As students return for the new school year, ConnectED looks forward to working with our school, district, and community partners around a shared belief: all students deserve the right to a great education. We’re working in communities across the country to challenge the status quo so that students become more inspired and better equipped to succeed in college, career, and life. As independent evaluations have shown, students who engage in certified linked learning pathways earn more credits in high school; report greater confidence in their life and career skills; and say they are experiencing more rigorous, integrated, and relevant instruction.

Linked Learning Certification is a way to validate high quality pathway design and implementation. It confers well-deserved recognition and celebration of the hard work of district, site, and pathway educators. At the same time, it serves an even more important function: continuous improvement. The certification system developed by the Linked Learning Alliance establishes clear, research-based standards for quality pathway implementation. As pathways move from Candidate status through Silver and Gold attainment, they can track their progress on the Alliance’s certification dashboard and, when needed, seek help in meeting standards presenting difficulty.

Gold Certification is a high bar, and for pathways just starting out, it may take several years to attain. But it is the goal to which we all must aspire and keep working toward.

-Gary Hoachlander