Today the Youth program of The James Irvine Foundation announces next steps — and opportunities — as we follow and support students in their journey from high school to higher education. Our goal remains to increase the number of low-income young people who complete high school and earn a postsecondary credential by age 25.
We’re excited to share an updated expression of our strategy and invite participation in a new effort in service to this goal.
Irvine has invested more than $100 million in Linked Learning since 2006. We firmly believe — and an ever-growing number of organizations and leaders across all sectors agree — that Linked Learning is the best approach to improving high school graduation rates and increasing successful transitions to a full range of postsecondary education opportunities, particularly for low-income and disadvantaged youth. Linked Learning has garnered evidence that it works, dramatically increased state funding and steady adoption by schools and districts throughout California.
In recent months, we have been participating in a process, led by the Linked Learning Alliance, to develop strategies that will strengthen and take Linked Learning to its next level of scale across California. This five-year vision for Linked Learning will be communicated through the Alliance in the coming months. We are fully supportive of the essential work and expanded roles that our partners, including the Alliance, ConnectEd, the National Academy Foundation and others, have grown into as key players in the expansion and improvement of Linked Learning.
At Irvine, we expect to continue our support for the Linked Learning field in collaboration with these lead organizations. This includes making select investments in aspects of Linked Learning that can benefit the field — in particular, efforts that advance broader adoption of high-quality pathways — and contribute to our Youth program goal.
Our next stage of grantmaking features increased focus on regions as the key geography for building Linked Learning systems and reaching more students. We will communicate more about our regional approach and investment in regional hubs later this fall.
As part of this strategy evolution, we’re launching a new effort supporting seamless student transitions from high school to postsecondary education. The transition from high school to college is critical, and complicated — especially for student populations less represented in higher education. With the right practices, we can better bridge these gaps. This Bridging the Gap framework is designed to help practitioners, policymakers and others take action so that more students can make a more seamless transition — and succeed in gaining the postsecondary credentials that are vital to their quality of life and the future of California.
Today, we extend a call for participation to early partners. You’re invited to explore this overview conveying the intent, scope and expectations for interested organizations. We also held a webinar with our partners on October 15, 2015 to share information about Bridging the Gap. You can watch a recording of the webinar to learn more.
My team members in this work are former Senior Program Officer Christina Garcia and former Program Officer April Yee. We all look forward to the new places and ways Linked Learning will continue to transform education through the activities I’ve described and the leadership of the Linked Learning Alliance. And we are excited to broaden our own efforts to increase young adult success. As always, we welcome your questions and comments on Irvine’s evolving role in support of this work.