Since our founding 10 years ago in 2006, Burbank Arts for All Foundation has given over $402,000 in supplemental funds to 249 grants in support of our mission to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum. 

The results of the many projects and programs the Foundation has supported can be seen throughout the Burbank Unified School District. Below, please enjoy just a few stories of the recent impact our funds have had on students in their academic, social and emotional growth.

Click here to download a PDF version of this report.

To learn more about our impact over the years, visit our Impact Page for stories, videos, and testimonials from students and teachers!


Walt Disney Elementary | Funded Spring 2015

To incorporate visual arts instruction for students in grades K-5, Disney Elementary began their “Disney Draws” program, led by teaching artist Jennifer C. Klein. The program consisted of three sessions for each class, where students were taught skills such as shape drawing, gesture drawing, storyboarding, how to use a style, how to use materials correctly, and animation. Lessons were connected to what the students were studying in other core classes, such as tying the 1st grade Oceans unit to drawing fish. Professional animators visited each class as well, and these guest artists “demonstrated their drawing skills while teaching the kids how to draw a character. The kids loved seeing the guest artists draw and think and enjoyed hearing about the industry and jobs that could be possible in their future.”

“When this program began, Walt Disney Elementary had no dedicated visual arts instruction in the classes. This program has provided exposition to art, instruction on visual arts techniques and how to approach making art, and has created an atmosphere in the school that we are a visual arts-charged campus. Our school identity is beginning to form and parents are starting to call us the ‘art school.’ Students are enthusiastic and SO excited about making art, and every time I walk into a classroom they literally start bouncing out of their chairs. Some teachers have been expanding on the projects that were introduced by Disney Draws and use them as talking points. The students’ attitude towards art is very healthy, as they repeat to their fellow students that there are ‘no mistakes’ and ‘just give it a try.’
-Jennifer C. Klein, DISNEY DRAWS Teaching Artist


Thomas Edison Elementary | Funded Fall 2015

Introducing Theatre arts into every classroom at Edison Elementary helped to enhance learning in a variety of other core subjects and provide students with a new way in which to approach subject matter. Artist in residence, David Prather,  visited each classroom three times, covering theatre concepts – like stage directions, creating a character, diction, and improvisation – and using these concepts to bring grade-level appropriate curriculum to life. Taking poetry that connected to different topics (such as Longfellow’s poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere for 5th graders’ study of the American Revolution and Walt Whitman’s poetry for 4th graders’ lessons on Utopian societies), Mr. Prather brought the topics to life and engaged all students in learning.

According to Edison Principal, Laura Flosi, “[The most successful part of the project was] watching children that don’t often want to participate eagerly raising their hands to be a part of the action. I saw this in many different classrooms and even commented to David Prather that he was engaging students that don’t usually participate. This participation was from all students, even those with second languages, behavior issues, and special education.

While observing in one of the workshops, I was surprised to see a child ‘hamming’ it up. The boy is a second language learner and typically very reserved. He loved the improvisation as well as the quick stage changes with each set of directions. I let David Prather know that this child rarely talks or demonstrates that he is on task. This is an outlet that isn’t always provided in every class, and it was such a joy to watch children blossom in this art form.”

William McKinley Elementary | Funded Spring 2015

Looking to brighten their campus and provide inspiration and education to their students in the process, McKinley Elementary invited muralist Henry Goods to paint a mural on the school’s exterior, facing the school’s lunch shelter and playground. Mr. Goods incorporated designs submitted by students, as well as used actual photos of plant-life from the Amazon Rainforest, to create a magnificent tropical rainforest scene that depicts a panther (the school’s mascot) and other wildlife in natural natural habitat.


Joaquin Miller Elementary | Funded Fall 2015

In her first year at Miller Elementary, Andria Adams used her past experience in incorporating digital media and video production into elementary curriculum to bring these skills to her 5th grade classroom. After receiving a  Foundation grant to secure the equipment, materials, and supplies she needed to provide her students with an art integrated, standards-based education through, she utilized media arts to enhance her students’ learning of the life and literature of William Shakespeare. The unit culminated in a video production highlighting what the students had learned and incorporating scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. Through the project, students learned how to read and write a script, acted, blocked scenes, learned different types of camera angles and techniques, and learned basics about sound, lighting, and editing.

