Long Beach Unified School District has again been recognized for its outstanding programs that have helped students make substantial academic gains and acquire skills for success in college and career.
Long Beach is one of just five school systems in the world recognized by the Ohio-based nonprofit Batelle for Kids, ranking alongside Ontario, Hong Kong, Finland and Singapore.
Batelle for Kids, whose partners include the Carnegie Corporation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education as well as the Ohio School Boards Association, began looking at school systems with a reputation for lasting success. Beginning with 12 school systems that ranked well in several international studies, Batelle teams spent three days with each school system, visiting schools, observing classrooms, and talking with teachers to determine the final five.
The winners were successful with students of any socioeconomic status, “places that had remained exceptional despite leadership changes, a changing world context, and turnover of staff over time,” explains the organization’s report of the six “drivers of success” that characterized the top five systems. They are: early learning; personalization and pathways for student success; teacher selectivity, quality and growth; focus on learning linked to economic development; and a cultural expectation of value.
The Long Beach district, as the “Global Education Study” reports, capitalizes on its location near the busy Port of Long Beach to provide 16 career-technical education pathways that are valued by local employers. It also encourages teachers to share best practices with their colleagues and creates an environment where it’s OK to ask for help. The district works closely with California State University, Long Beach to strengthen teacher preparation. “In this kind of atmosphere, strong teachers personally thrive and professionally grow,” the researchers said.
“Hats off to Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser and the teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students of Long Beach Unified School District for this well-earned recognition as one of the highest-performing school systems in the world,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a congratulatory statement. “Their work to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century by providing them with the real-world skills they need for college and the workplace has made Long Beach a shining example of the success that comes from teamwork, focus, and commitment.”
Notably, the Global Education Study team wrote that they knew going in that there are no silver bullets in education and that they needed to be careful about looking at international systems through an American lens. “What perhaps we did not realize before our planes lifted off for distant lands is that our journey would result in a universal sense of ‘going home’—rediscovering what our Long Beach colleagues emphasize all the time—to be successful we need to ‘act as a family.’ ”
Read more about each success factor in “Global Education Study: Six Drivers of Student Success”. See also this note from Long Beach Superintendent Steinhauser.