Though Linked Learning pathways are diverse, successful design requires certain elements:
INDUSTRY THEME. A unifying industry theme engages students, families, and the surrounding community. The theme is aligned with House Bill 5 and local conditions. The theme is woven throughout students' learning in lessons, projects, and work-based learning experiences.
PATHWAY ADVISORY BOARD. An active advisory board, comprised of invested stakeholders including industry and community partners aligned to the industry theme, helps bring relevance and resources to students’ learning experiences.
PATHWAY LEADERSHIP. An effective pathway lead teacher, pathway administrator, and pathway counselor are selected based on their commitment to Linked Learning principles. Pathway leaders work collegially to guide the pathway with sufficient time and resources to make the pathway their primary focus.
COLLEGE-BOUNDSTRONG TEACHER TEAM. Academic core and CTE teachers are selected for their teaching talent, commitment to Linked Learning pedagogy, and ability to motivate and support diverse students. Pathway teachers demonsrate the ability to collaborate collegially with their peers in an interdisciplinary team. Special Education and ESL teachers are included to ensure equity and support.
SCHEDULED COP TIME. The team works collaboratively in Community of Practice (CoP) meetings 90 or more minutes each week to accomplish pathway tasks -- mapping standards, designing assessments, lessons and projects, analyzing student work and data, "staffing" students, and providing feedback in structured protocols.
MIDDLE SCHOOL MATTERS. The pathway works with feeder campuses to lay the groundwork for pathway identification and recruitment. Students receive support in identifying their career preferences. Pathway teachers involve 8th graders in virtual site visits to their classrooms.
EQUITY-BASED SELECTION AND SUPPORT. All feeder school students whose interests align with the pathway theme are recruited actively. Diverse pathway students are selected based on interest, without regard to language and learning challenges. Personalized supports are planned and coordinated from the beginning to ensure student needs are addressed.
FOUR-YEAR COHORTING. A cohort of 120 - 150 students is scheduled together in most of their classes. Efforts are made to cohort such that ESL and Special Education students are able to participate fully with their peers. All pathway students are enrolled as 9th graders in the same CTE principles class, then proceed together through a four-year CTE program of study.
WORK-BASED LEARNING. All pathway students engage in meaningful work-based learning experiences at each grade level and are supported in earning certifications, dual credit, internships, etc.
COLLEGE-BOUND CULTURE. All pathway students are supported in attaining the knowledge, skills, resources, and mindsets to enter the college of their choice and persist through completion. Students' academic deficits are addressed with intensive personalized interventions to ensure they are able to enter post-secondary education without remediation.