By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools
Congratulations to our students, parents and employees on a smooth start to the school year. I visited many schools this week and was impressed by how enthusiastic and focused everyone was as they began the noble work of teaching and learning. Making our enthusiasm even more palpable are several positive developments.
For the first time in years, we enter the school year without the threat of cuts in statewide funding for education. California voters’ approval of Proposition 30 tax revenues and the state’s approval of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula are bringing additional resources to schools.
During the summer, our school district earned a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind rules. This waiver removes burdensome regulations, allowing greater flexibility as to how we spend millions of dollars in federal funding on additional academic help for students. More than $5 million has been allocated to schools to provide academic interventions for our K-12 students.
Our school district also has been awarded several significant grants, including $7.5 million from the Bechtel Foundation and $5 million from the Gates Foundation to support professional development as we implement the Common Core Standards. These standards are key to preparing more students for success in college and careers, which is why we’ve just created a Common Core website at lbschools.net.
Meanwhile, we continue to see encouraging signs of academic progress, with most schools showing academic growth, eighth grade algebra proficiency far exceeding state averages, 93 percent of twelfth graders passing the California High School Exit Exam, and reading scores posting the greatest gains among California’s 10 largest school systems.
This week, we also opened both our first new high school in 18 years (McBride High School), and a long-awaited new aquatics center at Cabrillo High School. Many other Measure K school construction and renovation projects are progressing nicely as we strive to provide our students and staff the modern school facilities they need and deserve.
Thanks to the perseverance of our employees, parents, students and many community partners, we have accomplished so much despite difficult challenges. The result is that our schools and students are uniquely poised to achieve great success in the years ahead. With deep appreciation to all of you who continue to make our school system one of the world’s best, I wish you a safe and rewarding school year. Keep up the great work.