Fresno–Long Beach Learning Partnership: Series Overview

This overview provides an introduction to four briefs developed by AIR highlighting different aspects of the Fresno-Long Beach Learning Partnership, and calls out key lessons for district leaders, policymakers, funders, and researchers.

In 2008, the leaders of two of California’s largest urban school districts—Fresno and Long Beach Unified School Districts—entered into a formal learning partnership, with the goal of preparing all students for success in higher education or for a career with significant growth potential. Though initially designed to secure greater categorical funding flexibility from the state, the Fresno-Long Beach Learning Partnership emerged as a strategy to direct the attention of both systems to important levers for improvement.

Focused on mathematics instruction, improving outcomes for English learners, leadership development, and college and career readiness, the Partnership is designed to accelerate achievement for all students and to close achievement gaps by capitalizing on shared, systemic capacity-building across the two districts.

As resource-strapped states and districts across the country begin to implement the Common Core State Standards, it is useful to examine lessons from collaborations such as the one between these two districts. This Special Series on the Fresno-Long Beach Learning Partnership examines the evolution of this unique partnership, which began over four years ago with informal conversations between two superintendents. Those conversations revealed many commonalities, including a shared belief that district leaders and practitioners have much to learn from their own practice and from one another. It was this belief, along with the goals and values the two leaders shared, that ultimately led them to formalize their Partnership.

The California Collaborative on District Reform has documented the evolution of the Partnership from its initial stages in 2008 through 2012.