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District shows off high points

State of the Schools luncheon provides a chance for officials to tout their successes.

May 26, 2007|By Rachel Kane

BURBANK — Career Technical Education, the Burbank Arts for All program and the revitalization of John Burroughs High School Memorial Field were highlighted at the fifth annual State of the Schools Luncheon Thursday.

The district's and city's joint-use projects at John Burroughs High School Memorial Field and Burbank High School's field were featured in the report given by Burbank Unified School District Supt. Gregory Bowman.

Somber violin music accompanied a slideshow of photos during his address depicting the ragged state of Memorial Field, with happier, up-tempo music swelling in over photos and video of examples of freshly painted yard lines.

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"We can do it and we can do it soon," Bowman said, referring to revitalizing the school fields. The district has almost $1 million to raise for the $11 million project, he said.

Almost 300 Burbank business and education leaders came together at The Castaway to review the state of the district and possibly forge new business-district partnerships.

The luncheon was hosted by the Burbank Chamber of Commerce and the Burbank Business Partners, composed of local businesses that work with schools in the district to provide opportunities to students.

Business representatives, owners and district staffers and officials mingled before the program began.

Lisa Rawlins of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and chair of the Burbank Business Partners spoke about the organization's commitment to Burbank schools and students.

"We emphasize a Burbank-first approach," Rawlins said, speaking about the organization's goal to look at the city's students as both an investment and a resource for future employment and current grant and work experience opportunities.

Woodbury University President Kenneth R. Nielson accepted the Business Partner of the Year recognition on behalf of the university and spoke about the students and community it has served for 20 years.

"We believe it all starts with good citizenship in our community," Nielson said.

Burbank Unified School District Supt. Gregory Bowman went on to present the state of the schools, with the help of a few district and city employees.

A slideshow of student artwork and candid moments from classrooms throughout the year was projected behind him as he spoke.

Peggy Flynn, the district's art coordinator, showed the results of this year's Arts for All programs and petitioned for donations of time, money and opportunities to the district's arts.

"Burbank Unified is experiencing a renaissance in arts education," Flynn said, referring to the two new elementary school music teachers and other enhancements to the district's program.

Career technical education classes were illustrated by slideshow images of woodshop students building deck chairs and architecture students working on computer-drafted models.

"Rather than having statistics and what the numbers are, we are looking at what the kids have accomplished, and I think it's quite pleasurable to see it," said David Nos, former district board president and owner of Cambridge Business Forms-Sales in Burbank.

"It's nice to see the programs are starting to be put in place," Nos said.

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