LBUSD to close Beach High School due to low enrollment

LBUSD’s Beach High School at 3701 E. Willow St. will close at the end of this school year. (Google Maps)

Learning-intensive school for credit-deficient sophomores will shut at end of school year.

Beach High School will permanently close at the end of this school year, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Board of Education decided last week.

The school’s building at 3701 E. Willow St. is also home to LBUSD’s Long Beach School for Adults and Reid High School for 11th and 12th graders, which are not affected by this change.

Beach High School, which lists a teaching staff of seven, is open to 10th graders who need to catch up on credits they failed to earn as freshmen in other high schools. 

“Beach High School’s Mission is to provide opportunities for students to retrieve credits, transition into a comprehensive high school and receive a high school diploma,” according to LBUSD.

Nearly 77% of Beach’s students last year were socioeconomically disadvantaged, according to LBUSD data for the 2019-2020 academic year. About 20% are English-language learners.

Average class sizes at Beach ranged from 5 to 12 pupils in 2018-2019, according to the State’s School Accountability Report Card. Despite relatively smaller classes, the dropout rate was 31% compared to 8.5% for LBUSD as a whole.

Dr. Jay Camerino, LBUSD assistant superintendent of high schools, told the Board last week that since it opened in 2011, Beach High School’s sophomore enrollment has gradually dwindled from its peak of 224 students in 2012 to only 37 today, making operating the school increasingly less cost-efficient.

After this year, Beach students will transfer to LBUSD’s other high schools with school-within-school programs such as Linked Learning pathways, Camerino said. Begun in 2009, the program offers career-specific curricula in industries such as technology, hospitality, health, business and the arts.

“The small-school feel of Linked Learning and the pathways have really helped decrease the numbers [of failing students],” he said.

LBUSD’s Academic Path to Excellence (APEX) program for freshmen in some high schools has further helped in a cost-effective way, Camerino added.

Education Partnership High School and Reid High School will continue providing specialized learning for struggling 10th-through 12th-graders, he said.

The Board voted 5-0 to close Beach High School at the end of this academic year. 

With enrollments decreasing in general over the last several years, LBUSD has had to become increasingly cost conscious. Last month, the Board agreed to convert two K-8 schools– Gompers and Hudson– to K-5 only due to decreasing numbers of students in grades 6 to 8 at those schools.

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