“The most successful part of the project was the learning that occurred. Students were so engaged that they learned a lot about video production and the life of William Shakespeare. It also helped students develop a strong self-esteem. They were proud and confident of their work, yet also recognized areas in which they could improve. Most students said that they learned to work together. I was also impressed by students’ reflection and self-evaluation expressed at the end of the project. Students discussed ways that they could improve their performance in the future like speaking louder, staying in character, practicing lines and expression, and not being afraid to be in front of the camera. A few students told me that they were considering taking video production in middle school.”
-Andria Adams, 5th Grade Teacher at Miller Elementary


Joaquin Miller Elementary | Funded Spring 2016

You’re never too young for theatre, and Kindergarten teacher Debbie Winstein proved this with her class’ nighttime production of “Tacky the Penguin” on Miller Elementary’s auditorium stage. Her students chose to bring Tacky to the stage after studying the life cycle of penguins and reading the Tacky storybooks in class. With the support of the entire Miller community, the 20 Kindergartners in Ms. Winstein’s class were able to put on a spectacular production that showcased the theatre skills they had gained.

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary | Funded Spring 2016


“Klay for Kids” is a long-running program at Roosevelt Elementary, where every student in grades TK-5th participate in “Klay for Kids,” each creating two ceramic projects during the school year. Each project is planned and developed to be grade-level appropriate. For instance, 1st grade students create fish and butterflies to correlate to their study of the life cycle, while 5th graders create personalized coats of arms to enhance their learning of symbols, self-awareness, and family history. Completed projects in the Fall are given as holiday gifts to the students’ parents, and Spring projects are given as Mother’s Day gifts.
According to Roosevelt teacher, Linda Walmsley, the clay projects “reinforce language arts skills of good listening, following directions, and reading directions. In the development of social skills, the program encourages students to work collaboratively with peers and adults. Participation allows the children to develop better self-esteem, self-awareness and the ability to understand the joy that giving can provide by creating gifts for parents to enjoy.”




R.L. Stevenson Elementary | Funded Fall 2015

The Stevenson Tile Project was born out of a need for visual arts instruction in the classroom at Stevenson Elementary and giving all students a clay hand-building experience. Led by Stevenson parent and professional Art Therapist, Anne Askerneese, each student created an original work of art within the theme of “Things of Nature and Science.”

Ms. Askerneese describes the experience of the project best:

“Working with the students and teachers on the “Tile Project” was a wonderful experience. The students were enthusiastic learners and they warmly embraced me as their “Art Teacher”. It was incredible to see how each student approached the hand building process. Some approached the clay with reckless abandon, pounding and beating the clay. Other students worked with tentative reservation, noticing and exploring the texture, temperature, and aroma of the clay. It was rewarding to help students work through frustrations they had with hand building and see their proud smiles when they mastered the techniques. Utilizing the Pirate Pal system at Stevenson was one of the highlights for me as an instructor. During the initial stages of the project I noticed that the younger students would need more assistance to complete their tiles. I did not want to take the experience of working with clay away from them, yet they all needed some one-on-one help (which I would never be able to meet as the facilitator). I inquired about the Pirate Pals and the solution to the problem was solved. The pairing of older students with their younger student buddy worked better than I had anticipated. It was remarkable to see the way the older students responded and assisted their younger counterparts. The older students were sensitive and tremendously helpful to the younger students. Working along side the teachers during their “teacher session” was great. Many teachers called it “therapy” as they had time and quiet to work on their own tile without distractions. Teachers also seemed to bond during this time and enjoy “de-stressing” as one teacher mentioned. Completing this project and seeing the finished tiles go up on the wall is incredibly rewarding. It is my hope that when students and visitors see the tiles they will be reminded that people care about children, creativity, the arts, and making the world (one tile at a time) a better place.”


