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K-12 and Community College Articulation

Earlier this week State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the appointment of Eloy Ortiz Oakley as the new Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, the largest public higher education system in the nation. “Eloy is a fantastic choice to lead our great network of community colleges,” said Torlakson. “He is a terrific leader and a tremendous proponent of getting high school students excited and energized about pursuing success in college and beyond. I look forward to more great things as he leads the California Community Colleges into the 21st century.”

A recent EdSource article reported Mr. Oakley said more work must be done in low-income communities “where poverty continues to be a driver in the future of our kids. I am certainly going to focus on those communities that have had the hardest time reaching the potential of the California Dream.” Oakley wants to speed up completion rates is to encourage more high school students to simultaneously enroll in community college courses, with more of those classes offered directly at high schools.  “The lines between high school and community college need to continue to be blurred,” said Oakley. “The more college credits students can obtain in high school, the better prepared they are, the sooner they will graduate, the sooner they will transfer, the better off we are as a state.”

Together Everyone Accomplishes More

California Community Colleges (CCC) Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan and her team is making a lot of progress promoting local adoption of student pathways that are branded “Business Information Worker I and II” and IT Technician Pathway.” Growing and sustaining these quality pathways will help students – that may normally drop out – attain critical and fundamental entry-level jobs in a sector where there is room for growth and higher pay with continued CCC education.

High school teachers and administrators may wish to contact the Deputy Sector Navigators in their area to see how they might work together with local colleges to improve student outcomes through dual and concurrent enrollment programs.


Professor Harry Cheng, the developer and leader of the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM), has developed innovative curriculum that integrates academic and career technical subjects. Using Cheng’s approach, students learn how to integrate computer programming as well as logical and critical thinking skills. The results have shown significant potential in closing the math achievement gap for student subgroups that have historically underperformed.

Here is a short video on how students and parents appreciate the C-STEM program.

Congratulations to Professor Cheng for receiving the UC Davis 2016 Innovator of the Year Award!

The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes individual faculty or staff, or teams (which may also include students) whose inventive, innovative or entrepreneurial activities have had a measurable societal impact or have a very strong potential to do so. Cheng has worked at UC Davis for 24 years and has dedicated the past 10 years to transforming K-12 math education through computing and robotics.

Focused on integrating computing and robotics into regular STEM classroom with hands-on project-based learning, the C-STEM Center has developed innovative computing and robotics technologies with C-STEM Studio and RoboBlockly, teaching strategies, textbooks, and courseware including  lesson plans, PowerPoint lessons, video lessons, group computing activities, optional robotics activities, and assessment tools for readily integration of computer programming in C/C++ using Ch (a user-friendly C/C++ interpreter Ch) and robotics into the formal curricula in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

More than 200 schools in California have officially adopted the C-STEM curriculum, which directly benefits more than 10,000 students.



The University of California at Davis C-STEM Center has just released C-STEM Studio v2.0. The C-STEM Center curriculum uniquely integrates math, coding and robotics in ways that help students understand abstract concepts through practical application.

Professional development for the C-STEM Center curriculum is being offered in California this summer in the following locations:

July 11 – 15,
Orange County
Orange County Flyer

August 1 – 5
San Diego
San Diego Flyer 

August 8 – 12
Downey, near Los Angeles
Downey Flier


One promising way in which students can learn about and apply global competencies is through Career and Technical Education (CTE). With an anchor in preparing students for the careers of their choice and a focus on the critical academic, technical, and employability skills needed for success, CTE offers a natural platform on which to build global competencies.

A new paper by the Association for Career and Technical Education, Asia Society, Longview Foundation, and National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium entitled, Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce through High-Quality Career and Technical Education, offers insight into how educators can embed global competency into their CTE classrooms and how this effort can be incentivized by defining the need for global competency.

Last year, 31,816 California high school students earned the biliteracy gold seal, which were placed on their diplomas, for achieving proficiency in multiple languages. Multiple languages will help students to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual, and highly connected world.  Beyond language, other skills that are commonly taught in CTE programs can prepare students for work and civic roles in an environment where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.

