Long Beach has many reasons to be proud of its local schools.
World-Class Schools - An international study lists LBUSD among five of the world’s highest performing school systems. The Global Education Study is a publication of the national nonprofit Battelle for Kids organization. LBUSD also is one of the world’s top 20 school systems — and one of the top three in the U.S. — in terms of sustained and significant improvements, according to a report described as the most comprehensive analysis of global school system reform ever assembled. The study was conducted by McKinsey & Company, a trusted advisor and counselor to many of the most influential businesses and institutions in the world. McKinsey serves more than 70 percent of Fortune magazine’s most admired companies.
America's Best Urban Schools - LBUSD is a five-time finalist and national winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, America’s most prestigious prize for public school systems. The award recognizes outstanding student achievement, including significant reductions in achievement gaps among students from lower-income and higher-income families.
Washington Post's Top High Schools - The Washington Post’s annual ranking of top high schools has repeatedly listed multiple LBUSD high schools among those in the top 10 percent in the nation based upon college prep programs. The 2015 listing includes Wilson, Millikan, the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Poly, Lakewood, Renaissance and Avalon high schools. Many schools here also earned honors from Newsweek when it published rankings using similar criteria.
U.S. News and World Report’s Top Schools - The 2015 ranking of America’s top high schools by U.S. News and World Report included the California Academy of Mathematics and Science along with Renaissance, Avalon, Wilson, Millikan and Poly high schools.
Scholarships Reach Record Levels - Scholarships and other monetary awards earned by graduating LBUSD seniors in the class of 2015 exceeded $96 million, a new record.
Grad Rates Rising - LBUSD graduation rates increased for the third year in 2015, surpassing state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperform their peers countywide and statewide. Six high schools here posted graduation rates above 90 percent, including the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, along with Avalon, Renaissance, Millikan, Lakewood and Wilson high schools. Poly, Cabrillo and Jordan high schools all reported graduation rates exceeding the state average of 80.8 percent.
National Blue Ribbon Schools - California Distinguished School Award winners may apply for a top national honor, the National Blue Ribbon School Award. Winners of this award include Cubberley K-8 School, Rogers and Hughes middle schools, the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, and Lowell, Twain, Prisk and Naples elementary schools.
National Green Ribbon Schools - Hughes Middle School and Longfellow, Lowell, Twain and Los Cerritos elementary schools have won U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Awards. The awards recognize exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and provide effective environmental education.
Advanced Placement College Prep Tests - Students here signed up for more than 10,000 Advanced Placement college-level exams in 2015, an increase of more than 41 percent over two years. This significant increase occurred after concerted efforts to increase access to AP courses and tests.
Exemplary Attendance -State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recognized LBUSD as one of 11 honorees statewide that are models of how to improve attendance and reduce the number of dropouts. The K-12 attendance rate here is about 96 percent.
Work-based Learning -The school district offers more than 40 career pathways for students to choose from in high school. These pathways are based upon industry themes such as engineering, health and medical science, and travel, trade and tourism – all areas that offer good jobs not far from home.
Town Hall Meeting -More than 600 students, parents and other community members attended LBUSD’s first-ever Students of Color Town Hall Meeting in February of 2015 at Cabrillo High School. The event was part of a partnership with the White House and other large school districts, and it provided dozens of workshops and important information on helping to prepare all students for success in college and careers.
Harvard Book Highlights Long Beach - The first book to detail examples of successful large-scale reform in the nation's most improved urban districts was released from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s publishing group, and it featured LBUSD. Bringing School Reform to Scale: Five Award-Winning School Districts, from Harvard Education Press, described specific district-wide reform strategies that led school districts to outpace their peers in raising student achievement – not just in individual schools – but in numerous schools districtwide.
California Distinguished Schools - Alvarado, Lowell and Naples elementary schools were named California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education in 2014. A total of 39 LBUSD schools have now received this top state honor: Avalon K-12 School, Cubberley, Hudson, Newcomb, Robinson and Tincher K-8 schools, Polytechnic and Wilson high schools, California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Hill, Hughes, Rogers and Stanford middle schools and Alvarado, Barton, Buffum, Carver, Cleveland, Edison, Emerson, Fremont, Gant, Henry, International, Keller, Kettering, Lee, Longfellow, Los Cerritos, Lowell, Madison, Muir, Naples, Prisk, Roosevelt, Signal Hill, Stevenson, Tucker and Twain elementary schools.
College Promise a Model for State - The Little Hoover Commission, an independent agency that recommends ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness of state programs, released a detailed report citing the Long Beach College Promise as a successful model. The College Promise has improved college access by providing key incentives and services, including tuition-free semesters for thousands of students at Long Beach City College, guaranteed admission at Cal State Long Beach for local students who qualify, and college preparation and guidance as early as elementary school to help children understand that college is within reach. The City of Long Beach joined the effort as an official partner in 2014, when the program expanded to emphasize preschool, or early education, and internships. Gov. Jerry Brown awarded the program a $5 million Innovation in Higher Education grant in 2015.
State Business Group Honors 21 Schools - Twenty-one LBUSD schools are listed on the most recent California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll for academic excellence and for reducing achievement gaps among student populations.
Musical Excellence - Year after year, LBUSD students are well represented in Southern California honors orchestras. The music program at Poly High School was recognized by the Grammy Foundation as one of the top seven high school music programs in the nation, and several schools have won state and regional honors.
