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Schools Wow 200 Guest Principals for a Day

More than 200 guest principals from business and industry were most impressed by the high quality instruction, dedicated leadership and focused students they saw during a recent day of shadowing principals. The fifth annual Principal for a Day event was sponsored by the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Long Beach Education Foundation. After visiting 90 local schools, guest principals attended a wrap-up reception and debriefing session at the Long Beach Hilton. Their observations reveal strong support for what they witnessed: "It was excellent. I was amazed at the test score improvement since the principal, Miriam Garcia, has been at Burroughs. They are applying a business model to education, the Baldrige process. I was fascinated because of the feedback scenario, with students rating themselves and taking ownership of their own education, asking themselves, ‘Did I really behave well and use my time wisely this week?’"—Larry Forester, councilmember, City of Signal Hill "We were just extraordinarily impressed by what we saw at Hill Classical Middle School: the rise in scores, several grant projects and the way the administration ran the school. I couldn’t believe it when they described how far the school has come. It’s an amazing accomplishment."—Susan Forman, Forman Consulting "My impression of Millikan High School was very favorable. The job of principal was quite different than I thought – much more active. We visited a 3-D art class that was very engaging – one of the best classes I’ve ever visited. That was impressive, because we always hear about the need for more arts in our schools."—Bradley Wells, vice president for finance and administration, The J. Paul Getty Trust "Both of the principals at Millikan are doing a great job of taking a large enterprise and running it efficiently. Every classroom we went into had a clear list of standards and objectives as to what that class was going to focus on that day. The culture of the school reflects a very business-like attitude, something you would find in the private sector. It’s clear that the students know what they need to learn."—Gregory McGinity, director of policy, The Broad Foundation "It’s amazing what they’re doing at Cabrillo High School. The students are motivated, energized and excited to learn. The equipment and classes they offer are amazing. They’re doing great things there. Principals Mel Collins and Cynthia Terry really care about the students. They love what they do, and that’s reciprocated by the students. "I think this is something that everyone in the workforce should experience. I really believe it is important for students to hear and see people who can talk about their jobs and how they got to where they are. It gives students an incentive to achieve. It reminds me that life is not just about me and my job. It’s about helping somebody else. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own jobs that we forget the need out there."—Yvonne Allen, chief wharfinger, Port of Long Beach. "There are some really incredible things going on at Jordan High School, with the International Baccalaureate and AIMS (Aspirations in Medical Services). The school is run beautifully by the principals. It’s a great school with great leadership. We’re delighted to be a part of that effort."—Craig Watson, vice president, Charter Communications. "What we saw at Wilson High School today was something we do at UPS (United Parcel Service) – management by walking around. There’s a lot of pride in the Long Beach Unified School District, and it starts with leadership. We have nothing to change at Wilson High School because principals Sandy Blazer and Alex Flores and their people do their jobs with respect, love and dignity."—Bruce MacRae, public affairs manager, UPS "I was struck by the absolute engagement of students and the strategic, systematic focus on curriculum and professional development. I was also struck by the discipline of the 4,600 students at Wilson High School."—Lou Anne Bynum, chair of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and LBCC Vice President for Economic and Resources Development "There was terrific interaction between students and teachers. Clearly Long Beach is setting the standard for school districts across the country. Superintendent Chris Steinhauser has built a great team with great energy. You can just tell when you walk into a school with him that people are so supportive of Chris. One of the key secrets we have here is the involvement of the community. That’s a tribute to our educational system and the passion of our educators."—Randal Hernandez, appointments secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger