The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) last week introduced the North Long Beach Initiative, a six-month planning effort to guide public policy addressing the educational and social needs of students and their families in that community. LBUSD’s Board of Education was joined by Mayor Bob Foster, representatives from the Long Beach Police Department, and other civic and community leaders during a launch ceremony at Jordan High School.
The initiative is tied to a $105-million investment the school district is making in the North Long Beach community through a major renovation of Jordan High School, scheduled for completion in 2015. The school was built in 1935 and serves 2,800 students in grades 10 through 12. By law, Measure K funds may only be used for local school construction and modernization, which protects the Jordan High renovation from the state budget cuts that LBUSD and other school districts statewide continue to face.
As the single largest project funded by Measure K (the $1.2 billion school bond measure approved by 71 percent of voters in 2008), Jordan High School’s renovation is expected to transform the campus into a model 21st Century learning environment.
“The new Jordan High School could become a centerpiece for revitalization of the larger North Long Beach area,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent. “Because students spend, on average, only 20 percent of their waking hours in the classroom, it’s imperative that their academic and social success is supported beyond school walls.”
In the next six months, the school district, in collaboration with the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, will conduct community surveys and a series of forums and focus groups to determine the greatest challenges and most needed resources in North Long Beach.
“This is a great collaboration,” Foster said at the event, where he pledged to support the effort. “We all know we have a great school district, but there is always room for improvement. I think this investment will pay dividends for years to come.”
To gain a broad spectrum of perspectives, the district is seeking input from representatives from government, nonprofit organizations, business and professional entities, parents and school-based groups. A North Long Beach Initiative Community Advisory Committee has been formed to help guide planning and outreach.
“This initiative represents the school district’s desire to ensure educational success for all its students,” Steinhauser said. “We believe that every child can succeed and that all children deserve the resources and support needed to do so.”
According to Steinhauser, North Long Beach students today are less likely to be English-proficient and to meet statewide grade-level standards than their counterparts districtwide. Although students at Jordan High and its 11 feeder schools have made great strides in recent years, they lag behind students in other schools in the district on the state Academic Performance Index.
Upcoming forums regarding the North Long Beach Initiative are listed below, and online surveys will be available Feb. 3 through Feb. 28 at lbschools.net (click on “North Long Beach Initiative”).
Monday, Jan. 31
Powell K–8 School Cafeteria
150 Victoria St.
Tuesday, Feb. 1
1225 E. 64th St.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
1022 E. Market St.
Thursday, Feb. 3
5075 Long Beach Blvd.