January 07, 2005
By Chris Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools
The budget news out of Sacramento has not improved. Lean times continue for California schools. Despite our limited resources, however, the Long Beach Unified School District has added to its impressive list of honors and accomplishments this school year. Your efforts continue to earn state, national and even international recognition.
You should all be proud of these recent achievements. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to these and many other successful efforts this school year.
• The California Academy of Mathematics and Science was named a 2004 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. CAMS was one of only 32 public high schools in the U.S. to receive this top national honor.
• Hundreds of students, parents, school staff and community leaders celebrated the opening of Long Beach’s first new downtown school in five years, Cesar Chavez Elementary School.
• Seventeen more teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District earned the top professional distinction in teaching, National Board Certification. These teachers were honored by our Board of Education this week. The newest certifications bring the total number of nationally certified teachers in the school district to 76.
• Joan Kennedy and Patty Nagano, specialist teachers at Roosevelt Elementary School, were selected to receive the Hilda Maehling Award from the National Education Association. Joan and Patty wrote a Learning and Leadership Grant for video cameras and release time so that new teachers and their coaches can watch each other’s classroom lessons. This should help new teachers to learn effective teaching skills more quickly.
• Each of the school district’s large, comprehensive high schools – Cabrillo, Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan, Polytechnic and Wilson – recently met and exceeded their overall state Academic Performance Index targets and their national No Child Left Behind targets for yearly progress.
• Enrollment in high school advanced placement and honors classes in LBUSD is increasing rapidly. This year, local high schools are offering more AP classes than ever before. More than 14,000 of the 26,000 students now attending high school here have completed or are taking one or more AP or honors courses. AP enrollment increased by 1,700 students this year. Enrollment in honors classes increased by 700 students. In some local schools, nearly 40 percent of the students are now taking AP classes, a record high.
• Lakewood High School became one of 50 schools nationwide--the only high school in California--selected to be a NASA Explorer School. The three-year partnership will bring to Lakewood scientific and engineering adventures that engage students using unique NASA resources and capabilities. The program is designed to give students the foundation and inspiration to pursue careers in science, math and technology.
• The Broad Foundation recently awarded $1.14 million to the Long Beach Unified School District to expand the district’s award-winning use of Baldrige strategies for continuous improvement at schools and central offices. The grant exceeds the combined $1 million amount previously awarded by the foundation to LBUSD for winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education as the best urban school district in the nation, for qualifying as a finalist the previous year, and for past Baldrige implementation.
• Many elementary schools reduced class sizes in fourth and fifth grade. The smaller class sizes allow teachers to give more individualized assistance to students. Reducing class size is a major accomplishment during lean times.
• Sylvia Padilla, a teacher at Henry Elementary School, earned the Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year Award.
• More than 200 guest principals from business and industry were impressed by the high quality instruction, dedicated leadership and focused students they saw during a 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.
• Our schools continue to attract the attention of visitors from far and wide. Recent visitors have included California State Board of Education President Ruth Green and fellow board member Johnathan Williams, teams of teachers and administrators from Reno’s Washoe County School District, Fresno Unified School District and Naga City School District in the Philippines.