District's Investments in Linked Learning Programs Make Connections for Students

Acsa Payan got a head-start on a teaching career while at Duncan Polytechnical High School, while Hoover High School student Jacqueline Manriquez discovered a passion for helping others and will pursue a job as a paramedic.

For Acsa and Jacqueline -- and countless students across the district -- career pathways and work-based learning are an opportunity to explore and study in various field and give added purpose to their studies.

Fresno Unified offers a broad array of career technical education (CTE) offerings.

CTE classes prepare students for careers of the 21st century through relevant, rigorous, and engaging curriculum that integrates academic and occupational instruction.

Under the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), the district has invested $9.2 million in Linked Learning pathway development, part of CTE. The investment supports the board-adopted Goal 3: "All students will demonstrate the character and competencies for workplace success."

More than 10,000 students enrolled in CTE courses during the past school year, with 2,091 students in Linked Learning pathways. Linked Learning pathways integrate technical curriculum with rigorous academics, work-based learning and individualized student supports.

Through these types of courses, students learn work ethic, critical thinking, basic education skills and teamwork and collaboration, creating a sound foundation to succeed in the real world of work.

"My school has prepared me for the career I want to achieve in the future, and that is becoming a kindergarten teacher," said Acsa, a recent graduate of Duncan who will attend Fresno State University in the fall.

Using the 2009 report from the Superintendent's Commission on Workforce Readiness and Career Technical Education as a launching point, the Board of Education has taken a number of actions to expand and deepen CTE courses and activities for not only high school students, but beginning with the elementary grades.

For example, all fifth and sixth grade students take part in Kids Invent! weekly lessons using materials provided by the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State.
Kids Invent! encourages creativity and critical thinking skills with a focus on science, engineering and entrepreneurship.

CTE classes continue to benefit students who want to be ready for the work force immediately after graduating from high school, but are also attractive to students pursuing career and college readiness.

The district has expanded the number of CTE offerings that meet A-G course requirements for California State University and University of California campuses from 4% in 2009 to nearly 60% currently.

This intentional focus provides an array of opportunities for students in the district's ongoing commitment to preparing all students to be college and career ready.

The district's Linked Learning pathways are:

- Bullard High School: Business, Marketing and Technology, Biomedicine, Law & Social Justice
- Duncan Polytechnical High School: Medical Academy of Science and Health (MASH), Innovative Design and Applied Technology Academy (IDATA)
- Edison High School: Biomedical Science and Technology, Engineering Design and Development
- Fresno High School: Innovative Design and Engineering Academy (IDEA), Marketing Academy
- Hoover High School: Eco-Technology, Media Design and Production, Public Service
- McLane High School: Academy of Finance and Entrepreneurship, Educational Careers Academy, Medical Education and Research Academy
- Patiño School of Entrepreneurship: Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology

- Roosevelt High School: Careers in Education, Health Academy
- Sunnyside High School: Agriscience and Technology, Human Services and Health, Multimedia and Marketing

The district also offers California Partnership Academies and Regional Occupation Programs (ROP). California Partnership Academies offer academic and CTE courses in a career-themed academy supported by business partnerships:

- Edison: Green Energy and Technology Academy
- Fresno: Marketing Academy
- McLane: ArtVenture Academy, Medical Education and Research Academy, Business and Finance
- Roosevelt: IRS/Business Academy, Health Academy
- Sunnyside: Video Production Academy

ROP provides opportunities for 11th- and 12th-grade students to explore careers and develop careers skills while reinforcing academics.

Two-period ROP classes offer college credit for qualifying courses, industry certification and internships when appropriate. ROP classes are offered at Bullard, Cambridge High School, DeWolf High School, Duncan, Edison, Fresno, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt and Sunnyside.