'Your Extra Efforts Give Kids, Parents Hope'

By Chris Steinhauser Superintendent of Schools Amid another lean budget year and other difficult challenges, our employees’ daily efforts continue to give our students the best gift of all: a good education. Thanks to your dedication and willingness to put kids first, our schools this fall have gained the attention of educators from throughout the state, the nation and beyond – most recently from Hong Kong. More importantly, you’ve earned the respect and appreciation of the parents we serve, and they continue to show overwhelming support. The tally of this school year’s accomplishments is impressive. Thank you to all who have contributed to these and many other successful efforts this school year. • Results for both traditional and year-round schools showed that the Long Beach Unified School District continues to exceed both the academic growth of Los Angeles County and the State of California. Recent numbers from the state showed 86 percent of schools in the Long Beach Unified School District achieved growth on the state Academic Performance Index, outpacing the statewide rate of 84 percent. • Nearly 17,000 parents of Long Beach Unified School District students responded to a recent survey with expressions of strong support for their schools and school leaders. When asked to agree or disagree with the statement, "Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s school," 93 percent of those responding either agreed or strongly agreed. Parents responded with even higher marks for school leadership. When asked to assess the statement, "The administration is effective at running this school," 95 percent agreed or strongly agreed. • DeMille Middle School teacher James Orihuela received a $25,000 surprise award recently from the Milken Family Foundation during a school assembly. The announcement drew wild cheers from hundreds of students. Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards recognize America’s best teachers and principals. • Hill Classical Middle School is in the running for the 2006 No Child Left Behind National Blue Ribbon School Award, the highest national honor a school can earn. Only 35 schools in California were nominated for the award. The Blue Ribbon Award winners will be announced in September. • LBUSD has 17 elementary and K-8 schools that are eligible to apply for the 2006 California Distinguished School Award. District schools eligible to apply are Buffum, Carver, Edison, Fremont, Gant, Gompers, Holmes, Hudson, International, Lee, Madison, Muir, Newcomb, Prisk, Robinson, Tincher and Twain. • Lakewood High School was named one of 10 statewide winners of the Gold Standard Award given by California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE). CBEE was founded in 1999 by major corporations and business organizations to represent the business community in state education policy making. The organization’s president, James S. Lanich, described Lakewood as "uniquely successful." His council’s members include the California Taxpayers’ Association, California Business Roundtable, California Chamber of Commerce, The Boeing Company, Bank of America, IBM Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation and others. • The state’s GEAR UP college readiness program recognized Lindbergh Middle School with a prestigious School on the Move award. Lindbergh was one of only four schools in GEAR UP’s southern region, and one of only eight schools statewide, to be honored for its exemplary practices. • Students and staff have raised tens of thousands of dollars for hurricane relief, attracting national attention for their selfless and creative efforts. These are teachable moments that our students will remember forever. • Emerson Parkside Academy received a site visit to determine if they will win the Eureka Award for Performance Excellence, the state version of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. If Emerson wins the award, it will be the first charter school in California to earn the high honor. • The California Academy of Mathematics and Science was featured on a national television program broadcast live from Washington, D.C., highlighting the innovative high school reforms implemented at the award-winning school. • Performance by Long Beach Unified School District students on Advanced Placement exams is now higher than state, national and international averages in nine subject areas: calculus, European history, music theory, physics B, physics C (mechanics), Spanish language, Spanish literature, statistics and world history. • More than 200 guest principals from business and industry were impressed by the high quality of local schools they saw at the annual Principal for a Day event. We welcomed outstanding new corporate sponsor, JetBlue Airways Corporation.