School News 2017-18

2017-18 School Calendars

2017-18 Traditional Calendar

2017-18 Year Round Calendar


 Friday, August 11, 2017

An Astronomical First Day Back 2 School

Experience the 2017 Eclipse Across America, August 21, 2017 when the sun and moon align with you!



It is going to be an astronomical first day of school at Santa Barbara Unified School District. The first day of our traditional schools is the same day of a total solar eclipse event that will cross the entire United States, coast-to-coast, for the first time since 1918. This solar eclipse is a unique opportunity to engage our students in one of nature’s great educational events. We are sharing information about the solar eclipse event, including available resources and safety guidelines, for families and educators via our website at:

For information about the 2017-2018 district-wide calendar of important dates for students, employees, holiday reminders, and more please visit our website at: For a calendar of events specific to a school site, please visit that school’s individual website.






We’re Breaking Ground!!

Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education and Superintendent Cary Matsuoka invite the community to attend a groundbreaking ceremony on August 23, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. for the Santa Barbara High School Peabody Grandstand Replacement, Stadium Renovation, and Site Utilities Upgrade Project. For more information and to RSVP, please click on this link to be directed to our invitation.

California Schools Mobile Application

Drawing of little red school house

Do you know of someone who wants to learn more about Santa Barbara Unified public schools? California Department of Education (CDE) released its first mobile application that offers detailed information about California’s 10,000 public schools, including Santa Barbara Unified schools. The CA Schools mobile app is available for iOS and Android systems and provides users with a wealth of information, including: contacts and directions, demographics, test scores, and a school’s California School Dashboard profile page. This is a valuable resource for the community to learn up-to-date information about their local schools and even for home buyers when they evaluate education opportunities in prospective neighborhoods. Users can find schools by location-based searches as well as specific searches of a city, county, school district, and ZIP code.

The CA Schools mobile app is available for free download through Apple’s App Store Web page or the Google Play Web page. More information is available on CDE’s CA Schools Mobile Application support Web page.

2017 Summer Facility Projects

Thank you for supporting your schools!

While our students were away for the summer, our facilities staff was busy getting our school sites ready for the new year. We completed a number of projects thanks to the support of our voters for passing bond Measures I and J. These community bonds provide dedicated facility funds to make a difference in ensuring the quality of our facilities. They provide opportunities to make necessary improvements that create a positive learning environment for our students, staff, Santa Barbara Unified families, and community. This summer we completed an asphalt renovation of playground and parking lot at Goleta Valley Junior High School, a walkway replacement at Cleveland Elementary School, utility replacement (gas, water, and sewer) at Washington Elementary School, and asphalt renovation of the playground at La Cumbre Junior High School and more to come. To see pictures of these projects, please click here. For more facility project updates and photos visit our website at



Back To School Night Schedule

Back-to-School Night offers a great opportunity for Santa Barbara Unified families to:

• Visit your student’s school and classroom.

• Meet your student’s teachers.

• Understand what your student will learn this year.

Adams Elementary SchoolMonday, September 11, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Cleveland Elementary SchoolThursday, September 14, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Franklin Elementary School, Friday, August 25, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Harding University Partnership SchoolMonday, September 18, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
McKinley Elementary SchoolTuesday, September 5, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Monroe Elementary SchoolMonday, September 25, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Open Alternative School, Thursday, September 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Roosevelt Elementary SchoolTuesday, August 29, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Community Academy, Thursday, August 10, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Washington Elementary SchoolThursday, August 24, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Goleta Valley Junior High SchoolThursday, September 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
La Colina Junior High SchoolWednesday, August 30, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
La Cumbre Junior High SchoolTuesday, September 19, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Junior High SchoolWednesday, September 27, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Dos Pueblos High SchoolThursday, September 7, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
La Cuesta Continuation High SchoolThursday, August 31, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
San Marcos High SchoolWednesday, September 6, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara High SchoolWednesday, September 13, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Spanish language interpretation and translation services available.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation Instrument Drive

Have an old instrument gathering dust in your closet or garage? Dust it off and put it into the hands of an aspiring young musician today. All types of instruments are accepted, from ukuleles to flutes.  In particular, there is a strong need for alto saxophone, clarinets, violins, and guitars. Learn more by visiting the Foundation’s website at:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Santa Barbara Unified Awards Construction Contract to AMG & Associates, Inc. for the Santa Barbara High School Peabody Grandstand Replacement, Stadium Renovation, and Site Utilities Upgrade Project

Drawing of Peabody Stadium

Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education awarded AMG & Associates, Inc. – California based S-Corporation, a $28 million construction contract for Santa Barbara High School Peabody Stadium project. The construction contract is funded by the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara community bond measures, developer fees, and leverages State of California seismic mitigation funds. Construction efforts will begin in August and the stadium is expected to be complete April 2019.

“The awarding of this contract is a significant milestone for Santa Barbara Unified. We have completed an important piece of the puzzle of a long-standing community vision and critical need to modernize the nearly 100-year-old stadium,” said District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. “The Board’s decision to award the contract recognized the responsibility to move forward, but also acknowledged the unique challenges our leadership team worked through to ensure the best project option and lowest price contractor.”

Last April the Santa Barbara Unified Board of Trustees rejected all multi-prime bids for the project that totaled $30 million in hard construction costs. Superintendent Matsuoka led an expanded team of district staff and stakeholders who met weekly with a goal to obtain the best and lowest price contractor to build the project. The group analyzed the project, evaluated potential alternative options including constructing the project off site and reducing the scope of work, obtained new cost estimates, adjusted the construction timeline, rebidded the project for a single general contractor, and broadened the bid-proposal outreach. The rebid opening was held on July 11th and the district received bid proposals from six general contractors for this project, with the lowest submitted bid from AMG & Associates in the amount of $28,764,392. The total project budget, including soft costs and a construction contingency, is $39 million.

