Tag Archives: school safety

BUSD Superintendent Speaks About First Months On The Job, Future Goals

BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill sat down recently with myBurbank to talk about his first six months at the helm of Burbank public schools.

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill has been a very visible head of the school district since stepping into the post on July 1 of this year. As BUSD Superintendent, Hill has connected with the many schools, personnel and elements of the school district with energy and enthusiasm.

He’s learned about food safety and lunch procedures in a middle school cafeteria, talked about his love of the arts at the Burbank Arts For All Foundation community meeting and tasted some of the treats prepared by students at the Community Day School.

For the first few months as superintendent, Hill emphasized a listening and learning approach, getting to know the people and groups that make up and partner with Burbank Unified.

New Burbank Superintendent Matt Hill. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New Burbank Superintendent Matt Hill. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Early on, he reached out to the Burbank Teachers Association (BTA), which had expressed concern about the process during which Hill was selected as a candidate and hired.

“In hindsight, I would say the majority of the concerns were with process,” said Hill. “I’m definitely a nontraditional candidate and for the teachers’ union to hear about that a week before the official announcement… they didn’t have enough time to really get to know me and process through that.”

“As soon as I joined, July first, we sat down together and talked about our views and concerns and wishes for the district, and, we were very similar in our views,” added Hill. “My approach is listen first, share different perspectives, look at options. I’m very direct with my thinking and open minded to other people’s perspectives.”

“We worked through some challenges right through the summer. Some we agreed on, some we didn’t, but we both walked away with a high level of respect for each other.”

“From that moment we’ve continued that on and I really enjoyed working with our union leadership, classified teachers, certificated… it’s the approach I take with everyone,” he also said. “It’s an amazing district and it’s my job to help make it run smoother.”

Superintendent Matt Hill at the opening of the Community Day School new kitchen.(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

Superintendent Matt Hill at the opening of the Community Day School new kitchen.(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

“While it is still early to assess, Superintendent Hill, along with the new school board, has been working well with BTA by sharing more information and reaching out to us for input,” said BTA President Lori Adams. “We have settled some old conflicts and are working on some new ones.”

“Mr. Hill is very approachable and can see the struggles that teachers endure as we transition to new state standards, curriculum and assessments, changes in facilities and new technology.  It is nice that new money is coming into the district so we are able to replenish and improve upon the cuts that were made in the last decade.”

“My only remaining concern is Mr. Hill’s past association with the Broad Foundation and Eli Broad’s new plan to change 50% of LAUSD’s public schools to charter schools,” added Adams. “It is my hope that in the unfortunate event that we lose some key court cases, he will stay true to his word that he is not interested in bringing charter schools to Burbank. Keeping Burbank’s schools public and transparent will allow us to continue to use taxpayer dollars to provide an excellent education for all students.”

“All of Burbank Unified School District’s schools have been recognized as California Distinguished schools,” Hill said in response to Adams’ concern. “My role as superintendent is to continue to support our excellent schools so that there is no need for parents or teachers to want to form a charter school.”

Superintendent Matt Hill talks with BUSD elementary school kids on the first day of school, August 17, 2015.  (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Superintendent Matt Hill talks with BUSD elementary school kids on the first day of school, August 17, 2015. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

School safety has become a much-discussed issue in Burbank in recent months. Thefts at two elementary schools rattled parents and the community, although the alleged perpetrator has been arrested and charged by police. Another incident, in which an individual jumped over a school fence and was detained by school personnel until police arrived, also has raised community concerns.

“I would say our partnership with the Burbank Police Department has been very helpful,” Hill said. “They’ve always worked with the district for training. When we have incidents like this, I can pick up the phone and call. That’s one thing that I love about Burbank is that I can talk to the Chief of Police right away or his team.”

School safety is “not a one time thing that you do. It’s ongoing. We have had some reminders that we have to be very diligent about it.”

