Tag Archives: Burbank Unified School District

Burbank Honors Public Servants in Community Service Awards

Boy Scout Troop 210 of Burbank. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

On Wednesday, August 30th, Burbank honored our own hometown heroes with a Community Service Awards ceremony at the Elks Lodge. The awards event was two years in the making, and honorees were made up of the 2015 and 2016 years. The event was organized by the  Burbank’s Elks Lodge 1497, and with little help from Burbank’s very own Boy Scouts Troop 201.

The awards proved to be a good reminder Burbank’s city leaders are some of the best in the country. That same reminder is more important now after the La Tuna fire, which you can read more about here. Now, without further ado, let’s go over the list of award recipients!

 Teachers of the Year

Center Jan Hacker. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

For the 2015 year, Sara Line was given the Teach of the Year award for an outstanding job in promoting achievement and success to our young students here in Burbank.

As for the 2016 year, Jan Hacker of John Burroughs High School was awarded Teacher of the Year. As for what this award means to her, Hacker had this to say:

It’s really been an honor to be included with the other individuals that were here tonight, mostly because it’s very representative of the kind of town Burbank is all about. The people that I’ve met here tonight are all parents, students, and grandparents. That’s what it’s all about: Everybody being a part of the same thing. Tonight really made me feel like that. With officers, firefighters, city workers – to be included in that crowd, and to be representative of what Burbank is all about, it’s a huge honor for me.

Police Officers of the Year

Officers of the year were awarded to incredible public servants who have gone above and beyond to ensure they’re the best they can be for the city of Burbank. The following officers were awarded for the 2016 year:

Officer Cindy Guillen

Sergeant Joshua Kendrick 

Sergeant Adam Baumgarten

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Sergeant Mark Stohl


After the awards ceremony, I was able to catch up with Officer Cindy Guillen to ask her what this award meant to her:

This award is very special to me. One, because there was a lot of hard work that we put in. My partner and I were one unit, working together and working for the community. We did everything we possibly could to not only make the community better, but to mend the gap between the police department and the community. The work we did is appreciated through this award and we’re very grateful to be honored.

City Employees of the Year

For the 2015 year, Bradley (Brad) Recker was awarded for his unrelenting passion to make Burbank better.

For the 2016 year, Bill Parrish was awarded for his outstanding service to the community.

Firefighters of the Year

Captain Daryl Isozaki. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Firefighters of the year are chosen by other firefighters. By voting for an individual, firefighters are essentially choosing the best representation of the entire department.

Captain Daryl Isozaki was awarded Firefighter of the Year for 2015. Isozaki has been a part of the the Burbank Fire Department for 31 years. After the ceremony, I caught up with Captain Isozaki to get his take on his award:

It’s a privilege. I’m on the tail end of my career right now, and I’m going to retire this year. I’ve seen a lot of things change over the years and the one thing that doesn’t change for the Fire Department is their quality and talented people that we have. It’s a privilege for me to be able to mentor some of our young firefighters and help them out in their career. This is a good expression of the department expressing years of service and some of the contributions we’ve made.

As for the first thing he’s going to do after retiring, Captain Isozaki simply plans on going fishing.

Engineer Andrew Chest. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Engineer Andrew Chest was awarded Firefighter of the Year for 2016. On the award, Chest had this to say:

It’s an appreciation of the hard work, it’s an appreciation of the department for me, and I hold it with high regards. It is indeed an honor to be here tonight. It’s pretty prideful to receive this award. It’s who your peers think who deserves the award, that’s what’s honorable about this.

If you’d like to see more of the ceremony, take a look at the pictures below!

Burbank Unified Measure S Bond Continues To Add Classrooms, Upgrade Facilites

The Burbank Unified School District continues to add classrooms and upgrade school facilities and infrastructure with funds provided by the Burbank voter-approved Measure S Bond. New elementary school classrooms, solar energy savings, technology and infrastructure upgrades and new Chromebooks for middle school and high school classes have been the focus of the latest work.

