Head start class

Children in the Head Start program in a play area of the classroom, role-playing at a doctor’s office. 

Another year has come and gone, leaving the Long Beach Unified School District with plenty of accomplishments to boast about, as well as some notable changes.

Measure E, Measure K

School updates and repairs are still going strong, and are scheduled through 2026. 

Schools in the district began to see updates to heating and air conditioning systems and more thanks to Measure E, a $1.5 billion school bond initiative approved by voters in 2016.

Another bond — Measure K — approved in 2008, has allotted $1.2 billion in property taxes to renovate current school structures and build new facilities. 

The first Measure K school constructed was Nelson Academy (1951 Cherry Ave.) in Signal Hill. Other schools, including McBride and Browning high schools and Roosevelt Elementary School, were made possible due to money from the bond.

And this year, 16 schools began construction on a number of Measure E and K updates, including updates to buildings' electrical systems, fire alarm systems, interior finishes and ceiling and lighting systems, in addition to HVAC updates.

Other campus repairs, which are paid for with Measure K money, have included improvements to structural foundations, upgraded fire alarms and security systems and handicap accessible upgrades.

Those schools are Barton, Burcham, Longfellow, Lowell, Webster, MacArthur, Mann and Mckinley elementary schools; Jefferson Leadership Academies, Keller and Lindsay middle schools. 

The projects listed are expected to be completed by fall 2019.

Cleveland Elementary School

Construction began in January to update the school's HVAC systems, infrastructure, overhead projectors and interior lighting. Repairs are scheduled on the ceilings as well as to the existing infrastructure. All repairs were finished on time for the 2018-2019 school year.

Stephens Middle School

At Stephens Middle School, a new artificial turf field was installed just in time for the 2018-2019 school year, in addition to upgraded ceilings, lighting fixtures and a brand new HVAC system.

No new projects are scheduled for 2019 at Stephens.

Cleveland Elementary School

Construction began in January to update the school's HVAC systems, infrastructure, overhead projectors and interior lighting. Repairs are scheduled on the ceilings as well as to the existing infrastructure.

All projects are expected to be completed by the start of the next school year in August. Budget is $10 million.

Kettering Elementary School

Construction has started for Kettering's updated HVAC installation. Much like Cleveland, the school's building will see updates to its interior lighting, overhead projectors and fire alarm system.

Construction began in January with no official end date as of today. Budget is $8.5 million.

Garfield Elementary School

Construction began in January to update the elementary school with a new HVAC system for six of the existing buildings on campus.

With a budget of $22 million, upgrades will be made to the buildings' electrical systems, fire alarm systems, interior finishes and ceiling and lighting systems. Updates also will be made to the school's ADA accessibility areas, including parking lots and restrooms.

Riley Elementary School

Along with other elementary schools, Riley saw all updates completed in time for the new school year. Those included a new HVAC system, fire alarm system, new paint and infrastructure upgrades. 

Renaissance High School

Renaissance finalized construction this year, with all repairs completed by the time school started in the fall. 

Those updates included finishing touches on the new performance art building and physical education facilities. Portables were removed from the campus and renovations to the fire alarm system were completed.

Jordan High School

After another year of construction, there's still more to be done at Jordan High School.

So far, an addition of 49 new portable modules have been completed for use as interim housing for classrooms as construction progresses. Additionally, buildings 1100 (arts classrooms), 1200 (media and communication classrooms) and 1300 (technical studies) have been completed and are ready for use.

Jordan is still moving through the first phase of the construction process, with Phase 1C currently in progress for buildings 1400 (Jordan's Business and Entertainment School of Travel, Trade and Tourism) and 1500 (Architecture, Construction & Engineering classrooms). 

New buildings also are under construction for the band room and a new auditorium, as well as a new library and administration building, which is expected to see completion by fall 2019.

Millikan High School 

A $39.5 million project kicked off at Millikan High School this year.

The end product will be a new 49,600-square-foot building to replace the existing building 1000, as well as relocate the existing softball and soccer field.

That project is expected to run through 2020.

For Measure E and Measure K updates throughout the year, go to bschoolbonds.net.

CAMS Students MIT, Olins 2018 Roundup

From Top Row Left to Right: Kevin Ho (MIT), Diana Garibay (MIT), Mario Leva (MIT), Kaleb Blake (MIT), Ikenna Maduno (MIT), Wesley Soo-Hoo (Olin), Jerry Goss (Olin), Vinh Le (MIT), Shavonna Jackson (MIT), Odalys Benitez (Olin).

CAMS Breaks Records

The California Academy of Mathematics and Science's (CAMS) class of 2018 sent seven students this year to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and three students to Olin College of Engineering.

