We strongly believe in providing a quality education to the community of Sylmar through the Linked Learning approach. Linked Learning integrates rigorous academics that meet college-ready standards with sequenced, high-quality career-technical education, work-based learning, and supports to help students stay on track for graduation. For Linked Learning students, education is organized around industry-sector themes. Our school’s industry-sector themes include Health Science & Medical Technology and Engineering & Architecture.
These career pathway themes were selected because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, adding about 2.3 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations will add more jobs than any other group of occupations. In engineering the highest percentage for job growth is in biomedical engineering, projected to grow 23 percent. Additionally, underrepresented minorities are not joining the ranks as future health professionals or engineers to the degree that they are represented in the US. The total student population at Sylmar Biotech Health Academy is currently:
300 students - 4.4% African American, 1.4% Asian, 0.7% Filipino, 91.8% Hispanic/Latino, and 1.7% White.
90% of enrolled students participate in the Free/Reduced meal program. Students with disabilities make up 13.7%, and English learners make up 12.3%.
As indicated by the data, SBHA serves a large percentage of underrepresented minorities. Research suggests that the top three causes of under representation in the sciences by minorities are lack of quality science and math programs in poorer school districts, persistent stereotypes that minority students can’t cut it, and financial issues related to the cost of education. SBHA and Linked Learning provide students with access to high quality programs, which in turn gives them the skills and confidence to pursue careers in science based and engineering fields.
Another component of Linked Learning is the partnerships we establish to allow students to receive work-based experiences, such as internships, job shadows, and field trips. Some partnerships that we have formed include the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, the Mission City Mobile Medical Clinic, Abbott Pharmaceuticals and the STEM and CTE programs at Los Angeles Mission College.
During the 2016/17 school year, SBHA went through LInked Learning certification. The rigorous and comprehensive process defines for schools seeking certification what they might envision for its students in the ideal model. The benefit of becoming a Certified Linked Learning School is the school-site serves as a practitioner center for educators across the district, state, and nation to visit and immerse themselves in research-based best practices around the areas of curriculum, assessment, instruction, and student support services. The Linked Learning philosophy and the concept of the practitioner center exemplifies SBHA’s approach to teaching and learning: to transform students' high school experience by bringing together strong rigorous academics, demanding technical education, and real world experiences that help students gain an advantage in college and the workforce.