Tag Archives: David Starr Jordan Middle School

Jordan Robotics Fields Three Teams For FIRST Tech Challenge

David Starr Jordan Middle School fields three teams from its after school Jordan Robotics club to participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a robotics competition in which teams design, build, program and operate robots.

CougarCoders, RoboGirls and CougarBOTS are coached by Chris Mitchell, who oversees the CougarLAB and Digital Media program at Jordan. Mitchell teaches computer, digital media and Exploring Engineering classes at the school.

The 2017-18 school year was the first year Jordan fielded a team for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC.) So many students were interested, they school was able to form a second team. For the 2019 FTC, a few of the girls from the previous team recruited more girls at the school and Jordan now has a girls-focused team.

jordan robotics

(Left to right) Sydney Roberts, Ashley Martin, Cira Teeters, Ava Moore, Hema Filippi and LuciMarie Masselinkare members of Jordan’s RoboGirls, the school’s new girls-focused FTC Robotics Team working on building their first robot. (Photo Courtesy Chris Mitchell)

With $15,000 in additional funds provided for the 2018-19 school year by the Young Sheldon grant Burbank Unified School District recently received, Jordan was able to field three teams for the FIRST Tech Challenge.

The school purchased six Pitsco Tetrix Robotics Kits with expansion packs for Exploring Engineering and the Jordan Robotics teams. With the grant funds, they also bought 18 Lego Robotics Kits to be used in several computer classes and may be used for an after school program or for teachers using the school’s new STEAM lab.

Each Jordan Robotics team has two robots to work with, so that one can always be ready for competition and driving practice while the other can be used to explore new robot designs and programming, explained Mitchell. “This gives everyone involved lots more hands-on time and speeds up the learning process.”

jordan robotics

Gerardo Suner, Theo Pynchon and Nolan Smith are members of CougarCoders, the school’s veteran robotics team of returning members from 2017-18, showing off last year’s competition robot before they disassemble it to create a new one for this year’s Rover Ruckus season. (Photo Courtesy Chris Mitchell)

The robots include motors, servos, a variety of sensors (light, distance, touch, motor encoders) and students program them using Java to create an android app, he added.

Three-fourths of the robotics team members are part of the Exploring Engineering class, one of Jordan’s CTE (Career Technical Education) classes.

The Jordan Robotics program started several years ago with the 21st Century Robot Program funded by Warner Brothers with additional support from a Burbank Arts for All grant.

“Last year it was wonderful to see students work together to design, build, and program their robots, see how they performed in competition, and then work on improving their design and coding to do better in the next meet,” commented Mitchell.

jordan robotics

Ryan Anderson, of CougarCoders, works on building a new robot for this year’s Rover Ruckus season. (Photo Courtesy Chris Mitchell)

“Being a part of our competitive robotics teams give students many of the same benefits of being on a sports team, but they are also learning engineering skills, programming skills, and how to work together as a team to solve challenging tasks. These skills will be valuable as they pursue higher education and careers.”

CougarCoders, RoboGirls and CougarBOTS attend their first practice meet on November 17 at Temple City High School., with the first season meet on Saturday, December 1, at the same school.

“Our middle school teams compete in a league with both high school and middle school teams with the majority being high school. Some schools have been involved with competitive robotics for many years.”

jordan robotics

Luke Trujillo, member of Jordan CougarBOTS, the school’s rookie team for students new to robotics, working on the team’s first robot. (Photo Courtesy Chris Mitchell)

“Last year our teams did well in their first year – placing in the top third at some of our meets. This year we hope to do even better with some experience and more equipment and supplies. We will need to place in the top 25% at the InterLeague meet to move on to regional competition.”

The robotics teams also plan to hold five build nights at which students will have four to five hours to work on finalizing robots, testing their programming and practicing their robot driving skills.

Enthusiasm for and interest in the program is high among the Jordan students. Although funds from the Young Sheldon grant will support the program for a total of two years, future funding of the program is not secure, without a dedicated revenue stream.

“I am hoping Measure QS will pass so that our district has funding to continue to support and expand our strong CTE and STEM classes and programs,”  added Mitchell.

jordan robotics

Cira Teeters and Ava Moore are returning members of Jordan Robotics who helped start RoboGirls to get more girls involved in robotics this season. (Photo Courtesy Chris Mitchell)


Jordan VMA Wows Audience With Spring Concert

The David Starr Jordan Middle School Vocal Music Association presented their Spring concert, “Make A Brighter Day,” on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8 and 9, in the school auditorium. Approximately 300 students in the Jordan VMA choirs, stage and music classes put on the show to nearly sold-out audiences both nights.