The students admitted to MIT are Kevin Ho, Diana Garibay, Mario Leva, Ikenna Maduno, Kaleb Blake, Vinh Le and Shavonna Jackson.

Students attending Olin are Odalys Benitez, Wesley Soo-Hoo and Jerry Goss. Mario Leva also was admitted into Olin, but has decided to attend MIT.

"CAMS normally has one or two such acceptances each year, so seven is pretty extraordinary," Chris Eftychiou, director of public information for the Long Beach Unified School District, said.

The accomplishment is notable not only for CAMS, but also for the school district. This is the first time in Long Beach history that seven students from the same graduation year at the same high school were admitted to MIT.

The mathematics and science magnet school is located in Carson on the California State University, Dominguez Hills, campus.

To The Polls 2018

The school district wasn't exempt from 2018's election year, which meant that seats on the education board were potentially up for grabs come election day in April.

Board members Megan Kerr (District 1) and Diana Craighead, board president (District 5), ran unopposed, securing their spots for another four year term.

Juan Benitez (District 3), replaced incumbent John McGinnis, who did not run for reelection. Benitez was first defeated by McGinnis in the 2014 election.

Felton Williams (District 2) and Jon Meyer, board vice president (District 4), both have two years before their current term is up for reelection in 2020.

Seeing Dramatic Results

Dramatic Results, also known as the ABC Project, recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the Art of Building a City Ecosystem program.

The program is a four-year collaborative educational program that supports low-income, gifted kindergarten through middle school students at LBUSD to improve math, art and social-emotional skills.

The project provides 36 district teachers and 36 pre-service teachers with professional development opportunities to attain GATE certification (Gifted And Talented Education) to help ensure that gifted students receives an education on par with their abilities. 

For more information, go to dramaticresults.org.

College Promise Celebrates 10 Years

Ten years ago, the district implemented a program that provided free tuition for qualified students, called the College Promise.

Today, the promise is a year of free tuition at LBCC, guaranteed university admission to those who qualify either directly from high school or from city college, the beginnings of guaranteed preschool and access to a new internship program.

The last two additions were made two years ago, when Mayor Robert Garcia included the city in the promise partnership.

“For the past decade, the College Promise has been a national model for educational institutions to work together to make a college degree more accessible for students," Dr. Reagan F. Romali, president at LBCC told The Grunion earlier this year. "A big part of that achievement is thanks to the generosity of our community and the great work of the LBCC Foundation for the expansion from one free semester to one free school year at LBCC. There have been wonderful stories of students benefitting from the Long Beach College Promise — I’m looking forward to hearing more success stories the next 10 years will bring.”

For more information about the program, go to www.longbeachcollegepromise.org.

Graduation Rates Up

Wilson Graduation Roundup

The Class of 2018 received diplomas at Wilson High School's graduation ceremony.

High School graduation rates are up to 86 percent according to LBUSD officials, adding that Long Beach surpasses the graduation rates of Los Angeles (80.8 percent) and California's overall graduation rate of 82.7 percent.

“These results are encouraging.  More schools are finding ways to improve achievement,” Christopher Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent, said.  “All of our student subgroups are progressing.  This year we’ll be working harder than ever to accelerate the improvement of lower performing subgroups so we can reduce and eliminate achievement gaps.”

Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach Opens Doors

The doors finally opened for 2018-2019 Educare students at the Barton Elementary School Campus in North Long Beach.

The Bixby Knolls location is a first for Southern California. The campus also is the only Educare school to operate within the framework and infrastructure of a school district.

Currently, the school has 159 students and a teaching staff of 38, with a teacher and student ratio of 3:8 for infants and toddlers and 3:17 for preschoolers. The majority of the teaching staff is bilingual.

For more information, go to educareschools.org/schools/los-angeles-long-beach.

Head Start Continues To Grow

Head start class

Children in the Head Start program in a play area of the classroom, role-playing at a doctor’s office. 

The year has been a big one for the district's Head Start program, which added four new locations just in time for the 2018-2019 school year.

Those locations include the Educare site at Barton Elementary, Cabrillo Villages, Jordan Plus and Hudson Elementary.

Long Beach Unified Adds Sites For Head Start

Head Start sessions were extended this year as well, moving from 3.5 hour to 6.5 hour class days for the preschool students. 

The program, which was established in 1965, is a national curriculum that provides impoverished children with an accessible pre-school education. It differs from daycare as the environment prepares the youngsters for elementary school.

For more information and updates about the Long Beach Unified School District, check back at TheGrunion.com.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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