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From Illinois to California: Partner Events Elevate Equity and Scaling

Posted by Michelle Sedaca On February 26 2018

Kudos to the Linked Learning Alliance and the Illinois 60 by 25 Network on their outstanding peer learning convenings this past month! Held February 6-7 in Bloomington, Illinois, the fifth annual 60 by 25 Network conference amplified the theme of Scaling for Impact. Pathways to Prosperity team members Amy Loyd––a featured speaker––and Leah Moschella attended the event, which mobilized more than 200 participants from across the state.

Our team is working closely with Illinois, both as part of the Pathways to Prosperity Network and the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership, a regional collaboration funded by the Joyce Foundation, which includes the Northwest Chicago suburbs and Rockford in Illinois, the Central Ohio/Greater Columbus area, and Madison, Wisconsin. An important focus of the convening was the role of equity within college and career pathways. “The movement toward equity needs to come from all levels of leadership, and education leaders need to understand the challenges of specific populations,” Leah said, reflecting on a powerful keynote by Alex Fralin, Madison Metropolitan School District chief of schools for secondary education.

The next week during February 12-14, Nancy Hoffman, Bob Schwartz, Kyle Hartung, Charlotte Cahill, Sheila Jackson, and Leah Moschella travelled to Anaheim, California for the 2018 Linked Learning Convention, co-hosted by JFF, which brought together more than 900 practitioners. Similar to the 60 by 25 Network’s event, the convention highlighted the topic of scaling as its overarching theme. During the action-packed convening, Nancy and Bob led a panel conversation about their new book, Learning for Careers; Nancy, Charlotte, and Sheila presented The Importance of Social Capital: It's Both What You Know and Whom; Kyle led The Future of Work: Implications for College and Career Readiness; and Leah presented Strengthening Postsecondary Partnerships through Identifying Best Bet Strategic Dual Enrollment Courses.

In addition to a blend of breakout sessions and plenaries, the convention featured site visits to local schools, an interactive maker space, and students who shared their pathways experiences. “People are rolling up their sleeves and thinking deeply about how to advance this work,” Kyle said. “There is an increased focus on the effect of pathways beyond the K-12 system and on forging strong partnerships that allow the work to be the beginning of a larger ecosystem.”