Describing her tour of International Elementary School as “amazing” and “magical,” a senior U.S. Department of Education official reaffirmed that LBUSD’s successes merit replication elsewhere.
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the Education Department, visited classrooms before observing a professional development session at the school district’s Teacher Resource Center.
“We want to learn what Long Beach is doing," the assistant secretary said. “There's an alignment and purpose in Long Beach, from the central office to the schools, to support what goes on in the classroom. That's very clear here.
"We're also interested in the innovative work going on between Long Beach and other school districts as a potential model." Long Beach is working with other urban school systems such as the Fresno Unified School District to improve instruction and gain additional flexibility regarding the expenditure of state funding.
Appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate last July, Meléndez serves as the principal adviser to the U.S. secretary of education on all matters related to pre-kindergarten, elementary and secondary education.
Meléndez is former superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District.