Top Rating by Sports Illustrated - Sports Illustrated magazine selected Poly High School as its top sports high school in the nation. In what the magazine called "the most selective ranking in all of sports," Poly topped the list of nearly 38,000 high schools in the U.S. based on all-around excellence during the past 10 years, state titles won and college athletes produced. Sports Illustrated also commended Poly's rigorous academics. Students at other local high schools also regularly earn millions of dollars in full-ride athletic scholarships to prestigious colleges and universities.
ESPN's Top High School Sports Program - ESPN named Poly High School the top sports program in the nation.
Stanford Report Lauds LBUSD - A report from Stanford University said LBUSD is creating lasting reforms at the high school level. The school district’s reform model, known as linked learning (or multiple pathways), provides multiyear programs of study that are rigorous, relevant and directly connected to regional and state economic needs. The idea is to prepare students for success in a full array of options after high school.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls LBUSD a National Leader - A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute singled out LBUSD as an effectively managed school system. The report, "Leaders and Laggards," graded the 50 states on various aspects of their educational systems, and it described LBUSD as a leader in educational reform.
Higher Education Experts Say LBUSD Has National Model - A case study by the Washington, D.C.-based Business Higher Education Forum called LBUSD’s Seamless Education Partnership a national model. The Seamless partnership, started in 1994, connects LBUSD’s educators with business leaders, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach to make certain that students progress smoothly through the education systems and into the workforce.
Harvard Business Review Touts LBUSD - A Harvard Business Review report, "How to Manage Urban School Districts," describes successful management efforts in school systems nationwide, including in LBUSD. Schools here have developed a "culture of collaboration and accountability for improving student performance," the report states.
High Rating from Standard & Poor's - An independent report by business data leader Standard and Poor's showed more schools in LBUSD significantly closing achievement gaps than in any other California school district. Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services announced that it identified 103 California schools that have significantly narrowed reading and math achievement gaps between higher-performing and lower-performing student groups. The highly selective list included four schools from Long Beach Unified, the most of any school district throughout the state.
Educational Partnerships - More than 1,200 businesses, organizations and agencies have now formed active educational partnerships with our schools, a record level of involvement. These businesses assist schools, provide guest speakers and field trips, reinforce students' successes and recognize their achievements.
First in the Nation - LBUSD in 1994 became the first public school district in the nation to adopt school uniforms in kindergarten through eighth grade. Hundreds of other school districts nationwide have since followed this example by implementing school uniforms.
National Title I Achieving Schools - LBUSD schools named National Title I Academic Achievement Award winners include: Addams, Alvarado, Birney, Bryant, Buffum, Burroughs, Carver, Edison, Emerson, Fremont, Gompers, Harte, Henry, Hill, Hoover, Hudson, Hughes, International, Kettering, Lafayette, MacArthur, Madison, Mann, Robinson, Rogers, Roosevelt, Signal Hill, Stanford, Tincher and Tucker schools. Federal Title I funds help schools to meet the needs of students living at or below the poverty line.
Exemplary Head Start - LBUSD Head Start, a comprehensive early childhood education program, has repeatedly earned glowing reviews by meeting or exceeding federal requirements during independent, exhaustive evaluations. One national expert called Long Beach Head Start "the best I've ever seen."
National Board Certified Teachers - More than 140 LBUSD teachers have earned their National Board Certification, the highest professional distinction in teaching.
Golden Bell Award - LBUSD won this top state award from the California School Boards Association in recognition of The Summer Enrichment Program for first through eighth grade students. The school district has also won Golden Bell awards for the significant benefits to students that have resulted from the Board of Education's courageous decision to become the first public school system in the U.S. to require school uniforms in grades K-8, its Safe and Civil Schools Initiative, its Beginning Teacher Support project, its Project PEAKS training for teachers of English language learners, and the Long Beach School for Adults' Community-Based English Tutoring.
National School Transformation Award - International and Edison elementary schools won Excellence in Education Awards from the National Center for Urban School Transformation. To compete for the award, schools had to meet a long list of student performance criteria, including attainment of national Adequate Yearly Progress goals, high attendance, low suspension rates and high percentages of students completing rigorous courses of study, or awards for school-wide excellence in academic disciplines.
National School Change Award - Signal Hill and Roosevelt elementary schools received the National School Change Award for significant improvement in student achievement. The award is given by the National Principals Leadership Institute at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education.
Counselors 'Best in West' - LBUSD's counselors have earned numerous statewide honors in the annual SPARC Academy Awards competition. The awards are presented each year to California schools that best define and implement the state school counseling reform curriculum. Earning Best in the West honors were Avalon, Cabrillo, California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Hughes, Jordan, Lakewood, Renaissance, Wilson and Millikan. Winning the SPARC Academy Award were Robinson, Newcomb, Poly and Educational Partnership High School, while Reid and Stephens earned commendations.
School Volunteers - Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS) have provided millions of hours in donated direct services to LBUSD schools and students. They have grown from just a handful of volunteers in 1969 to more than 9,000 volunteers today.
U.S. Secretary of Education Lauds LBUSD - U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had high praise when he met with educators, parents and students at LBUSD’s Tincher Preparatory School. “I’ve studied your school district for a long time, and I think you have so much to be proud of,” Duncan said. “I don’t say this lightly, but more so than the vast majority of other school districts that I visit, this school district has gotten things right for a long time.”
Presidential Praise - In his first major policy speech on education, President Obama pointed to LBUSD's data-driven instruction as something other school districts across the nation should emulate. “Far too far too few districts are emulating the example of Houston and Long Beach, and using data to track how much progress a student is making and where that student is struggling," Obama said. President Clinton during his time in office also praised LBUSD for setting a national trend with its pioneering school uniform policy. "The entire United States of America is in your debt, because you took the first step," Clinton said.