Students who attend a high school where study plans are based on preparing for a specific career are more likely to graduate and continue on to postsecondary schools than their public school counterparts are, according to a recent study by UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.
That's especially significant, because the schools that the were studied enrolled a higher than average percentage of students who are at risk of not graduating.
The teaching method is called Linked Learning. It teaches academics through career-based training. Participating schools focus on a career area such as healthcare, engineering or visual arts. Students take clusters of courses and participate in internships centered around the career.
And the schools employ teachers with professional experience working in those fields.
Proponents say students are more engaged if they can see how the things they're learning apply to the real world. The UCLA study gives evidence that Linked Learning is working. The center has released a guidebook on how to start one of these programs.
Nine California school districts, including L.A. Unified, Long Beach Unified and Pasadena Unified, offer some Linked Learning classes. Dozens of other schools are trying out the initiative.
The James Irvine Foundation projects that 13,000 California high school students will be enrolled in Linked Learning pathways this year. The foundation has spent more than $100 million to develop Linked Learning. On Tuesday, it released an interactive infographic showing the teaching method's spread across California.
You can find a map of Linked Learning schools and academies in California here.