Long Beach Leads in Teacher Prep

A report from a national nonprofit group describes Long Beach as a model for teacher preparation in California.

“California State University Long Beach, Long Beach Unified School District and Long Beach City College offer the state’s most comprehensive example of district–higher education collaboration around teacher preparation,” reports the new publication, “Rethinking Teacher Preparation,” released by the Washington, D.C-based research nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners.

Long Beach’s three main education institutions have created a pipeline that produces 70 percent of the school district’s new teachers, who graduate understanding the district’s expectations and approach, according to the report. The colleges and the school district work together to design teacher prep coursework, with Long Beach Unified teachers and administrators teaching courses at the college of education. Researchers found that the teacher attrition rate at LBUSD is nearly two-thirds lower than the national average for urban school systems.

The partnership among Long Beach’s education institutions is more than 20 years old and is part of a broader effort to create a seamless educational pipeline for Long Beach students from preschool through higher education. Key elements of this model, according to the report, are:

  • Ongoing dialogue about what new teachers need and how to build that into the training experience;
  • Faculty members and administrators from LBUSD teach courses in Cal State Long Beach’s College of Education;
  • Some CSULB courses are offered on LBUSD school campuses, and co-taught by school district and university faculty;
  • Faculty and administrators from the three institutions frequently collaborate to design and provide professional development for LBUSD faculty, and to revise coursework for preparation programs;
  • Candidates complete highly structured field experiences in diverse, urban classrooms within LBUSD.

Because many of CSULB’s teacher graduates attended K-12 schools in Long Beach, and completed higher education at LBCC and CSULB through partnerships with those institutions, they often have deep roots in the community, the report states. And because their training is tailored to the needs of the schools where they are likely to work, they are better prepared to succeed when they begin teaching. As a result of the partnership, Long Beach has increased teacher retention and reduced annual attrition rates to 7 percent (13 percentage points lower than the national average for urban school districts).

“These preparation partnerships are one component of LBUSD’s integrated approach to cultivating teacher talent, including recruitment and hiring, certification/licensure, induction/retention, professional development, and accountability,” the report notes. “The district offers a variety of programs and services to support these objectives, all rooted in research on high-quality professional development.”

Read the full report.