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Guest Principals Rave About Local Schools

More than 200 guest principals from business and industry were impressed by the high quality of local schools that they saw during a recent day of shadowing principals here in California’s third largest school district. Following a day at their school, the Principals for a Day gathered for a debriefing to share their observations. At the reception, Al Spain, JetBlue Airways Corporation's senior vice president for operations, earned a standing ovation when he announced that he was giving each of the school district’s everyday principals a free plane ticket to any non-stop destination. Spain had spent the day as Superintendent for a Day, shadowing Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of schools. "Today was an opportunity to see a broad spectrum of what’s going on in the school district," Spain told the audience. "I’ve served as principal for a day in New York, and what I’ve seen here today really challenges everything New York is doing in their public schools. I saw some great instruction and teachers, great principals, and I’m so thankful for what you’re doing here." JetBlue is based at New York’s JFK International Airport. Principal for a Day has been the most successful business-in-education activity of the last decade. Hundreds of business and education partnerships have begun through this popular event. It is co-sponsored by the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the Long Beach Unified School District and the Long Beach Education Foundation. Co-chairs of this year’s event were Ryan Alsop, manager of government and public affairs for the Long Beach Water Department, and Bruce MacRae, public affairs manager for UPS. At the debriefing session, Spain also announced that JetBlue was donating 50 airline tickets for high school students and staff to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators and learn the ropes at the Capitol. An additional two tickets per high school were donated to help raise funds for school projects. Boeing announced a donation of $100,000 for teacher professional development, early childhood education, Advanced Placement college preparation and other efforts. The debriefing session was taped and will be aired on Channel 24 in Long Beach and on Channel 35 in Lakewood. Airtime is 6:30 p.m. on November 18, 24 and 25, and December 1 and 2. Principal for a Day participants raved about their experience visiting classrooms and learning what it takes to run a public school. "I am so impressed with the high schools. I went to Lakewood last year and Wilson this year. The schools are large, with more than 4,000 kids, but what a nice job they do in class. The students are very attentive and well behaved. I can understand why the school district won the Broad Award. My hat’s off to the school district." — Ray Jankowski, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Hospital of Long Beach "The principal at Hudson is doing a great job. We had a wonderful assembly with about 1,200 students sitting there patiently. The Chamber of Commerce believes that a great community begins and ends with a great educational system. Principal for a Day is more than a few hours away from the office. I encourage everyone to get involved with your schools and stay involved all year." — Larry Whitley, Chairman of the Board, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and Director of Boeing 767 Tanker Communications "Kudos to Barton Elementary School. The principal, Luana Wesley, is doing a fine job. I learned a great deal about what teachers are doing, and I just wish some of them had been my instructors." — Willie Denton, Sales Representative, California Lottery "The principal at Hoover Middle School, Mike Troyer, went through every program that’s offered at the school, and I agree 100 percent with what he’s doing there. The results are highly commendable. It was a good experience, and I recommend that everyone do it at least once." — Joe Esquivel, Mayor, City of Lakewood "Hiring Sally Gregory as principal at Avalon was the best decision the school district has ever made. She’s doing an outstanding job." — Ralph Morrow, Mayor, City of Avalon "We clearly saw a lot of positive things going on in the classroom. I’ve done principal for a day in four cities, and Long Beach is doing a lot of things that I haven’t seen elsewhere, using creative approaches to reach kids through technology and other means. I’m looking forward to continuing a relationship with Millikan High School."— Eric Brown, Senior Vice President, Charter Communications "As a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, I was pleased to see the music program that has been reinstated at Franklin Middle School. My experience there exceeded my wildest expectations. It was an incredible learning experience. They’re accomplishing steady progress. It’s awesome to see that our schools have quality teachers, textbooks, physical plants and an administrative team working together with the community to help students achieve more than at any time in the past decade. The key to that is the principal at Franklin, David Taylor. He’s the kind of administrator that every school should be blessed to have." — Bill Grisolia, Chief Executive Officer, Sunfish Restaurants