This screen shot shows a sample interaction between students and an Industry Professional. With some coaching, Industry Professionals can give real world feedback to students about the quality of their work.
College and Career Readiness Resources in ConnectEd Studios
The College and Career Readiness staff has built an online resource library available to all district users. Located in the WCCUSD College and Career Readiness Collaborative Group Files and Resources, this collection of resources includes:
21st Century Skills
Argumentative Writing Resources – (Literacy Design Collaborative resources located in this folder)
Behaviors for Learning and Teaching
Common Core State Standards
College and Career Readiness Resources
ConnectEd Studios Access Codes
Curriculum Mapping Tool Guide
Expository Reading and Writing
Lead Meeting/PD Series Resources
Project Tool Guide
For access to these valuable resources, contact Ben Crosby (email@example.com) to be added to the College and Career Readiness Collaborative group.
Linked Learning Certification
Linked Learning Certification is a review process developed by a consortium of pathway and academy organizations to ensure high standards for pathway implementation. The Certification Review process is managed by our partners ConnectEd. There is a great deal of information regarding the Certification Criteria and the Review Process at the following link:
You can review the Certification Criteria and Rubric located earlier in this section to better understand the criteria for Certification. Within the District, Mike Aaronian (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the contact person for initiating a Linked Learning Certification Review.
Section IX – The Behaviors of Learning and Teaching Framework
The Linked Learning Learning and Teaching Framework, developed by ConnectEd, “defines key characteristics of student and adult learning and teaching practice within Linked Learning pathways and illustrates how these characteristics might be observed in the behaviors of teachers and learners, both inside and beyond the classroom.” The Framework also describes the specifics of what teachers can be seen doing, and what students can be seen doing. There is also a developmental continuum of these observable behaviors included in the Framework.
To see the full framework, visit http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/direct/files/resources/BLT%20Overview_Continuum_GSG_121712.pdf. The information below is an overview of the Behaviors of Learning and Teaching that we hope to see in a Linked Learning Pathway or Career Academy.
Collaborative (Work with Others)Students can be seen… Regularly working with industry partners as learning resources and project clients.
Experiencing a variety of collaborative teams and settings.
Practicing industry-specific norms and strategies to make their teamwork efficient and effective.
Using industry-specific technology and social media tools to foster collaboration.
Student Directed (Work Students Lead) Students can be seen…
Designing their interdisciplinary learning experiences.
Organizing, revising, and self-monitoring a learning plan.
Learning through an inquiry approach where their questions, choices, insights, and solutions lead the way.
Self-selecting from a variety of resources across disciplines to support learning and inquiry
Pursuing mastery through feedback, revision, and defense of work.
Outcome Focused (Work with a Goal) Students can be seen…
Creating, using, and revising plans for project work and for their college and career goals.
Seeking, offering, and using feedback on their project and personal plans.
Explaining how their daily work helps them master project, course, and pathway outcomes.
Reflecting daily on their choices, insights, and growth.
Relevant (Work that Matters)Students can be seen…
Working on problems of genuine personal interest.
Engaging in complex projects authentic to the industry sector.
Producing work that reflects standards of the workplace.
Using state-of-the-art tools and industry-specific technology.
Participating in a sequence of work-based learning experiences.
RIGOROUS & INTEGRATED
Rigorous & Integrated (Work that Challenges)Students can be seen…
Engaging in deep critical thinking using challenging material and industry-specific problem-solving tools.
Designing and publicly defending high quality project solutions.
Articulating how they are mastering the Common Core State Standards.
Pointing out connections across subjects in theme-based interdisciplinary projects.
Section X – Integrated Curriculum Design
Creating an Integrated Curriculum
Designing a multidisciplinary integrated curriculum is a primary focus of Academies in WCCUSD. The goal of Integrated Projects is to increase student learning and engagement by having students tackle real-world problems that require mastery of content area knowledge and skills. Research has shown that students are more motivated to learn when they need to acquire knowledge in order to accomplish a complex task or project. “One of the most powerful strategies teachers can use to make learning relevant is to place academics within the context of issues and problems from the world of work” (Designing a Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum: A Practical Manual, ConnectEd, http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/curriculum/integrated_units).
