Tag Archives: Luther Middle School

Luther Middle School Encourages Running in the Halls

Dr. Oscar Macias, Principal at Luther Middle School, has announced the wildly exciting fundraising event “Running in the Halls” has an Oct 5 date for this year’s running.

This 5K gives both students and former students (better known as adults) a chance to run threw the halls of the school without getting yelled at or having to serve a detention.

This event comes close to selling out so signup NOW!.

Registration starts @ 7 a.m.

Individual registration is $25 or a team of 10 is $200

REVIEW: And a Wonderful Wizard it was at Luther Burbank

Luther Burbank Middle School put on a truly wonderful Wizard of Oz last weekend, wowing packed audiences with a delightful retelling of the beloved story.  Co-directors Stefanie Enokian and Tony Redman loaded the show with great production values: charming sets, imaginative costuming and hilarious “special effects,” including looming images of a decidedly boyish wizard and actors’ heads popping up inside the wicked witch’s crystal ball.

They also loaded the musical with talented performers, many of whom will be able to hit the ground running as they start to participate in Burroughs High School’s nationally acclaimed show choirs and dramatic productions.

The toughest song, Over the Rainbow, came early in the show, slightly ahead of the tornado.  Madeleine Barrera nailed it.  The audience cheered. Barrera’s Dorothy had got them over the rainbow and into Oz.

Crows Julia Narmore, Maria Stefanie and Savannah Stotts for being laugh-out-loud funny. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Other stand out performances included Kaylor Toronto’s Scarecrow, who exhibited intelligence and physical comedy in equal measure; Rhett Hemingway’s fully-realized and exuberant Cowardly Lion; and Sonya Dadekian’s Glinda, who invested her good witch with a serene dignity.  And a shout out to wiseacre Crows Julia Narmore, Maria Stefanie and Savannah Stotts for being laugh-out-loud funny.

Many of the Munchkins (and other ensemble characters) were, well, munchkins. They came from Luther Burbank’s feeder elementary schools of Bret Harte, Edison, Providencia, and Roosevelt.  Five years from now, these youngsters will be tormented by their parents gushing to friends, “Here’s Clarissa when she was eight. Isn’t she just the cutest flying monkey?” 

The program for Wizard of Oz is high school quality, as was the sound and lighting.  The students know that the community is taking them seriously.  So they take their work seriously.  No flubbed lines. No wandering attention.  Being professional.

This is no mean feat for elementary and middle school students. The young performers have achieved a solid baseline from which their talent can continue to unfold.  So maybe 15 years from now, Clarissa will be touching a print of her awful flying monkey photo for good luck on the opening night of her first on-Broadway performance.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Wizard of Oz is a great choice for a middle school performance.  The central character, Dorothy, is a tweener who’s learning that her family’s power to protect her has its limits.  Her aunt and uncle can’t shield her from the malice of a woman “who owns half the county” and Dorothy takes their lack of power to be a lack of love.  She runs away, angry and bitter. But then Professor Marvel cleverly draws out Dorothy’s concern for her aunt.  She heads back home, trying to outrace a tornado that can’t be pleaded with. 

Dorothy’s knocked unconscious. And the dream journey that follows is one of the great tributes to a young woman’s imagination. Confronted with the chaos that bad people and capricious nature can inflict, does she become like the Wicked Witch of the West or like Glinda? Dorothy’s journey to Oz is a journey within, a journey where she finds her way back home and understands it for the first time.

Performing Wizard of Oz was also an artistic voyage, one that the young cast navigated with brains, heart and more than a little courage. Bravo.

Luther Middle School Needs You to Vote! Vote! Vote!

Luther Middle School Dr. Oscar Macias needs your help Burbank.  Last year Luther was able to land a $20,000 grant thanks to your votes and this year he has another challenge for you:

Luther Burbank Middle School is up for a $25,000 grant and needs your help!

Luther Burbank Middle School is seeking extra funds from the ScholarShare 529 Scholar Dollars Grant Program, and we’re asking faculty, teachers, parents and relatives for help.

Please visit MyScholarDollars.com, and vote for Luther Burbank Middle School (Burbank Unified School District) throughout the community voting period, which runs March 12 – 23, 2018.

