Let’s Talk February 2018

Q: Why are the requirements for California Junior Scholarship Federation (CJSF) different at all three middle schools?  Are the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) requirements different at the two high schools?

A: Please send sharoncuseo@burbankusd.org your specific concerns. After she reviewed the documents from all three schools, the requirements appear to be similar. If there is a particular concern, she can address that with the school.

Q: Can you explain how CA Senate Bill 751, which Governor Brown just signed, will affect BUSD?

A: Currently, it won’t have an impact since our reserves are below 6%

Q: Can you clarify our understanding of the elementary music program?  At Let’s Talk, we asked about music standards and we were told that the elementary students were being taught the music standards the same way that they were being taught core subject standards.  But at the January 2018 LCAP meeting, Dr. Paramo said, “Our intention with the curriculum was for it to be exposure to all of these standards. There was never an expectation of mastery.” In the core subjects, the district expects mastery of skills. So these answers are in contradiction to each other.  Is the district now saying that the students are not able to learn any of the music standards? 

(When we ask what they are learning, you refer us back to the music curriculum, which states the music standards.  But you can’t say that the children are learning the music standards when you have already said that there is no expectation that they master any of the standards.  Do you understand our confusion and frustration?)

A: Our elementary music program is California State standards-based.  Elementary music curriculum uses the State and Board of Education adopted McGraw-Hill Spotlight on Music which is aligned with California State Content Standards.  The BUSD Grade 2-5 Music Curriculum can be found online at www.burbankusd.org/afa.

Second and third-grade students receive 30 minutes of music instruction each week (19 hours of instruction a year).  Fourth and fifth grades receive 45 minutes weekly (28 hours of instruction annually).

The goal of the BUSD Elementary Music Program is to ensure all students in grades 2-5 have access to music instruction and have exposure to standards-based music instruction. The goal was never to expect elementary students to master all state music standards. It was and continues to be, to provide opportunities for students who would not otherwise have access to music education. The BUSD Elementary Music Curriculum is standards-based and addresses standards that can be instructed, reinforced, and practiced within the instructional minutes available.

Q: How much does the elementary music program cost?  What is the annual budget to run that program?

A: The program costs are outlined in the LCAP Goal 4: 5 FTE Credentialed Music Teaching positions equals ~$400,000.

Q: Who will be on the Budget Committee?

A: There are two representatives from each bargaining unit (Burbank Teachers Association, California School Employees Association, and the Burbank Association for School Administrators).

Q: If the Parcel tax is passed, what will it be used for?

A: After we conduct polling, we will conduct parent, employee, and community input on how we could invest the money.

Q: As a parent, I was not aware that our valuable campus supervisors were “at will” employees. Please confirm, it is true that they are currently not part of the BUSD union and that they do not get benefits/pension plan? I asked this question for confirmation because of Governor Brown’s law that passed that will give all employees the opportunity to benefits. Has BUSD set a budget meeting to strategies these new costs for BUSD to ensure it is adjusted accordingly?

A: We included the increased cost into our budget in December for this school year. We are currently reviewing the impact to our budget for the next three years.

Q: Why is the kindergarten day shorter than Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and why is the kindergarten day different at each school?  Why are the teachers allowed to decide the length of the day?  Shouldn’t this be a district decision?

A: Our collective bargaining agreement determines the hours of employment for our teachers. The agreement explains how each site determines the hours for kindergarten. https://www.burbankusd.org/files/user/109/file/Article%209.pdf

Q: Are elementary school teachers allowed to keep a class after school?  If so, is there an amount of time they are not allowed to go over?

A: I’ll need some additional information. Usually, if teachers need to keep a class for more than a couple of minutes, they will notify the parents.

Q: The current wheel program [for electives] at the middle schools does not allow the student to choose which classes they want to take on the wheel.  Is there any way that students who choose the wheel could prioritize the classes they are interested in so they can at least get their top class on the wheel?  If could affect what elective they take for the rest of middle school for many students and if they don’t get a chance to “sample” that class in 6th grade, they might not know if they want to do it in 7th.  

A: All three schools do their best to offer students a chance to select a class on the wheel, but are not always able to accommodate them because the classes they want may be on different wheels. The administrators try hard to accommodate the number one request of each student.

Q: If the middle schools offer a zero period Spanish class for 8th graders, is there a zero period Spanish Level Two class offered at Burroughs and Burbank High?  Clearly, these classes at the middle school are popular with students who want to meet the college acceptance requirements of a foreign language while also taking an elective such a band, art, choir etc.  

A: Zero period course offerings don’t match 100% the courses offered during the day. Sometimes Spanish is offered and sometimes it’s not. Zero period is an optional assignment for teachers, so we cannot force the schools to offer certain zero period courses. There are other courses offered during zero period that students can take to free up space in the school day.

Q: We have solar panels at Emerson. It has actually worked out great and provided needed shade. Is there any data on how these panels and ones at other sites are offsetting energy costs throughout the district?

A: https://prod.utilityvision.com/uv/Envi/10/Summary

Q: Now that cheerleading is officially a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sport, can we update the school website to have it as an athletic instead of an activity as well as update report cards and transcripts so they no longer say “pep squad”?

A: The District is in conversation with the cheer coaches and the school sites to make decisions about this. Although it qualifies as an athletic activity under CIF, it does not happen automatically; there would have to be changes to the current program. There will not be a change in the near future.

Q: We feel as Burbank Council PTA that the Climate Survey could benefit from a new name. We feel the term “climate” is confusing for students and parents. Can we change the name? What will that process entail?

A: Please send me suggestions for an alternative name. [NOTE: The suggestion made at the Let’s Talk forum was to rename the survey the “School Satisfaction Survey”.]

Q: How does the district feel about having inappropriate material (media) available to our children on school campuses?  And what I mean is having unchecked and unlimited internet access through the children’s smartphones. I know this is a difficult complicated issue, but I wanted to know what the thoughts are that this is happening in every school everywhere. As a parent, I have control over what my children can view at home, but what they see at school through their friends’ devices is beyond my reach.  Once again, all I can say is “Don’t look.”

A: We block and filter the internet at schools. However, we are unable to block content that is accessed via cellular data. My recommendation is for parents to monitor your child’s search history, talk with your child about what is appropriate and what is not (even if it is not their phone), and I agree, tell them “not to look” and ask them if that is the type of person they want to hang out with. If your child comes across inappropriate content at school, they should tell a teacher or administrator, so that we can take appropriate action.