Directed by vocal music teacher Christine DeMore, the award-winning choirs – Clefhangers (boys), Treblemakers (beginning girls), Cantabile (intermediate girls) and Madrigals (advanced mixed show choir) – presented both classical and show sets. A capella group Vocal Ensemble also performed.

jordan vma

Jordan Madrigals choir perform their classical set. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dance Ensemble, directed by Amanda Richardson, put on a fun performance, dancing to a medley of songs including “Paint It Black,” “Drill” and “Grace Kelly.” Richardson and Dominc Matas choreograph the choirs’ show sets.

Students in the sixth-grade Wheel class, Introduction to Music, played hand bells for their two-song set.

Eighth-graders Julia Cronin, Joseph Stull and Eyén Paredes performed a cover of the Amy Winehouse song, “Valerie,” featuring three-part harmonies arranged by Paredes, who also recorded and mixed all the instruments on the backing track. Paredes also performed an arrangement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” for the program.

Jordan’s Dance Ensemble. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Jordan Principal Stacy Cashman was honored for her dedication to the school over the past seven years, as she moves on to a new role at the District office as Director of Student Services.

Outgoing Jordan VMA President Rachel Levine and Treasurer Janet Berlin were recognized, along with current Communications Director, Erin Kelly-Park.

Jordan vma

Jordan Madrigals perform their show set. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Jordan Stage Crew, an elective class taught by DeMore, provided all the technical support and production including lighting, sound and backstage management. Comprised of mainly seventh- and eighth-graders, Stage Crew put on the entire production without adult assistance.

All the choirs combined for a touching goodbye encore of “We Are The World.”

Dellutri Sets Record in All-City Middle School Track Meet

Ryan Dellutri wasn’t sure he would be able to run in the Burbank All-City Middle School Track Meet at Burroughs High Friday night.

The seventh grader at Jordan Middle School came into the meet having not done much in the two previous weeks.

“I pulled my right quad two weeks ago and I haven’t done much training since,” Dellutri said.

Dellutri not only ran, but won three events and set a meet record in the boys’ 400 meters, finishing in 58.1 seconds.

“Today I put it all out there and all the training before the injury paid off,” Dellutri said.

Dellutri also won the 100 (12.9) and the 200 (26.4). He is the son of former Burroughs and USC wide receiver Todd Dellutri, who also later coached football and track at Burroughs.

Fellow Jordan seventh grader Nathan Perez also set a meet record in winning the long jump with a best of 18 feet.

Muir seventh grader Sattwik Banerjee set a meet record in the seventh grade boys’ shot put with a best of 44-4.

Aubrey Eaton set a meet record in the elementary girls 800, running 2:48.

See the full results below.

6th Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Carson Chase   (M)11.91Jonathon Vasaquez  (J)64.91Jaylin Fletcher   (M)4’2″
2Anthony Morse   (L)12.12Bryan Juarez  (M)66.92Quinn Zeigert  (J)4’2″
3Daniel Schnek   (M)12.33Connor Durmick  (L)70.63Dylan Conahan  (J)4’2″
4Cody Hauser  (L)13.64Aiden Berry  (J)754Ryder Hoffman  (M)4’1″
5Bailey Cervantes   (J)13.75Shane Blanchard  (M)775Kai Cruz  (M)4′
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Jonathon Vasquez   (J)29.61Dylan LaMarsna   (M).           2.491Ben Cushine  (L)12’9″
2Kingston Askerneese  (J)31.62Ryan Lee   (J)                            2.582Ryder Hoffman  ( M)12’9″
3Anthony Morse  (L)323Brian Butchko   (M)                3.023Rainer Labus  (M)12’8″
4Ben Cushnie  (L)32.54Frank Hernandez  (L)            3.104Anthony Morse (L)12’6″
5Ryan Viyar  (M)32.75Bradyen Spence  (J)                3.135Dylan Conahan   (J)11’11”
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Jonathon Vasquez  (J)141Jonathon Vasquez1Jackson Middleton  (M)31’4″
2Bryan Juarez  (M)14.7Dylan Conahan57.52Jackson McBratney  (J)28’10”
3Kingston Askerneese   (J)14.8JordanKingston Askerneese3Daniel Luga  (M)27’9″
4Shane Blachard  (M)15.2Aiden Berryman4Michael Guiterrez   (L)27’6″
5Alex D’Addario  (L)15.65Rogelo Marquez  (M)26’11”
2Shane Blanchard
Brayn JuarezEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mMuirNichiketh Bellamkonda57.91Bryan Juarez
PlaceRyder HoffmanRyan Viyar5:06
1Dominic Quinadu   (L).         5.49MuirCarson Chase
2Steven Payne  (L)                   5.533Adrian SanchezJames Basco
3Andy Rodas  (L)                      5.56Bryan Juarez59.4
4Jivon Galstian   (L).                6.02LutherDominic Quijado2Francesco Sabato
5Henry Owens   (M)                6.14Conner DurmickLutherRoberto Guiterrez5:08
Teshhawn Barron
Event:  Pole VaultSonny Arana
1Total Pts.
2Muir833Aiden Berryman
3Jordan67JordanSebastina Ulloa5:20
4Luther57Hudson Nichols
Daniel Erickson


