SCHOOLS THAT INSPIRE
K-12 EDUCATION THAT WORKS
Located in the shadow of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Tracy Learning Center in Tracy, CA, exemplifies the kind of K -12 school that creates resilient talent for an ever-changing workforce. With 1,200 students wedged into a dilapidated old one-level building, the school is short on resources but long on creativity. Its experiential learning focuses on mastery, not pace, and its team-based, inter- disciplinary classes turn out workforce-ready graduates who can think critically, compute, and create.
While Tracy does not “teach to the test,” it boasts higher test scores than the California state averages. The school’s dropout rate is zero; indeed, most students graduate with community college credits, some with a full year under their belts.
Graduates are bound for the trades or funneled into more education, significantly in the STEM fields. They are propelled by the school’s requirement of 200 hours of internships and courses in finance, investment, and writing a small business plan. This summons a powerful sense of can-do in students, who engage with mature mentors in their chosen fields— in science labs, on factory floors, in architectural engineering firms, with patent lawyers, in medical technology centers, and beyond.
The Tracy Learning Center also works closely with community resources including the nearby Livermore National Lab, where it net- works with the lab’s scientists and occasionally gets access to Liver- more’s facilities.
The school reports that 1,500 families are on its waiting list.