Tag Archives: george washington elementary

Autism Awareness Month Highlighted At Washington Elementary

George Washington Elementary School highlights autism awareness throughout the month of April with special events and in-class activities. On March 30, the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing April as Autism Awareness Month.

Washington Elementary has a specialized program called Language Enriched Autism Program (LEAP) serving students in grades TK through five. Chandra Collins, Katie Brown and Debbie Gal are the teachers of the special day classes.

“In order to help raise awareness and understanding among all students, we celebrate Autism Awareness Month school-wide,” explained Collins. “April second is World Autism Awareness Day.”

Riley Collins, Jizel Galstian, Daniel Kesian, Sergio Salinas, Kiris Dawkins-Holt, Chandra Collins. (Photo Courtesy Edith Chavez)

On April 3, the nearest school day to April 2, students, teachers and staff at Washington were encouraged to wear blue, the color of Autism Awareness, in support. The school held activities to further awareness and engagement.

Each student was given a paper puzzle piece and encouraged to decorate it blue or with a picture or a message representing friendship, understanding and compassion, said Collins.

(Photo Courtesy Chandra Collins)

For the month of April, Washington Elementary hallways are decorated with all of the student-created puzzle piece artwork. A poster contest was also held.

School-wide, teachers show educational videos to their students with the goal of helping typical students gain understanding of their fellow students with autism.

Riley Collins and Hailey Collins with their friend Kevin Georgelos, Jr. (Photo Courtesy Edith Chavez)

The LEAP program teachers also take photos and make videos showing how the general education students can be helpful and play with students with autism.

“The students are encouraged to ask questions about autism throughout the month and the entire school year,” added Collins.

“We feel that by being given information, our entire school community will learn to be more empathetic and can teach their own families and friends about autism.”

The school community recently celebrated second grade student Michael Levonyan’s Best In Show award at the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo. Levonyan’s artwork was created while he participated in a mainstreamed art class during Washington’s annual Art Day.

On April 14, award-winning children’s band Rhythm Child returns to Washington Elementary with an interactive concert, highlighting diversity and acceptance, for the entire school. The concert is supported by the Washington Elementary PTA.

Washington Elementary Student Art Wins Best In Show

George Washington Elementary School is celebrating the achievement of second-grader Michael Levonyan, who took home the Best In Show trophy for his artwork at the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo on Friday, April 7.

Organized by the Burbank Park and Recreation Department, the annual Youth Art Expo attracted more than 1200 submissions this year from Burbank students in grades TK through 12. Grades 6-12 were recognized on April 6 and grades TK-5 were celebrated April 7 in ceremonies at Olive Park Recreation Center.

George Washington Elementary School second-grader Michael Levonyan with his artwork inspired by “The Scream.” (Photo Courtesy George Washington Elementary School.)

“The very exciting part… is that Michael Levonyan from our LEAP – Language Enrichment Autism Program- in Ms. Gal’s special day class, won!” exclaimed Washington Principal Brandi Young.

Levonyan’s mother and father, classroom teacher Debbie Gal, Principal Young and general education teacher Barbara Kim who taught him the art lesson at school attended the awards ceremony in support.

“We are very proud and excited as we mainstream for art, music, P.E., and academic areas, when it’s appropriate for the students,” commented Young. “During Washington’s Art Day, Michael had an opportunity to mainstream in a general education class, where they were given a direct instruction lesson on the artwork of Edvard Munch, ‘The Scream.'”

“Michael was very successful with this lesson as he does well with step by step instructions and a model to follow,” added Young.

Levonyan’s success, through his own work and creativity, is supported by the efforts of a team of Washington Elementary teachers and staff, who throughout the month of April are highlighting Autism Awareness Month at the school.

Selected artworks from the 2017 Burbank Youth Art Expo are featured in the Creative Arts Center gallery at Olive Park through April 20.

Washington Elementary Boosters Receives $10,000 From Warner Bros.

The George Washington Elementary Boosters Club received a $10,000 matched donation from Warner Bros. Entertainment on the last day of school, May 26, at a school-wide concert.

“Our Boosters main focus is to fundraise for weekly music instruction in grades Pre-K, TK, Kindergarten and first grade because the District funds weekly music instruction in grades second through fifth,” explained Washington Principal Brandi Young.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Our school also started a Washington Band this year in fourth and fifth grade,” she added. “Fifty-five students have learned to read music and play an instrument such as flute, percussion, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.”

