What's new this year at BCSD (2023-24)

September 01, 2023

Burlington schools are off to a great start to the school year, and it’s only going to get better from here.

From technology to sports, here’s a look at what’s new to the district this year.

E-sports, girls wrestling added at BHS

BCSD is adding two new sports teams to Burlington High School.

The Burlington School Board on Aug. 14 approved job descriptions for girls wrestling and e-sports coaches. It will be the first year for both sports in the district’s history.

Activities Director Jay Huff told the board students expressed significant interest in both sports via a Google Form that was issued in the previous school year.

There will be three seasons of e-sports — fall, winter and spring — and two games will be played per season. Both the games and the console type(s) have yet to be determined.

E-sports will take place in a computer lab at BHS, and events may be held virtually or in person.

The addition of girls wrestling comes just one year after it was sanctioned by the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union. Its season will mirror that of boys wrestling, with practice beginning in October and meets beginning in November.

The addition of both sports is part of a larger effort to get more students involved in extracurricular activities, and BCSD is proud to provide opportunities that meet the interests of a diverse student body.

Ed Stone gets CTE modules

Edward Stone Middle School has been equipped with 10 Career and Technical Education simulation modules that will allow seventh- and eighth-graders to explore CNC, robotics, digital audio, CAD, engineering structures, plumbing, electrical, flight transportation, machines and graphic design.

Students will work in pairs, spending 10 days at each station. The lab supports a new curriculum that will expand the middle school industrial tech experience beyond engineering and encourages students to further explore and develop their interests before they start to build their high school schedules.

Public Safety at BHS

Students at Burlington High School have yet another CTE pathway to explore.

Brian Carper, who retired from the Burlington Police Department after a 28-year career in law enforcement, now is teaching Public Safety.

The newly added pathway aims to expose students to the training, tasks, and job skills needed in fire and emergency medical services, as well as in law enforcement careers.

Elementary STEM rotation

STEM has been added to the specials rotation at each of Burlington’s elementary buildings.

Teaching those classes are Devin Rohr and Jessica Dow. So far, the students are loving it. They especially enjoyed a STEM challenge involving a worm named Fred who went on a boat ride.

Fred’s boat capsized, his life preserver trapped beneath the watercraft, which was actually a cup. The students had to get Fred to his life preserver using only paperclips.

Superintendent Robert Scott said the addition of STEM at the elementary level aims to get students excited about more advanced STEM opportunities that will be available to them in later years.

“We wanted to hire STEM teachers to provide the expertise to start developing skills for students prior to them getting to the junior high and high school where the opportunities for those are greater,” Scott said. “We’re trying to create a base skill set for every student to have that prior to getting to middle and high school.”

Visitor Management System

BCSD has implemented a new visitor management system aimed at increasing school security.

Visitors to school buildings wishing to go beyond the office now must show ID upon entry. IDs will be scanned using Raptor Technologies equipment, which will immediately tell if an individual is flagged on any databases.

“It helps us provide one more layer of security for our families,” Scott said.


BCSD also has launched a new communication app called ParentSquare.

The app is aimed at boosting family engagement and allows for two-way communication between teachers and parents/guardians.

District staff already are getting creative with the app. Kahri Plein at Aldo Leopold Intermediate School has been recording and posting the morning announcements in ParentSquare, while Alex Cushman, also at Aldo, used extra recess time as an incentive to get more families to register on the app.

While parents do not have to be registered to receive messages and posts sent through the app, they do need an account to be able to engage in two-way communication.

Those needing to register may do so by going to parentsquare.com and signing up using the phone number or email address associated with their Infinite Campus account.