An independent report by Standard and Poor’s shows that more schools in the Long Beach Unified School District are significantly closing achievement gaps than in any other California school district. Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services announced this month that it has identified 103 California schools that have significantly narrowed reading and math achievement gaps between higher-performing and lower-performing student groups during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years. The highly selective list includes four schools from Long Beach Unified, the most of any school district throughout the state. "It is difficult to narrow achievement gaps," said Thomas Sheridan, vice president of New York-based Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services. "However, this analysis shows that there are a number of schools that have made outstanding progress. Their success should be commended, and their practices should be examined to illuminate strategies that can be implemented by educators who are working hard in other parts of California to raise the performance of all students." The LBUSD schools listed in the study include Hill Classical Middle School, Hoover Middle School, Marshall Middle School and Carver Elementary School. "Closing the achievement gap is a top priority for our Board of Education," said Christopher J. Steinhauser, Superintendent of Schools for the Long Beach Unified School District. "Congratulations to the teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students of these schools. "The fact that our school system has the most number of schools on this impressive list confirms our belief that children from all walks of life can and must achieve at higher levels," Steinhauser said. The latest report represents Standard & Poor's second analysis of achievement gaps in California. This study takes a closer look at achievement gaps by focusing on schools, rather than school districts, that have made significant progress. To be recognized in the study, schools had to reduce at least one achievement gap between student groups in reading and math proficiency rates by more than five percentage points from one year to the next; and simultaneously raise those rates for each student group compared. Hill Classical Middle School was recognized for closing achievement gaps among African American and white students in seventh grade reading and eighth grade math. Marshall Middle School closed achievement gaps among African American and white students in eighth grade reading and sixth grade math. Hoover Middle School closed achievement gaps among Hispanic and white students in eighth grade reading and in sixth and eighth grade math. Carver Elementary School closed gaps among economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in second and fifth grades for reading and math. S&P is a world leader in providing business data. Since 2001, S&P’s School Evaluation Services has worked to provide educators and taxpayers with an objective, independent analysis of school data to allow effective implementation of school reform. S&P provides its data and analysis to the public on a free, interactive website at www.SchoolMatters.com. The latest report was produced through the National Education Data Partnership, which is funded by The Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.