September 19, 2008
An extensive cover story from The Learning System, a National Staff Development Council newsletter, details the Long Beach Unified School District’s successful professional development programs for teachers.
“Long Beach’s sustained success provides an example to other districts, both large and small,” states the article, which describes Long Beach’s professional development programs for new teachers, veteran teachers and principals.
The article notes that more than 90 percent of new teachers hired in Long Beach return for a second year, and 93 percent of those return again for a third year.
A significant advantage of LBUSD’s professional development efforts is its close relationship with local teacher education programs. Most Long Beach Unified School District curriculum leaders also teach at California State University, Long Beach, which helps to prepare new teachers for the realities of local classrooms.
“When we hire them, they already know the Long Beach way,” said history curriculum leader Linda Mehlbrech.
The article praises Long Beach’s work to spread instructional consistency throughout the organization through pacing charts, common course assessments and studying the data they provide. The district also created a three-year new teacher training program coordinated with the state’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA).
Long Beach provides five days of focused instruction on standards and EEEI for new teachers before school starts, another seven days of intense professional development focused on their needs during the first year, and five to seven days during their second year.
“At every level,” the article says, “curriculum leaders provide support for teachers and principals, adding a human touch that helps develop relationships and create a culture of collaboration throughout the system.”