Sixth Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Jailynn Turner  (J)12.21Olivia Sanchez (L)70.91Samantha Aguinaldo  (M)4′
1Alanna Neal (M)12.22Alanna Neale  (M)72.22Evalyn Rodriguez  (M)3’10”
3Danielle Bax   (J)12.63Juliette Lambert   (M)74.83Kelsey Finnegan  (M)3’8″
4Kaia Couden  (M)12.74Madison Evans-Armandariz(L)82.24Gracie Miller  (J)3’8″
5Sarabeth Palacio  (L)13.25Alexis Gentry  (J)103.65Payton St.Clair  (L)3’6″
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Madison Williams  (M)311Julette Lambert  (M).    2.581Mia Reese  (L)12’8″
2Olive Sanchez  (L)31.82Tara Rauenswinder  (M).   2.592Jailynn Turner11’8″
3Danielle Bax  (J)32.23Canizales  (J).                  3.203Alexis Bell  (M)11’5″
4Alaleh Dolatshahi. (M)32.84Faith O’Keefe  (M).        3.264Alyssa Allen  (L)11’1″
5Stephanie Domine. (J)36.555Natalie Romero  (L)10’5″
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Maddison Williams  (M)14.21Madison Williams1Daniela Alvarez.  (L)27’8″
2Polien Abovian (M)14.8Riley Jenkins2Riley Solares. (L)27’2″
3Leanne Santos-Cerdo. (L)15.1MuirAlanna Neale58.73Danielle Bax. (J)25’7″
4Sadie Lomet. (J)15.2Polien Abovian4Riley Valento. (M)25’4″
5Alyssa Allen  (L)15.35Sydney Lin.  (M)24’10”
2Sadie Lomet
Jessica WardEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mJordanJanelle Ward621Juliette Lambert
PlaceDanielle BaxAlanna Neale5:17
1Alyssa Allen  (L).                6.43MuirAlexis Bell
2Alexandra Slek. (M).         6.493Maddie DemmertEvalyn Rodriguez
3Kelsey Finnagan. (M).      6.50Mackenzie Meisenbach64
4Ashley Sosa. (M)                6.53LutherBridget Crenshaw2Mattiasi Gonzales
5Claren Merrill. (M).           6.57Olivia SanchezLeela Vonderhey5:30
JordanJanelle Moreno
Event:  Pole VaultNatalie Patrick
1Total Pts.
2Muir1073Olive Sanchez
3Jordan41Alyssa Allen5:50
4Luther58LutherMackenzie Meisenbach
Bridget Crenshaw

Seventh Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Sattwik Banerjee. (M)11.21Ryan Dellutri  (J).        Rec58.11Jagg Richer. (J)4’8″
2Jagg Richer. (J)11.32Sebastian Zamora. (L)642Koji Nakazawa. (M)4’8″
3Dylan Robinson  (M)11.43Branton Lewis  (M)64.33Joe Maslyk. (M)4’6″
4Damien McNeely. (J)11.54Dylan Webster. (J)64.94Kenzie Sawyer. (L)4’6″
5Sebastian Zamora  (L)12.75Zakk Estrada. (M)65.85Reece Adams. (L)4’4″
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Ryan Dellutri  (J)26.41Siyoung  Heo. (M)         2.231Nathan Perez. (J). REC18′
2Johnny Osequeda  (L)27.92Kevin Pereira  (M).       2.322Gabriel Mier. (L)16’6″
3Kyle Rodriguez. (M)28.23Nathan Shindich. (J).    2.333Koji Nakazawa  (M)15’4″
4Ronny Preza. (L)28.64Andy Rodas   (L).           2.344Joe Maslyk. (M)14’8″
5Zakk Estrada. (M)29.55Sebastian Zamora. (L). 2.355Kaleb O’Neil. (L)13’10”
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Ryan Dellutri  (J)12.91Zakk Estrada1Sattwik Banerjee. (M)44”4″  Rec
2Patrick Masoudi. (M)13.3Patrick Masoudi.            Rec52.32Eddie Antonio  (L)42’1″
3Sebastian Zamora. (L)13.5MuirKoji Nakazawa3Garik Kirkosyan. (M)35’8″
4Zakk Estrada. (M)13.9Joe Maslyk4Marlon Rivas.  (L)35’6″
5Gabriel Meir. (L)145Sebastian Zamora. (L)33’11”
2Rony Perez
Gabriel MillerEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherJosh Novarro54.61Brenton Lewis
PlaceCameron SinkoskiKyle Rodriguez
1Siyoung Heo. (M).         5.17MuirSiyoung Heo
2Kyle Daou. (L).               5.323Ryan DellutriKevin Pereira
3Dylan Robinson  (M).   5.33Jagg RicherDQ
4Andy Rodas.  (L)            5.35JordanNathan Perez2Rony Preza
5Ozzie Gara. (L)               5.54Dylan WebsterReece Adams
LutherJosh Navarro
Event:  Pole VaultKyle Daou
1Total Pts.
2Muir923Jagg Richer
3Jordan55Kyle Rodriguez
4Luther59JordanDamien McNeely
Nathan Shindich

