By Judy Seal
THE LONG BEACH UNIFIED School District (LBUSD), Long Beach City College (LBCC) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) have a partnership to make higher education an attainable goal for every student. Launched in 1994 as Seamless Education, the work of the three institutions garnered state and national recognition for pioneering education reform through institutional and community collaboration and aligning instruction and assessment from kindergarten through master’s degree in Long Beach. In 2008, Seamless Education collaborations took a huge leap to improve a) College Preparation, b) College Access and c) College Success for our community’s students. The Long Beach College Promise was born and all three of the education institutions’ leaders signed a promise to our students, parents and community to increase the number of successful graduates.
To meet this challenge, The Long Beach College Promise commits to these goals:
- Provide a world-class seamless education from preschool to graduate school that prepares Long Beach students for successful engagement in global knowledge and the economy
- Increase the percentage of LBUSD students who are prepared for and attend college directly from high school
- Increase the percentage of LBCC students who earn degrees and matriculate to universities
- Increase the percentage of LBCC students who successfully transfer to CSULB or another four-year college or university
- Increase the percentage of CSULB students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree or advanced degrees
The latest student achievement data (2012-2013) reveal a true breakthrough. The rate of student progress has increased much more dramatically than any previous years. This year’s data show a 500 percent increase in the number of LBUSD graduates completing college level (non-remedial) English at Long Beach City College. The number of LBUSD students completing college level math (non-remedial) at LBCC has jumped by 200 percent over the same period. Since the College Promise began in 2008, over 4,000 LBUSD students have received free semesters at LBCC.
The results of the College Promise have the potential to transform California’s public colleges and universities and save the state the costly price of remediation in college. Students save time and join the workforce sooner. The collaborations to improve student success continue. The overall success of Seamless Education and the Long Beach College Promise is largely due to community support.
In 1999, U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard Riley delivered his State of Education Address to the nation from the Pyramid of CSULB. He declared, “Seamless Education is the wave of the future [because] it is an example of all the parts of American education working together.” That statement is truer today than at any other time in Long Beach history.
Long Beach Unified School District has been recognized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation as the 2003 Broad Prize winner: Best Urban School District in America. The district has been recognized several times by the Broad Foundation as being in the top five best performing school districts in the nation since 2002. In 2012-2013, the Battelle For Kids organization conducted the Global Education Study. The results put LBUSD as one of the five highest performing school systems in the world. The list included: Finland; Hong Kong; Long Beach, California; Ontario, Canada; and Singapore. These studies and others have detailed LBUSD’s ability to improve academic achievement and college-going rates for all students.
Long Beach City College has received numerous recognitions, including the 2013 Exemplary CEO/Board Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges the 2012 RP Group’s Excellence in College Research Award for development of a predictive (student) placement model, and recognition by the White House Initiative for Excellence in Hispanic Education in 2010.
California State University, Long Beach has consistently been ranked in the top five best public regional universities in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges Guide. CSULB consistently earns honors as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” by the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the Princeton Review/USA Today’s “Best Value Colleges” for 2013. On issues of successfully serving diverse populations, CSULB earned a top 10 national ranking from Diverse Issues in Higher Education in conferring bachelor’s degrees to minority students.