Producing a successful integrated project or unit starts with the Six A’s:
Academic and Technical Rigor – Projects are designed to address key learning standards identified by the school or district.
Authenticity – Projects use a real-world context (e.g., community and workplace problems) and address issues that matter to the students.
Applied Learning – Projects engage students in solving problems calling for competencies expected in high-performance work organizations.
Active Exploration – Projects extend beyond the classroom by connecting to internships, field-based investigations, and community explorations.
Adult Connections – Projects connect students with adult mentors and coaches from the wider community.
Assessment Practices – Projects involve students in regular performance-based exhibitions and assessments of their work; evaluation criteria reflect personal, school, and real-world standards of performance.
ConnectEd, our partner in developing quality career pathways has outlined a design process offered to educators working towards integrated projects and/or integrated units of instruction. Their design process features the following steps:
The complete manual is available for download and covers each design step in detail. Go to http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/curriculum/integrated_units to download the complete .PDF file.
Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that engages students with Real-World problems and requires mastery of content area knowledge and skills. PBL in the context of Linked Learning Pathways or Academies also strives for integrated CTE and core academic curriculum and standards around Integrated Projects. The PBL Design process is a tool used by Academy Teams to create standards-based, real-world, integrated projects. The information provided below is only an overview of the PBL process. There exists a wealth of information and resources for each step of the project design process at http://pbl-online.org, and also through the Buck Institute of Education http://www.bie.org.
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning (PBL) is an inquiry based process for teaching and learning. In PBL, students focus on a complex question or problem, then answer the question or solve the problem through a collaborative process of investigation over an extended period of time. Projects often are used to investigate authentic issues and topics found outside of school. During the inquiry process, students learn content, information, and facts necessary to draw conclusions about the question. Students also learn valuable skills and habits of mind during the process.
Why should I use Project Based Learning?
PBL is extremely effective as a method for engaging students in their learning. With engagement comes focus, discipline, and mastery of academic content. Further, students have the opportunity to work on problems and issues relevant to their lives, as well as learn vital work and life skills necessary to their success in school or in the work world.
Integrated curriculum projects or units utilize both formative and summative assessments, as well as student products and culminating events. Teacher teams have found it critical to use some common assessment strategies in order to deliver an effective, engaging project.
The following section features explanations and ideas around assessments for integrated projects. (Designing a Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum: A Practical Manual, ConnectEd, http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/curriculum/integrated_units):
Integrated curriculum units offer teachers many opportunities to move beyond traditional paper- and- pencil tests. Teacher teams can design engaging and challenging performance-based formative and summative student assessments that are well matched to authentic teaching strategies. To create these assessments, it is valuable to work backwards. Begin thinking about the summative Culminating Event and then design the formative student work products that demonstrate students’ learning and help them prepare for it.
Summative Evaluation: The Culminating Event
The Culminating Event is the place where students summarize and present their conclusions about the Essential Question, synthesizing their learning and research across all of the disciplines in the unit. At the Culminating Event, teachers, community representatives, and industry partners can also assess and evaluate student learning in relation to many of the discipline-specific content standards that were the basis for the Key Questions. This summative evaluation is an ideal opportunity for students to display their higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, effective teamwork, written and oral communication skills, and ability to integrate and apply knowledge gained across several academic and technical disciplines.
The following are some considerations that have helped teachers design effective and memorable Culminating Events:
Encourage students to link their presentations to a real-world setting, ideally in the workplace; the setting will further reinforce career development goals identified for the curriculum unit.
Involve the community and industry partners; participation at the Culminating Event will reinforce community and industry support for innovative high school improvement strategies and career-themed education.
Allow students to present in groups or individually, depending on their strengths and learning styles; use these alternatives as a way for students at all achievement levels to participate.
Ask students to reflect on what they have learned and share their observations; explicitly tie results of these meta-cognitive activities back to the academic and technical content standards that were used to design the curriculum unit.
The following are several possible formats for a Culminating Event:
Create and deliver a PowerPoint presentation.
Hold a Science Fair with students presenting tri-folds and visual displays.
Invite parents to view presentations (PowerPoint or tri-folds) at a Back-to-School night.
Demonstrate a lesson or activity to industry partners, a community group, or a municipal agency.
Develop a practical manual addressing the topic of the unit and proposing a resolution or plan of action.