“Coming in as the new superintendent, I wanted to do an audit of where we are,” he explained. “Every year we do school safety plans. We do the Great Shakeout. We do lockdown drills.”

“We have procedures in place, we have training in place, but being brand new, I wanted fresh eyes to give me a third party objective look at everything. So that was something I recommended to the board that we put aside some of the one time funds we received from the state to do the audit.”

“We have to be overly diligent about approaching and welcoming,” said Hill. “I don’t want to be profiling or it to be a fear tactic when individuals come to our campuses, but we need to say hello and make sure people are properly identified when they’re on our campuses.”

Superintendent Matt Hill meets parents on the first day of school, August 17, 2015. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Superintendent Matt Hill meets parents on the first day of school, August 17, 2015. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“So in the short term, our schools are having conversations. Right now is the time when we update our school safety plans. So they’re taking the recent events in consideration as well as the annual process to look at how you strengthen safety on campuses. We’re looking at additional needs we may need to provide to schools and combine that with the findings of this school safety audit.”

The BUSD Board of Education approved the hiring of Nicole Miller & Associates to perform a district-wide school safety audit in November. Work began shortly after the approval and continues into January. Results from the audit should be available by February.

“After I receive the report, I will prioritize the recommendations with the firm and begin to recommend some improvements to the Board,” commented Hill. “We have set aside $100,000 in one time funds to begin some implementation this year.”

The cost for implementing safety improvement may be higher than the $100,000 already set aside by the Board.

“The firm has recommended not publishing the findings, since they highlight potential weaknesses in our safety protocols,” Hill went on to say. “I feel we have good safety procedures and protocols in place here at BUSD, but we can never be satisfied. We need to constantly review and upgrade our safety practices in order to ensure our students and employees are safe.”

More of the interview with BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill will be published in Part 2.

School Starts Monday Morning – Here Are Some Safety Tips

Traffic safety at our schools is a priority for the Burbank Police Department. Traffic officers are assigned to patrol schools as a visible deterrent to prevent incidents from occurring and to enforce traffic laws. By following a few simple rules, parents can assist us in creating a safe environment around our schools for students, faculty, and parents.

Do’s:

1. Slow down around the schools; plan ahead and arrive early

2. Use the safe delivery/valet drop-off area

3. Position your children on the right side of the vehicle, so they exit onto the sidewalk, away from any moving vehicles

4. Stay alert; do not operate cell phones or allow other things to distract you

5. Park your car in the appropriate areas; obey posted parking restrictions

6. Obey all traffic laws

Don’ts:

1. Stop and park your vehicle in the delivery/valet drop-off area

2. Park and exit your vehicle in the passenger loading/unloading areas

3. Stop your vehicle in the middle of the street to let your child in or out of the vehicle

4. Walk between vehicles in the drop-off and pick-up area

5. Park across the street and direct your child to cross the street outside of the designated crossing area

6. Pass vehicles on the wrong side of the street

7. Leave your vehicle unattended

Safety Tips:

1. Park your vehicle away from the school and escort your child to the school gate

2. Cross at corners and use the crossing guards to assist

3. Plan ahead; arrive early

Police Emphasize Back To School Safety

By Lisa Paredes
Associate
Editor

Back to School season in Burbank means back to major traffic hold-ups at certain times of the day around our local schools. The Burbank Police Department and Burbank Unified School District work together to make drop off and pick up as smooth and safe as possible for everyone. During the first few weeks of the school year, and at certain times throughout the year, BPD sends out patrol and motorcycle officers, parking enforcement and other personnel to the schools and surrounding areas to help remind everyone in the area about driving and walking safely to school.

(Photo by Ross A.Benson)

(Photo by Ross A.Benson)

“Traffic congestion at/around the schools continues to be a challenge for everyone involved,” commented Sergeant Kerry Schilf of the Traffic Bureau. “It is suggested to parents that they arrive early, park at a distance from the school and walk their child to school. Double parking and letting children out of a vehicle while stopped in traffic places the child in danger.”

