The Burbank Unified School District isn’t content with the new normal. After enduring the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year, Superintendent Matt Hill and his staff emphasized they are committed to giving students a better normal as the academic year winds down.
“We’re in the homestretch,” Hill said during a Board of Education meeting on Thursday. “We have three weeks to really make sure our students and learners are giving their best, and all of us as employees are supporting them, encouraging them, pushing along.
“I know how tired we all are. We need to rally in this moment and get to that finish line of this really challenging year.”
As California begins to reopen and recover from the pandemic, BUSD is planning to do the same with students on campus for full-time, in-person learning in the fall.
Hill said he hopes to take what he and the district have learned from a year of virtual instruction to enhance the learning experience. The board suggested expanding technology services and working with city officials to improve internet service.
Board member Steve Ferguson said the district should revisit an idea previously discussed of helping students “learn anywhere.”
“A classroom without walls,” Ferguson said. “How can the city help us make Burbank a classroom?”
Many districts throughout California struggled with distance learning and providing students access to the resources and services needed to succeed. Burbank managed to provide all families with Chromebooks and hot spot devices to access Wi-Fi.
“We closed [the digital divide] in Burbank this year,” a proud Hill said. “That’s something I just want to put a big exclamation on. We do not have a digital divide. … What we need to do is to continue to look at how are we going to maintain this in the long run? Devices last three to five years, so we need to have that refresh. Those are the conversations we need. We need strategic partnerships to be able to make sure we never have a digital divide in this community again.”