John Muir Middle School | Funded Fall 2015

Despite additional funding being allocated for instrument replacement in BUSD, there is still a need for new instruments to accommodate the growth of the instrumental music programs our in the secondary schools. One such gap was a tuba for the John Muir Middle School band. According to Muir Band Director, Suzanne Snell, “it is a lot easier having new instruments in the classroom as opposed to the older instruments that may need more repairs. Newer instruments generally sound better and the students take pride in taking care of new instruments. A new tuba was desperately needed in order for less students to share instruments in the classrooms.” With the help of funds from Burbank Arts for All Foundation and the JMMS Instrumental Music Association (IMA), Mrs. Snell was able to purchase a new tuba for her students to use.

“The instrumental music program at Muir has a huge impact on its students. The growth and depth of musical knowledge the students receive is immeasurable. It’s something they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
-Heather Fishman, 2015-16 JMMS IMA President

John Muir Middle School | Funded Fall 2016

Each year for the last four school years, Muir Middle School history teacher, Robert Lee, integrates art into his students’ study of ancient history, allowing them to “experience what it was like to be a scribe in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, [comparing] cuneiform and hieroglyphics to our modern writing system [and learning] why scribes in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt were so highly respected in society.” To study Cuneiform, students used clay, a stylus, and a roller to create clay tablets and carve messages . For Hieroglyphics,  students were given a piece of Egyptian papyrus and permanent markers to create their messages. These projects kept students engaged and helped enhance their study of ancient times.





Burbank High School | Funded Fall 2015

Tap dance is a valuable art form, and allows teachers to engage students’ prior knowledge gained from units in ballet and jazz, connects to dance history, and affords students a unique sensory experience by bringing in the use of tap shoes. In order to integrate a unit on tap dance to their dance curriculum, Burbank High Dance Directors, Amanda Sandifer and Maggie Phillips, applied for a Foundation grant to cover the cost of tap shoes for their students to use.  When they began work on the tap unit, they were excited “to see [students] transfer prior knowledge to new tap skills. Students across levels were receptive to the new genre of dance, particularly the addition of sound to their dancing! Students participated in two assessments: a Peer Checklist and a written Self-Reflection. They also filled out a Vocabulary Sheet with content-specific terminology at the start of the unit.”

Burbank High School | Funded Fall 2015

In order to help drama students “build their voices organically and to integrate voice and movement into the creation of character to better achieve dynamic, warm, and connected speech,” Ted DeVirgilis, BHS Drama Teacher for the 2015-16 school year, brought in theatre teaching artist, Crystal Robbins, to train students in Lessac vocal and movement techniques. Through this training, the students grew not only in their performance skills, but were able to acquire valuable skills that will help them in whatever career path they may choose.

The students were able to apply their newfound skills to their Fall and Spring productions, which each garnered several National Youth Art Awards…including the “Best Ensemble in a Play” award for their Spring production of Much Ado About Nothing!

John Burroughs High School | Funded Spring 2014

libraryloft6Librarian Julie Grené and Visual Arts Teacher Beth Morrison had a vision to “create, develop, maintain, and grow an Art Library and  Creative Activity Center in the JBHS Library, [that would be] available to all students and teachers in need of creative stimulations and an outlet for art making as well as arts integration.” After receiving a Foundation grant and partnering with the Burbank IKEA, Ms. Grené and Ms. Morrison were able to create an inviting, dynamic, artistic space  for creation. JBHS students “use the space and materials to work on class projects as well as personal expression. The chalkboard surfaces and magnetic poetry bring students together to express their creativity in both visual arts and writing. Teachers use the space to teach and work on creativeclassroom assignments. The Special Needs class has utilized the space for creative activities and art making. Teachers across disciplines use the book resources for arts integration.”


