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.
National 'District of the Year' - LBUSD earned the District of the Year award from the national business news publisher Industry Dive and its publication, Education Dive. The honor is part of the Dive Awards recognizing education’s “top disruptors and innovators.”
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 included multiple LBUSD high schools among those in the top 12 percent in the nation based upon college prep programs.
U.S. News and World Report’s Top Schools - The ranking of America’s top high schools by U.S. News and World Report has repeatedly included multiple LBUSD high schools, including Avalon, Cabrillo, Jordan, Lakewood, McBride, Millikan, Poly, Renaissance and Wilson schools, along with Sato and the California Academy of Mathematics and Science. Alternative education schools Educational Partnership High School and Reid High School have been listed as well. In 2020, CAMS ranked as the top high school in California, and 15th best high school in the nation in 2022. The annual list reviews nearly 24,000 public high schools in the nation.
Grad Rates Increase - LBUSD graduation rates regulalry surpass state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperform their peers countywide and statewide. A record eight high schools here posted graduation rates above 90 percent.
Top Magnet School in State - The California Academy of Mathematics and Science has repeatedly ranked No. 1 among magnet high schools statewide according to niche.com’s annual list of California’s top high schools. Niche's methodology is based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores and feedback from niche.com users. CAMS has earned an A-plus grade in academics, teachers, diversity, college prep, and health and safety. Most recently, CAMS ranked 44th overall among the top high schools in the nation.
Schools That Are 'Beating the Odds' - LBUSD students consistently achieve at higher than expected levels, performing better than students of similar racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in most other districts, says a 2019 report, “California’s Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds,” released by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute. Long Beach was noted as "positive outlier" district where Hispanic, white and African American students achieve at higher than predicted levels.
Top L.A. County Public Schools - Twenty-two LBUSD schools are among 278 in Los Angeles County that are leading the way toward closing achievement gaps for low-income African American and Latino students, according to a 2020 study, “Top Los Angeles County Public Schools.” The University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education and its Sol Price School of Public Policy partnered with the non-profit Innovate Public Schools on the study, which also was supported by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
National Blue Ribbon Schools - California Distinguished School Award winners may apply for a top national honor, the National Blue Ribbon School Award. Winners include Newcomb K-8 Academy, 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.
Distinguished Schools - Cabrillo High School, Sato and California Academy of Mathematics and Science are among 'Distinguished High Schools' recognized by the nonprofit Project Lead the Way, a leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. The honor recognizes schools committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in their programs.
Advanced Placement College Prep Tests - Data from the Washington, D.C.-based Council of the Great City Schools depict Long Beach as a national leader in providing students greater access to Advanced Placement college preparatory courses. A recent report looked at 48 of the nation’s largest school systems and found that the LBUSD ranked first nationally on the percentage of African American male students who took one or more AP courses; ranked second on the overall percentage of students who took one or more AP courses; ranked second on the percentage of Hispanic male students who took one or more AP courses; ranked second on the percentage of reduced price lunch students who took one or more AP courses; and ranked second on the percentage of students with disabilities who took one or more AP courses. Record numbers of students are taking college-level AP exams. The number of AP exams taken has grown steadily for the past 15 years, and LBUSD has earned national recognition from the College Board and others for increasing access to AP courses and tests.
National PTA Honor - Long Beach's Marshall Academy of the Arts earned a National PTA School of Excellence Award for building effective family-school partnerships.
Exemplary Attendance - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recognized LBUSD as a model of how to improve attendance and reduce the number of dropouts.
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.
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.
College Promise a Model for State and Nation - The College Promise initiative has improved college access by providing key incentives and services, including free tuition 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. A 2019 report by the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality included The Promise as one of three case studies exemplifying "bold steps to increase educational and employment opportunity for young people." The City of Long Beach joined the effort as an official partner in 2014, when the initative 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. The Little Hoover Commission, an independent agency that recommends ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness of state programs, released a detailed report citing The Promise as a successful model.
State Business Group Honors 30 Schools - Thirty 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. The annual list is compiled by CBEE and the nonprofit Educational Results Partnership.
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 national, 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.
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.
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.
California Distinguished Schools - A total of 42 LBUSD schools have now received this top state honor: California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Polytechnic and Wilson high schools; Avalon K-12 School, Cubberley, Hudson, Newcomb, Robinson and Tincher K-8 schools;Marshall Academy of the Arts, Hill, Hughes, Keller, Rogers and Stanford middle schools; and Alvarado, Barton, Buffum, Carver, Cleveland, Edison, Emerson, Fremont, Gant, Henry, International, Kettering, Lafayette, Lee, Longfellow, Los Cerritos, Lowell, Madison, Muir, Naples, Prisk, Riley, Roosevelt, Signal Hill, Stevenson, Tucker and Twain elementary schools. Keller won as an elementary school, and more recently, as Keller Dual Immersion Middle School.
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 1,300 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.
ESPN's Top High School Sports Program - ESPN named Poly High School the top sports program in the nation.
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 170 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 its Summer Enrichment Program for first through eighth grade students. The school district has also won Golden Bell awards for numerous initiatives including the significant benefits to students that 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 initiative. Most recently, LBUSD won the prestigious award for its collaborative project with several other Southern California school districts focusing on foster care youth.
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.
Learn more about LBUSD's accomplishments on the home page and in the news archives.