October 17, 2003
Long Beach Unified School District's unique Community-Based English Tutoring (CBET) classes won the Golden Bell Award this month. The award, which is the California School Boards Association's highest honor, will be presented December 13 in San Diego.
The innovative tutoring provided by the Long Beach School for Adults helps parents and children become literate and fluent in English. At local elementary schools, parents learn tutoring strategies and useful English phrases in adult classes. They immediately tutor children in class, using their new skills. At home the same evening, they use videos, worksheets and assist their own children with homework.
"The Golden Bell means so much to our teachers, staff and parents," said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools. "These tutoring classes get dramatic results. This recognition makes Long Beach CBET a statewide model."
CBET parents have improved their English skills, gained knowledge of how to help their children, and become much more involved in school. They performed well on the state's measurement of literacy gains. Of 427 students who recently took the test, 71 percent improved by at least one benchmark level. Nearly 20 percent improved by two levels.
"Everybody's really excited about the award," said Vicki Roberts, CBET program specialist for the Long Beach School for Adults. "The credit goes to everyone from the teachers and college aides to the parents and babysitters who work so hard to support the program."
Seven schools piloted CBET six years ago after Rosi Pedersen, assistant principal at the Long Beach School for Adults, secured state funding. Today, 25 schools offer it.
Last school year a mobile laptop lab began serving every site for two weeks each semester. Technology teacher Ryan de la Vega drives the van, delivering 30 laptops and lessons to classrooms for each two-hour session. Parents and students participate in laptop computer tutoring together during the last 30 minutes of class.
CBET recently introduced additional curriculum to help adult students understand the K-12 school system. Parents learn the language of promotion and retention policies and parent-teacher conferences so they can help prepare their children for college.
During adult classes, more than half of the parents rely upon the babysitting service, where children enjoy preschool activities. This free service is offered at every CBET site.
The district now has won four Golden Bells, including awards for CBET, school uniforms, beginning teacher support project, and Project PEAKS training for teachers of English.