The Year in Review: 2009-10 Highlights

From national recognition by leading experts, to state awards and higher rates of college admissions, the 2009-10 school year was a busy and productive one for the Long Beach Unified School District.  Consider a sampling of the school year's highlights:

  • Scholarships and other monetary awards earned by graduating LBUSD seniors this year exceeded $51.5 million, far surpassing last year’s record of $40 million.
  • Breaking its own record, LBUSD boasted an all-time high of seven schools on Newsweek’s annual listing of America’s Top High Schools.  Only 6 percent of all public high schools in America made the list this year.
  • For a record-tying fifth time, LBUSD was honored among America’s top urban school districts during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.  LBUSD was recognized as one of the top five finalists for the national Broad Prize for Urban Education. As a finalist, the school district received $250,000 in college scholarships for local students.
  • Four-year college enrollment among LBUSD graduates continued to increase, growing by more than 33 percent since 2003.  Enrollment in two-year colleges also showed a significant increase over the same period.
  • Carver, Longfellow and Naples elementary schools were named California Distinguished Schools for their academic excellence.  Thirty-nine LBUSD schools have now won this top state honor.
  • A study by UC Berkeley-based Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) praised the LBUSD’s leadership development programs, noting the school district’s efforts to identify and nurture potential school leaders within the organization.
  • The upward trend of student achievement here attracted attention from the land down under.  Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the country’s second-most senior officer, asked LBUSD to participate in a roundtable discussion on education reform at Rand Corporation’s Santa Monica offices.
  • A national journal on educator training described “a deep commitment to professional learning and widespread use of data” in LBUSD.  The article, “Let Data Do the Talking,” appeared in the Journal of Staff Development.  The journal, produced by the National Staff Development Council, is known as the authority on professional learning.
  • A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute singled out LBUSD as an effectively managed school system.  The report, "Leaders and Laggards," graded the 50 states on various aspects of their educational systems, and it described LBUSD as a leader in educational reform.
  • Eight LBUSD schools made the statewide Honor Roll list announced by California Business for Education Excellence.  Schools receiving this distinction from California’s business community have demonstrated consistently high academic achievement and have made significant progress toward closing achievement gaps among all of their students.
  • Nineteen more teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District earned the highest professional distinction in teaching, National Board Certification.  The newest certifications bring the total number of nationally certified teachers in the district to 129.
  • A ranking of America’s top high schools by U.S. News and World Report included the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, which earned a gold medal by placing within the top 100.  CAMS placed 22nd out of more than 21,000 public high schools nationwide.
  • An independent review of LBUSD’s Head Start program for preschoolers, toddlers, infants and pregnant women showed compliance with about 1,900 federal performance standards, maintaining the program’s status as a national model.
  • In his annual State of Education Address to educators, policymakers, students and parents, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell praised LBUSD’s use of student performance data to improve instruction.
  • An alliance of top U.S. education associations reported that LBUSD “has long been recognized as a model urban school system.”  The Learning First Alliance described LBUSD’s successes in an article at www.publicschoolinsights.org under the section, “Education Visionaries.”
  • Signal Hill and International elementary schools earned the Title I Academic Achievement Award.  The award goes to schools that, despite having large numbers of disadvantaged students, continue to make exemplary progress.
  • The first book to detail examples of successful large-scale reform in the nation's most improved urban districts was released from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s publishing group, and it featured LBUSD.  Bringing School Reform to Scale: Five Award-Winning School Districts, from Harvard Education Press, described specific district-wide reform strategies that led school districts to outpace their peers in raising student achievement – not just in individual schools – but in numerous schools districtwide.
  • Describing her tour of International Elementary School as “amazing” and “magical,” a senior U.S. Department of Education official reaffirmed that LBUSD’s successes merit replication elsewhere.  Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the Education Department, visited classrooms before observing a professional development session at the school district’s Teacher Resource Center.
