BUSD Budget Gets Boost From Federal Stimulus

One year ago, the Burbank Unified School District celebrated an agreement between Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers on a state budget that avoided drastic cuts in school funding.

The local district breathed another collective sigh of relief this week with its most recently proposed budget, which was bolstered by federal stimulus and gave BUSD higher-than-expected revenue this year and next. The Board of Education unanimously approved the adoption of the proposed budget in a virtual special meeting on Wednesday. 

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BUSD Bolsters Policy Against Racial Slurs in School Materials

After two readings and hours of discussion, the Board of Education approved on Thursday the revision to selected board policies that bans the N-word from any instructional materials that are mandated for all Burbank Unified School District students to read. 

The five-member board unanimously approved the new policy with an amendment that states supplemental material given by teachers that includes offensive language or racial slurs must be approved by Superintendent Matt Hill.

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Students’ Stress Rose in 2020, Survey Finds

Burbank high schoolers and district employees felt more stress and anxiety in 2020 than in previous years, according to a survey presented during a Board of Education meeting last week.

John Paramo, Burbank Unified School District assistant superintendent of education services, unveiled the findings of a survey of 1,323 staff and students from Burbank and Burroughs high schools that was administered by Hanover Research between September and November. The number of participants was less than half compared to the previous year. 

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School District Grapples With a Derogatory Word

A proposed revision to policy could change instruction and materials used by teachers in the Burbank Unified School District.

While no decision was made, board member engaged in a lengthy discussion on the revision. Sharon Cuseo, assistant superintendent of instructional services, presented to the Board of Education a first reading of a draft policy that would prohibit the N-word from being said or read aloud in any class. Any instructional material, such as novels or textbooks, that use the derogatory word would be accepted only if it fit specific criteria.

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School Board Meets Today Over BUSD’s 2021-22 Goals

The Burbank Unified School District will have a virtual special meeting today to discuss with the Board of Education the districtwide goals for the 2021-22 school year.
Superintendent Matt Hill will present a draft of the objectives and then receive guidance from board members about any revisions or additions to the list.
The discussion will center on BUSD’s four main goals: providing students with high-quality instruction to prepare them for college and careers; keeping them healthy physically, emotionally and mentally; recruiting and retaining highly qualified employees; and maintaining efficient and effective operations.
To achieve its No. 1 goal of a high-quality education, the district staff hopes to “continue promoting a culture of academic success and implement proactive interventions” to decrease the number of low grades, such as Ds and Fs, by 3% at all grade levels.
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BUSD High Schools Ranked Among Top 500 in State

Matt Hill
BUSD Superintendent

The U.S. News and World Report published its annual best high schools rankings on Tuesday and the Burbank Unified School District made the grade with both of its high schools among the top 500 in the state.
Out of 2,598 qualifying California high schools rated by the publication, John Burroughs High ranked No. 320 with a scorecard of 87.69. Burbank High was No. 417 with a score of 84.9.
“Our students, our teachers and our employees are doing amazing work in each of our schools,” BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill told the Leader on Thursday. “It is great to get that recognition, but we don’t focus on the awards. We focus on delivering amazing instruction, and awards come from that.”
Burroughs, which was ranked No. 142 out of 659 qualifying schools in Los Angeles, boasts a high graduation rate of 97% and the students’ performances on state-required exams are well above the state average. Sixty-seven percent of students were proficient in reading but only 44% showed competency in math. The state average for proficiency in math is 30% and 50% in reading.
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Burbank Arts & Education Foundation Announces Funding, Scholarship Recipients

The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation co-chairs Ana Connell and Bob Mohler announced full funding for all submitted applications during its first cycle of grant giving with investments made in mathematics, music, literacy and art to Burbank Unified Schools at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Funding supported a variety of programs with a direct impact on thousands of students in grades TK-12.
In alignment with the Burbank Unified School District, the Foundation said it a statement that it has made diversity, equity and inclusion a part of its core mission. They encouraged teachers to think about classroom grants through a diversity and equity lens.
“We are proud to fund several grants this year that foster inclusivity in the classroom,” Foundation co-chairs Connell and Mohler said in a joint statement. “From reading about different cultures and religions to playing with diverse toys, the projects we’ve funded will allow all children to see themselves in their learning.”
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BUSD: Committed to In-Person Student Instruction

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.

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BUSD to Host DEI Discussion

The Burbank Unified School District will host a panel discussion to inform the community about its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative on Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m.
In an effort to be more transparent with stakeholders, members of the DEI Committee will gather virtually to share their thoughts, the work the district has done so far and what DEI means for students, staff and families.
“We have a diverse group of students, parents and employees working on DEI over this past year, so we want to set up a panel so people can share their experiences and perspectives on DEI,” said Superintendent Matt Hill.
Board of Education members Armond Aghakhanian, who helped launch the committee in 2019, and Emily Weisberg will be part of the event, as well as state teacher of the year finalist Ericca Dent, Luther Middle School Principal Oscar Macias, school intervention specialist Juan Avila, Burbank High School student Emily Hasunuma, Walt Disney Elementary technology specialist Rosemary Morrison and BUSD parent Africa Turner.
“The main focus is to start to create these spaces and conversations throughout the district,” Hill said. “This panel will give everyone a different perspective.”
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BUSD Students Returning For In-Person Instruction

After 13 months of being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burbank Unified School District is set to reopen its doors to all of its students for limited in-person instruction on Monday.
“We’re ready to go,” a relieved Matt Hill, BUSD superintendent, told the Leader on Thursday. “I’m excited. This is the next step.”
Though it is not the actual first day of school, Hill plans to continue his tradition of visiting every single school site.
“I’ll probably start at an elementary school at around 11:30 a.m. It’s going to take me all week to get to every single one.”

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