College Planning Experts & Success! Tutoring are helping students and their parents get prepared for college! Our next FREE workshop will be on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 PM at Success Tutoring in Burbank. In this workshop, we will go over financial planning for college.
On Tuesday, April 22, teachers and staff at John Muir Middle School colored their hair green after the school met Warner Bros. challenge grant deadline, raising more than $10,000 in 60 days.
“We are very grateful to Warner Bros. for offering John Muir Middle School a matching challenge grant of $10,000 to help modernize our auditorium,” said Principal Dr. Greg Miller. “The ‘challenge’ part was that if we didn’t raise the entire $10,000 in 60 days, then they would not match any of the money that was donated. The Muir community responded and we were able to raise almost $13,000 in the 60 days.”
“As a way to encourage giving, we told the students that if we reached our goal within the 60 days, then staff members that were willing would color their hair green on Earth Day,” explained Miller. “We have 35 staff members who have ‘gone green’ today.”
“With Warner Bros. contribution, we have now raised over $45,000 and are almost halfway to our goal of raising $100,000 to modernize our auditorium,” Miller added.
This challenge grant and matching gifts are part of the fundraising campaign to upgrade and modernize the Allan H. Burnside auditorium, which holds all school events including dance, theater, band, assemblies, award ceremonies, as well as community meetings.
Warner Bros. issued the challenge grant on February 22, 2014, at The Really Big Show auditorium fundraising event showcasing Muir and Burbank High School student, teacher and staff talent.
Due to increasing interest in the Burbank Unified inaugural Spanish Dual Immersion program, district officials plan to offer two Kindergarten classes and at least one first grade class for the 2014-15 school year. Director of Elementary Education Dr. Tom Kissinger leads two informational meetings for parents on the Spanish Dual Immersion program at the BUSD offices; the English presentation will be held on Monday, February 10, and the Spanish presentation on Tuesday, February 11.
“We want to make sure people understand every aspect of the Spanish Dual Immersion program before they commit,” commented Kissinger. “We have an overwhelming interest in this program and we will have to have a lottery for the classes.”
The district may have enough interest to add an additional first grade class for 2014-15. If that is the case, Kissinger said he would seek Board of Education approval to expand the program to that extent. If the Spanish Dual Immersion program continues to be successful, Kissinger has indicated the possibility of starting an Armenian Dual Immersion program in the 2015-16 school year.
The Spanish Dual Immersion Kindergarten program is housed at Disney Elementary and is populated by approximately 20-25% of children whose school of residence is Disney. The rest are drawn from throughout the district and permits.
Of the 29 students in the pilot Kindergarten program, the majority are English speakers and only three are totally fluent in Spanish, with four more who understand Spanish, Kissinger explained in a recent report to the Board of Education. The goal is to have a 50-50 ratio of fluent English and fluent Spanish speakers in each class. To this end, district officials have done more community outreach about the program and Kissinger feels confident the 50-50 ratio will be obtainable for the 2014-15 school year.
In the recent presentation to the School Board, parents of the children in the class, Disney Principal Melissa Kistler and Kindergarten bilingual teacher Juliana Sanchez all spoke in glowing terms about the Spanish Dual Immersion program.
“It’s a smashing success. It’s a very bright and enriching environment,” Kistler told the Board of Education. “It’s filled with positivity and the teacher is well-organized and highly effective.”
Sanchez described the daily activities of the class to the School Board members and explained that at the beginning of the year, comprehension was very challenging for the students. Eighty percent of the class is taught in Spanish and 20% in English for the daily Language Arts study.
“It’s incredible to see how far they’ve come in just a few months,” Sanchez said. “Now they know our routines and, for the most part, understand what I am saying.”
The future plan is for Kindergarten to be taught 90% in Spanish and 10% in English, first grade 80% Spanish and 20% English, second grade 70% Spanish and 30% English and third grade 60% Spanish and 40% English. By fourth grade, the target 50% Spanish and 50% English language usage will be reached.
“Principal Kistler, the staff and the curriculum specialist at Disney have provided excellent support,” added Kissinger. “Parent volunteers work in the classroom and are well-utilized by the in-class aide.”
As the program adds more classes, more rooms will be needed and Kistler has a plan to use existing classrooms on campus, Kissinger told the School Board. The district is planning to form the classes by May 2014. The lottery for class spaces will begin February 10 and end April 11.
Each class costs approximately $110,000 per year to fund and a six-year program, with one class per grade, would eventually cost the district $660,000 annually. With two classes per grade, the cost would double to 1.2 million dollars.
In the long-term, Disney Elementary could become a language magnet school, but district officials also want to continue traditional classes for those who don’t want to participate in the Dual Immersion program. At the January 16 meeting, School Board members and Kissinger talked about the need for a long-term plan and ways to integrate middle and high school language programs.
