Long Beach Unified has grabbed another award for excellence.
The state’s third-largest school district and winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education was named Thursday one of the five top school districts in the world by Battelle for Kids, a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit organization that counsels school districts on school improvement and innovation.
Long Beach was the only American district cited in Battelle’s report, The Global Education Study; the other four winners – diverse and quite different from one another – were all national or provincial systems: Finland; Singapore; Ontario, Canada; and Hong Kong.
In the announcement, Battelle said, “We define a high-performing system as one in which low-performing students perform not much differently than top-performing students, and where family socioeconomic status is not a significant driver of student performance. High-performing systems are in the top ranks on quality, equity, and productivity and recognize the importance of international benchmarking.”
Pointing to six “common drivers leading to student success,” Battelle praised the district’s pathways programs, which align courses to career opportunities in the Long Beach area; the quality of the teachers in the district; their ties to the teacher credentialing program at California State University, Long Beach; the collaborative in-district teacher training; the culture of high expectations for students; and stable leadership. Over two decades, the district has had two superintendents, Chris Steinhauser, a product of Long Beach Schools, and Carl Cohn before him.
Two years ago, McKinsey & Company also named Long Beach as one of the 20 most improved school systems in the world. The California charter organization Aspire Public Schools also made that list. Battelle’s final five were chosen from that list.