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A Time of Change and Opportunity

By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools

Note to parents: provided below is my most recent message to our employees thanking them for their work as we face significant changes.  I know that you also are working hard to help us with these efforts, especially by sending your children to school each day, ready to learn.  I deeply appreciate your support and will keep you upated on the challenges and opportunities summarized here.  New resources from the state also bring new accountability, and in the coming months we will be providing detailed information on how additional funds will be used in our schools.

Several times a year, I gather input from fellow employees at our informal Coffee with Chris meetings.  At the most recent meeting this month, I heard first-hand how diligently our employees are working on a number of fronts.  Your hard work also is clearly evident as I visit schools and classrooms, and I think it’s time to acknowledge the magnitude of the changes that many of you are facing.

To say it’s been a busy school year is an understatement.  With the Common Core and our transition to new assessments, new report cards, our federal waiver from No Child Left Behind rules, and the implementation of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, it’s normal to feel apprehensive at times.  These are huge changes that sometimes involve uncharted territory.   That’s OK.  We must also remember that now is a time of tremendous opportunity.

The new academic standards under Common Core, combined with the long overdue overhaul of school finance under LCFF, represent a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to reshape our schools for the better.  Add to that mix an infusion of state funds for Common Core (including $6 million in funding for new technology), the major grants that we’ve received for professional development, and the resources that LCFF will bring to the school level over the next several years, and you can see that we’re poised for meaningful and lasting improvements in our school district.  Schools will have more power to direct funding where it is needed most.  With that increased power comes increased accountability.  More than ever, we must rely upon data to make decisions at the district and school site levels.

Real change doesn’t happen overnight.  Sometimes it takes years.  But we are well on our way, with a firm foundation to build upon, including more stable funding from the state.  Our most important asset, though, is our  human capital – our dedicated employees.  Ultimately you are the ones who breathe life into these reforms by striving for a better way, by persevering and by putting students first.  Here at our school district offices, we are making a continual effort to listen to the feedback of our school site employees as they take on these many challenges.  We want to provide the support that our employees need to serve our students better, especially students who struggle and need the most help.

I have seen your work over these many years, through good times and bad, and I have the utmost confidence that the Long Beach Unified School District will again rise to the occasion and continue to serve as a model for public school systems nationwide.  The result will be greater opportunity and a brighter future for thousands of children.  If you have concerns or comments as you undertake this important work, you can always email me directly at cstein@lbschools.net.

Thank you for all that you do for our students.