding formula.
i’m sure you’re familiar with that. And the opportunities for the local level and local control.
right. The accountability plans people have allotted specific to targeted student needs. There is an intentionality that is playing its way out not only with flexible spijing but also this notion of rethinking our accountability structure, creating more opportunities for resources with the california careers pathway trust funding followed by the ’90s. These legislative changes taking place in california absolutely under girds the points you were making about massachusetts and new york.
great. Great. Great.
i would love to see it grow.
awesome. Now some of the questions that we received from our audience. If you would like to ask a question, use the form at the bottom of this page. Would he have a question for anya from bob in georgia. He asked about how do parents respond. How do parents respond when a change is made at skyline? Is it more hectic for parents? How do you make the transition and get parents to think this is something that we want?
i really appreciate georgia’s question because throughout the process we have valued parental input as dr. Mcglawn pointed out. Because we were able to adjust the bell schedules without altering the instructional minutes during the day, we kept the bell schedule between 8:05 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. parents were actually very excited about the change for the reason that students were able to take additional elective courses. For the top scholars, they can take an environmental science class. Students who are behind on their credits and maybe at risk of not graduating, it gives them the freedom to take an extra course within the school day, in class course to remediate failed courses. Parents were very supportive of the change. Stores it being hectic, what we have found is it is a little bit challenging moving from the six-minute passing to the five-minute passing period. The first period day to the second period day we did notice the first semester tardies increased. As far as the adjustment to the eight period day, we’ve just started that at two high schools this year. We don’t have a lot of indicators about whether or not students and parents are feeling it’s effective but so far we see some pretty exciting and promising results in that teachers do have that additional time to plan more rigorous, meaningful less than and students have two more periods during the day. So far the results have been quite positive. I think that’s the result of doing it within 8:00 to 3:00. As tiffany pointed out, a lot of our students are working and taking care of their siblings after school. Have we tried to, for example, make the school day start at 4:00 a.m. and it end at 67:30 p.m.
next month. That’s a question also about funding. You did not offer the instructional minimums for teachers. Was there any additional funding to do this? The funding in place, was that sufficient?
yes, it did not require us to pay teachers any additional salaries, however, for the leave teachers in Linked Learning pathways, they do need an additional third period off within the school day to coordinate the pathway logistics. That’s where a little additional funding was used. Our powerful pathway grand.
preparation three for the teachers. Fairly minimal. We only have one or two teachers.
great. Great. That was scott in arizona who asked the question. Thanks for that question, scott.
dr. Mcglawn, jordan from portland wants to know has a Linked Learning been successful in a large, comprehensive high school?
absolutely. Great question from jordan. One that commonly comes up is what can’t be doing in urban settings. We’ve found this to be an urban school district. Same with sacramento and la usd. Well known for being an urban school district. We’ve seen promising results in high schools where they’ve elevated the play and been intentional with the context of serving students. All four of them implemented the fidelity, high quality group. I think the other thing with jordan’s question is the notion of a traditional high school. What Linked Learning posits is it’s not going to function like a traditional comprehensive high school. There have been ways to incorporate and integrate pathways that are specific to industry sectors in california that are aligned to the four components of Linked Learning.
that’s terrific. Thank you. Thank you for elaborating on that point.
i will add long beach also. Long beach has been very intentional about ensuring that the transformation includes their high school. I have to acknowledge long beach for this, they only have one classical high school left. The rest of their high schools have been, you know, thoughtfully and intentionally transforming utilizing the Linked Learning approach.
great. Can’t forget about long beach. I have another question for you, anya. Teres from berkeley asks, what expanded learning time programs do to better align their programs with the regular school day? Work that they’re already doing, they have programs already in place. They’re thinking of transitioning to add additional learning time. What are some steps that facilitators can take to be intentional? I know we’ve spent a good deal of time talking about that today. For example, what is the first step that they should take? Anyone feel free to respond. I was thinking, what can we do for students to learn more, engage more and be purposeful. What are the first steps they need to kick that off?
such an excellent question. I think one of the very first steps, particularly in the Linked Learning model and expanded learning time, if we want to integrate work-based learning is to look at the occupational outlook for that particular industry sector. In oakland there will be a great need for health care and public service. As schools begin to roll out this work they want to make sure the offerings are aligned with future careers, future job openings and occupational outlooks. That will certainly be one of the steps that i would do in order to make this not only a meaningful educational experience for students but for it to legitimately have potential future career for students as well.
i was going to say, i think it’s important you talked about getting a new voice involved in that as well. You want to get — introduce them to things that they might not have otherwise been exposed to or knew they had an interest in. You want to get some of their input in some of the things that they’re interested in doing as well.
and to quickly add to anya and tiffany, thank you. That was one part of what i was going to share. The other part is this notion of preparing young people for careers so that they see themselves not just as someone who will be employed but someone who can also be the employer and how do we create opportunities that have evolved because they have that exposure and they recognize that their career trajectory is based upon having some kind of post secondary educational experiences that lend themselves to being lead ers in learners.
another question from janice in arizona. Her question is how does this approach to learning time support students who are learning english or who have special needs? This is probably for anya. How does Linked Learning help them?
well, as i mentioned earlier, within the structure of a six-period day, that only allows six hours or six hours or six courses. If we transition to a seven period day or eight period block schedule that opens up time to take an eld class. They’re still able to fulfill their core classes, academy classes and then they can take eld i, eld ii, intensive study services if they’re available on a particular campus.
if i can add to anya’s point, with the shifting of the structure, that gives english language learners to create more opportunities to engage in pathways. It becomes a matter of access. If you create more time based on the way oakland has structured the school day, they get the proficiency needed and they can strengthen other skill sets as well. It is the same for special education students also. I also like to add to janet’s question this notion of how do we serve special education students as well within the context of their specific needs.
great. Fantastic. Unfortunately, i think we’ve run out of time. This has been a very productive hour. I’m so grateful that our panelists are here today, tiffany, anya, dr. Mcglawn. It’s been a pleasure to have you here today as we continue to discuss central issues central to preparing students to graduate from high school. I want to thank our audience for joining us and for participating and asking terrific questions. For more information on how Linked Learning is using time efficiently and effectively, be on the lookout for the paper that the alliance will be releasing next week, a week from today, titled Linked Learning. Using learning time creatively to prepare students for college and a career. If you missed any of today’s webinar or want to share it with your colleagues, archive video will be available tomorrow at all 4 ed. If you’re an action academy member, the code word for today’s webinar is orange. If you are not a member, please visit all 4 ed.org and click on take action. We hope you’ll become a member of our academy. We hope you’ll join us for future webinars on these important topics. Thank you for joining us and have a terrific day.
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