Seventh Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Madison Soforenko. (M)12.61Joanna Camcho. (M)701Kara Aldana-Pera  (L)4’4″
2Dylan Berger. (L)12.92Vivi Cannon. (J)70.42Anna Hidalgo. (M)4’2″
3Annabelle Steel   (M)13.33Julia Narmore. (L)70.53Elodie Lambert. (M)4’2″
4Linday Mazarei.  (J)13.44Jolene Molina. (M)714Ivana Rasov. (L)4′
5Victoria Krol  (L)13.55Eden Butcher. (L)71.55Mia Castro  (M)3’10”
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Mia Castro  (M)29.81Vivi Cannon. (J).            2:561Maleya Gould  (J)12’4″
2Jolene Ngo. (M)31.82Annalise Gonzalez. (M).     2:582Victoria Krol. (L)12’2″
3Eden Butcher  (L)32.73Kiara Bolger  (M).         3:043Luna Wyatt. (M)11’4″
4Otelia Lighthill. (L)33.14Rachel Little. (L).           3:054Daphne Sakavellas  (M)11’3″
5Amy Pelico. (J)33.65Nicole Mirales. (L).        3:075
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Mia Castro   (M)14.21Anna Hildago1Brooke Bailey. (L)31’5″
2Delilah Alvardo. (L)14.4Mia Castro2Karen Castillas.  (M)31’4″
3Anna Hildago. (M)14.6MuirMackenzie Salerno3Leanna Tatarian. (L)28’2″
4Luna Molina. (J)14.7Samantha Reyes4Irene Abramyan. (M)27’6″
5Kylie Severson. (L)15.15McKenzie Nuss. (J)27’1″
2Leanna Tatarian
Julia NarmoreEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherMaria Pilavian1Joanna Camacho
PlaceKylie SeversonJolene Ngo
1Samantha Buckley. (M).     6.27MuirDanirlle Roarke
2Jolene Ngo. (M).                    6.293Vivi CannonSamantha Buckley
3Kiara Bolger. (M)                 6.30Montana Benz
4Madison Soforenko. (M).   6.46JordanLuna Molina2Rachel Little
5Milly Dmitrieff. (M).            6.47Maleia GouldEden Butcher
LutherAnika Lingad
Event:  Pole VaultJulia Narmore
1Total Pts.
2Muir1143Ava Moore
3Jordan30Vivi Cannon
4Luther62JordanCaitlyn Mendoza
Adira Fogleman

Eighth Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Joseph Zimmermann. (L)10.21Brennan Dragomer. (M)57.81Blaine Austin. (M)5′
2Rudy Perez. (L)10.32Anthony Reyes. (L)58.11Joseph Zimmermann (L)5′
3Joseph Santorico. (M)10.53Jonathan English. (J)59.43Caed Ceuvorst. (M)5′
4Sebastian Ottoson  (M)10.64Dylan Stewart. (M)59.94Joseph Santorico. (M)4’10”
5Luke Dearth. (J)11.85Adrian Flores  (L)60.25Rudy Perez. (L)4’8″
Event:  100mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Sebastian Ottosson. (M)12.51Jalen Leighton. (L)                  2.181Joseph Zimmermann (L)17’11 1/2″
1Aiden Kaloustian. (L)12.52Mason Ortega. (L).                  2.232Rudy Perez. (L)17’11”
3Kylen Gibson. (J)12.73Dylan Stewart. (M).                2.243Caed Cuevost. (M)15′
4Brennan Dragomer. (M)12.84Xander Peneflor. (L).             2.264Seven Spaulding  (M)14’8″
5Carlos Rodriguez. (J)12.95James Kwon. (M).                    2.285Ethan Wertlieb. (L)14’5″
Event:  200mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Aiden Kaloustian. (L)25.61Sebatian Ottosson1Isaac Reyes. (L)38’2″
2Sebastian Ottosson.  (M)26.5Caed Ceurvost                Tie Rec50.12Michael Mansour. (M)37’1″
3Carlos Rodriguez. (J)26.4MuirJoseph Santorico3Joseph Zimmermann. (L)36’8″
4Brennan Dragomer. (M)26.5Chirasak Phongsapan4Dylan Stewart  (M)35’4″
5Kylen Gibson. (J)26.65Diego Salas. (J)34’1″
2Anthony Reveles
Aiden Kaloustian50.3Event:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherJade Vasquez1Brennan Dragomer
PlaceEthan WertliebDylan Stewart4:09
1Mason Ortega. (L).                     5.04MuirFreddy Cardenas
2Jalen Leighton  (L)             5.053Jonathon EnglishCaleb Fauntleroy
3Xander Penaflor. (L).         5.06Kylen Gibson50.7
4Freddy Cardenas. (M).      5.20JordanKarmello Allipio2Anthony Reveles
5James Kwon. (M)                5.28Carlos RodriguezJacob Fabian4:11
LutherRocco Morse
Event:  Pole VaultJaden Vasquez
1Total Pts.
2Muir783Karmello Allipio
3Jordan18Gunnar Nichols4:55
4Luther111JordanDrake Vickers
Aristotle Bianchini

