REPORT: Pathways to College and Career Readiness: Bringing the New California Standards to Life through Linked Learning


Showing early indicators of increased graduation rates and college readiness among students of color and low-income students, Linked Learning has the potential to be even more impactful when integrated with Common Core and other new California standards. This report examines promising strategies being employed at nine California school districts. While some of these strategies are still being refined, they are already yielding encouraging results, especially with historically underserved student populations.

Linked Learning was designed to engage students through rigorous coursework that is closely tied to real-world work experiences. By aligning Linked Learning with Common Core and other new state standards, educators can ensure that students not only gain a richer academic experience, but also develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to thrive after graduation day.

The report identifies eight promising strategies that are being used in several school districts throughout California. Some are student-focused, such as the practice of developing “graduate profiles” aligned to Common Core standards that spell out what all students should know by the time they graduate. Others concentrate on the teacher, such as providing structured “release time” for teachers to collaborate with their peers to plan and develop interdisciplinary lessons for the Linked Learning pathway courses they teach.

Published: February 5, 2015


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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.