Let’s Talk October 2019

Q. Last month a question was asked about what temperature requires a suspension of the weekly running activity.  The answer was 94 degrees. How do you find out if it is 94 degrees? Do you use the forecast?  Do you use someone’s iPhone?  I have driven by schools where the marquee says it is 96 degrees and the students are still running

A: We use the temperature from local weather apps. We do not rely on marquees because sometimes they are not accurate if the sun is shining on them.

Q. When is the Arts Plan due to be revisited?

The current Arts for All Plan ends in 2022.


Q. This was the answer given to a question last month about expanding the Elementary Music program so that students could master some of the standards:  

There would be a substantial cost to expand the elementary music program. It would also produce some scheduling issues for the schools, as they strive to make sure that the core academics have sufficient time as well. We can discuss this with the music teachers and the principals to study feasibility.

Have you discussed it with the music teachers and the principals?  If so, what did they have to say?  If not, when do you plan to do this?

A. The discussion will be revisited with the principals at the November meeting, but in order to make this happen, it would require a revision of the BUSD Arts for All Master Plan. The current priorities are below:

  • Provide weekly general music instruction for all 2nd through 5th grade students
  • As funding allows, provide weekly general music instruction to all students in grades 1-5.
  • As funding allows, provide weekly general music instruction to all students in grades TK-5.
  • As funding allows, add instrumental music instruction for students in grade 5.
  • As funding allows add instrumental music instruction for students in grade 4-5

The annual progress report of the plan is due in January of 2020, but the plan itself is good until 2022. Parts of the plan could be revisited, but there is no funding to expand any music instruction at this point.

Q. I know the standards from the state for culinary, visual arts and instrumental music. As I understand it, there is no curriculum that the district has adopted to teach these standards.  Is that correct?  Who is reviewing and assessing the curriculum that each teacher/artist uses with their students to make sure the standards are being met?

A. In California, State Standards serve as the benchmark outcomes each student achieves by the end of a grade level or course. The California Department of Education adopts the content standards. Culinary Arts and other CTE courses are aligned to the Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards. Districts and school sites work with teachers who are credentialed specialists in the disciplines they teach, to align essential standards within the scope from JK-12, and from introductory through advanced courses. This is true for every content area including math, English Language Arts, Science, History, the Visual, Media, and Performing Arts, and Physical Education.

In some cases, the District adopts State approved published textbooks and materials that support standards instruction. Teachers work within their discipline or grade levels to determine the sequence of instruction, student expected outcomes and the assessment methods and tools that will be used to measure progress towards achieving the standards.  It is important to note that a textbook is not a curriculum but a tool used to assist in the instruction of the standards.

The District facilitates the work on alignment and assessments for all content areas with regular teacher meetings. The principals and assistant principals directly supervise the teachers, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services supervises the principals, and the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services oversees all Instructional programs.

Q. Why does the LCAP committee set the goals for the District?  Why doesn’t the School Board and the Superintendent have a vision for the district and a Plan (with goals) for how to achieve that vision?  Can you explain the roles of these 3 groups (LCAP, School Board, Superintendent).

A. The School Board sets the vision and goals for the District based on the recommendation of the superintendent. The LCAP committee provides feedback to the superintendent.

Q. Glendale City College offers online classes.  Currently there are 3 online classes shown on GCC’s Dual Enrollment list.  


What BUSD graduation requirements do these courses meet? Are you working with GCC to offer more Dual Enrollment classes online?   Can a student take an online class at BHS or JBHS in the library or in the computer lab after school or during the extended nutrition time at JBHS?

A. The District can increase the number of articulated courses with GCC, which are the high school courses that get college credit, but cannot increase the number of dual enrollment courses with GCC. The District is required to work with LAVC.

Q. Los Angeles Valley College offers online classes.  http://www.lavc.edu/virtualvalley/currentSchedule.html

I was unable to find a list of their Dual Enrollment classes.  Does LAVC offer any online dual enrollment classes?  Are you working with LAVC to offer more Dual Enrollment online classes?

A. We are meeting regularly with LAVC to increase the number of dual enrollment courses available to our students, including online options.

Q. Why don’t the high schools offer any dual enrollment classes that meet a-g requirements?

A. Currently, the District offers Armenian I and Armenian II through dual enrollment which does meet the UC/CSU a-g requirements. Speech and Child Development, while not UC/CSU a-g courses, are courses that are transferable to university. The District is looking to increase the number of dual enrollment courses available to students that met UC/CSU a-g requirements and are transferable.

Q. If the parcel tax passes, what steps will the District take to ensure that there is equity in the programs offered at the schools? Will all schools be able to get access to the same kinds of programs like instrumental music and dance?

A. If the parcel tax passes, the superintendent and board will collect feedback from school sites, parents, and community members as they review programs to ensure equity amongst schools. Please note that equality is different from equity.

Q. Why is the math department set up so that students who excel in math have to take 3 years of math in 6th grade?  Why can’t the acceleration of math begin in 4th grade so that there is not so much pressure on them in 6th grade?  It seems like putting that much curriculum into one year will result in a situation where the student doesn’t know it as well as they should and does not have the solid foundation that they will need for the advanced math they will be taking in the following years.

A. It is not correct that the students are required to learn three years of math in accelerated grade 6 math. Much of the content is repeated over the course of the three years so concepts are reviewed in a spiral. In the accelerated curriculum these repetitions are removed. The teachers have said that they have about two weeks left of material to cover, which is covered in the next course.

Q. Does the School Board and the City Council still have joint board meetings? When will the next one occur?

A. Yes, from time to time they do have joint meetings. Currently, the next one is not scheduled.

Q. The High School Course Guide that is on the district website is for 2018-19.  When will an updated course guide be posted? Why don’t you update it before students have to choose their classes?

A. The course description guide is being vetted by our two high schools. It should be on the district website by the first of November.

Q. On the District website, Stage Tech is not listed as being UC approved for the ‘f’ requirement.


I had heard that it was approved.  Is this right?

A. The Stage Tech class has been approved by the UC for Visual and Performing Arts.

Q. Kids don’t want to go to the bathrooms because of other kids smoking. But not going to the bathroom causes other health issues. What is being done about this problem? Can campus security monitor or clear the bathrooms? I have also heard that they lock the bathrooms to keep kids from vaping in them?

A. Administrators and campus aides are rotating in the bathrooms to monitor and clear them if needed. Principals at all secondary sites have been directed not to close any bathrooms. This is not happening as far as we know. If there is an issue, please contact Dr. Paramo.

Q. Many of the BUSD committee meetings take place between 3 pm and 6 pm.  For working parents, they cannot attend.  For stay at home parents, that is one of the busiest parts of their days.  Can these meetings be live-streamed? I know that Mr. Martin is leaving the district, can his replacement be trained to do the live-streaming?  

A. When resources are available, we will attempt to record meetings. If there is a specific committee you would like recorded, please send matthill@burbankusd.org an email.

Q. How many School Resource Officers (SROs) does the district have?  How many schools does each one serve? Are they now at elementary schools? Is the district paying for them or is the city?

A. The Burbank Police department provides two SROs to the district. They primarily focus on secondary schools but assist at the elementary schools as needed.