“The benefit of this program is only enhanced if we can continue this through grade 12,” commented Board of Education member Larry Applebaum.
“We have had a significant number of our students who did not stay in this district because our neighboring schools offered this option,” BUSD Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz said at the meeting.
“We have a need and parents want more classes like the Dual Immersion program and we’re going to try and fill that need,” concluded Kissinger.
More information on the Spanish Dual Immersion program for primary grades can be found on the BUSD website or by contacting the district offices at 818-729-4401.
Burbank Unified School District holds its annual Kindergarten Parent Meeting on Thursday, January 23, at the Burbank Adult School auditorium. Dr. Tom Kissinger, Director of Elementary Education for the district, will present hourly programs throughout the day in English, Armenian and Spanish. The meeting will cover a range of information about the district’s Traditional Kindergarten program, as well as the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Spanish Immersion Kindergarten classes.
The same program will be presented hourly as follows: 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. English, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Spanish, 11:00 to 12:00 p.m. English, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Spanish, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Armenian, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. English and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Spanish.
The Spanish Immersion Kindergarten program, held at the Disney Elementary site, debuted for the 2013-14 school year and feedback has been very positive. District officials are considering the possibility of adding an additional Spanish Immersion Kindergarten class in the coming school year. In Kindergarten, 80% of the teaching is in Spanish and 20% in English.
The class reaches 50% Spanish and 50% English instruction by fourth grade. BUSD encourages more native Spanish-speakers to apply for the Spanish Immersion Kindergarten, as Language Arts is taught in English and the English Language Learners program is available for those children requiring more English language development. An additional meeting focusing on the Spanish Immersion program will be held on February 10 and 11 at the district office.
District officials are considering a plan to add more elementary teachers to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 in the coming years. Currently, the Kindergarten class size is 28 children to one teacher, but BUSD is discussing measures to make that ratio 26:1 for the 2014-2015 school year.
Enrollment for the 2014-15 Kindergarten program begins February 3. The Burbank Adult School is located at 3811 Allan Avenue, near Hollywood Way. More information can be found on the district’s website at http://www.burbankusd.org/.
Target has been running a Facebook voting campaign, giving $1 per vote for a selected school, during the month of September. Voters may choose a K–12 school from the list of eligible schools. When the contest was announced, voters could select the same school every week until September 21 or until $5 million has been awarded, whichever occured first. Target has extended the campaign until September 30. No purchase is necessary, but voters must vote via the Facebook app, which requires a Facebook account to access.
A maximum of $10,000 will be awarded per school. Voting is limited to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and be 13 years of age and older. There is a limit of one vote per person per week. Cast a vote or get more details and information at the Give With Target Facebook site.
A few schools in the nation have reached the $10,000 mark, and as of 5:00 p.m., Monday September 23, the standings for top five vote-getting BUSD schools are: Emerson Elementary with $748, Luther Burbank Middle School with $443, Roosevelt Elementary with $425, McKinley Elementary with $248 and Edison Elementary with $186. Other BUSD schools are available for votes as well.
By Lisa Paredes
With excitement and anticipation, children and families throughout Burbank begin their first day of school today. The Burbank Unified School District’s administrators, staff and teachers are also welcoming the 2013-2014 school year with some new and continuing programs like Spanish Dual Immersion, Transitional Kindergarten and the Homework Task Force. Current enrollment is over 15,100 students, just about the same as last year’s numbers.
Burbank Unified schools, along with all other California public schools, will also be preparing throughout the year for next year’s new national educational standards program, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS.)
According to BUSD Superintendent, Dr. Jan Britz, “The start of school is an exciting time, and with the introduction of Common Core and many Measure S improvement projects being implemented at our school sites, 2013-14 promises to bring many milestones and accomplishments.”
Spanish Dual Immersion The District’s first dual immersion Spanish language kindergarten class opens today, August 19, at Disney Elementary. The program serves 29 students and provides 80 percent of the school day in Spanish and 20 percent in English. A lottery was held to select participating students because interest in this program was so strong, with more than 50 families applying for entrance. BUSD plans to add a class per year, for the next six years, so that by the time these students from the inaugural class are in fifth grade, there will be a dual immersion class at every grade level.
Transitional Kindergarten The highly successful Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program, the first year of two-year kindergarten for five-year-olds, is in its second year at BUSD. The voluntary program offers children who turn five between September 2 and December 1 an extra year of developmentally-appropriate learning, before entering traditional kindergarten. Currently, 113 students are registered for TK, which has one classroom each at four school sites: Roosevelt Elementary, Harte Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and McKinley Elementary.