“Due to the generous support of Burbank voters, our schools continue to receive much needed upgrades,” commented BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill. “This past year we sold the last issuance of bonds for the $110 million Measure ‘S’ election of 2013.”

“The Series C bonds are expected to have an average interest rate of 3.59%. Most important is the fact that the District will be able to maintain a maximum tax rate of $55.18 (per $100,000 of assessed property value) on all of its outstanding school bonds, as promised.”

measure s bond

Brand new classroom at Horace Mann Children’s center. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Projects the Measure S Bond proceeds pay for include heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades; fencing and asphalt replacements; LED lighting retrofits (at nine sites); playground upgrades; solar panel installations (at nine sites); and the installation of fire alarms, clocks, PA systems and energy management systems.

Modernization projects at Horace Mann Children’s Center and the SEED special education preschool, also located at Horace Mann, are nearing completion. The work included fire sprinklers, fire alarm, public address, energy management system (EMS), HVAC, lighting, ADA, flooring, resilient flooring, casework, restroom remodel and painting.

Burbank Unified also added network infrastructure, computers and the 21st Century Classroom modernization features.

measure s bond

Superintendent Matt Hill and Stevenson Elementary staff check out a recently completed modular classroom on the first day of school. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Work on new modular classrooms at Stevenson Elementary is also nearly finished. The District added 11 classrooms with two student restrooms and one staff restroom over the summer.

New modular classrooms with restroom facilities have already replaced portable “bungalow” classrooms at Washington, Emerson and Roosevelt elementary schools.

The new classrooms include many upgrades such as built-in teaching walls, better quality and more efficient LED lighting and improved heating and cooling systems, along with 21st Century teaching technology, improved wireless equipment and an energy management system.

Bond work at Horace Mann. (Photo By Ross Benson)

New modular building work has begun at Bret Harte and Jefferson elementary schools, with work scheduled to be completed by Spring/Summer 2018.

BUSD will add 12 classrooms for instruction and four classrooms for child care, four student restrooms and two staff restrooms at Bret Harte. Jefferson Elementary will add nine classrooms, two student restrooms and one staff restroom.

The District is in the planning stages for Edison and McKinley elementary schools, with Edison and McKinley groundbreaking aimed for Summer 2018. BUSD plans to add four classrooms to Edison and six classrooms with two student restrooms and one staff restroom to McKinley.

The modular classroom project for Disney Elementary is also in the very early planning stages, with specifics to be determined.

New solar panels provide shade and savings for BUSD’s Luther Middle School. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Unified has also partnered with OpTerra Energy Services to put in place infrastructure upgrades, such as solar panels over school parking lots, to provide revenue through energy savings and use of renewables. BUSD is projected to save $10.4 million over the 30 year program.

As of September 2016, the District has achieved energy savings of 889,905 kWh or $124,943.00. A solar dashboard, in the Measure S section of the District’s website, can be viewed to see the savings at individual school sites.

BUSD has also partnered with the City of Burbank and Burbank Water and Power to put high-speed internet, also known as dark fiber, in place at all school sites and office locations.

Working solar panels provide shade and savings for BUSD’s Jordan Middle School.(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Upgrades to network infrastructure and wireless continue at all BUSD sites and computers have been refreshed at all school computer labs, offices and libraries.

Additionally, the District sent 101 Chromebook carts to all middle and high schools. Each cart has 38 Chromebooks and they are being used in English Language Arts classes.

A new Data Center was built at the District Service Center and a new telephone system (VoIP) is currently being installed. All of BUSD classrooms continue to be updated with new projectors, document cameras and voice amplification systems.

More information regarding the Measure S Bond and progress on the various projects can be found on the BUSD website.

BUSD Heads Back To School

More than 15,000 students in grades TK – 12 headed back to school for the beginning of the Burbank United School District 2017-18 academic year on Monday, August 14. Superintendent Matt Hill visited several schools throughout the district to welcome students, teachers and staff.

MyBurbank Chief Photographer Ross Benson joined Hill on his travels throughout the school district.