You can vote once a day and help us!  Please make sure you are picking the Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, not Los Angeles.


Please vote for Luther Burbank Middle School in the Burbank Unified School District. (Search box)

Must be 18 years of age or older.

Must watch a short video.

Must verify email address.

The schools with the most votes in their category will win, so please support our community and invest in the future of our students by voting for Luther Burbank Middle School at MyScholarDollars.com today!

State Senator Portantino Gives Luther Students “Words of Wisdom”

Wednesday morning, October 5,  Luther Burbank Middle School students were visited by Senator Anthony Portantino who read the morning’s “Words of Wisdom” to students and staff.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The message was about courage and standing up for your beliefs. The “Words of Wisdom” messages allow LBMS learners to critically think about and discuss topics such as honesty, respect, responsibility, diversity, the importance of education, and taking a stand against bullying.

Other community leaders to address the students have included Burbank Fire Captain Dave Burke, Burbank Airport TSA Director Anita Minaei, and Congressman Adam Schiff.

Senator Portantino then visited Kelli Clarke’s 7th grade Social Science class where he engaged the students in a lively discussion about local government.

Congressman Schiff Visits Luther Middle School

Congressman Adam Schiff visited Luther Burbank Middle School on Thursday, October 27, and engaged the school’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in a discussion about current issues and politics.

Schiff opened the school day reading the “Words of Wisdom,” a daily message to Luther students before the morning announcements that highlights a specific character trait with quotes and anecdotes. The Congressman talked about service.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“These [Words of Wisdom] traits range from responsibility, diversity, courage, service, teamwork, honesty, respect and the importance of education,” Assistant Principal Isaac Huang explained. “The message also reminds our learners to take care of their school, teachers and staff, their peers and most importantly themselves.”

Schiff spoke to approximately 600 Luther students about his job responsibilities as a representative in Congress for Burbank and surrounding areas, touching on how his work in Washington D.C. connected to the day’s theme of service.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

During the Question & Answer period at the end of the assembly, Schiff answered questions from students on various topics such as the Affordable Health Care Act and the Armenian Genocide. He also talked about some of the challenges he faces in office.

“With the impending elections around the corner, our Yellow Jacket learners were able to learn about the legislative branch’s role in our government and how their Congressional decisions impacts their lives,” commented Huang.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Congressman Schiff’s “visit highlighted the importance of their civic duties to ask questions and make well informed decisions when voting for their representative in a democratic society,” added Huang.

ASB President Nadaly Jones and ASB Vice President Dainava Petrulis presented the Congressman with Luther swag, thanked him for his hard work and announced him a part of the Luther Yellow Jacket Nation.

Ever Want to Run Through the Halls at School?

Ever want to run through the halls at school but that teacher (you know the one, the one who is always just looking to bust you) is always on the prowl to take the fun away?

If so, do we have an event for you this weekend.

Luther Middle School MascotOn Saturday, January 30th Luther will be holding its 3rd Annual Running in the Halls 5K Run/Walk to raise funds. The bell will ring to start our race at 8:00 AM.

The cost is $20 per runner.

All participants will get light refreshments after the race, as well as plenty of entertainment, music, and fun during the race and at our finish line festivities. Join LBMS and their community partners for this exciting event.

Bring the family out for some fun and fitness!

National Teacher Of The Year Rebecca Mieliwocki Donates 1000 Books To Luther Teachers

2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki presented 1000 books from Scholastic to Luther Burbank Middle School teachers and students on Tuesday afternoon, September 29.

“In my role as the National Teacher of the Year, I get asked to do a great many really neat things,” explained Mieliwocki. “In my year of recognition, I worked with Scholastic on a number of projects and we have continued the relationship.”

“This summer I did some consulting work on strategic partnerships with them and the compensation was books donated to my classroom,” she continued. “At the time of the work, I didn’t know I would have a new job at the district office as a teacher on special assignment and no classroom to deliver the books to.”

