The Long Beach Unified School District has launched the North Long Beach Initiative, a six-month planning effort to guide public policy addressing the educational and social needs of students and their families.
LBUSD's Board of Education was joined by Mayor Bob Foster, representatives from the Long Beach Police Department, and other civic and community leaders during a recent launch ceremony at Jordan High School.
The initiative is tied to a $105 million investment the school district is making in the North Long Beach community through a major renovation of Jordan High School, scheduled for completion in 2015. The school was built in 1935 and serves 2,800 students in grades 10 to 12. By law, Measure K funds may only be used for local school construction and modernization, which protects the Jordan High renovation from the state budget cuts that LBUSD and other school districts continue to face.
As the single largest project funded by Measure K (the $1.2 billion school bond measure approved by 71 percent of voters in 2008), Jordan’s renovation will transform the campus into a model 21st Century learning environment.
“The new Jordan High School could become a centerpiece for revitalization of the larger North Long Beach area,” said LBUSD?Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. “Because students spend, on average, only 20 percent of their waking hours in the classroom, it’s imperative that their academic and social success is supported beyond school walls.”
In the next six months, the school district, in collaboration with the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, will conduct community surveys and a series of forums and focus groups to determine the greatest challenges and most-needed resources in North Long Beach.
"This is a great collaboration," Mayor Foster said at the launch event, where he pledged to support the effort. "We all know we have a great school district, but there is always room for improvement. I think this investment will pay dividends for years to come."
The school district is seeking input from representatives from government, non-profits, business and professional entities, parents and school-based groups. A North Long Beach Initiative Community Advisory Committee has been formed.
Although students at Jordan High and its eleven feeder schools have made great strides in recent years, many of them lag behind students in other schools in the district on the state Academic Performance Index.
“This initiative represents the school district’s desire to ensure educational success for all its students,” Steinhauser said. “We believe that every child can succeed and that all children deserve the resources and support needed to do so.”