Global competence is: “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.” The four pillars of global competence include:

  1. Investigate the World. Global competence starts by being interested in learning about the world and how it works. Students ask and explore questions that are globally significant. They can respond to these questions by identifying, collecting, and analyzing credible information from a variety of local, national, and international sources, including those in multiple languages. They can connect the local to the global.
  2. Weigh Perspectives. Globally competent students recognize that they have a particular perspective, and that others may or may not share it. When needed, they can compare and contrast their perspective with others, and integrate various viewpoints to construct a new one.
  3. Communicate Ideas. Globally competent students understand that audiences differ on the basis of culture, geography, faith, ideology, wealth, and other factors. They can effectively communicate, verbally and nonverbally, with wide‐ranging audiences and collaborate on diverse teams. Because it is increasingly the world’s common language for commerce and communication, globally competent students are proficient in English as well as in at least one other world language. They are technology and media literate within a global communications environment.
  4. Take Action. Globally competent students see themselves as capable of making a difference. Alone or with others, ethically and creatively, globally competent students can envision and weigh options for action based on evidence and insight; they can assess their potential impact, taking into account varied perspectives and potential consequences for others; and they show courage to act and reflect on their actions.

Ways to integrate CTE and global competency include:

  • Embedding global competencies into lesson plans, assignments, or capstone projects.
  • Connecting to the diverse populations in local communities.
  • Building a partnership with a school or classroom abroad to engage in substantive, technology-based collaborative projects.
  • Establishing partnerships with international companies to facilitate speakers and presentations by students to real business audiences.

Educators working together in California continue to make great progress in deciding how College and Career Readiness may be used as a future measure of school performance. The frameworks provided in recent reports can support the work of local schools and school districts as local guides and recommendations for accountability and continuous improvement are developed and implemented.

Career Technical Education (CTE) in California continues to evolve as consensus among educational leaders informs our elected officials and their appointed representatives on the State Board of Education (SBE).  A major component of the emerging state accountability system is the development of a College and Career Indicator (CCI) that will be one of the measures to satisfy the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirement for an indicator for school quality or student success.

Implementation of the new accountability system and the CCI is slated for the 2017-18 school year, pending SBE approval. The proposed CCI contains multiple measures to account for the various pathways by which high school students may prepare for postsecondary options, including participation in dual enrollment courses, success on college entrance and Advance Placement exams, completion of California’s “a-g” college entrance requirements, and completion of CTE pathway programs.  EdSource recently released an interesting article on the challenges policy makers face in developing appropriate measures of college and career readiness.

Going a bit deeper into the topic, here are two recent reports that help frame the current policy initiatives and options that may influence your future work:

Preparing All Students for College, Career, Life, and Leadership in The 21st Century

This report, issued by the Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement, puts the proposed accountability system on three pillars: Performance, Equity, and Improvement.  According to the report: “California has started on a pathway towards the creation of a better system for our students, one that rests on a foundation of student success, relies on high standards, more equitable distributes resources (through the Local Control Funding Formula), and trusts local educators and communities to design the educational structures and supports that our students need to reach their full potential (through the Local Control and Accountability Plans.”

The report links a set of performance indicators to the ESSA requirements, and describes the College and Career Readiness indicator that a “Whole Child Outcome” perspective with the following note: “A non-test-based indicator of college and career readiness should measure the extent to which students complete courses and programs (completion of A-G, high-quality CTE sequences and internships) that support college and career readiness and the development of 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and creativity. This could be reviewed in conjunction with other academic indicators as a means for holistically measuring the skills and abilities students need to be college and career ready.

From an “Academic Outcome” perspective, the recommended College, career, and life readiness indicators include: 1) Students completing A-G; approved CTE sequence; or both and 2) Students meeting college standard on AP / IB / dual credit coursework. If completion of A-G, approved CTE sequences or AB / IB / dual credit coursework are not included in the state required college and career readiness indicator, they could be included in the Academic Outcome area.  

Equitable Access By Design

This report, released last month by the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, examines the Linked Learning conceptual framework for defining and implementing a system of integrated student supports to provide all students equitable access to college and career readiness.

The Linked Learning Pathways approach is intentionally designed to provide universal access to a rigorous, standards-based curriculum and to graduate all students fully prepared for college, career, and civic engagement. The report highlights the integration of “5 Domains of Learning & Support” which are: Technical Learning, Workplace Learning, College and Career Knowledge, Social and Emotional Learning, and Academic Learning.