2012 National Teacher of the Year and current BUSD Coordinator, Secondary Induction and Professional Development, Rebecca Mieliwocki and Luther Middle School Librarian Dana Cobern-Kullman (from left to right).(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

2012 National Teacher of the Year and current BUSD Coordinator, Secondary Induction and Professional Development, Rebecca Mieliwocki and Luther Middle School Librarian Dana Cobern-Kullman (from left to right).(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I asked if they would deliver the books to my school’s library for all the kids and teachers to enjoy and they said a hearty yes.”

Mieliwocki recently stepped into her new position at the Burbank Unified District office as Coordinator, Secondary Induction and Professional Development.

“Five thousand dollars worth of books for kids in grades 6-8 were delivered to Luther Middle School. Dana Coburn-Kullman, Luther’s librarian, and I decided that we would give every teacher at Luther a basket filled with books for their own classroom libraries.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“This is a huge help since we have school-wide reading, called FRED (Fun Reading Every Day) and kids sometimes forget to bring their books. Having a class library in every single room means kids and teachers are never without books,” she added. “I couldn’t be more happy and proud to bequeath these books to Luther, a school that was home to me for 13 years.”

“I really appreciated the book donation today and I was excited by the variety in the titles. It’s awesome to have different genres that appeal to all the different tastes in my classes,” commented Luther teacher Roberta Fong. “I find that having books available in my classroom increases the amount of time my learners spend reading.”

Luther Middle School Principal Oscar Macias and Rebecca Mieliwocki. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Luther Middle School Principal Oscar Macias and Rebecca Mieliwocki. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“When the students ask for a book recommendation, I love that I can grab a book from my class library and hand it to him or her with confidence,” Fong also said. “I would also like to thank Rebecca Mieliwocki for leaving such a generous legacy to Luther.”

The books are a selection of Middle School level common core curriculum books, including fiction and non-fiction, according to Cobern-Kullman. Each of the 46 teachers at Luther received a basket with 21 to 22 books. The books touch on topics including science, math, social studies, literature and sports.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“This is a one-time event commemorating Rebecca’s long time commitment to Education and our school,” commented Cobern-Kullman. “As an English teacher for 13 years at Luther and National Teacher of the Year in 2012, Rebecca Mieliwocki championed literacy and the importance of books to her students and colleagues.”

“Rebecca’s generous donation shows her true devotion to the cause,” she added. “It is just a testament to her generous spirit and commitment to literacy.”


Luther Rocks The 80s Raises Funds For Arts Education

Luther Burbank Middle School PTSA held Luther Rocks The 80s on Friday, April 24, and raised approximately $2000 towards promoting the arts in education, according to event organizers.

“I was encouraged to see so many parents and community members either donate or come out to support this event,” commented Luther Rocks The 80s co-chairperson Nicole Kvarda.

Yellow Jacket Faculty Band performs "Walking on Sunshine": (from left to right) teacher Luke Gattuso, guitar; teacher Deborah Reynolds, guitar; Assistant Principal Laura Vinyard, vocals; Choir Director Tony Redman, keyboard; Assistant Principal Robyn Anders, bass. (Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

Yellow Jacket Faculty Band performs “Walking on Sunshine”: (from left to right) teacher Luke Gattuso, guitar; teacher Deborah Reynolds, guitar; Assistant Principal Laura Vinyard, vocals; Choir Director Tony Redman, keyboard; Assistant Principal Robyn Anders, bass. (Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

Ten student bands hit the stage with hits from the 1980s, including Unanimous, The Fierce Fooshizzles, Furious 5, Krooked, I Rock U Roll, Electric Groove, The Explosions, The Cooli-os, Antonium Tanix and Broken Bones.

Cheyenne Arroyo from Luther’s Spotlight Choir sang and played guitar and the Yellow Jacket Faculty Band also performed. The school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) also performed and held an 80s costume contest.

The Yellow Jacket Faculty Band, comprised of teacher Luke Gattuso (guitar), teacher Deborah Reynolds (guitar); Assistant Principal Laura Vinyard (vocals), Choir Director Tony Redman (keyboard) and Assistant Principal Robyn Anders (bass)  performed “Walking on Sunshine.”