Eighth Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Emma Cusumano. (M)1Natalie Perez. (L)69.61Emma Cusumano. (M)4’8″
2Elli Sumera. (M)2Zoe Askerneese. (J)70.42Paige Cizek. (M)4’8″
3Brielle Williams  (J)3Adeline Thrope. (M)70.93Piper Loring. (M)4’4″
4Natalie Perez  (L)4Elli Sumera  (M)714Anaiya Harvey. (J)4’2″
5Dani Solarzano. (L)5Jenny Redillo. (J)74.85Charlotte Sanchez. (L)4′
Event:  100mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Emma Cusumano. (M)13.71Charlotte Sanchez. (L).       2:531Megan Schmidt. (J)13’11”
2Megan Schmidt. (J)14.62Adeline Thorpe. (M).           2:542Paige Cizek. (M)13’10”
3Julie Kim  (M)14.613Jenny Radillo. (J).                  2:553Meghan Lynch. (J)11’9″
4Anaiya Harvey  (J)14.94Evaluna Oleas-Mekitarian (M).  3:064Elisa Laloudakis. (M)11’3″
5Faith Perera  (L)16.65Judith Marando. (L).             3:085Dani Solarzano. (L)10’9″
Event:  200mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Megan Schmidt. (J)30.21Emma Cusumano1Stephanie Wilson. (L)34’5″
2Zoe Asakerneese. (J)30.4Julie Kim2Kelly Volpe. (J)30’7″
3Julie Kim. (M)30.91MuirMadison Chase56.63Katherine Bui. (M)30’1″
4Elli Sumera  (M)30.92Aviah Priestly4Kiara Hernandez. (L)29’2″
5Natalie Perez. (L)31.35Kelly Long. (L)28’3″
2Megan Schmidt
Jenny RadilloEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mJordanZoe Askerneese58.51Jensen Campbell
PlaceAnaiya HarveyMia Brumbaugh
1Charlotte Sanchez. (L).       6.13LutherCharlotte Sanchez5:01
2Sukruti Shome  (L)              6.143Faith PereraLilliana Noriega
3Christina Ohanians. (M).    6.39Hailey Dowthwaite61.3
4Evaluna Oleas-Mekhitarian. (M). 6.45LutherSukruti Shome2Adeline Thorpe
5Isabella Smith. (M)              6.55Kendall St. ClaireElli Sumera5:02
MuirCalista Espino
Event:  Pole VaultLilit Khulyan
1Total Pts.
2Muir913Esabella Munguia
3Jordan61Zoe Askerneese21:00.0
4Luther55JordanSarah Valenzuela
Sophia Lazzar
2018 All City Elementary Final Results -800m
Boys Record
2:40    Nicholas Schlander    Brett Hart  2015
1Henry Virtue.                     2.45.7
2Dominick Ybarra              2.45.9
3Julian Stevens                    2.55
4Kyle Smith                          3.02
5Andrew Cox                       3.04
6Connor Calett                    3.09
7Keawe Kalama                  3.11
8Tripp Raitt                         3.16
Girls Record
2:55    Kaylee Hirsch    Roosevelt  2015
1Aubrey Eaton           Rec   2.48
2Angelina Dellutri              2.55
3Avery Brown                     2.58
4Olivia DelCastillo              3.04
5Jessica Han                         3.10
6Morgan Schmidt               3.14
7Jamielyn Villalobos.         3.17
8Hannah Mendoza.            3.23

Scoring by School

2018 All City Track Results
Overall Points
John Muir565
Luther Burbank402
Grade Level
8th  Boys8th  Girls
7th  Boys7th  Girls
6th  Boys6th  Girls

Jordan Middle School Unveils “History Of Burbank” Mural

David Starr Jordan Middle School unveiled the mural History of Burbank, a collaboration between Jordan students and professional artist Henry Goods, on Monday, May 22. The expansive mural covers the entire back wall of the Cougar gymnasium and depicts scenes amd images recalling Burbank’s history.

Funded in part with a grant from the Burbank Arts For All Foundation, with donations of paint from two Burbank businesses – Catalina Paints and Bisordi Paint Company, the History of Burbank mural took shape under the leadership of parent Anne Askerneese and Assistant Principal April Weaver.

history of burbank

Professional muralist Henry Goods worked with Jordan Middle School art students on the “History of Burbank” mural. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

To begin the project, all 325 sixth-grade students researched the history of Burbank in their Social Studies classes.

