Burbank Board Of Education Tackles A Full Slate At October 15 Regular Meeting

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Burbank Unified School District office. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The Burbank Board of Education heard reports on the possible re-opening of schools for in-person instruction, the process of renaming Jordan Middle School, Distance Learning, the Superintendent’s Fundraising Advisory Committee and from the Student Reps for Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools at their regular meeting held Thursday, October 15.

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The Board also approved the District’s Anti-Racism Statement and update to Board policy and Resolution 14 – Standing in Solidarity with the People of Armenia and Artsakh to Condemn Azerbaijan and Turkey’s Aggression at the meeting in addition to naming a new Director of Information Technology.

Student Rep for Burbank High School Carmen Blanchard talked about work with the school’s Wellness Center and Family Services Agency to promote the upcoming Field of Hope event on Saturday, October 24. She also noted that the Associated Student Bodies at both Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools were collaborating for a Spirit Week during the last week of October, leading up to what would have been the Homecoming game on October 29.

Blanchard also mentioned coordinating a local Blood Drive with UCLA on Thursday, November 5.

Burbank Unified School District office. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Nadaly Jones, Student Representative from JBHS, noted their coordination with UCLA for a Blood Drive on Thursday, November 12. She also said ASB had a meeting with a Native American tribe to talk about the JBHS mascot, the “Indian.” ASB continues to collect student feedback about possibly changing the school mascot. JBHS also has been working to support the upcoming FSA fundraiser Field of Hope.

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Jones celebrated that JBHS was named the Clerk’s Cup winner for most student voter registrations for 2020, narrowly beating BHS 57-55.

“I’m so impressed with how much you’re doing for the community,” commented Board Clerk Charlene Tabet to both Student Reps.

Superintendent Matt Hill gave an update on Distance Learning to the Board. He highlighted the fact the USDA has now made the free meals for any public school student available through the end of the ’20-’21 school year in May.

Hill mentioned the District has 3000 more Chromebooks on order so carts at school sites can be restocked in anticipation of being able to re-open for in-person instruction in the Spring semester.

Hill also went over requirements for schools to reopen in Los Angeles County. He did recommend school remain on 100% Distance Learning through the end of the Fall Semester in December. The District held a Q&A Session about possibly re-opening schools in 2021 on Wednesday evening, October 21.

In the meantime, the District is looking at how and when athletes can be brought back for conditioning and Special Education students can be brought back for assessments and small group work. Meanwhile the District continues to plan for both a hybrid re-opening and continued remote education.

Both Tabet and Board member Dr. Roberta Reynolds mentioned the ongoing fundraiser during the month of October for the newly merged Burbank Arts and Education Foundation, “Better Together.” As of October 22, the “Better Together” fundraiser has raised $76,000 of its $125,00o goal, with one week remaining in the month.

After the direction of the Board in Spring ’20, the Superintendent’s Fundraising Advisory Committee was formed over the summer. The SFAC was created to streamline District fundraising efforts. The committee meets monthly and reports to the Board monthly.

Newly appointed SFAC Chairperson Wendi Harvel addressed the Board on the committee’s recent efforts. The group will approve language for all PTA programs and clarifying process and approval for ASBs, Boosters, fundraising groups and student clubs in BUSD.

Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services John Paramo gave a report on the progress of renaming David Starr Jordan Middle School. Although staff was ready to move forward with the process in Spring of ’20, the pandemic delayed efforts.

The Board-approved committee to rename Jordan, which consists of two Board members, the Principal of Jordan Middle School, a teacher, a student, three members of the community and the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, are collecting name suggestions from October 16 through November 13.

The District encourages the participation of all BUSD students, parents, staff, teachers and community members in the renaming process. Suggestions for a new name can be made via a Google form which was emailed to all families and staff and can be found on the District website.

Paper copies of the renaming suggestion form can be obtained at either the District Office or Jordan Middle School for those without internet access.

After November 13, the renaming committee will choose three to five names from the submitted suggestions and bring those names to the Board of Education in February 2021.

Rick Vonk, who has been serving as interim Director of Information Technology since May 2020 and has worked for the District since 1996, was named the official Director of Information Technology. His previous position, Technology Manager, remains unfilled and frozen due to BUSD’s current budget crisis.

The video and complete agenda of the Burbank Board of Education meeting for October 15 can be found online on their website.

The Burbank Board of Education is comprised of President Dr. Armond Aghakhanian, Vice President Steve Frintner, Clerk Charlene Tabet, and members Dr. Roberta Reynolds and Steve Ferguson. More information on the Board can be found on their website.

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