Common Core State Standards The school district and teachers will prepare for Common Core State Standards through professional development, instructional materials and technology. The passage of Measure S enables the District to address some of the technology needs so that more of the one-time funds allocated by the state for CCSS implementation can be dedicated to teacher training. Teachers will collaborate and develop lessons throughout the year so that by the time 2014-15 school year rolls around, they will be ready for the new standards.
Jordan Middle School “We are very excited about the new Common Core Standards. Our staff is passionate about teaching and creating a dynamic school where students are engaged and encouraged,” comments Mrs. Stacy Cashman, Jordan Middle School Principal.
“We are also excited to wear our new Blue and Gold spirit shirts. The ASB students did a great job on the design! Our ASB, under the leadership of Mrs. Hatch, leads our school spirit. They really know how to make Jordan fun!”
Jordan Middle School is also very proud of STOP IT!, their anti-bullying program. Assistant Principal, Mr. Leonidas Tarca, has helped create an atmosphere where students are empowered to stand up for themselves and others. His STOP IT! student leaders met over the summer to set new goals for the coming year, including community service.
Last year, Cartoon Network animated a short story, “You Are Special,” by Jordan student Sherryn Sim. This coming year, Jordan plans to meet with an organization to reduce trash at lunch and find greener ways of doing things around the school.
“I am also proud of Jordan’s emphasis on the arts. Cougar Vision, our student broadcast, won an award from the Burbank Business Partners, we have award-winning choir and band programs, and our culinary arts students participated in a CPK cooking competition last year,” adds Mrs. Cashman. “I am grateful for the family feeling we have at Jordan. We have so much support from staff, students, parents and business partners.”
“These weeks before school opens have been busy as we prepare,” Mrs. Cashman concludes. “I can’t begin to describe the thrill of the first day of school, the new shoes, the new outfits and the smiles on the faces of our new students!”
Roosevelt Elementary At Roosevelt Elementary, Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre points to the violin program as a source of pride. Last year, all first grade students had weekly violin lessons funded by the Roosevelt PTA and Boosters.
An unnamed donor gave the school 15 violins so that students could learn using school violins. The Leadership Burbank Class of 2013 recently donated 31 additional violins and 20 music stands to Roosevelt and Providencia Elementary Schools.
“This year we are able to expand our program so that both second and first graders will take weekly violin lessons, ” explains Dr. Meglemre. “Our goal is to grow an instrumental music program for all grade levels over the next few years.”
“I am most excited this year about the transition to the Common Core State Standards. The teachers and I have been to workshops this summer, learning about the new national standards,” Dr. Meglemre continues. “The focus of the CCSS is fewer and deeper. The teachers will be spending more time teaching fewer standards, so they will be able to emphasize the real world application and critical thinking skills.”
Adds Dr. Meglemre, “I feel so fortunate to work at a school with such dedicated teachers and supportive parents.”
Safety Committee and Homework Task Force Burbank Unified administrators also highlighted two other programs, the Safety Committee and the Homework Task Force. Comprised of parents, administrators, teachers and staff, the Safety Committee met throughout the past school year to discuss anti-bullying and to review and revise existing Board Policy. The committee drafted a policy clearly defining bullying and its signs and outlining BUSD’s commitment to providing a safe working and learning environment.
The Homework Task Force was created during the 2012-13 school year. Parents, teachers and administrators met and studied information about the purpose and amount of homework appropriate for various ages, ultimately suggesting guidelines per grade level about the amount of time children could be expected to participate in homework.
For more information on the ongoing activities in the Burbank Unified School District, please visit their website at www.burbankusd.org
By Joyce Rudolph
The 2013 Leadership Burbank Class is planning a comedy night to raise funds for its community project, “31 Violins”, a program to expand instrumental music instruction to Burbank’s elementary schools.
The Burbank Unified School District eliminated weekly elementary instrumental music programs in 1992, but in 2007 a general music program was developed for grades 2-5 that allowed students to attend classes twice a month. Today, five elementary schools offer general music education but only two – Providencia and Roosevelt – teach instrumental music instruction within the school day.
“After learning about the decline in music instruction in our community, we felt inspired to help expand the programs for more children to have the opportunity to learn music,” said Monica Newhouse, Leadership Burbank 2013 participant. “Our vision in the creation of ’31 Violins’ is to not only provide instruments, but to also increase instruction time, reduce music class sizes, free up district resources and eliminate the financial burden from the district and schools.
The event, “Laughs for Leadership Burbank”, will be on March 28 at Flappers Comedy Club and Restaurant, 102 E. Magnolia Blvd. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m. The host is KNBC weatherman and stand-up comedian Fritz Coleman. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling (818) 845-9721 or visit www.flapperscomedy.com.