Elaine Rosenberg from the Burbank Historical Society then visited Tamara Fiola’s Advanced Art class to talk about Burbank’s history. The Advanced Art students, in grades 6-8, then sketched out images to include in the mural. The students worked with Goods, painting the mural over a period of several days.

The mural includes scenes of farming, Dr. David Burbank, the Burbank canning industry, Moreland Trucking Co., Heavy Weight Champion boxer James Jefferies who raised prize winning cattle and whose historic farm was later moved to Knotts Berry Farm, the pumpkin-shaped hardware store, Lockheed, film/motion picture studios, Bob’s Big Boy, the Equestrian Center, the Airport, the Metro, Starlight Bowl and more, explained Askerneese.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Although the mural depicts the wonderful History of Burbank, it is the students who worked on this project that represent our future,” commented Weaver. “They were hardworking and dedicated.”

“We are very proud to share this piece of art with the community, and would love to work with BAFA again to incorporate more art experiences  into our classrooms.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Mr. Goods, Ms. Askernese and Ms. Fiola did an excellent job guiding the students through the process to create a student-centered learning experience,” Weaver added. “The students will remember this project  for the rest of their lives.”

“This is the first mural at Jordan school that has been a collaboration between students and a professional muralist,” said Askerneese, who has assisted on other mural projects at other Burbank Unified school. “The mural has generated excitement on campus. It has inspired students to start new conversations about the history of our city.”

“The mural not only brightens our campus, but it reminds students that they are part of a unique community whose influence and achievements are felt across generations and across the world.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Jordan CPK Culinary Challenge Hits A Sweet Note

Students at David Starr Jordan Middle School competed in the annual CPK Culinary Challenge after school on Friday, February 24. Sponsored by California Pizza Kitchen, the event drew a lot of interest from students.

The challenge was met by eight teams with three students and one staff member from the school per team. The secret ingredient all teams had to use was chocolate. Each team wore coordinated aprons or shirts and used their personal team theme in the plating and presentation of their creations.

“The dishes were creative, decadent and impeccably presented,” commented Jordan Principal Stacy Cashman. “The teamwork, fun and spirit of competition were even better.”

Celebrity judges included former Jordan Culinary Arts teacher Doreen Wydra, CPK General Manger Michelle Rhine, Burbank Unified Director of Secondary Education Dr. John Paramo and MyBurbank.com Chief Photographer Ross Benson.

CPK awarded trophies and gift certificates to the competition winners. Title 1 Coordinator Danielle Fox and team Oreo of Elizabeth lrvine, Bella Musha and Amanda Silver won first place in the 2017 CPK Culinary Challege.

Music teacher Christine DeMore’s Do Re Mis (Bella Do, Arabella lshkhanian and Lindsey Fleishman) won second place. Math, Science and English teacher Kathy Hodgins’s Chocolate Chicas – Calliope Currie Holmes, Katherine Fagnani and Ella Peresie – won third.

“This was all made possible by the incredible leadership of our very own Jordan Culinary Arts teacher Chef Christina D’Andrea who planned and coordinated the entire event,” added Cashman.

D’Andrea’s catering class students passed around trays of appetizers and helped out with cleaning, serving and supplying the CPK Culinary Challege teams with tools and ingredients.

Parents were able to watch the cooking competition via live feed. They also toured the kitchen to watch their kids in action.

The CPK Culinary Challenge “is such a unique event that highlights the creativity, problem-solving and planning that is being taught to Jordan students. Thanks to CPK, students, staff and parents for such a wonderful night!” Cashman said.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for students to work with teachers and staff, and get to know them at a fun level,” commented D’Andrea. “CPK has been an incredible support to our school, especially to my Culinary Arts program. This event would not be possible without their help.”

“I receive at least twice as many applications for teams than I am able to use because the interest is so high,” D’Andrea also said. “As a matter of fact, I am trying to come up with a smaller version [of the competition] to have during fall semester.”

Other teams in the challenge were:  English teacher Dana Ragle’s Happy Campers (Vivi Connan, Adira Fogelman and Nicole Jimenez), Science teacher Michelle Klebba’s Dinner Duchesses (Catherine Mohos, Kylee Oberman and Adriana Mendoza), Social Studies teacher Brian Kaloustian’s Hershey Homies (Nuala Giffen, Evy Brain and Savannah Hernandez), Science and Math teacher Catherine Eskandar’s Chocolate Sassiness Intended (Lindsey Mazarei, Simreen Sethi and Celene Makarem) and school counselor Sonlay Vorachak’s Meat Parade (Layla Khoury, Steven Pasillas and Crystal Palacio.)

