ERIC Number: EJ775065
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep-5
Reference Count: N/A
Inside the "Long Beach Way"
Education Week, v27 n2 p22-25 Sep 2007
This article features Long Beach Unified School District, the 2003 winner of a prestigious prize in urban education. The district of more than 90,000 students is the first winner of the award to return to the competition as a finalist. Its reappearance on the list after earning the prize in 2003 raises interesting questions about how districts sustain and deepen school improvement over time. Located in Southern California, adjacent to Los Angeles, Long Beach is a heavily industrialized port city with a student population that's highly diverse. Under the leadership of former Superintendent Carl Cohn, who led the district from 1992 to 2002, Long Beach made impressive gains in its elementary and middle schools. During his tenure, the district adopted a standards-based curriculum-and-assessment system, forged a strong partnership with local colleges and universities, and enacted a mandatory school uniform policy in grades K-8. It also ended social promotion in key grades and required all students to be able to read by the end of 3rd grade. When Mr. Cohn retired, the school board did not follow the typical pattern of looking for a high-profile outsider. Instead, it unanimously selected Christopher Steinhauser, a self-described "poster child" for the district. Now in his 26th year in the school system, Mr. Steinhauser grew up in the city, attended the public schools and the local institutions of higher education, and began his career as a teacher's aide at Signal Hill Elementary School. He worked closely with Mr. Cohn for a dozen years, first as the district's director of special projects--heading up many of the new K-8 initiatives--and then as a deputy superintendent. Far from jettisoning the earlier reform efforts, Mr. Steinhauser has built on them, taking some of the same strategies and tools that have worked in the elementary and middle schools and pushing them up into the high schools.
Descriptors: School Districts, Urban Education, Educational Improvement, Educational Change, Superintendents, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Administration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California