I’m so glad the Burbank Unified School District gives parents the opportunity to pick up all necessary forms before school starts. The so-called parent packet used to be given out the first day of school with only one night to complete the exhaustive paperwork. Actually “exhaustive" doesn’t begin to describe what’s in the envelope.
Here is a list of what we received in our son’s elementary school packet:
• Parent Check Sheet
• Student Identification and Emergency Information Cards (2 of them)
• School Parent and Student Handbook (20 pages)
• Annual Notifications to Parents/Guardians (98 pages; 50 in Spanish)
• Library contract form
• PTA flyer
• PTA volunteer form
• PTA envelope
• PTA and Booster association pamphlet with attached PTA envelope and booster association envelope
• Free and Reduced-Price Meals form
• Accelerated reader form
• EScrip flyer
• School directory flyer
• School Volunteer form
• School calendar front and back
• Student accident insurance brochure
• Student accident insurance flyer
• Advertising flyer (2 pages)
• Community discount card flyer
• Parent involvement challenge participation card
• Parent information evening flyer (3 pages)
• After school hip hop dance program flyer
• After school circus class flyer
• Spanish Enrichment flyer
• Armenian Language flyer (2 of them)
• Mad Science flyer
• Instructional Music flyer
• Emergency flyer
• Food Truck flyer
That’s a total of 31 separate handouts.
This is a shameful waste of money and paper at a time when Burbank school children are getting days of instruction cut. Isn’t anyone at BUSD chagrined at how this appears?
Much of the packet could be put on the district’s website. It’s not necessary to give all parents the 98-page Annual Notifications to Parents booklet in both English and Spanish. How about providing the proper language version for each parent? The 50 pages in Spanish were the first to go into the trash.
A simple computer link to all the after school programs would eliminate some of this clutter as well.
Also, parents are expected to fill out a basic information card, two of them, year after year for 13 straight years (kindergarten through 12th grade). Dear BUSD, this is the 21st century. Doesn’t it make more sense to simply ask parents if there are any changes? No need to create more work for parents and for district workers. It’s as if BUSD is still recycling forms from the 1970s.
If parents went online and inputted the info onto a form, no BUSD employee would have to lift a finger. And all teachers, counselors, and other school personnel would just have to look student info up from their personal computer. No need for filing cabinets, no need for file folders, no need for forms. No need for so much busy work at the start of each school year every year. It’s time, BUSD, to enter the 21st century, 13 years later.
Oh, if only Andy Rooney of “60 Minutes” was still alive to do a piece on this.
BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.