State and local officials gathered at Jordan High School in Long Beach last Friday to honor the school’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Academy for being among the first to achieve Linked Learning Certification. The certification effort, headed by education reform leader ConnectEd, assures that the high school is addressing high unemployment rates by combining rigorous academics with real-world experiences that prepare students not only for college, but also for high-paying, high-demand jobs.
Linked Learning pathways combine challenging academics, demanding technical courses, and work-based learning focused around an industry theme such as arts and media, engineering or biomedicine. These pathways connect learning with students’ interests and career aspirations, leading to higher graduation rates, increased post-secondary enrollments, higher earning potential, and greater civic engagement.
“Today marks a major milestone for what has truly been a community effort in North Long Beach,” said Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for the Long Beach Unified School District. “The ACE Academy shows what we can accomplish when we all work together for our youngsters. We celebrate this moment with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, who was instrumental in launching the academy. We also share the credit with our partners in industry and the trades, our private funders, such as the Irvine Foundation, our hardworking staff and students, and our elected Board of Education, which has made programs like the ACE Academy a top priority as part of our districtwide Academic and Career Success Initiative.”
Jordan High School’s ACE Academy opened with 50 students in fall 2007 and now serves 270 students.
“I’m delighted that the ACE Academy is among the first in the state to receive this recognition,” Foster said. “It was only a few months ago that we celebrated the first graduating ACE Academy class, and now the Linked Learning Certification shows that the Academy’s hands-on learning has tremendous worth in our schools and in today’s working world.”
The ACE Academy, modeled after a successful program at Kearny High School in San Diego, features internships and apprenticeships with employers while students concurrently enroll in Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach classes. Jordan High has shown significant gains under the program, including a 13-point gain this year on the state’s Academic Performance Index.