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Three Middle Schools Are Blue Ribbon Finalists

Three middle schools in the Long Beach Unified School District are among 49 nominated by the State Department of Education for the nation’s top school honor, the Blue Ribbon Award. Hughes, Rogers and Stanford middle schools were all recently notified of their nominations. Last year, each of the three schools won the state’s highest award for a school, the California Distinguished School Award. For its exemplary success in meeting the educational needs of students, Stanford has received recognition both as a 1998 California Title I Achieving School and as a 1999 California Distinguished School. Stanford was featured for its academic excellence in the October 27, 1997 Time Magazine cover story "What Makes a GOOD School." As one of three "shining examples" from across the U.S., Stanford was presented as a national model of excellence in public education. The magazine drew attention to the exemplary work the Stanford staff is doing for students--boosting test scores, offering unique programs and supporting teacher professional development to serve its large multicultural student body. Hughes was recognized in part for its success in using the district’s content standards to provide clear expectations for achievement. The evidence is in the classroom where student work is on display with related standards and matching scoring guides. Hughes was also commended for its professional, collaborative and congenial working relationships among staff members. Grade level and subject area teams meet regularly to discuss student work, agreeing on what proficient work looks like, planning and coordinating activities and freely exchanging ideas. Its rigorous TAP program (Talent Achievement Potential) prespares students to excel at Poly High School’s nationally recognized PACE program, whose graduates earn top SAT and AP test scores and millions of dollars of scholarships annually. Rogers was recognized for its outstanding innovations, including the adoption of block scheduling, pioneering uniform requirements, implementation of rigorous content standards, integration of technology into the curriculum and extensive teacher technology training, common teacher planning time, greater use of interdisciplinary instruction, piloting of electronic and paper-based student portfolios in math and language arts, use of performance-based assessments, smaller class sizes for low-performing students, and accelerated classes for high achievers. Rogers has been featured in Readers Digest and USA Today. If the Blue Ribbon contenders are selected for further review, the schools will have inspections early next year. Blue Ribbon winners will be notified in the spring. Last year, Prisk and Twain elementary schools were honored as Blue Ribbon schools, joining Cubberley School as LBUSD’s outstanding national award winners.