14 Title I Achieving Schools Win High Honors

Fourteen Long Beach Unified School District schools won outstanding 2004 No Child Left Behind Title I Achieving Schools awards recently – twice as many as the seven local schools that won $857,935 last year. Together, Long Beach and Lakewood dominated the middle school category, winning three of only six middle school awards given statewide this year. Winners include Birney, Bryant, Burroughs, Emerson, Gompers, Madison, Mann and Signal Hill elementary schools; Hudson, Robinson and Tincher schools; and Hill, Hoover and Rogers middle schools. "These schools, which often face the greatest challenges, should make everyone in the State of California proud of our investment in public education," said Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction. He described the winners as "beacons of light." "They are beating the odds every day," O’Connell said. "They prove that the notion that all kids can learn is more than just a slogan. It is a reality." Of more than 5,000 California schools that receive federal Title I funds, 283 made the high achievement gains required to apply for the award. Of those, 214 won. All 14 of LBUSD’s finalists won. Each nominated school underwent a rigorous review by the California Department of Education, including school visits by evaluators from county offices of education. The 214 winners each accepted a plaque and banner but no dollars at the Title I Academic Achievement Awards "Beacons of Light" Conference at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel in Burlingame. At the conference, staff from the 14 local winning schools gave formal presentations about their successful practices. The State Board of Education is reviewing the amount of this year’s monetary awards. If awards comparable to last year’s were made, the 14 local schools would receive more than $1.7 million. The state’s budget woes, however, may reduce this amount. Started in 1984, the Title I Academic Achievement Awards recognize excellence in meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. The awards honor the highest achieving Title I schools. Criteria for the 2004 award included demographic and academic factors. To be eligible, at least 40 percent of all students enrolled in these schools must be from low-income families. Each school documented two years of test results showing growth on the state Academic Performance Index (API). Each winning school achieved at least double its schoolwide API growth target, and double its growth target for disadvantaged students. Winners also made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.