Burbank Adult School Paves The Way For Student Success

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The faculty and staff members of Burbank Adult School are providing life-changing programs for the dedicated members of its student body. 

Some of the school’s main areas of study are high school diploma and equivalency, enrichment classes, English as a second language, parent education and career technical education. Under these categories, instructors conduct a wide range of courses such as cable installation, English levels one through six, QuickBooks for business, web design, gentle, mindful yoga, just draw!, just paint!, beginning conversational American Sign Language, and real estate careers. 

BAS operates within the Burbank Unified School District “to meet the diverse educational needs of the community by empowering lifelong learners to reach their professional, personal and/or family goals,” per the school’s site. The classes available at the educational institution prepare students for a variety of careers, from pharmacy technician, to medical assistant, to physical therapy aide, to graphic designer, and more. In addition, the school’s course catalog states that ESL, ESL special topics, high school diploma and high school equivalency test prep classes and/or workshops are all free of charge for students.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

BAS Director Juan Noguera took on his role with the school in the summer of 2022 after having served as assistant principal at the Abram Friedman Occupational Center. The administrator has many goals for BAS, including improving enrollment. Currently, Noguera states that registration is “booming” with 2,050 students signed up to study at BAS, but he hopes to boost this figure even further through online instruction.

“The idea is that we need to offer classes online because we have parents who cannot come because they have kids. They don’t have child care, and child care is a big issue right now,” Noguera said. “We also have people who need to drive, and gas is too expensive right now. So if we offer online classes, I think our enrollment is going to increase.”

One moving example of a BAS success story is the journey of recent graduate Mario Rosales. The 57-year-old attended BAS for six years in pursuit of his high school diploma, which he received on Nov. 3. As he enrolled in courses, Rosales maintained a day job as a gardener, plus worked more hours under a business of his own before going to class each night. He overcame past addictions and emotional hardships stemming from his mother’s passing in 2013 in order to finish his studies. Despite the difficulties Rosales faced along his path, he remained devoted to completing his high school education while receiving encouragement from his daughter during the process.

“[I] never think about quit. It never passed my mind,” Rosales said. “I have to know that even if it takes ten more years, I will do it. Somehow I just never quit.”

“[My mom is] smiling up there for me. My daughter is very happy,” he added. 

Rosales’ next goal is to work in accounting, which is another career field that can be studied at BAS. He will also be a guest speaker at the BAS 2023 summer graduation ceremony and will return on campus to speak before ESL students about his inspirational story. While he didn’t deviate from a commitment to his academic objective, Rosales also credits BAS teachers and staff members for directing him along the way. 

“They were great,” Rosales said of BAS personnel. “They always support me.”

Noguera calls the three counselors who pass along personalized guidance to BAS students “the backbone” of the school, as well as workers who “really care” about the people they serve. Whereas university counselors may be difficult to access, these mentors make certain that BAS students receive all of the information required to achieve their aims as quickly as possible. 

“[The counselors] are going to tell you, ‘These are the classes that you need. Focus on this. This is next. This is next.’ They’re guiding you,” Noguera said. “Here, we tailor the program to getting the high school diploma.”

(Photo by Ross A benson)

Aside from independently teaching pupils, BAS has begun a partnership with automotive industry experts through their impending West Coast Customs Academy. This 15-week program, which will officially begin in January 2023, is designed to prepare students for the automotive field as they are educated by the skilled staff members of West Coast Customs. 

“We’re very excited about that, and that’s a big project,” Noguera said of the initiative. “That’s a huge thing. We are very ambitious about the whole thing. Our vision is going to take us to the top of the hill, I believe.”

In the future, Noguera plans to expand existing programs and incorporate state-of-the-art facilities at BAS such as a culinary arts center and a Mac computer lab. Resources like these, he states, will continue the fulfillment of helping students hone their professional abilities and advance in their industries.

“I think that’s the name of the game here – provide opportunities so people can learn new skills, improve their skills, and find better jobs,” Noguera said. 

Learn more about Burbank Adult School here.

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