Create a website focused on answering the Essential Question.
Hold a debate on the Essential Question.
Develop policies and procedures that deal with the topic of the unit.
Formative Evaluation: Student Work Products for Feedback and Assessment
Integrated curriculum units also lend themselves to a variety of performance-based and standard formative assessments. Teachers can use these assessments to give students ongoing performance feedback and also to avoid having too much of a semester’s final grade rest on a single Culminating Event. This is particularly important as many of the Culminating Event formats rely on group activities and presentations and may include limited opportunities to assess and provide feedback to individual students.
The following are several examples of work products that help groups of students prepare for the Culminating Event and offer opportunities for formative feedback to individuals and groups.
• A written project outline, work plan, and schedule, or a classroom presentation on the team’s project objectives and work plan.
• A selection of readings (with an annotated bibliography) that individuals or teams recommend for outside reviewers who will later evaluate the Culminating Event.
• A scoring rubric for outside evaluators to use in grading the team’s Culminating Event.
• A research paper on one of the Key Questions addressed in a specific discipline.
• A set of drawings, designs, graphic representations, or a photographic portfolio related to the Essential Question or one of the Key Questions.
• Art and English—Create business cards and brochures for an insurance company.
• English—Read excerpts from Shattered Air by Robert Madgic (about a tragedy at Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome) and debate risky behaviors.
• Algebra—Calculate entries for actuarial tables and mortality rates for leading causes of death.
• History and English—Explore the history of medical insurance and write an expository essay on the issue of universal health insurance.
• Geography and English—Research and write about the geographical distribution of genetically linked diseases.
• Science—Chart biological pedigrees.
• Information Technology—Use appropriate computer software to prepare written reports, brochures, statistical tables, and presentations.
• World Languages and English—Research foreign insurance and medical information and write up results in both English and another language.
• Health Science and English—Research medical insurance and risky behaviors and write up research results.
• Physical Education—Create a Wellness Program/Prevention Plan for an insurance company.
Culminating Event: Small groups of students form their own insurance company. They prepare Science Fair tri-fold presentations where they present their insurance companies’ programs and policies, including decisions about insuring individuals who engage in risky behaviors. Community healthcare professionals use a rubric designed with student input to grade the student presentations.
Topic: Cultural Differences in Healthcare
Unit Title: Second Opinion
Essential Question How can we ensure the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medical practices?
Learning Scenario: Excerpt from The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, (a book by Anne Fadiman contrasting Hmong and Western medicine’s interpretations and responses to epilepsy)
• Art, English, and Health Science—Design the lesson plan format and content for a lesson on cultural competency.
• English—Read an excerpt from The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down; complete an expository writing assignment.
• Mathematics and Chemistry—Measure the bond angles of molecular compounds created in chemistry class.
• History—Write the script for an “elevator pitch” to a physician about why he or she should be culturally sensitive to patients from different countries.
• Geography and English—Research and write an expository essay about alternative healing practices, including their distribution and how they are spread around the world.
• Chemistry—Create a model of the molecular structures of medicines and research the differences in drugs.
• Computers—Provide web-based research support for all classes included in the curriculum unit.
• World Language—Research and write about healing practices in Spanish-speaking countries.
• Health Science and English—Study and write an essay about cultural difference in healing practices.
• Physical Education and English—Research and write about cultural differences in levels of and attitudes toward physical activity.
Culminating Event: Students present a culturally competent lesson plan to representatives from various state agencies and professional organizations. These individuals use a scoring rubric designed with student input to assess the lesson plan.
Topic: The Environment and Health
Unit Title: Save the Planet; Save Yourself
Essential Question How can we preserve the environment and enhance the quality of life for future generations?
Learning Scenario: Profile of a physician who finds a cure for an environmental illness
The career-themed nature of integrated curricula and PBL offers an opportunity to add relevance to the learner. Another layer can still be included in project design, and that is Service Learning. Service Learning is a District-wide requirement for graduation. The basic concept of service learning is for the students to perform a service to their community, that is tied to the knowledge and skill of a content area. Within the Academies, our career-foci align very well with service learning, PBL, and integrated projects. Academies have been authorized by WCCUSD to manage the service learning requirements of their students.