  • International Elementary School in downtown Long Beach became one of 13 schools to earn the prestigious National Excellence in Urban Education Award for closing achievement gaps.  School officials accepted the honor from the National Center for Urban School Transformation.
  • LBUSD helped to host the 5th Annual National Center for Urban School Transformation’s High Performing Urban Schools Symposium in Long Beach.
  • A case study by the Washington, D.C.-based Business Higher Education Forum called LBUSD’s Seamless Education Partnership a national model.  The Seamless partnership, started in 1994, connects LBUSD’s educators with business leaders, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach to make certain that students progress smoothly through the education systems and into the workforce.
  • A report from Stanford University said LBUSD is creating lasting reforms at the high school level.  The school district’s reform model, known as linked learning (or multiple pathways), provides multiyear programs of study that are rigorous, relevant and directly connected to regional and state economic needs.  The idea is to prepare students for success in a full array of options after high school.
  • A new book examining successful and enduring school reform in the U.S. and beyond praised LBUSD’s steady gains in student achievement.  The book, “All Systems Go: The Change Imperative for Whole System Reform,” said that “Long Beach has had a long run of success from 1992 to the present.”  Author Michael Fullan details LBUSD’s development of higher standards for students, and how those standards are attained through effective central office support for schools.
  • Federal auditors liked what they saw during a visit to LBUSD, praising the district’s fiscal practices, instruction, public accessibility, accountability and parental involvement.  Reviewers from the U.S. Department of Education visited McKinley Elementary School, Hamilton Middle School and LBUSD’s central offices, thoroughly examining everything from record-keeping practices to parental involvement and the level of central office support for principals and their schools.
  • Marshall Middle School earned the prestigious honor of being a National Demonstration Site for the college readiness program AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination.  Of the 285 middle schools in Los Angeles County, only six other middle schools share this distinction.
  • Long Beach teacher Rosa Hernandez was named as a runner up for the national 2010 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year award recently at the National Conference on Family Literacy in San Antonio.
  • LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser was invited to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor in Washington, D.C.  The committee sought Long Beach's input because of the school district's nationally recognized school reforms. Congress is using the testimony as it debates the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • The Hudson K-8 School Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) team took first place in the middle school competition at the state and national levels.
  • Lakewood High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps ranked No. 1 among the 56 NJROTC units in Southern California and Arizona.  The Lakewood unit also qualified for, and competed in the National Drill, Athletic and Academic Competition, which is reserved for the 26 best units in the United States.
  • California submitted its second-round application for federal Race to the Top school funding, with the Long Beach Unified School District playing a leading role in the development of the proposal.
  • A school funding flexibility bill initiated by the Long Beach Unified School District has cleared the state Senate by a 35-0 vote and was headed to the Assembly.  LBUSD introduced SB 1396 as a way to mitigate ongoing, multi-billion-dollar cuts in state funding for education.

In addition to these highlights, a progress report on a two-year-old, local initiative to prepare more youngsters for college success revealed promising results.  Leaders from LBUSD, Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach two years earlier signed The Long Beach College Promise, committing the three institutions to providing local students with greater opportunities to pursue, and succeed in, higher education.  Preliminary results show:

  • More LBUSD graduates are pursuing higher education, with half of them attending LBCC or CSULB.
  • More high school students are being tested on the Early Assessment Program to make certain they are prepared for college work.
  • LBCC students from LBUSD have better math skills than other incoming students.
  • LBCC students from LBUSD are much more likely to persist, or remain enrolled at the college, than their counterparts from other school districts.
  • CSULB’s commitment to prioritize local students for admissions has resulted in an acceptance rate far exceeding that of students from other high schools.
  • CSULB students from LBUSD and LBCC are more likely to persist, or remain enrolled at the university, than their counterparts from other high schools.

For regular updates on the Long Beach Unified School District’s accolades and accomplishments, visit www.lbschools.net.