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Burbank Unified superintendent focuses on future during State of the Schools breakfast

Last year, the Burbank Educational Foundation celebrated Burbank Unified's accomplishments over its 90 years of existence during the organization's State of the Schools breakfast, which had taken a hiatus for several years.

While the nonprofit and school district recognized and honored alumni and longtime employees then, this year's event was focused on what Burbank Unified has to offer the community to build a better future.

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City and school district officials, faculty members, local business owners and many others gathered at the Castaway restaurant on Wednesday, when Supt. Matt Hill talked about the various ways Burbank Unified prepares students for careers so that they can face the challenges that may lie ahead.

"You all know [about] the potential of our students," Hill said. "We need to create spaces and environments so that can happen."

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A 10-minute video that played during the event highlighted some of the "cradle-to-career" programs, as Hill called them, which have been established throughout the school district to give students the tools to reach their potential.

At the Horace Mann Child Development Center, a new curriculum was adopted to help toddlers and preschoolers with developmental needs be prepared for kindergarten.

Walt Disney Elementary developed a new program for its students called Makerspace Monday, in which all students learn about engineering, animation and coding. The school has also been developing its dual-immersion language program, which runs from kindergarten to fourth grade and will soon include fifth grade during the next school year.

Thanks to grant funding, Luther Burbank Middle School has been able to grow its engineering program, which is in its second year. The school added new computers for students to use, including some that are geared toward virtual reality.

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At the high-school level, there has been an increasing number of students signing up for the district's career technical education academy. Students can choose to learn about a variety of careers including media entertainment, business, engineering, medical technology and hospitality.

This year alone, there have been 90 students who have signed up for the engineering academy and 180 students for the medical academy, which are the two newest programs in the district.

The Burbank Adult School has also added new courses for those who are looking to better themselves before joining the workforce. School officials are currently developing a licensed vocational nursing program and now offers photojournalism, creative writing and songwriting courses.

"That was just the tip of the iceberg, but you can see many examples and recognize your support and contribution that enables our students to thrive," Hill said.

Twitter: @acocarpio

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