Superintendent Matt Hill stops at Luther Middle School and talks with Principal Oscar Macias during Nutrition. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

BUSD is comprised of 11 elementary schools (Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Ralph Emerson, Bret Harte,Thomas Jefferson, William McKinley, Joaquin Miller, Providencia, Theodore Roosevelt, R.L. Stevenson and George Washington), three middle schools (Luther Burbank, John Muir and David Starr Jordan) and three high schools (Burbank, John Burroughs and Monterey.)

The Burbank Adult School and four alternative education schools (Arts For All, BUSD Career Technical Education, Community Day School and the Horace Mann Child Development Center) are also under the umbrella of BUSD.

Superintendent Matt Hill was joined by Burroughs Principal Deborah Madrigal in checking out a new Freshman class at Burroughs High School. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Unified School District Responds to Charlottesville

The following statement was released by the Burbank Unified School District today:

Dear BUSD Community:

As we start the new school year, we are reminded about how special our schools are. Today, our employees welcomed more than 15,000 students with open arms, and each child embarked on the adventures of this school year. Classrooms, lunchrooms, and playgrounds were filled with joy and laughter.

Unfortunately, the events in Charlottesville this past weekend have cast a dark cloud over our nation. We want to assure you that here in Burbank our schools do not tolerate acts of hatred or violence. We remain diligent to ensure our students and staff are supported in a loving and caring environment.

Some families may be looking for resources to talk with their children about recent events. We have found the resources posted by Charlottesville Schools to be a good source of information: http://charlottesvilleschools.org/resources

In addition, if you are feeling frightened or anxious, we would encourage you to contact the Family Service Agency of Burbank at (818) 845-7671.


BUSD Board President Steve Ferguson and Superintendent Matt Hill

Burbank School District Announces New System to Screen All Visitors

The Burbank Unified School District announced that they will begin using a visitor management system in all school sites as well as our District buildings at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. The system will better allow the district to track visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our buildings and provide a with a safer, more monitored environment for students and staff.

Upon entering a school site/district building, visitors will be asked to present a valid photo ID, which will be scanned into the system. Upon reading the information, Raptor will check the national database to identify sexual offenders.

It is important to note that the Raptor system only scans the visitor’s name, date of birth and photo for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. Additional visitor data from the ID is not gathered nor is the system connected to any other system such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, any other information connected to the visitor’s ID is not part of the system and is not accessible to any of the users.

Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit.

If you are interested in learning more about the visitor management system, please visit the Raptor Technologies website www.raptorware.com .

The safety of students is our highest priority and the Raptor visitor management system provides a consistent way to aid in keeping away people who may present a danger to our students. Therefore, all visitors to the school must be scanned into the system and obtain a visitor badge. The visitor badges must be returned to the office at the conclusion of the visit.

Four Burbank Secondary Schools Earn Gold Ribbon Awards

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 275 middle schools and high schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.

“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”                    

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment, accountability, and continuous improvement systems. 477 middle schools and high schools applied this year. Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award acknowledged elementary schools last year.

The Gold Ribbon Awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

These schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaborating, but also highly successful school climate efforts, ranging from real time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention.

Four Burbank secondary schools were among the winners: Burbank High School, David Starr Jordan Middle School, John Muir Middle School, and Luther Burbank Middle School. Superintendent Matt Hill commented on the news, “We are proud of our schools for being recognized by the California Department of Education as exemplar schools. These Gold Ribbon Awards are another example of the amazing work our employees do on behalf of our students every single day. It is truly and honor to work for such an amazing district.” The winning Burbank schools will be honored at the May 18 Board of Education meeting at Burbank City Hall.

Additionally, Gold Ribbon awardees that are also Title I schools were recognized as Academic Achieving Schools and are identified as such on the list. This additional recognition is given only to schools receiving federal Title I funds that assist in meeting the educational needs of students living at or below the poverty line.