There will be a live auction and opportunity drawings along with a line-up of professional comedians.
Leadership Burbank is a nonprofit organization that offers leaders and emerging leaders the opportunity to enhance their personal and professional skills, gain a deeper understanding of community dynamics and cultivate civic involvemen
“As a new parent and a university professor, Armond can see the perspective of all parents in the community and has a vested interest in the quality of education that we provide for our students,” said Lori Adams, President of the Burbank Teachers Association.
“Armond brings many new ideas to the table as well as the perspective of newcomers to our community and various political representatives.” Adams continued. “We look forward to working with Armond on many new projects that will enhance our curriculum as well as the finances of the District in the future.”
Armond Aghakhanian is a professor at Burbank’s Woodbury University. For the past five years he has taught courses in business, management, organizational leadership and government. Armond also serves the community on the Burbank and Greater East Valley Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, the City of Burbank’s Community Development Goals Committee and as a member of Burbank Noon Kiwanis Club. In 2010 Aghakhanian was honored with “President’s Volunteer Service Award.”
“I am honored to have the support of Burbank’s classroom teachers in this election,” said Aghakhanian. “I know that working together we can meet the challenges facing our school district and ensure that every child who attends Burbank’s schools receives the education they need to obtain the skills they need to pursue their dreams and succeed in life.”
Aghakhanian earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University Northridge and a Master’s of Business Administration from Burbank’s Woodbury University. He is currently a Doctoral candidate at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.
Armond Aghakhanian and his wife, Dr. Gayane Gasamanyan are residents of Burbank. Their son just celebrated his first birthday.
You can learn more about Armond’s campaign by visiting: www.armond2013.com/
Burbank schools continue to show marked gains in the Academic Performance Index (API). The API is part of the California accountability system that measures the academic achievement of districts and individual schools. The state target is 800 on a scale of 200 to 1,000 and the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) has all of its regular program schools well above that mark for the second year in a row.
The latest release of the API on October 11, 2012 demonstrates that the BUSD continues to show growth, both as a District and at individual school sites. Nine schools posted double-digit gains, and the District as a whole now stands at 846, a remarkable accomplishment. Although there are many positives in the data, as shown in the chart below, a couple of schools stand out. The first is Miller Elementary School, which increased 24 points over last year and is now at 873. The second noteworthy accomplishment is the gain shown by Muir Middle School. They posted a 23 point increase, which now puts them at 888, just 12 points from 900 and an extraordinary accomplishment for a middle school. In addition, both high schools deserve recognition for making double digit gains, which is more difficult to do at the high school level. Overall, the performance of the District and individual school sites was outstanding.
API Information, 2007-2012
* Reflects recalibration of Growth API.
In order to receive a diploma from the state of California and the Burbank Unified School
District, all students must pass the California High School Exit Exam (or CAHSEE). The first
opportunity for all students to take the exam is in grade 10. If students do not pass the exam, they
have multiple opportunities to retake the exam in grades 11 and 12. In addition, the Burbank
Unified School District provides preparation courses to assist students who need additional
instruction. Students who finish high school without passing the exit exam may also take the
exam at Burbank Adult School.
Burbank Unified students taking the CAHSEE continue to show growth, according to
the latest data released by the California Department of Education. The new results show a
District passing rate of 94% on the English Language Arts section and a 93% passing rate on
the Mathematics section of the exam. Not only is this is an improvement over the prior year, in
which the District posted a 91% passing rate on the English Language Arts section and a 92%
passing rate on the Mathematics section, but this year’s results show an improvement over the
prior six years. In 2006, the District passing rates were 85% in English Language Arts and 91%
in Mathematics. The passing rates are based on the District 10th grade census administration of
the California High School Exit Exam.
The results of the individual comprehensive high schools, John Burroughs High School
and Burbank High School, demonstrate steady improvement. The John Burroughs High School
passing rate in English Language Arts is 94%, while Burbank High School is slightly higher
at 95%. The passing rate for Mathematics is 92% at John Burroughs High School and 94%
at Burbank High School. Both schools are well above the state averages of 83% in English
Language Arts and 83.6% in Mathematics.
Burbank Unified attributes the success of its students to a few different factors that make
a significant impact on student performance. The first is the expertise of our highly qualified
teachers in English Language Arts and in Mathematics. Burbank teachers implement a rigorous
curriculum that provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the exam.
The second is the opportunity for students who do not pass one or both sections of the exam to
take a review course to fill in gaps of knowledge and retake the exam. The third is the support of
the Burbank Unified School District’s parent community. Parents work with the school sites to
emphasize the importance of the exam, graduation, and college and career readiness.