Matriculating in Long Beach – World Class?


My mother graduated from Long Beach’s Wilson High School and my father has a night school degree from Long Beach Polytechnic High, so I have a little history with Long Beach schools, although I never attended any. My nephew attended Minnie Gant Elementary School, Stanford Middle School and was graduated from Wilson High, now attending the big Stanford in Palo Alto. And his mother is a teacher at Marshall Middle School. Those are my personal credentials on the topic of education in Long Beach, now let’s get to the facts.

An international study recently put the Long Beach Unified School District among five of the world’s highest performing school systems. The article can be read in full here Study ranks LBUSD among Top 5 in World

One of the key factors is the pathways programming that ties learning to future professions. The newly opened McBride High School has educational tracts that focus on forensics, health-medical and engineering. There are no school boundaries for these pathway schools, allowing opportunities for children from all over the district to attend the schools that best fit them.

Every year 8th graders visit with representatives of the 9 high schools in the district at High School Information Day. They find out what each high school emphasizes in their curriculum and then apply for the school of their choice. Although not everyone can be assigned to the school of their choice, much effort is put into matching as many as possible. Some of the high schools even offer “shadow days” when the 8th grader may spend up to 2 days shadowing a high school student to get a feel for the campus and pathway.

Every school in California is required, by law, to publish an “accountability report” by February of each year. This allows parents and other interested parties to check class size, ethnic diversity, teacher credentials and much more. The LBUSD site has all of the reports posted, for each school. gives Long Beach a city rating of 6 out of 10 for the schools, although 4 of the elementary schools are ranked a 10, 4 of the middle schools are ranked 8 or higher, with two high schools currently ranked at 7. The new McBride High School opened its doors just last fall and is too new for any rankings.


The 2007 movie “Freedom Writers” was based on the book by former Wilson Classical High School teacher Erin Gruwell, who wrote it about her time as an English teacher at Wilson. In late 2014 Hill Classical Middle School will begin a transformation into a pathways driven high school modeled after the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, one of the state’s top-performing high schools.

There is also the Long Beach College Promise: A combined effort of LBUSD, Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to improve access to college through tuition-free semesters, guaranteed admittance to qualified students and access to college prep and guidance as early as elementary school.

To complement the classroom work, most sports are represented throughout the LBUSD. There is a strong sports tradition in Long Beach, with the high schools holding CIF Championships in several sports over the years. Olympians have also come from the Long Beach schools, competing for the USA in water polo, baseball, track, swimming, volleyball, triathlon, rowing.

Long Beach is a great place to raise your family, with active and challenging schools, diversity and athletic opportunities. Which Long Beach school would you like your children to attend?