Let’s Talk November 2015

Q: Organized sports fosters self-esteem, healthy habits, and numerous other positive benefits. The NCAA has amazing statistics on the successes of student athletes. Common sense would say sports in public schools would encourage school loyalty, school pride and student involvement. What would it take to implement a competitive middle school sports program in Burbank?

A: Until California funds education at an appropriate level to provide a robust educational and extracurricular experience, we will not be able to offer middle school competitive sports. I encourage you to participate during the budget process and voice your concern/interest as we consider future investments.

Q: Is there a district-wide awareness and prevention program to address lice and other communicable conditions (hand foot and mouth, etc.) at the elementary schools? Does that program include parent outreach?  How often is this offered, and are there resources available on the district website?

A: Our lice policy can be found here: http://gamutonline.net/district/burbank/DisplayPolicy/477729/5

Q: Based on the School Climate Survey, a high percentage of students, parents, and teachers feel that bullying is a problem on BUSD campuses.  What steps is the district going to take to examine bullying at schools? How is the district going to change its bullying education program, which seems to be ineffective? Can you talk about how to address teacher’s bullying in the classroom?

A: We are asking principals to address these concerns in their safety plan updates. We also expect to see improvements based on the recent addition of counselors, assistant principals, and behavior interventionists. In addition, the school climate committee and the Mental Health Task Force are also studying sensitivity training for staff. The best advice for parents is to instruct their students to report incidents of bullying to an adult on campus and to the parent.

Q: Any progress with PE?

A: That question should be asked of the students. Progress should be determined by student experiences/perceptions.

Q: To follow up on questions asked last month, what infringement justifies removing a student from a classroom so that he/she misses instructional minutes?

A: The following infringements may cause a teacher to remove a student from his or her classroom: willful defiance, blatant disrespect, a fight verbal or physical, any obscene act, and/or a threat. Please work with your principal if you have a concern.

Q: With hiring the new person to work with Peggy Flynn, what more do you expect to be accomplished?

A: We are looking to expand and deepen our career pathways and partnerships, as well as expand our Arts for All plan.

Q: When will Muir get A/C in the auditorium? (We heard it would be soon.)

A: We are hopeful that the A/C at Muir will be completed by the summer. If it can be finished sooner without disrupting students, we will work with the school to finish sooner.

Q: What role does Mr. Hill think technology should play in the day-to-day classroom? As an example, at Roosevelt, there is one computer lab. I just heard that we may be getting a computer cart. So that’s maybe 60 computers for 650 students. Besides testing, how do we integrate computers into classroom use? And how do we do that when we don’t seem to have sufficient technology?

A: Technology can be leveraged as a tool to support instruction. We are currently utilizing Measure S and eRate (federal dollars) to upgrade our networks. In addition, we are refreshing our teacher and front office devices, labs and library computers. This past summer we upgraded the middle schools.  Summer of 2016 are the elementary schools. Summer of 2017 will be the high schools. Finally, we have money allocated to provide more student devices. We have a technology advisory committee that is developing a plan for student devices. It is critical that this plan is led by teachers with input from parents and students.

Q: My fifth grader wants to know why they aren’t serving “tru-moo” brand milk in the cafeteria anymore. She says the new brand is “gross”.

A: My personal choice is to drink water. In regards to milk, this school year BUSD Food Services joined in partnership with the San Gabriel Co-Op which is comprised of 18 other school districts. As a team we are able to enter into contracts with various vendors and get the best product and pricing possible. After conducting a taste test and nutritional review, Driftwood Dairy was selected as our vendor to provide our milk needs. In comparing the nutritionals we found that the Driftwood products were lower in calories, sodium and sugar.

Q: If we have time, can we discuss the physical bullying topic again and how we are supposed to advise our children?

A: The number one advice is to leave the situation and ask for adult help. Ed Code 48900 defines acts subject to suspension.