Safe Schools Ambassador Program Debuts At Jordan

David Starr Jordan Middle School launched the Safe Schools Ambassador Program with a staff and student training session on Monday and Tuesday, September 26 and 27.

The Safe Schools Ambassador Program is part of the school’s character education and anti-bullying campaign, explained Principal Stacy Cashman.

Students and staff took part in an intensive two-day training “to learn to be ambassadors of a positive school culture,” she added. “It gives students specific techniques like redirecting, reinforcement and inclusion to help make those unstructured times at school positive.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We are very excited about this opportunity to give students more leadership opportunities at Jordan and promote a culture of respect,” she also said.

Administrators selected students to represent different age levels and groups as ambassadors. The students do not intervene during serious conflicts.

“Their role is to facilitate positive interactions,” Cashman said. “They meet with the teachers and group a few times a month to share what is happening, get coaching and brainstorm strategies.”


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We chose this program because the majority of true bullying and conflict happens when adults are not around. We are trying to empower students to be leaders of positive change in our learning environment. We would also like to thank BUSD for funding this program.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Forty student ambassadors learned skills on how to help our school culture remain positive,” added Assistant Vice Principal Sean McCallon who oversees the implementation of the new program. “Through group activities… students were able to form groups with adult school leaders and gain skills in how to notice what is happening at school with other students and help create a safer environment.”

“The training brought students closer together and helped form friendships amongst students who may not have otherwise been friends. Students and adult leaders were able to build a foundation for bringing this program to our school.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)


BUSD Appoints New Assistant Principal at Jordan

Sean McCallon has been appointed Assistant Principal at David Starr Jordan Middle School and will take over the position when school resumes from James Mackey, who has accepted a position with another district. Becoming interested in an educational career while still in high school, Sean has worked with students as a tutor, day care counselor, YMCA employee, and a substitute teacher before beginning his teaching career. He credits two of his high school teachers for spurring his interest in an educational career.

Earning his teaching credential and Master’s Degree in English from California State University of Northridge, Sean went on to pursue his dream of teaching. His teaching career began at John Burroughs High School where he taught English for seven years to tenth- and twelfth-graders. A former combat sports writer for the Bleacher Report, Sean was able to share his love of writing with students using his own real world examples. As a teacher, a goal of Sean’s was to help students who did not like to write to gain an appreciation for it.

Finishing his administrative services credential through National University, Sean became the Title I Coordinator at David Starr Jordan Middle School during the 2015-2016 school year. In this role, Sean had the opportunity to work closely with the Jordan staff. Excited about his new role at Jordan, Sean looks forward to his new adventure as an Assistant Principal.

Sean and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Sherman Oaks with their three dogs. They enjoy exploring Los Angeles, spending time with family and friends, and travelling.

BAFA Community Grantee Spotlight Focuses on Jordan Middle School

David Starr Jordan Middle School was recognized by the Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) on Wednesday evening, April 13, at the Foundation’s Community Meeting. The BAFA Community Grantee Spotlight focused primarily on the school’s growing Digital Media program and progress towards a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) lab.

The main topic of the evening, held in Jordan’s CougarLAB, highlighted the work of “incredibly innovative” Digital Media teacher, Chris Mitchell, said BAFA Community Outreach Working Group Chair Suzanne Weerts. “Chris says he considers his classes ‘a playground for the mind’ and the things his students are creating are so exciting.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We are hoping to create a STEAM lab in the next year or two with the help of BUSD and a career technology grant Assistant Superintendent Sharon Cuseo applied for to fund this project,” explained Jordan Principal Stacy Cashman.

Jordan aims “to create a model so that every grade will have access to the STEAM lab and every student will benefit from inquiry-based lessons,” she said.

The Jordan CougarLAB, home of the Digital Media program at Jordan, moved into its new location at the school in August 2015. The new classroom is large enough to fit 39 new computer tables/workstations and still have room for a demonstration area, various printers and other items like Midi Keyboards for digital music, photo backgrounds and robotics supplies.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The new computer tables provide enough room for two students to work together at a computer when needed and use drawing tablets.

Mitchell and teacher Kathy Hodgins also oversee Jordan’s after school Robotics Club, which began in February 2016. With BAFA funding and matching funds from DonorsChoose, Mitchell was able to expand the LEGO robotics kits from the initial three funded by BUSD to a total of six.

BAFA provided start up funds several years ago to get equipment for a school video show, CougarVision. This year, a BAFA grant also provided funding for a 3-D printer, in addition to the LEGO robotics kit.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Jordan Digital Media teacher Chris Mitchell and Principal Stacy Cashman discuss new technology developments at the Burbank Unified middle school. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We were able to use that grant money to get additional matching funds through DonorsChoose.org allowing us to get the equipment we asked for in the grant as well as an additional large format photo printer to print student work and photos and a complete photo studio lighting with two studio strobes and various accessories,” explained Mitchell.

