Linked Learning connects students’ present to future higher education and careers

This is the ninth in a series of stories counting down to the start of school, spotlighting what is new in HISD in the coming year.

So promising is HISD’s new Linked Learning approach, launching this school year, that the federal government gave one of its coveted Race to the Top grants worth $30 million to get it started over the next five years.

The Linked Learning approach — not a program, not an initiative — blends college and career readiness into one unified path from kindergarten through 12th grade. This year, eight HISD high schools and their 32 feeder elementary and middle schools are piloting Linked Learning. The high schools are Chavez, Eastwood Academy, Furr, Lee, Milby, Reagan, Sterling, and Westside.

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Linked Learning will combine rigorous academics with real-world technical education and experience to help give HISD students an edge in moving onto postsecondary education or workforce training and in-demand careers.

Students who might not ordinarily have had the chance will start visiting colleges and workplaces in elementary school, continuing into secondary school, where they will have added opportunities for project-based learning, internships, and workforce experiences, as well as dual-credit classes to get the jump on college.

The goal is to make education so relevant that Linked Learning will improve student engagement, decreasing dropout rates, and motivating students to succeed in school with an eye toward a promising future path that they have helped chart.