80s Costume Contest. (Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

80s Costume Contest. (Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

“Many local businesses, including Krimson Salon, Rocket Fizz, Universal Studios, Personal Pilates and Ra Organic Spa, donated raffle items,” explained Kvarda.

“Others sold food or provided services at the event and donated a portion of their proceeds. Santoro’s Submarine Sandwiches donated 100% of their sales from the event to the PTSA! It shows that the community sees the value in keeping the arts alive in public education.”

Furious 5 after performing "Rio": (from lefto to right) Will Durrance, guitar; Ells Nitzsche, bass;  Ryan McGowan, keyboards; Tanner Vanole, vocals; Cole Kvarda, drums.(Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

Furious 5 after performing “Rio”: (from lefto to right) Will Durrance, guitar; Ells Nitzsche, bass; Ryan McGowan, keyboards; Tanner Vanole, vocals; Cole Kvarda, drums.(Photo Courtesy of Regan McGowan)

Kvarda also felt special appreciation to Ed and Laura Wynne and the staff of Burbank Music Academy who coordinated the bands and donated their services to prepare the bands for the show.

“Hats off to the students who were brave enough to step out of their comfort zones, try something new, learn to work as a group in their bands, practice for a month and step onto a stage to make music for an audience to enjoy,” added Kvarda.

“For many of them, this was their first time playing an instrument or singing in front of an audience. Most adults wouldn’t be willing to take that chance.”

Dr. Oscar Macias Appointed Principal of Luther Burbank Middle School

At the March 5th Board of Education meeting, Dr. Oscar Macias, Assistant Principal of Instruction at John Burroughs High School, was appointed Principal of Luther Burbank Middle School. Oscar will continue working in both roles during the transition.

Macias earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Criminology from California State University, Northridge. He earned a Master of Education degree specializing in Cross-Cultural Teaching from National University. Recently, he just completed the doctoral program in Educational Leadership at the USC Rossier School of Education.  His dissertation summary was recently published in the January 2015 issue of EdCal.

He started teaching in the Burbank Unified School District at Community Day School in 2000.  There he taught all math subjects to the at-risk student population.  He also served as Teacher on Special Assignment for BUSD for two summer schools where he was inspired to pursue school administration. In 2007, he entered into school administration at John Burroughs High School. During his tenure at JBHS, he has served as an assistant principal in the areas of Discipline, Guidance, and for the last five years, Curriculum and Instruction. Macias has also successfully served as a Summer School principal for BUSD for three years.

A hard-working instructional leader who always advocates for students, parents, and teachers, Macias is an active member of many District committees and task forces that influence curriculum and instruction. He is also an active member and supporter of the Burbank Association of School Administrators and the Association of California School Administrators. He has served as a Charter President and was recognized by his peers with the Charter Leadership Award in 2014.

His education philosophy revolves around the concept that the purpose of education is to provide learning experiences which enable all students to achieve at the highest level possible.  As an education leader, Oscar believes it is his responsibility to create a school environment which is supportive but challenging and governed by constructive feedback and research-based best practices and procedures.

Luther Middle School Welcomes Home Their Hero

Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Students, teachers, parents, school administrators, State Officials, and her son were on hand Monday afternoon to great Luther Middle School 7th grade teacher and now TEACHER OF THE YEAR, Rebecca Mieliwocki home on Monday as she met the local media.

Rebecca was at The White House last week to receive the honor from President Barack H. Obama.

Wearing 'Official' Rebecca shirts which can be bought from Luther Middle School. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torklakson was on hand to to present Rebecca was local honors, as was LA County School Superintendent Art Delgado. Burbank’s own School Board Members were also present and President Ted Bunch spoke, honoring Mieliwocki.

Acknowledgments from Congressman’s Adam Schiff’s Office, Senator Carol Liu, and Congressman Brad Sherman, who was present to present Mieliwocki with a Flag that flew over the State Capital at the exact time the President awarded her Teacher of the Year.

Following a shot time together the group enjoyed a lite reception in front of Rebecca’s favorite sign. on the auditorium wall which she got the funding for.

The Red Carpet awaits Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki to her home school Luther Middle School. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


School Board President Ted Bunch and Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

More Great Pictures From Photographer Ross A. Benson