Students recently took their film projects to a film festival hosted at Nickelodeon Studios for the three BUSD middle school digital media programs.

“This gives students a chance to see work from other schools and has helped motivate students to keep improving their films,” Mitchell also said.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

BAFA’s Suzanne Weerts welcomes Community Meeting attendees to the Jordan CougarLAB. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Game design has also been incorporated into the Digital Media classes using Scratch, a block based coding environment set up by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.) Students use KhanAcademy to learn JavaScript programming language.

“Our CougarLAB is now a high tech operation supporting the latest software and a 3-D printer,” Cashman added. “Some technology will be available in the fall, like computers with 3-D capabilities so students can dissect a heart or explore with a 3-D camera. Our CougarVision lab continues to expand under the leadership of Chris Mitchell.”

BAFA has funded 20 grant requests to date at Jordan over the years for a total of $31,836, including new instruments to support the school’s award-winning instrumental music program.

Jordan Middle School Observes Patriot Day

Students and staff at David Starr Jordan Middle School honored Patriot Day on Friday, September 11. Parents gathered in the gymnasium for the Jordan Choir’s performance of the National Anthem.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

At 8:00 a.m., the school day began as members of the Jordan choirs walked the halls and sang the Anthem while guests, staff and students remained silent in tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11.

“This is a very poignant Jordan tradition,” commented Principal Stacy Cashman.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)


Jordan CPKulinary Challenge Includes Creative Uses Of Legumes

David Starr Jordan Middle School and California Pizza Kitchen recently partnered to present the Jordan CPKulinary Challenge on Friday, April 17. For the third year in a row, students and staff formed teams to compete in a Top Chef-style cooking competition. Dishes had to include the secret ingredient of legumes, so many teams created vegan and meatless plates.

“The CPKulinary Challenge allows students to combine creativity, teamwork, presentation skills, budgeting and problem-solving in a friendly but competitive learning environment,” commented Jordan Principal Stacy Cashman. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students, staff, parents and community to come together to celebrate student work in the culinary arts.”

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

Eight teams participated in the Challenge. Each team was made up of one adult Jordan staff member and three students. Finished plates were presented to the panel of judges, which included Carol Flynn and Chef Kong from California Pizza Kitchen, Burbank City Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy and myBurbank Chief Photographer Ross Benson.

“This year, students created extremely healthy but delicious food – dishes like vegan sliders and bean salad showed that it’s easy to make food that tastes good and is good for you,” added Cashman.

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

Other concoctions includes fish, pasta and milkshakes with soy. Garbanzo beans in chocolate cake and cookies was surprisingly delicious, according to Cashman.

“I wanted the students to research the foods considered a legume… especially when I introduced the secret ingredient and many of them said “WHAT is that?” said Jordan Culinary Arts teacher Doreen Wydra. “Examples of the some of the interesting uses of legumes: some of the kitchens used black bean chips; one kitchen simply served the chips with their hummus; another kitchen rolled their sweet potato fries in crushed bean chips then baked the fries.”

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Mitchell)

“Since one of the judges was allergic to nuts, one kitchen used crushed dried garbanzo beans as an ingredient in their pesto (instead of pine nuts),” continued Wydra. “Some students wanted to use foods from their culture… so this competition allowed for the use of lentils which was the main ingredient for the stuffed Swiss chard.”

“Most surprising was the use of tofu as the main ingredient. The kitchen members made a fabulous Thai sauce,” she said. “The students and staff members who were sampling the tofu dish,  I would say, probably had never tried tofu before.”

“We appreciate the partnership with CPK and the positive impact they have had on Jordan students,” Cashman also said. “Carol Flynn and Chef Kong have been incredible partners from CPK and our guest judges, City Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy and Ross Benson (also a former Jordan alumnus), were very encouraging of our students about their dishes.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I was really impressed by the cooks, making real healthy items such as falafel and hummus, brownies made from black beans and sweetened with apple sauce,” commented Benson. “I asked a couple of kids would they cook this at home – they said YES.”

“One team even made sliders from beans, another team made ahi tuna that was to die for… even a shake made from beans,” Benson continued. “All the food was delicious!”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“When the first team served their dishes, I knew we were in for some of the most imaginative and delicious food yet to be prepared by our community’s kids at Jordan,” said Gabel-Luddy. “Wow! What turned hamburgers and shakes on their heads was the winning team ‘Grannie and the Girls’ who prepared black bean burgers and soy chocolate shakes.”

“Doreen Wydra is the Top Chef behind the event,” Cashman also said. “She organizes, encourages and sets up the whole competition. Jordan students are lucky to have her as a teacher. She goes above and beyond to provide great opportunities for Jordan students.”

“All of the sous chefs did a wonderful job with their challenge to make their dishes using three legumes and demonstrated healthy and tasty meals,” Gabel-Luddy added. “CPK has sponsored a wonderful annual event and I salute them for engaging our young leaders.”