Linking Coursework to Careers Improves Graduation Rates

At Skyline High School in Oakland, California, there is a program that provides students with a focus on careers in the education field. The program, called Skyline education academy, provides students with classes that focus on the education field. It includes a college-prep style learning system, and field trips to elementary schools, where students have the opportunity to act as student-teachers for the day.

Skyline is one of a growing number of schools in California that is working to increase high school graduation rates through an initiative called Linked Learning. Linked Learning merges high school courses with work experience based on the career subject of the program. It has been found that students are more engaged in their coursework when they can apply it to real life. The career-based academy gives the students an in-depth view of various industries to study, such as education, architecture, and graphic design.

Skyline and other schools that use Linked Learning have reported higher attendance and graduation rates as well as better test scores. Programs such as Linked Learning could definitely benefit other states nationwide, because they will enable students to not only apply what they learn to their futures, but also to see just how many possibilities are out there career-wise.

When students are goal-oriented and know that the purpose of their education is to prepare them for success in career and life, they will be more motivated to strive for the best. Books like Sophomore Guide to College and Career are geared towards getting high school students to think about potential careers and what happens after high school ends. To learn more about this book and other LifeBound books and materials, visit or e-mail

Article: Linking courses to careers improves grad rates
James E. Canales
Sunday, July 25, 2010
When Cynthia Gutierrez arrived four years ago at Skyline High School in Oakland, she was neither an academic superstar nor someone who struggled with school. Like most kids, she says, she was “somewhere in the middle.” Bored with her classes, she’d left behind a trail of C’s and D’s, and with some bad luck, she might have even lost interest in school altogether. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” she says.
Instead, Gutierrez had a stroke of good fortune. During her freshman year, a teacher told her about Skyline’s education academy, a small school within the school centered around careers in education. When she heard the program included regular field trips, she signed up. Gutierrez and 25 of her classmates spent the next three years taking classes together on education-related topics like child development and how people learn, combining a rigorous college-prep curriculum with student-teaching trips to local elementary schools. In the close-knit environment of the academy, Gutierrez found new motivation, and she discovered a love of teaching.

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