Sacramento City Unified has reorganized its district office, developed a strong departmental team, and encouraged the broader community to become involved in its efforts to introduce “linked learning” into its high schools, according to a case study of the district released this week.

Linked learning is an ambitious reform that blends academic courses and career opportunities through field-based learning, such as internships, and student support services. The long-term goal is to integrate it into a district curriculum so that all students can participate. Students choose “pathways” in areas that interest them such as health care.

The case study, “Linked Learning in Sacramento: Organizing the District and Community for Sustainable Reform,” was authored by Sara Rutherford-Quach and Erik Rice of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). This is the third case study on linked learning undertaken by SCOPE at the behest of the James Irvine Foundation.

By the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, the district had introduced a linked-learning program in 10 of its 13 high schools. Despite its successes, the district has acknowledged that “a lot of work remains to build a more sustainable and meaningful broad-based leadership throughout the district and community,” according to the study.

Some teachers also are still unclear about the reform; more common time for planning is needed, SCOPE reported.

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