Let’s Talk October 2017

Q: I see there is a single class of Spanish dual immersion at McKinley (& Disney). Will more schools be offering dual immersion programs, and will there be other languages like Korean and French?

A: At this time, we are not planning to expand our dual immersion program beyond the Spanish program at McKinley and Disney. Currently, we only have 34 families who have indicated that they have left Burbank for other schools due to language programs and we are limited by facility space.

Q: With Burbank being in the heart of so many entertainment studios, are there plans for magnet programs in the arts and technology at any of the BUSD schools? If there has been concerns for downward trending of enrollment in BUSD the past year, what progress has been made to try to elevate the education opportunities for residents?

A: We are not considering magnet programs, but we have established career pathways that focus on the arts http://www.burbankusd.org/CTE. We have not been receiving permit requests from families to leave Burbank schools due to magnet programs in other districts.

Q: For inter-district and intra-district transfer, the lottery system notifies parents at the earliest in April/May of acceptance. This does not allow much time for dual working parents to figure out after school program/daycare needs because programs like ATB only allow for students to be on a waitlist at a single school site so the accepted school is usually already full. Is there anything ATB and the BUSD school services can do to coordinate these lists? Or will more schools offer more onsite before/after school programs/daycare?

A: Parents who apply for inter/intra district transfers are placed on the ATB permit list. Once they receive confirmation that they are accepted into the school of their choice, they are then moved to the waitlist for that school based on the date that they contacted us to be added to the permit list. Priority enrollment is given to siblings of students already enrolled into the program, Horace Mann students who will be going to kindergarten and then kindergartners that are on the waitlist in the order of when they contacted us. Enrollment is also based on available space.

Q: You have said that your vision for the district is to have 100% graduation. How close did the district come last May? Did we make progress over the previous year? Are you happy with the progress we are making?

A: I am pleased with the focus and hard work of all staff to ensure students graduate. I would like to clarify that we would love for all students to graduate in four years, but we realize that life circumstance may require 5 or more years for students to obtain their diploma. Our goal is to develop the systems to ensure we know every student’s story so that we can continue to support them as they work on obtaining their diploma.

For the Senior class of 2015, 99% have received their diploma, 15 have not graduated, yet.

For the Senior class of 2016, 98% have received their diploma, 33 have not graduated, yet.

For the Senior class of 2017, 94% have received their diploma, 79 have not graduated, yet.

Q: In the Burbank Leader, you were quoted as saying about the state test scores, “This is one test on one day, so that’s why I downplay it more. It’s good to look at this data piece but not only [this].” What other data pieces do you think are important to look at when evaluating the success of our district?

A: Our Local Control Accountability Plan identifies many of the metrics we review http://www.burbankusd.org/District/15857-Untitled.html. To name a few, graduation rates, college readiness (A-G), Advance Placement results, SAT, ACT, school climate survey (from parents, students, teachers), attendance rates, suspension/expulsion rates, English proficiency rates, etc.

Q: Would it be possible for the district to provide someone to supervise children during district meetings (LCAP, DLAC, SPED, GATE, District workshops, etc.)?

A: We will send out notices for parents to request child care for future meetings (when possible).

Q: I’m wondering why the Aries portal showed letter grades for my child’s classes, but half the grades on the 5-week report card were p for passing?

A: Teachers have the option of assigning a pass grade or “p” instead of letter grade at the 5-week mark only. Some prefer to do this because they believe the 5-week grade may not provide a complete picture of how a student is doing since there are fewer assignments in the grade book.

Q: What is the plan for addressing issues of bullying on each campus of BUSD, specifically as it relates to the HS campuses. Is there a plan for addressing the use of derogatory words, especially regarding the LGBTQ?

A: Over the next several weeks, we are going to be convening a task force, comprised of stakeholders (parents, teachers, support staff, students, and administrators) to determine the common and unique bullying issues at each campus. Our new Wellness Director will lead this effort. As far as specific sites go, each middle school has embarked on their own anti-bullying campaigns this year. At John Muir Middle School, this month is known as “Speak Up Month,” with a focus on teaching students how to report and respond to bullying. At Jordan, the school has started a “Safe School Ambassadors” program, which trains students how to advocate for other students who are bullied. And at Luther, the focus has been on understanding what bullying actually is, and how to avoid being a bystander.

Q: What is your position on SB 328 — the bill that would require later start time of 8:30am for all middle and high schools? I understand that the bill failed to pass this month in the CA State Assembly, but that an amended version may be reintroduced. Secondly, if the bill ultimately does not pass — would later start times be something that BUSD would consider on its own?

A: The Burbank Unified School Board did not take a position on SB 328. In 2016, we surveyed the community about changing the start time and there was no consensus on what time the school day should start.