By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools
Together we have so much to celebrate as we complete a school year filled with resounding success.
Students continue to make great progress toward the goals in our Local Control and Accountability Plan. Preliminary results of state testing show that our students again have achieved significant gains in reading and math at various grade levels and across our diverse subgroups. We now have eight high schools that have reached their graduation rate goal of at least 90 percent. More students are completing the A-G college entrance requirements, and record numbers of students are taking advantage of internships and other career-based learning experiences.
Across the state and nation, others have noticed the good work being done in our local schools. The past year saw many independent entities recognize our efforts to provide equitable opportunities for all students. The Washington-D.C.-based Council of the Great City Schools ranked the Long Beach Unified School District among the top school systems nationally when it comes to enrolling students in Advanced Placement college preparatory courses, particularly African American and Hispanic students, as well as students who have disabilities. Recently, the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute included LBUSD on a statewide list of “positive outlier” school districts whose African American, Hispanic and white students consistently outperform students of similar racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in most other districts. The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality issued a report that includes The Long Beach College Promise as one of three case studies exemplifying “bold steps to increase educational and employment opportunity for young people.”
Many individual schools, programs and employees earned state and national honors this school year, including recognition by U.S. News and World Report, the California Department of Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Band Association, the California Association of School Psychologists, California Business for Education Excellence and more.
Implementation of the $1.5 billion Measure E school bonds program continued this year with approximately $1 billion in active projects to improve our campuses. New air conditioning systems and related infrastructure upgrades have been completed or are in progress at 18 campuses, with more on the way.
Our school district remains in good fiscal health with prudent reserves due to careful planning and disciplined budget implementation.
We’ve marked important milestones in recent months, dedicating the beautiful new EduCare Los Angeles at Long Beach center alongside tricycle-riding preschoolers, and celebrating the completion of a $40 million renovation of Renaissance High School for the Arts, where our talented students entertained us with song and dance. This week, we celebrate another milestone – the first graduating class of our Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science.
We’ve witnessed thrilling athletic feats (and firsts), including Cabrillo High School’s victory in the boys state soccer championship.
The factors behind each of these successes are many. Untold hours of hard work. Sweat. Tears. Generosity. Patience. Persistence. Courage. Professionalism. Dedication. The end result is victory for more children, and that’s something to be proud of. Long after the final school bell tolls, the impact of your work will resonate. Congratulations to the Class of 2019, and thank you to everyone who contributes – each in their own important way – to the enduring success of our local public schools.