Let’s Talk February 2016

Q: With all the dialogue about crime rising in Burbank, I read today on Burbank mom’s blog about the lack of SROs on middle school and high school campuses. Is there any thought to bring those back? I have heard nothing but good things about that position.

SAME TOPIC, DIFFERENT PARENT:  Re:  School Resource Officers.   It is my understanding that there used to be School Resource Officers assigned to every Middle School and High School at BUSD, but due to budget cuts, we are down to only one SRO to cover all schools in the district.   With the recent upswing in crime over the last few months, a spokesperson from Burbank PD has suggested that more personnel in this area is one way to help not only our schools, but the entire community.  Can you explain what the status is of our School Resource Officers and if there is any plan in the near future to increase those numbers?

A: We are working to set up a joint meeting with City Council to discuss safety issues in Burbank. This will be one of the topics we discuss. We want to review the SRO program, the pros and cons of the program, costs, and funding sources. Historically, the Burbank Police Department did fund additional SROs. In addition, we want to look at a holistic strategy that includes proactive measures such as our intervention specialists, counselors, and wellness centers.

Q: My question for let’s talk is for a comparison for math test/grade scores comparing CPM and pre-CPM (prior years) math results for first semester. Also, site feedback with how it’s going? Students from my two sites are very much still struggling and it was ‘sold’ to parents as easy once we get past the first few weeks. I’m very concerned about these students and not certain they will be prepared for future math classes.

SAME TOPIC, DIFFERENT PARENT:  I spent time looking at old board meeting videos to find out whether BUSD had actually adopted the CPM math program.  Turns out (according to Dr. Paramo’s report at the May 5th meeting), that the District is doing an extended pilot program that is district-wide in 2015/2016 and I guess they will make a decision one way or another at the end of this school year.  I also spent a fair amount of time reading the CPM website about the philosophy and the research behind CPM’s approach.  (yes, I am weird about stuff like this!)  Any program so radically different from the “usual” approach will go through a rough first year of transition.  And frankly, [my child’s] teacher has been doing a good job with it.  But this is not true of all teachers, based on some feedback I’m getting from other students/parents.  My concern is that the District did not train ALL the secondary math teachers sufficiently.

Now that we are a little more than half-way through the school year, has there been any feedback from teachers/parents/students about the CPM textbooks and program?  What kind of training have teachers received on how to implement CPM?  Has any difference been noted between middle school and high school feedback?  How will the District decide whether to adopt CPM?

A: Overall feedback from the CPM implementation has been positive, however, some teachers, students, and parents have expressed concerns. Our instructional team is working with our teachers who need additional assistance and our schools are continuing to support our students who are having challenges.

It would not be a valid assessment to review previous grades to this year’s grades since California has adopted new standards in addition to our use of CPM. However, overall we are seeing fewer D’s and F’s in our secondary schools this year, but there is no way to correlate that to CPM.

Q: Is there a way that we can work out a procedure to keep Staff Directories up to date for each of the school’s websites?  Has this responsibility been assigned? Also, can we request that the directory also include information about what grades and/or subjects the teachers teach? Some schools, such as JBHS and Edison, provide complete information.  Other schools, such as Jordan, do not.  Disney lists the staff for 2013-14. And people change jobs but the directories are not updated. At the Council level, we often have to contact multiple schools and it would be much easier if we could access accurate information.

A: Each school site has designated person who updates their website. We will work with them to ensure the website is up-to-date.

Q: Anecdotally I heard thru someone in the real estate business that BUSD is maxed out and not taking any more inter district transfers. Can you confirm or deny?

A: BUSD is not maxed out for inter-district permits. We are still finalizing our enrollment projections. However, historically we have had some specific schools that were unable to accept all of their permit requests, but families were still able to select another school within BUSD.

Q: What is your opinion regarding the idea of implementing leveled math district wide at all of the elementary schools?

A: Our instructional team has started to discuss the pros and cons of implementing leveled math districtwide. After collecting research and summarizing the pros and cons they will discuss with our teachers.

Q: When I donate money to a classroom for equipment (such as an iPad or Robotics or sound amplification devices), does the equipment stay with the class regardless of the teacher? Does the equipment travel with the teacher when he/she moves to a different grade level or a different school?  Does the school own the equipment or does the teacher?  How does it work when I buy a book at the Book Fair and donate it to the classroom?  Who owns it?

A: Please make donations to the district ideally or the school directly so that the Board can document proper receipt of gifts. All gifts/donations are the property of the district. http://gamutonline.net/district/burbank/DisplayPolicy/477290/

Q: I heard that several children at the Muir Track Meet broke their legs on the hurdles. I also heard a few children saying that the grass was wet and if they were able to wear cleats, they would not have slipped as much.  Some children were allowed to wear cleats.  It seems like the PE teachers had different rules.  Is there policy to cover this?

A: We are not aware of any broken legs that occurred at the Muir Track Meet, please provide me with specific information. We are also not aware of some students wearing cleats.

Q: Can we talk about LCAP for a few minutes? The last meeting was a great improvement. However, it seems like staff is more focused on product and the committee is more focused on process. Staff emphasizes the deadline by which we need to be done reviewing the plan (which is certainly important) and staff emphasizes the fact that there is only $700,000 which will not cover all the ideas that we are discussing. The committee is aware of this but the committee feels the discussion is important. It reassures the committee that staff is aware of their concerns and it gives committee members the opportunity to become better educated which enables them to offer better solutions to challenges. With limited funding, creative ideas are a necessity.

A: Our goal is to focus on the process and the end plan. We agree a better process will lead to a better plan. Feedback from parents has been very helpful, in terms of improving our LCAP meeting process for this year. Please continue to share your feedback about the process. We can definitely add meetings or extend the time for meetings.

Q: Please respond to the Morgan Hill case.

A: Please see the info from the California Department of Education http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase