California State University, Long Beach
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D.C. Trip Promotes Linked Learning

Published: August 3, 2015

When College of Education (CED) Dean Marquita Grenot-Scheyer visited Washington D.C. one day recently, it wasn’t to tour the historical sites—she’s done that before. Instead, she was part of a group there to promote Linked Learning to legislators as well as key staff members.

Grenot-Scheyer and CED professor Jared Stallones, who heads up CSULB’s Center for the Advancement of Linked Learning, along with several Long Beach partnership colleagues, visited members of the Obama Administration and senior congressional staff to discuss the positive work that has been and continues to be done through Linked Learning. She labeled the trip a success.

“Our goal was to influence, in a very direct way, the conversations that are taking place among legislators and their legislative staff about the re-authorization of two federal pieces of legislation–the Higher Education Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” she said.

A main focus of the trip was to position Linked Learning as a sterling example of the Obama Administration’s education reform agenda in action and to encourage the utilization of it as an example when promoting comprehensive high school reform.

“The Alliance for Excellent Education is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. and headed by Bob Wise, who is the president and former governor of West Virginia,” said Grenot-Scheyer. “He’s been working at the federal level to move this initiative forward and impact the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act as well as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”

Grenot-Scheyer’s favorite part of the day was a meeting in the White House-Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy and his staff.

“He was very interested in how Linked Learning is impacting student achievement in the district,” she said. “He was also interested in how we work together across the three segments [Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Long Beach City College (LBCC) and CSULB] to make sure this work is seamless and was very interested in what we’re doing in our education preparation to ensure our faculty are engaging in their own professional development to make sure they demonstrate best practices.”

She was impressed at what she perceived to be a sincere interest in what Linked Learning was all about.

“His staff really listened and he asked insightful questions,” said Grenot-Scheyer. “You could tell he was listening, you could tell he got it and you could tell he understood the importance of this secondary reform initiative. He appeared to understand the significance of this major reform for high schools.”

She also thought it was very telling that the meeting, which was scheduled for an hour, went longer.

“I was told that is very unusual to go over your scheduled time. I think that demonstrated his interest in this secondary initiative. That’s always a good signal.”

The group also provided data regarding retention and graduation rates of students who move from LBUSD to LBCC to CSULB.

“That data is very impressive,” she said. “This partnership is really having some very positive impacts on our collective students for whom we are responsible for.”

Grenot-Scheyer also noted that California is leading the nation in implementing this movement and, across the California State University system, two-thirds of the campuses are engaged in this reform effort, though not to the extent of CSULB.

The reason Linked Learning works so well locally is due in great part because of the Long Beach College Promise, according to Grenot-Scheyer, who added that the LBUSD is the leading district implementing Linked Learning.

“CSULB students, our future teachers, have the benefit of seeing Linked Learning in practice because they are going out into the schools and are seeing the master teachers engaged in it,” she said, “and they’re seeing the benefits to students who are receiving the core curriculum within a context that makes sense to them. Our students are seeing the powerful impact in their preparation program, thus they’re going to be much better prepared teachers when they get out there. We receive a lot of requests to talk about this partnership and student success because we are leading the way in this work across the nation.”