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Rigorous Academics


In all Linked Learning Pathways, teachers engage students in rigorous academic coursework that exceeds the California A-G college preparatory requirements. Our focus on developing students' future work-readiness skills represents a shift away from memorizing facts and figures and toward challenging students to develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, to think critically, and to apply their learning in authentic real-world contexts. 

Linked Learning Pathways take pride in delivering an academically rigorous program of study in which:

  • Core academic teachers and career technical instructors work collaboratively to design interdisciplinary, Project-Based Learning (PBL) units that extend learning beyond the classroom through meaningful application of learned knowledge and skills in authentic post-secondary contexts.
  • Academic courses are linked to and reinforce career technical content while career technical courses enhance and support academic coursework.
  • Teachers commit to creating an engaging, rigorous, and relevant learning environment where students feel safe and empowered to do work that is student-led, collaborative, challenging, and relevant to their post-secondary goals.
  • Students demonstrate mastery of academic content and 21st century skills through authentic performance assessments, which can take the form of formal presentations of learning to an authentic audience, and formative assessments like industry feedback panels and project work benchmarks.
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Project-based learning

Throughout their pathway experience, students work collaboratively and individually on interdisciplinary projects that push them to think critically, communicate effectively, develop academic mindsets and research practices, and master academic content. Students hone their presentation skills as a part of their project work, learning to effectively share their work and ideas with teachers, classmates, and industry professionals.

Portfolio and Defense

The portfolio and defense process represents the culmination of students' learning over the entire course of their pathway experience. Students "defend" their growth in academic content knowledge and workplace readiness skills and use their portfolio artifacts as evidence to support their presentation of learning. The defense is conducted in front of a panel of teachers, administrators, industry professionals, and even current or former students from the pathway.

Behaviors of learning & teaching

The Behaviors of Learning and Teaching, or BLTs, describe the progress that students, teachers, and industry and community partners make in co-creating a learning environment that is collaborative, student-directed, outcome-focused, relevant, rigorous, and integrated. The BLTs help all stakeholders to adopt a common language of high expectations for all students and employ validated indicators of high-quality instructional practice.


Students in Linked Learning Certified Pathways
  • Have higher graduation/diploma rates than other students and are less likely to drop out of high school.
  • Earned more credits during high school than similar students enrolled in traditional high schools.
  • Have higher GPAs than traditional high schoolers
  • Demonstrate growth in essential career-readiness skills such as career navigation ability, communication, collaboration, and information literacy upon graduating from a Linked Learning pathway.