The goal of this study tour is to learn how schools are integrating more robust academic content, higher-order skills, and academic mindsets practices with career education as they prepare students for postsecondary success. State education leaders are increasingly looking to career pathways as a way to bolster young people’s developmental needs for college-ready success as well as ensure that students leave school ready to apply knowledge, enter the workforce, and contribute to economic development. As an ever-expanding global market demands a more skilled workforce, educators, employers and policymakers are realizing the important role career-readiness plays in preparing students for a range of postsecondary options while still in school. They are also increasingly convinced that this preparation needs to include not only knowledge, skills, and dispositions but also hands-on workplace experience. Students need an accumulation of knowledge and skills known as ‘deeper learning’ – the mastery of rigorous core academic content; critical thinking and problem solving; teamwork and collaboration; effective communication; learning how to learn; and cultivation of an academic mindset. All of these can be accomplished in settings that provide real-world work experience, where students engage with adults who provide mentoring and instruction.
On this tour, participants will visit two schools in Los Angeles, CA that are providing students with rich academic learning and workplace preparation. Through conversations with students, teachers, and administrators, as well as explorations of work-based learning sites, participants will witness first-hand how a culture is created that supports students as they acquire deeper learning competencies in real-world settings that lead to career- and college-readiness.
High-level education policy leaders will also join the study group to share an understanding of the policy conditions in California that support the promotion of workforce readiness. The policy discussions will focus on effective and scalable models, capacity building, professional development, funding, Common Core-aligned curriculum, instruction, innovative assessments, and data and reporting systems. State leaders will enjoy time to reflect on necessary policy conditions as it relates to their own states, as well as learn from colleagues in other states.
Javier Guzman has served youth for the last twenty years in multiple capacities, including: middle and high school teacher, literacy coordinator, assistant principal, founding principal of a Big Picture Learning school in Brooklyn, New York, principal of New Village Girls Academy in Los Angeles (also a Big Picture Learning school), and now as Regional Director for Network Support and Innovation. Currently, he works with districts across the southwest to help transform learning and schools into places that honor and value students’ interests and passions in real and meaningful ways. Javier has a specific interest in alternative education programs, which are rife with inequity. He believes there is a unique and urgent need to innovate there and is focused on building a consortium of alternative education school leaders who have the courage and the vision to improve learning for our most marginalized students. Javier lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Lennon Parham, daughter Saraya, and Nina, their cat. He also loves trail running and climbing stairs.
Ace Parsi is the Project Director for the National Association of State Boards of Education’s Deeper Learning Portfolio at the organization’s Center for College, Career, and Civic Readiness. Through this position, he supports the work of state boards of education on a variety of topics—including assessments, accountability, high school graduation requirements, educator capacity and other issues—related to ensuring students have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions essential for college, career, and civic success. Prior to joining NASBE, Mr. Parsi held a number of policy, research, and school-based positions at the Alliance for Excellent Education, the National Service-Learning Partnership, Policy Analysis for California Education, and Fair Oaks Community School in Redwood City, California. Mr. Parsi and his family immigrated to the US when he was eight. His own experience as an English language learner and free and reduced price lunch student led him towards a passion for utilizing education as a driver for greater equity. Mr. Parsi holds a Masters in Public Policy Degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He currently resides in Washington, DC with his wife, Clare, and daughter, Ella.
David Rattray is the President & Executive Director of UNITE-LA and Executive Vice President, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce in charge of the Chamber’s Education & Workforce Development Division. UNITE-LA is a nonprofit organization that leads collaborative education reform efforts, promotes business-education partnerships, expands college access and provides workforce development opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area. Rattray was the Co-Chair of Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tom Torlakson’s Transition Advisory Team and is the current Co-Chair of the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation. Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation’s mission is to support the California Department of Education and to advocate for the Whole Child Approach to Education. He also co-chairs the Linked Learning Alliance. As President & Executive Director of UNITE-LA Rattray led and convened a working group for two years resulting in the 2010 signing of the L.A. Compact by 18 major L.A. institutions. UNITE-LA and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation secures over $5 million in public and private resources annually to support services to youth through California Cash for College, College & Career Success Schools, Groundhog Job Shadow, workforce development, and other programs emphasizing the Linked Learning approach. As Executive Vice President, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Rattray leads the largest group of staff and consultants committed to education and workforce development issues of any chamber of commerce or business organization in the U.S.
Brad Stam co-leads ConnectEd with President Gary Hoachlander as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He supports organizational development and business development, and aligns programmatic initiatives in support of ConnectEd’s systemic reform goals. Prior to coming to ConnectEd, Mr. Stam served as Chief Academic Officer for Oakland Unified School District, leading dramatic academic improvement at the elementary and middle grades, and initiating a systemic Linked Learning approach to high school reform. Brad also served in a variety of roles as a teacher and administrator in the San Francisco and New York City school districts. Brad brings over twenty year of expertise and practitioner experience in teaching and learning, assessment, urban school and district reform, and a lifelong passion for helping underprivileged youth improve their life options through quality education.