The 10-year anniversary report of the Long Beach College Promise was delivered by leaders from the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Long Beach City College (LBCC), Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) and the City of Long Beach at the Museum of Latin American Art Thursday morning.

The report showed that the initiative has produced significant gains in student achievement over the past decade, according to the release.

CSULB, LBCC and LBUSD committed to extending the promise of a college education to every student in the district in 2008, while the city joined the initiative in 2014. Since its inception, The Promise has served as a model for communities statewide and across the nation to develop partnerships focused on the success of its students.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Promise, and we are excited to share its accomplishments with the community,” initiative leaders stated in their report shared during the commemorative event. “A national model for student success, The Promise has helped thousands of youth achieve their dreams of higher education.”

College scholarships were also presented to 24 local eighth graders who have shown academic improvement.

Facets of the initiative include increasing access to early childhood education, college tours for fourth and fifth graders, a middle school pledge by students and parents, committing to college readiness, a tuition-free first year at LBCC and guaranteed admission to Long Beach State University for qualifying students, according to the release.

The report, titled “Moving Long Beach Ahead,” showed findings that students now have greater access to college and are also better prepared for higher education than they were a decade ago:

  • Enrollment by LBUSD graduates at Long Beach State University has grown by 71 percent since the inception of The Promise (from 519 students in fall 2008 to 889 students in fall 2017).
  • Enrollment by LBCC students at the four-year university has increased significantly, as has first-generation enrollment by LBUSD students at Long Beach State University.
  • High school students are taking a record number of Advanced Placement college-level exams. Forty-six percent of 11th and 12th graders enrolled in AP courses in 2017, up from 34 percent in 2013-14.
  • More students are meeting the A-G college entrance requirements for the University of California and California State University systems. While students who do not meet these requirements can attend other colleges and universities – including community colleges – The Promise includes a concerted effort to improve A-G completion. Last year, 49 percent of LBUSD graduates met these requirements, up from 37 percent in 2011-12.
  • The LBCC Foundation gave about $500,000 in Long Beach College Promise Scholarships in 2017. These scholarships cover a tuition-free first year at LBCC. Long Beach Rotary is a major contributor to this effort and was honored at this year’s event as a Long Beach College Promise Champion.
  • The Mayor’s Fund for Education was launched in collaboration with local partners to identify students’ needs at all levels, including pre-K, and to assist in fundraising. This year, the Mayor’s Fund launched ReadyRosie, an online platform that helps preschool parents incorporate learning activities into everyday interactions with their children.
  • The Long Beach Internship Challenge, in conjunction with the work of the Long Beach Career-Linked Learning has provided thousands of internships for students.
  • Graduation rates at LBUSD increased for the fifth year in a row, again surpassing state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperformed their peers countywide and statewide, and seven high schools here reported graduation rates above 90 percent.
  • LBCC’s persistence and graduation rates are also increasing. Thirty-nine percent of transfer students graduate from Long Beach State University in two years. Eighty-four percent of such students graduate from Long Beach State University in four years.

Among the speakers at Thursday’s event were CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, Superintendent-President Reagan F. Romali of LBCC, Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser of LBUSD and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

During her State of the College address in February, Romali had also talked about plans to possibly expand on the Promise and provide four free semesters at LBCC for LBUSD students.

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“The Promise includes efforts to align academic standards, teaching methods and student assessment across institutions to improve student achievement and teacher quality,” according to the announcement. “The initiative has garnered recognition and attention by the White House, Gov. Jerry Brown and the California State Senate, and it has been modeled by many other communities in California, including Fresno, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco.”

View the 10-year report on the College Promise via the website here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]

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