Giving a Special Gift

By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools

The season of giving is upon us.  But for our employees and our many supporters, giving is not limited to a certain time of the year.  Day in and day out, they give of their talents, time and even their own resources to support the students in our schools.

I was touched by the recent donation of a beautiful, $800 violin that we received as part of an instrument drive to maintain the high quality of our music programs.  Amazingly, the violin was donated by one of our recently laid off teachers.

This selfless act illustrates better than any numerical performance index or test score why our schools are some of the best in the nation.  We care deeply about our students in Long Beach, and we go beyond the call of duty to ensure their success.

Not that data isn’t important.  In fact, one national expert just observed that we in LBUSD are “almost fanatical about data.”  With all our test scores now tabulated, including our year-round schools that tested on a later calendar, it’s clear that more and more schools are reaching the state’s target of 800 out of 1,000 points on the Academic Performance Index, a success story that’s repeated throughout our many diverse neighborhoods no matter the challenges they may face.

But using data is simply a means to an end.  Driving the effective use of data is our underlying dedication to the powerful notion that every child deserves a good education.  Equal access to good schools is nothing less than the civil rights issue of our time, and public schools are still the best equipped institutions to handle this challenge.  For the vast millions of students nationwide, public schools remain the primary means of upward mobility and a path to a better way of life.  Public schools are still the backbone of our democracy.

In Long Beach we’re proving that public schools can stand for excellence and equity, and that we deserve to be supported.  To all who continue to assist us, I thank you for providing our children the lasting, precious gift of a good education, and I wish you a wonderful holiday season.