Burbank Unified brings traffic and safety issues and concerns to the attention of police officials through the daily interaction with school administrators. Crossing guards are deployed at critical intersections near schools to assist parents and children walking to school. However, most people walking or driving to school are dealing with everyone else out on the roads and sidewalks, on their way to school and work, all concerned about being on time.

Burbank Police have some helpful suggestions to keep in mind:

DO:

  • Be patient in heavy traffic, slow down, plan ahead and arrive early
  • Use the safe delivery/valet drop-off area
  • Have your children exit your vehicle on the right side (sidewalk side) away from moving vehicles. Make an effort to pull your vehicle to the curb before letting students out.
  • Stay alert and look around for others walking nearby. Don’t use cell phones or other distractions.
  • Park your car in the appropriate areas and obey parking restrictions
  • Obey all traffic laws

DON’T:

  • Park or leave your vehicle in delivery/valet drop-off area or red no-parking zones
  • Stop your vehicle in the middle of the street to let your child in or out
  • Walk between vehicles in drop-off or pick-up area
  • Allow your child to cross the street outside designated crossing area
  • Pass vehicles on the wrong side of the street
(Photo by Ross A.Benson)

(Photo by Ross A.Benson)

For commuters in the area and parents alike, drive slowly and look all around. The few seconds or even two minutes of time you may save rushing down the street near to a school is not worth it. And, local parents and students, be considerate and aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave parked cars blocking other vehicles and cross the street safely. Here’s to a great, and safe, new school year!

 

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Burbank Police Make School Safety Presentation to School Officials

A new school year is about to start and with several school shooting across the nation this past year, Burbank’s Police Department wanted Burbank schools to be prepared for any type of situation that could arise.

Dr. Jennifer Hunt & Burbank Police Officer Kristina Sanchez discuss the Mental Health Evaluation Team that's available. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dr. Jennifer Hunt & Burbank Police Officer Kristina Sanchez discuss the Mental Health Evaluation Team that’s available. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Command Staff of the Burbank Police Department gathered all the Principals and Burbank Unified School District administrators this past week at the Burbank Fire Training Center to address several topics involving safety, precautions and offered resources that any school employee can use.

The BPD also had their Mental Health Team make a presentation. The patrol Captain showed a power point presentation and told teachers how the Police Department reacts in several different types of situations that could unfold.

Dr. Tony Beliz discusses what Los Angeles County Health can provide to BUSD at a time of crised or before. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dr. Tony Beliz discusses what Los Angeles County Health can provide to BUSD at a time of crised or before. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Those present asked questions and were reassured that the Burbank Police is prepared for any type of incident on every school campus or neighborhood around the Burbank Schools.

Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Howe, who has been Burbank’s Emergency Coordinator, explained some other precautions the city is ready for such as earthquakes, gas leaks, hazardous chemicals, etc. He also introduced his replacement, Eric Baumgartner, who will be working with each school on additional training and guidance.

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse answers questions talks with Hani Youssef Student Services Director. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse answers questions talks with Hani Youssef Student Services Director. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Traffic Lt. Jay Hawver spoke to the group on what to expect from Burbank Traffic Officers the first week of schools with plenty of additional enforcement at every site.

The 3 hour presentation ended with questions for Police Officials and a closing from Chief Scott LaChasse, who wanted the principals and Administrators to know they are ready for any type of situation and asked them to call if any questions arise.

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse addresses the BUSD Personnel who attended. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse addresses the BUSD Personnel who attended. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Patrol Captain Mike Albanese gives teachers and principals what to expect at the scene during and following any type incident. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Patrol Captain Mike Albanese gives teachers and principals what to expect at the scene during and following any type incident. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

BUSD Principals listen to recommendations from Burbank Police Officers. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

BUSD Principals listen to recommendations from Burbank Police Officers. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)