“The library is officially the place to be on the JBHS campus! It is accessible, comfortable and, most of all, cool. On many occasions, I have brought my classes down to complete reading or to have a discussion in the new environment.  Love that the new addition to the library, made possible with the Burbank Arts for All Foundation grant, offers a unique space with tables for spreading out and materials for lots of active creativity. The Library Loft also offers an alternative to our more institutional classrooms, making it the perfect atmosphere for creative efforts. One of my classes recently visited to do an art project, and if a student needed some help getting those creative juices flowering, he or she needed look no further than the cool chalkboard columns or the inspirational quotes lining the walls. As an English teacher, I am always happy in a space surrounded by books and magazines. It makes me so happy to see my students feeling the same way in our campus library.”
-Lee Carlton, JBHS English Teacher

John Burroughs High School | Funded Fall 2014

Building a digital media program isn’t easy, and teacher Richard Lightfoot had a lot of work ahead of him when he transitioned from Jordan Middle School to John Burroughs High School. At Burroughs, Mr. Lightfoot worked to grow the program into one that “has shown to be useful, fund, and successful especially for those students who wish to pursue a future in the art of video production.”

Upon receiving a grant from the Foundation for a variety of equipment needs – including cameras, memory storage, props, and digital  learning programs – Mr. Lightfoot had his students pitch ideas, which they then crafted into meaningful stories. Students were required to format their story in proper script format and then bring it to life by directing student actors, videographers, lighting crew, extras, and stagehands to capture the footage they needed. They then had to edit their footage and produce their show on an online format, as well as draw an audience to their video. Students learned “project based collaborative work skills while implementing an integrated version of the common core standards drawing on strands from multiple disciplines.”

John Burroughs High School | Funded Fall 2014

In order to better equip his Broadcast Journalism students with the tools to further their education and prepare them with the skills they will need post-high school , teacher Richard Lightfoot applied for a Foundation grant to help with the cost of professional attire and equipment. In addition to studying and practicing the steps required of preproduction, production, and post-production that are essential to a broadcast journalism show, his students learned skills such as “how to tie a tie, do basic interview skills, how to dress, [build] a resume, and were prepared for an after Burroughs life.”

John Burroughs High School | Funded Fall 2015

In order to incorporate a tap dance unit into her curriculum, JBHS Dance Teacher, Emily Pierce, applied for a Foundation grant to cover the cost of tap shoes for her students. After securing funding, she was able to purchase the shoes and dive into teaching tap dance, beginning with fundamental movements and combinations, which the students then used to create their own tap choreography for their final projects. Ms. Pierce noted a marked improvement in her students coordination, and an overwhelming enthusiasm for the new genre of dance. She is excited to continue this unit in the future!


John Burroughs High School | Funded Spring 2015


In order to give his students the opportunity to partner with a local company and create videos about issues that mattered to them, Richard Lightfoot looked to the media companies in town to help him. When the first partnership he secured fell through, he was determined to ensure that his students were able to get this valuable and life-changing experience. First, the class worked with Friends of the LA River (FOLAR), who did a two day in-class workshop with the students. Next, Mr. Lightfoot participated in a 7-day “Visual Thinking Strategies” training with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). From this, he was able to have his students study art and then use what they learned to interpret the social message of a favorite piece of art and created a movie using the art as the establishing shot. Next, the students worked with the “Every 15 Minutes” program, which creates awareness on the dangers of drinking and driving. The students worked to produce a  20-minute video about drunk driving, gaining hands-on experience in all aspects, writing, directing, and editing everything on their own.

Even though the project did not turn out how it was originally planned, the students took away valuable lessons and skills. According to Mr. Lightfoot, “Many students left the class with the realization that they can make a difference. For me, the level of pride these kids took in their work warmed my heart. Seeing kids almost cry when they saw their work being presented and how it made them feel to realize that they might be making a difference to others, this is what I found most successful.”

Magnolia Park School | Funded Fall 2015

Music Teaching Artist, Dave Christensen, was brought in to provide a songwriting residency for the students of Magnolia Park School. Prior to this, music instruction had not been offered at the campus, which has no designated arts instructors. Mr. Christensen “met with teachers to plan workshops that centered on integrating music into their curriculum, connecting VAPA standards with Common Core Standards to integrate content instruction” and then “conducted workshops with the students as a large group to learn about the process of creating a song. Students were later separated into smaller groups to plan, write and arrange, and record their song…At the end of the project,  each student was observed in a ‘performance-like’ opportunity. There were five small groups, who had all developed and recorded their music. The groups were asked to present their final song to the entire school; even those very apprehensive students were involved and proud to perform their song.”