The Washington Boosters Club pays for two teachers from Education Through Music – Los Angeles (ETM-LA) to lead weekly vocal classes for TK – 1 and the fourth- and fifth-grade band. Erik Garcia teaches TK – 1 and Dr. Rachel Hockenberry leads the band.

Anne Reinking teaches the BUSD-funded weekly music program at the school for second through fifth graders.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Additionally, Garri Dance Studio was hired to teach weekly dance instruction for six weeks to every student at Washington Elementary through the Boosters program.

Young’s Burbank Business Partner is Mary-Elizabeth Michaels from Warner Bros. Michaels, along with Warner Bros.’ Lisa Rawlins, helped start the Washington Elementary Boosters Club during the 2015-16 school year.

Washington Boosters held two Match $10,000 campaigns during the 2015-16 school year. At the Winter Concert, $5235.14 was raised by Washington families and supporters. At the school’s first ever Spring Dance on March 18, the second Match $10,000 campaign was held.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“With the efforts of our wonderful Washington families and Burbank Partners, we were able to raise a total of $14,413.40!” said Young.

“Our goal is $20,000 per school year in order to continue these wonderful music programs as well as [to] assist our fifth graders with attending Outdoor Science School in Thousand Pines, California.”

Washington Elementary Boosters Club is more than half way towards reaching their goal of $20,000 and are still accepting donations at:  www.supportburbankschools.org/washington.


Washington Elementary Music Program Gets A Boost From “And The Beat Goes On”

George Washington Elementary School hosts And the Beat Goes On on Friday evening, May 1. Supported by the school’s PTA, along with Nickelodeon Studios, the Burbank Association of Realtors Community Service Foundation and Warner Bros. Entertainment, the event aims to raise funds to support the Washington Elementary Music Program for the school’s nearly 500 students in transitional Kindergarten through grade five.

“Our goal is to raise $20,000 to maintain and expand our music program,” commented Washington Principal Brandi Young. “We have a wonderful community of students and families who coming together to support our kids and are very grateful to Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Burbank Board of Realtors, Birns & Sawyer, Inc., Tent Kings and all of our local partners for making this event possible!”

washingtonmovienight“Thanks to these partners we are engaging our Washington community like never before and getting closer to realizing the vision we established in 2013 – music instruction for ALL our students with instrumental instruction options for fourth and fifth,” added Young.

A silent auction, opportunity drawing for a 46″ RCA flat screen television, costume contest and an outdoor screening of The LEGO Movie are planned. Food from Gourmet Pizza and Kona Ice will be available at the campus and families are encouraged to pack picnics and bring blankets.

Washington Elementary is a Title I school with more than 60% of its students qualifying for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program, according to BUSD Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn.

Many students are enrolled in LEAP-Language Education Academic Program, a program that serves children with autism, Washington’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program and theEnglish Language Development program that serves students whose home languages include Spanish, Armenian and Arabic. All receive instruction in music that includes the elements of music, movement and theory.

Music education is an effective, research-supported strategy employed to support student achievement, develop community and reinforce math and reading skills for Washington’s diverse student population, added Flynn.

“These are the tools that provide equal access to a quality arts education,” she also said. “Burbank Unified made a commitment to give every student the opportunity learn and be creative. Washington Elementary is a perfect example of how that commitment has inspired our whole community to support and expand that vision.”

In 2007, the Burbank Unified School District restored general music instruction to elementary grades two through five, twice a month, by hiring two elementary music specialist teachers. In 2013, thanks to the generous support of the employees at Nickelodeon and a donation from the Leadership Burbank Class of 2013, Washington Elementary was able to expand the district-provided music program to include weekly general music instruction for all students in grades K-5 and develop a vision that includes instrumental instruction to students in grades four and five.

BUSD’s 2014-15 LCAP provided funding for two additional elementary music teachers who now teach weekly general music to grades 2-5 in all district elementary schools. Currently, the 2015-16 LCAP is being developed.

“It is really exciting to see our sites working with their families and the business community to make things happen for our kids,” Flynn added. “Bringing back the BUSD Elementary Music Program was the first major instruction goal of the BUSD Arts for All Plan and program in 2005.”

“Our board stayed the course through the worst budget years and that allowed us to get to where we are now – a major milestone came this year when LCAP provided funding for four elementary music teachers to serve our 11 elementary sites,” she said. “Now schools – like Washington – are better able to collaborate with families and business partners to bring kids greater access to arts education.”

George Washington Elementary School is located at 2322 N. Lincoln St., Burbank, CA 91504. Gates open Friday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m. for And the Beat Goes On. The LEGO Movie screens at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, email brandiyoung@burbankusd.org or peggyflynn@burbankusd.org.