The 2017 Gold Ribbon Schools as well as the 2017 Exemplary Program recipients, Title I Academic Achieving Award Schools, 2017 Green Ribbon Schools, 2017 Civic Learning Award Schools, and the National Blue Ribbon Schools from 2016, will be honored in May during regional ceremonies held in Costa Mesa, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Visalia, and Sacramento.

2017 Burbank Gold Ribbon Schools





Los Angeles Burbank Unified School District Burbank High School Dr. Michael Bertram
Los Angeles Burbank Unified School District David Starr Jordan Middle School* Stacy Cashman
Los Angeles Burbank Unified School District John Muir Middle School* Dr. Greg Miller
Los Angeles Burbank Unified School District Luther Burbank Middle School* Dr. Oscar Macias

* These schools received an additional award for being a Title I Academic Achieving School

Burbank Schools Celebrate 90 Years with ‘State of the Schools’ Breakfast

Every year Burbank celebrates their State of the City address with an informative and multi-media presentation.

With the Burbank schools turning 90 this year, the Burbank Educational Foundation decided to hold a “State of the Schools” breakfast with the goal of raising $90,000 that will support Burbank students in both their core and curriculum extra-curricular activities.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

They could not have found a better host than Burbank’s own Tim Conway Jr. who hosts his own popular radio show nightly on KFI AM. Conway not only disclosed his reasons for coming to live in Burbank (schools), but also was fluent in his transitions during the breakfast with some great observations.

Longtime  Roosevelt teacher Linda Walmsey and former Burbank student and now successful developer, Michael Cusumano co-chaired the sold-out event that was successful in raising their goal.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Besides Cusumano who talked about his journey through Burbank schools and why he chose them for his children, others such as 1964 Olympic Pole Vault Gold Medalist Ron Morris in addition to Jay Hawver, Dr. George Pacal, Jamie Keyser, Debbie Kutka, Bob Bowne, Derek Trabilcy, Jon Schafer and Mary Alvord, Jenny Griffin and her daughter Lauren. In all, these   top leaders in town all talked about their experiences going through the school system.

While the present of the District were honored in both Walmsley, who has been with the district since 1971 and Gloria Garcia, who has been serving as a classified employee since 1973, the future of the district were also highlighted in three high school students.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Three students, Sarah Faucheux (Burroughs High) Mathew Khalil (Burbank High) and  Ian Scott (Monterey High), represented the future and each gave a unique presentation of their experiences. All three were excellent speakers in a room that represented the heavyweights of both Burbank schools and business.

Burbank Unified Superintendent Matt Hill ended the two hour breakfast by motivating the attendees to find people to help engage with the district. He stressed volunteerism, counseling or anything that one could do to help not only the schools, but the students who populate them.

Burbank Schools Statement Regarding Presidential Immigration Order

The following is a statement from the Burbank Unified School District:

Recent immigration actions by our President have raised a lot of questions and concerns within our community. This Thursday, the BUSD Board of Education will be discussing and voting on a resolution titled Reaffirming a Safe and Nondiscriminatory School Environment. In the meantime, I felt that it was important for our community to know about some of the key messages from the resolution.

Please know that the Burbank Unified School District has and continues to be committed to fostering safe and healthy environments conducive to learning. In our community, we have strong and unwavering values regarding the humanity and dignity of every person, the importance of showing compassion to each other, and the right of individuals to freedom and safety. The District is also committed to protecting all rights afforded to students under federal and state law and regulations, and in accordance with Burbank Unified School District policies and procedures. In addition, the resolution will reaffirm the following:

  • District personnel shall treat all students equitably in the receipt of all school services, including, but not limited to, the free and reduced lunch program, transportation, and educational instruction.
  • District personnel shall not inquire about a student’s immigration status, including that of family members
  • Any request by Federal immigration officials for information or to access a school site shall be immediately forwarded to the Superintendent for review and a decision on whether to allow access to the site and provision of information ensuring District compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Plyler v. Doe, which requires schools to enroll all eligible children regardless of immigration status, and other applicable laws.

The Burbank Unified School District will continue to cultivate an environment of acceptance, support, and kindness for all.

Matt Hill
Burbank Unified School District