As your team develops projects and units, consider this question….What Service can our students provide to the community within this project? If the service offered can be tied to classroom instruction, you have the needed elements for service learning credit.
Some examples of service learning integration:
Technology Project – Students repair PC systems from the community as part of a project on digital literacy.
Health Project – Students perform blood pressure and BMI tests on community members while doing a project on fitness and health levels.
Construction Project – Students design and build furniture to be used in local schools.
Section XI – Advisory Boards
(From Partnership Guide for Career Academies, CCASN, UC Berkeley, 2010, http://CCASN.berkeley.edu/resources.php)
Here’s a quick list of the roles employer and college representatives (within the context of Advisory Boards) usually play in a California Partnership Academy:
• Advisory Board (aka Steering Committee) member
• Input on technical curriculum
• Donations of equipment, curricular materials
• Teacher externships
• Host for meetings, activities, graduation ceremony
• Speakers, field trips for sophomores
• Job shadowing for sophomores &/or juniors
• Mentors for juniors
• Work internships/ community service for junior grads, seniors
Academy Advisory Boards
The Advisory Board (aka Steering Committee) is the hub for all these roles. This is generally comprised of at least one district and high school administrator, the Academy Lead Teacher and perhaps the whole teacher team, a counselor, representatives from local companies in the academy career field, representatives from local community/ four-year/ technical colleges, perhaps a community-based organization that plays a role as an intermediary in bringing the high school and community together (e.g., a Chamber of Commerce, service organization, or business-education alliance) and perhaps a parent and/or student or two.
Some Boards have Executive Committees that meet periodically, generally a couple times per year. This Board has corporate leaders, post secondary chancellors or deans, presidents of local community-based organizations, government representatives, and the superintendent or his or her representative. In the fall they review plans for the academy; in the spring they review progress and student achievement.
If there is no Executive Committee, the general Board acts in this role, generally meeting quarterly or so and forming smaller task forces to work on components needing attention between the general meetings. For example, one task force might work on lining up speakers and field trip sites for sophomores, another on finding job shadowing positions and mentors for juniors, another on needed equipment and curricular materials, and so on.
If a high school has more than one academy, there is generally one Advisory Board for each career field, and should there be academies in the same career field in other high schools in the district, it plays this role for them as well. This is so that one academy doesn’t find itself competing with another from the same district for support from employers or colleges. Such competition makes it difficult for these organizations to know where to place their support and can erode their involvement.
If there is more than one Academy/ Advisory Board in the district, there is often a district-wide Board that brings representatives of them together. This allows academies to learn from each other and opportunities for joint support at the district level. Superintendents can often be quite effective if they play a role in these efforts.
Although the first meeting usually takes place on the high school campus, later meetings are often held at the members’ facilities, perhaps rotating through the roster of members. The first meeting may be chaired by the principal or lead teacher, but subsequent meetings are often chaired by one of the partners, with agendas developed jointly by the committee at the conclusion of each meeting. A survey at the first meeting can determine the most convenient time for meetings for the majority of the group.
Although there is a natural inclination for academies to seek financial support from their community, this can be counterproductive and is usually not the greatest need. Rather what is most needed is peoples’ time and expertise. Since 80% of school budgets is generally spent on personnel anyway, even if funds are provided they usually go primarily toward staffing. Volunteers who provide their time as Board members, speakers, field trip hosts, mentors, and internship supervisors, and who share their expertise on needed career field training, equipment, and instructional materials are a gold mine. And many enjoy serving in this role. It can be disarming for a company to be told the academy is not seeking funding from it.
Good communication is essential to forming and maintaining effective advisory boards. Someone at the high school, often an administrator or the lead teacher or a secretary who takes on this role, needs to be made the liaison and consistent point of contact. Likewise it is often possible to establish consistent contacts at companies and colleges. Since there are often differences in cultures and terminology between educators and business people, and related mistrust, establishing dependable communication and allowing learning to go on over time is essential.
It is also important for an academy to find ways to say thank you for the support of its partners. This can be done at academy events, but also via newsletters or other media that recognize the contributions of employers and colleges. Often the most effective form of appreciation is letters written by students themselves. Helping students is something almost everyone identifies with and the core of what motivates partners to become involved in academies.