Consistent with current theory and research on second language acquisition, the LBUSD ELD Content Standards document notes that developing fluency involves more than a focus on formal grammar and vocabulary; it also requires an understanding of how language is used in social and cultural interaction.
The LBUSD ELD content standards divide language skills into the four traditional areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
The curriculum planning documents in LBUSD reflect many of the overt elements of, and a similar conceptualization scheme to, related documents such as the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students (1997).
FLUENT High Oral English High Oral English Low Native Language Literacy Oral Low Native Language Literacy BEGINNING L1 Literacy ADVANCED Low Native Language Literacy English Low Native Language Literacy Low Native Language Literacy High Native Language Literacy PRE-PRODUCTION (LBUSD EID Content Standards, Table 2, p.20)
FLUENT High Oral English High Oral English Low English Literacy Oral Low English Literacy BEGINNING English Literacy ADVANCED Low Oral English Low Oral English Low English Literacy English High English Literacy PRE-PRODUCTION (LBUSD EID Content Standards, Table 3, p.21)
In the LBUSD ELD Content Standards there are four superordinate, or meta-standards for each skill of the four traditional language skill areas (similar documents might also call these goals): For example, Standard 1 applies to listening: "Students will continually expand their comprehension of oral English in ever widening contexts" (p.
3] Based on these qualifications, it is clear that the LBUSD ELD Content Standards can be seen as both leading to, and overlapping with, the district's mainstream Language Arts Content Standards, thus emphasizing their role as bridging standards rather than separate standards.
And last spring LBUSD was named one of four Broad finalists (New York City won the grand prize) and earned another $125,000 in scholarships, as well as high praise.
"The instruction in Long Beach's classrooms is some of the best I've ever seen," says educational researcher Megan Tupa of Massachusetts-based SchoolWorks, which evaluated LBUSD for the Broad Foundation's 2007 prize.
Steinhauser describes himself as a "stay-at-home superintendent," a self-image that has become more difficult to maintain as word of LBUSD's successes have spread.
LBUSD has also been fielding plenty of inquiries from other districts around the country.