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BURBANK : Request for Staff Days Is Trimmed

August 21, 1993|ED BOND

The principal for John Burroughs High School has trimmed a request for more staff development days--where students miss school--because of objections from the Burbank school board.

At the request of the Burroughs faculty, Principal Tim Buchanan two weeks ago had asked the board to approve an unprecedented six student-free days in addition to six afternoon staff development days. But in a narrow 3-2 vote, the board rejected the request, saying parents would not accept having their children miss so much class time.

Buchanan said the extra time was needed as the school expands a pilot program where ninth- and 10th-grade students are clustered into groups of 30 that stay together four hours a day and receive specialized attention from their teachers. They might have been out of school more often, but under the clustering program, students would be working harder and have fewer attendance problems, according to findings.

In a proposal accepted by the school board unanimously Thursday night, Buchanan dropped one of the full staff development days, and two of the afternoon development sessions. Essentially, the teachers will be given their usual three full days of staff development in addition to a special two-day conference in January.

Buchanan made the change before he could get the full approval of his school staff and the Burroughs Teachers Assn. If the teachers reject his proposal when they meet again in September, Buchanan will have to get approval from the board for another plan, district Supt. Arthur Pierce said.

Clustered students are absent an average of four fewer days each year, are late less often and have fewer suspensions or referrals to counselors, according to school statistics. But teachers have to spend more time preparing for class and coordinating with each other to give the students specialized attention.

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