BUSD Offers Free Summer School Options For Burbank Students To Get Ahead

By On July 21, 2014

Burbank high school students have a lot of options to get ahead on required school courses this summer. Burbank Unified is testing out a pilot summer program for initial credit classes run by Options For Youth (OFY) charter school at the Burbank High School campus from July 1 through August 7.

The OFY Summer Program is free to Burbank Unified students. The charter school uses Average Daily Attendance funds to pay the teachers, staff and fees and provide textbooks and supplies.

BUSD teachers, curriculum and textbooks are all employed for the OFY Summer Program.

TOSA Kenneth Knoop check a student's homework during class at Options For Youth's Summer Program at Burbank High.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

TOSA Kenneth Knoop checks a student’s work during class at Options For Youth’s Summer Program at Burbank High. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Our most popular class is Health/Careers,” commented Kenneth Knoop, Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) overseeing the summer program at BHS. “We have four classes of Health students and most are eighth graders going into ninth grade.”

The Options For Youth at BHS program also offers a Physical Education class. The free summer school has approximately 150 students enrolled in five classes.

“Most of the kids attending summer classes here are really motivated and are trying to get ahead and get those required classes out of the way,” Knoop added. “They’re really great kids… the super motivated kids who are willing to spend part of their summer in school.”

Burbank High School teacher Marcus Turner with students in Options For Youth's Summer Program at BHS.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank High School Health teacher Marcus Turner with students in Options For Youth’s Summer Program at BHS. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“The majority of the students in this summer program are in performing arts, like band or choir, and need to take a double block of classes during the school year to participate in some of those programs,” explained Emilio Urioste, Director II of Secondary Education.

Knoop, in addition to being a Phys Ed teacher at Jordan, also subs for administrators on leave in the district and is Assistant Football Coach at John Burroughs High School. As TOSA, he is acting as supervisor of the summer program, and right now, he is also the substitute teacher and the nurse.

“This is the first year run for this program and we are still working the kinks out, but it’s going very well,” he added.

Knoop acknowledged BHS Principal Michael Bertram and the school’s administrative staff are on site, along with custodial and cafeteria support.

“They’ve all been really great and very helpful,” he said.

Burroughs High School Health teacher Amy Lucas works with students at the Options For Youth Summer Program at Burbank High School. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burroughs High School Health teacher Amy Lucas works with students at the Options For Youth Summer Program at Burbank High School. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

During the summer hours, students in the Phys Ed class exercise outside in the early hours of school, which begins at 7:40 a.m. For the rest of the day, until 1:00 p.m., the students complete in class writing assignments. Teachers take a few breaks, including one for lunch.

The students in the Health/Careers classes cover all the material studied during the school year in six weeks. One day of summer school is equivalent to one week of classes during the school year. Summer school runs four days per week. Absences are frowned upon and missing more than two days out of the summer session may result in being dropped from the program.

Grades for completed summer classes are transferred directly to the student’s transcript.

“Our offering of these programs through Options For Youth is in line with our superintendent’s emphasis on the need to be flexible and provide options for today’s students and their families,” Urioste added. “This vision of greater options and flexibility is what Dr. Jan Britz holds up for the administrators and reminds us to pursue.”

Teacher Marcus Turner's students think about Health/Careers.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Teacher Marcus Turner’s students think about Health/Careers. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

An online summer program via OFY is also available to BUSD high school students for both initial credit and credit recovery, with a referral by their counselor. The online program includes classes in social studies and English, among others, and students are required to attend the Options For Youth campus on Burbank Boulevard two hours per week, completing the rest of the class work online at home.

Burbank students may also take classes via Woodbury University’s Initial Credit Summer Program. Because of an agreement set up between Woodbury and BUSD Board of Education, courses taken at the Woodbury program can transfer directly to a student’s record.

The Options For Youth Summer Program seems poised for growth and may add additional classes and subjects next year.