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Oakland Unified School District

About Us

Linked Learning is transforming secondary education into a relevant and engaging experience, exposing students to previously unimagined college and career opportunities.  

Bringing together college-prep academics, technical education, work-based learning, and support services, Linked Learning helps prepare students for success in college, career and life.

Linked Learning is a successful approach to education based on the idea that students work harder and dream bigger if their education is relevant to them. The Linked Learning approach integrates rigorous academics that meet college-ready standards with sequenced, high-quality career-technical education, work-based learning, and supports to help students stay on track.

For Linked Learning students, education is organized around industry-sector themes. Their chosen industry theme is woven into lessons taught by teachers who collaborate across subject areas with input from working professionals, and reinforced by work-based learning with real employers. This makes learning more like the real world of work, and helps students answer the question, “Why do I need to know this?”

Linked Learning addresses some of the fundamental challenges facing California’s high schools. Many traditional academic programs do not feel relevant to students’ lives and aspirations. At the same time, career and technical education (CTE) often lacks the academic rigor required for admissions to and success in college. Linked Learning provides students of all levels and abilities with the best possible chance for success in college and career.

A broad and diverse community of educators, employers, policymakers, and community-based organizations champion Linked Learning, aiming to expand and improve programs and offer them to more students across the state. The Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide coalition comprised of more than 250 educators, industry professionals, and community leaders, is a hub of information and works to build awareness about Linked Learning, advocate for policies that support high-quality implementation, and expand Linked Learning opportunities for students.

Linked Learning is transforming secondary education in Oakland into a personally relevant, wholly engaging experience for all levels of students, exposing them to previously unimagined college and career opportunities.

Goals: OUSD Goals for 2020

  • 80% of High School Students are Enrolled in Linked Learning Pathways
  • 100% of Rising Sophomores are Enrolled in Linked Learning Pathways
  • 85% Cohort Graduation Rate Across the City

Students Graduating from an OUSD High School:

  • 75% will meet UC/CSU A-G Criteria
  • 60% of African-American, Latino, Special Education, English Language Learner (ELL), and Foster Youth meet A-G Requirements

Four Pillars

Rigorous Academics

Rigorous academics prepare students to take credit-bearing college-level courses and be university admissible upon graduation from high school, maximize articulation between high school and postsecondary programs of study, and facilitate and accelerate completion of postsecondary credentials, certificates, and degrees.

The academic core courses include English, mathematics, laboratory science, history, and world language courses that are, as much as possible, taught through the lens of the theme of the pathway, which amplifies student engagement.

All Linked Learning students, as part of OUSD graduation requirements, must complete the full "A-G" course sequence - the 15 courses required for admission to the University of California (UC) and/or California State University (CSU) systems.

Work Based Learning

Work-based learning is an educational approach that, by design, links learning in the workplace to learning in the classroom. Work-based learning is used to engage students more fully and to intentionally promote their exposure and access to future educational & career opportunities.

These work-based learning experiences help students to increase their knowledge of careers and develop skills that will be transferable to their future career.

There is a sequence of work-based learning activities that starts with low-intensity experiences that help students to think about careers and gradually progresses into more in-depth, intensive experiences that include opportunities for hands-on learning.

Comprehensive Support Services

Comprehensive Student Support Services include:

  • Counseling, with services such as academic and social-emotional counseling, tutoring, parent engagement, mentoring, career assessment and exploration, and bridge programs to post-secondary education. These services are fundamental to the pathway experience and critical for ensuring students succeed in their challenging academic and technical coursework. For more information, contact Elizabeth Paniagua.
  • College & Career Readiness: Students are supported in setting and achieving goals and mapping a successful path to college and career success. More importantly, these services support the development of productive dispositions and behaviors that students will need to succeed in post-secondary education, in careers, and in civic life. For more information, please contact Kateri Dodds Simspon.
  • Dual Enrollment with Peralta Community College District. Dual Enrollment offers students an opportunity to complete college level coursework to earn college credits while they are pursuing a high school diploma. For more information, contact Leslie Hsu.
  • Credit Recovery, Master Scheduling, AP, and testing services. Services include supporting school sites with programming and execution. For more information, please contact Vinh Trinh.

For our CSS department org chart, click here.

Career Technical Education

The Linked Learning approach exposes students to California's major industries, giving them a better understanding of the types of career paths and jobs available, this approach includes a technical component of three or more courses, taught in a sequence, that help students progressively gain the knowledge and skills that can give them the head start on a successful career and transition to post-secondary education. These courses are called Career Technical Education courses or CTE courses.

Most CTE courses are approved for UC “a-g” credit and students may also earn dual enrollment college credit in some courses. CTE courses are taught by credentialed teachers who have a special knowledge and experience in the industry theme of their career pathway. They are able to integrate core content and a career theme focus to classroom instruction and provide students exposure to industry professions.