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School District Commentary

August 30, 2000

David Aponik

As I begin my 20th year with the Burbank Unified School District, and

my 27th year as an educator, I find myself extremely encouraged and

excited about where we are as a school district and where we are going.

Our district's emphases on: "back to basics" education; early literacy;

individualized learning plans; specialized reading classes; content and

performance standards; traditional math; comprehensive staff development;

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school-to-career education; smaller class sizes; enhanced parent

involvement; high expectations for all students; partnerships; renovated

and enhanced work and learning environments; after-school and summer

intervention programs; accountability; and recruitment and retention of

the highest quality of employees, have resulted in higher academic

achievement by our students.

Evidence of our improvement and higher achievement has been

demonstrated by way of multiple indices, including: higher standardized

test scores; the performances of the John Burroughs High School "Odyssey

of the Mind" team (State Champions and second place in world competition)

and the Burbank High School Academic Decathlon team (Northern Los Angeles

County Champions and 12th place in the state); the performances of the

Luther Burbank Middle School "Future Problem Solvers" team (State

Champions and represented California in world competition), the Jordan

Middle School "Academic Rodeo" team (second in the state), and John Muir

Middle School GATE math students (who placed first, second and third in

the Southern California "Math You Can Bank On" competition); multiple

local, State, and national championships by the John Burroughs High

School and Burbank High School vocal and instrumental music programs; and

13 consecutive league championships by the Burbank High School boys'

tennis team. These are but a few of the many accomplishments achieved by

our students and schools during the last school year.

As we look to the 2000-2001 school year and beyond I believe we are in

an excellent position to enhance upon these achievements. Even though the

standardized test scores of our English-only speaking and fluent-English

speaking students are already above both state and national averages, I

am confident that these scores will rise even higher. In addition, as we

intensify our efforts to transition limited English proficient students

to English fluency, the academic performances of our limited English

proficient student population will markedly improve as well.

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