November 16, 2007
Local business and community leaders pledged $130,000 today to fund tutoring for hundreds of local high school students who are struggling to become proficient in Algebra I.
Algebra I is a frequent obstacle to completion of the full set of requirements needed to qualify for admission to the state university systems.
The funding pledges were announced at the Long Beach Unified School District’s annual Principal for a Day event. More than 200 guest principals from local businesses and community organizations shadowed real-life principals today before gathering at a debriefing at The Grand events center. The pledges started with a $40,000 challenge grant from philanthropists Mike and Arline Walter.
“We believe that Long Beach students can achieve much in their lives with the right attention and intervention,” said Mike Walter, who formerly headed CSULB’s College of Business Administration and now serves on the Long Beach Harbor Commission. “We’re happy that we can play a small role in this preparation. Education is not an expense. Education is an investment, and it’s one of the best investments that a society can make.”
The funding will supplement an existing federal grant that is already being used to provide tutoring at Jordan, Cabrillo and Renaissance high schools. The new funding will now provide tutors for about 1,800 students at Polytechnic, Wilson, Millikan and Lakewood high schools during the next two years. The money will be used to hire approximately 240 eleventh and twelfth grade students who are already proficient in Algebra I. These students will serve as peer tutors, providing them with meaningful jobs that they can use to distinguish themselves upon applying to college.
After the Walters’ donation was announced, audience members raised their hands to announce several additional contributions totaling $90,000 more. The additional donations started with Mayor Bob Foster, who committed $1,500. Sound Energy Solutions contributed $10,000. WalMart pledged $10,000, and Verizon pledged $15,000.
Other contributors included: Matson Navigation; DaVinci Restaurant; Evergreen International; BNSF Railway Co.; Denso Sales; California United Terminals; Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp.; UPS, BP, Keesal, Young & Logan, Total Terminals, Councilman Gary DeLong, County Supervisor Don Knabe, John Crochet, Academic Uprise, Donita VanHorik, Matt Knabe and Elizabeth Warren.
“We live in a community that truly values education,” Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent of schools, told the audience at the debriefing. “This is the kind of commitment we have in this community. Everyone works together to solve a problem. We are blessed to have such strong support.”
Mike and Arline Walter served as Superintendents for a Day during the Principal for a Day event co-sponsored by the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the Long Beach Unified School District and the Long Beach Education Foundation.
Cal State Long Beach’s landmark Pyramid events center bears the Walters’ names in honor of the couple’s $2.1 million donation to the university.
The Superintendent for a Day is the ceremonial and inspirational leader of area business leaders who will become principals for a day at elementary, middle and high schools to observe students, teachers and the operations of California’s third largest school district.
Chairing this year’s event were Ryan Alsop, director of Government and Public Affairs for Long Beach Water, and Shaun Lumachi, president of Chamber Advocacy.