Skip to main content

Bringing effective instructional practice to scale in American schools: Lessons from the Long Beach Unified School District

Abstract

Workforce and societal needs have changed significantly over the past few decades while educational approaches have remained largely the same over the past 50 years. Walk into any random classroom in the United States and you will likely see instruction being delivered to students in straight rows by teachers through lecture style. It is possible to find classrooms that utilize technology and cross-disciplinary projects to explore real-world problems, however, those are scarce and in high demand. If we are serious about transforming instruction to better prepare our students for a global society, we need to do it beyond one classroom, school, or zip code, Long Beach Unified school district provides an uncommon example of an education system that has successfully improved instruction across schools by improving the overall district system. This chapter details how the district created a strong coherent system by connecting the critical elements necessary to scale and sustain high quality instruction for all students, and ultimately, better prepare them for the changing demands of our country’s global economy.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. For more information on subitizing see: http://teacherweb.com/wa/nachesvalleyprimaryschool/msclark/Subs.PDF.

  2. Based on conversations with parents who have children in work-based academies like Linked Learning pathways.

  3. Downloaded from district website August 2, 2015: http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/District/.

  4. Source: personal interview with Chris Steinhauser, May 2015.

  5. See http://www.cgu.edu/pages/6208.asp.

  6. See www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/college-career.

  7. Source: Personal communication with Chris Steinhauser, May 2015.

  8. See http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/Curriculum/Professional_Development/prof_dev_plan.cfm.

  9. See http://lbpost.com/news/crime/2000006670-city-of-long-beach-my-brother-s-keeper-task-force-holds-first-meeting-of-many for more information.

  10. To watch the video see http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/video/?video=integrated.

  11. To view the pathway launch video see http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/High_Schools/Linked_Learning/videos.cfm.

  12. For more information see http://linkedlearning.org/about/.

  13. From LBUSD website; see http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/High_Schools/Linked_Learning/.

References

  • Battelle for Kids. (2012). Six drivers of student success: A look inside five of the world’s highest-performing school systems. Columbus: Battelle for Kids.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chenoweth, K. (2007). It’s being done: Academic success in unexpected schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Childress, S. (2007). Managing school districts for high performance: Cases in public education leadership. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elmore, R. F. (2004). School reform from the inside out. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hess, F. M. (1999). Spinning wheels: The politics of urban school reform. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mourshed, M., Chijioke, C., & Barber, M. (2010). How the most improved school systems keep getting better. New York: McKinsey & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Payzant, T. (2010). Urban school leadership. San Francisco: Josey Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zavadsky, H. (2009). Bringing school reform to scale: Five award-winning urban districts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zavadsky, H. (2012). School turnarounds: The essential role of districts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Heather Zavadsky.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zavadsky, H. Bringing effective instructional practice to scale in American schools: Lessons from the Long Beach Unified School District. J Educ Change 17, 505–527 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-016-9287-3

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-016-9287-3

Keywords

  • Education reform
  • Instructional improvement
  • Innovative instructional practices
  • Systemic district reform
  • Twenty-first century teaching and learning