“This is AMG & Associates first construction project with our District and I look forward to working with the construction team,” said the District’s Director of Facilities and Operations, David J. Hetyonk. “I am ready to get started on one of the largest single construction contracts in my nearly two decades with Santa Barbara Unified; and look forward to seeing it completed for the benefit of our students and community over the next century.”

The Santa Barbara High School Peabody Grandstand Replacement, Stadium Renovation, and Site Utilities Upgrade Project design includes:

• Constructing a new 2,300 seat concrete grandstand and press box. This necessary replacement will bring the nearly 100-year-old facility into compliance with current State and regulatory building and accessibility codes.

• Expand the athletic sports field to create a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) regulation, synthetic surface track and artificial turf field to support competitive athletic events and daily physical education activities during school.

• Replace two failing storm drain conduits to allow for continued pass through of municipal storm water systems and to mitigate ponding or flooding within the stadium and surrounding residential areas during storm events.

• Modernize and replace the athletic sound and lighting systems for energy efficiency and to mitigate impacts on areas outside of the stadium.

The Peabody Stadium project partners include: Foundation for Santa Barbara High School; Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects, Inc., Architect; Flowers & Associates, Inc., Civil Engineer; Lundgren Management Corporation, Construction Management; AMG & Associates, Inc., General Contractor; and Knowland Construction Services, Division of State Architect Inspector.

July 6, 2017

Enjoy Summer Reading at the Public Library

Santa Barbara Unified wants to know if you have checked out the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s annual Summer Reading Program? Reading over the summer is an excellent opportunity to get ahead and not fall behind in school. This year’s summer reading theme is “Build a Better World” with a different program for children, teens, and adults. To participate, children and teens sign up online or at their local library, read books, then visit the library to collect prizes. This year, over 30 local businesses and community organizations have donated incentives to keep kids reading. Libraries also offer free family events every week, such as magicians, storytellers, jugglers, and hands-on activities. Teens have opportunities to participate in their own programs as well and/or volunteer at the Library to earn community service hours. See or visit any public library branch for more information.

Summertime Health and Wellness Awareness

It’s summertime and there is no better time than now to focus on your student’s health and wellness. Summer break allows time to improve physical health and it can also be a time for families to focus on mental wellness; for family members who seek to diminish stress in their bodies and increase safety, peace, inspiration, and fulfilling relationships in their lives. Recognizing an increase of a national dialogue around teen and youth mental health wellness, Santa Barbara Unified School District’s secondary school principals and Superintendent recently sent a letter to all 2017-2018 students in 7th to 12th grades that provide information on local and national resources to help families increase an awareness of mental health and wellness concerns. To view a copy of the letter in English/Spanish, see links below. To learn more about simple ways to identify mental health concerns, watch this 1 minute video.

SBUnified Mental Health and Wellness Letter (English)
SBUnified Mental Health and Wellness (Spanish)

Santa Barbara High School Peabody Stadium Update

Aerial view drawing of Peabody Stadium

Superintendent Matsuoka presented a Santa Barbara High School Peabody Grandstand Replacement and Stadium Renovation project update at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees. Last April the Board rejected all multi-prime bids for the project that totaled $30 million in hard construction costs. Since that time, Superintendent Matsuoka led an expanded team of district staff, Dr. John Becchio (Santa Barbara High School Principal), project architect, construction management consultants, and Greg Tebbe representing the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School who met weekly with a goal to obtain the best and lowest price contractor to build the project. The group analyzed the project, evaluated alternative options, obtained new cost estimates, adjusted the construction timeline, and broadened the bid-proposal outreach. The board update included:

• Project considerations: there are a number of factors that went into the consideration for the project that were part of re-analyzing the project, including: the complexities of a nearly 100 year old facility; the scope of the underground civil engineering needs such as replacing two massive storm drains, leveraging more than $11 million of external investment from community donations and the State of California seismic mitigation funds, and equity of athletic opportunities –for training and competition activities on campus, it is truly the largest classroom at Santa Barbara High School.

• Cost estimates: Superintendent Matsuoka and the expanded leadership team new cost estimates identified construction costs at an average of $27.7 million. If current estimates are accurate, the total project cost is going to be around $38 million dollars. The Superintendent’s update included a budget spreadsheet, which can be found by going to the school board meeting linked below. The cost estimates incorporate soft and hard construction costs, leverages more than $11 million of external investment such as the State of California seismic funds, and identifies utilizing $6 million out of the Armory funds as the district is closer to negotiating a final price for the purchase of the Armory property.

• Next steps: The rebid window closes on July 11, 2017. Santa Barbara Unified Board of Trustees will hear the rebid results at the July 25, 2017 school board meeting. If a project contract is awarded late July, the groundbreaking will take place the end of August and the new Stadium is estimated to be completed April 2019.

To listen and read more about the Peabody Stadium Project update, go to the June 27th Board meeting website at:, and

Peabody Stadium Fact Sheet (English)

Peabody Stadium Fact Sheet (Spanish)

Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade Volunteers Wanted

Santa Barbara Unified is excited to participate in the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade—keep a look out for your school board members, superintendent and school principals! Santa Barbara Unified is proud of its rich education tradition in Santa Barbara, a tradition that is more than 150 years old and rooted in 18th century Spanish era. There is a volunteer request from the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade (Desifile Historico) Committee that is in need of volunteers to help with marshaling this year, especially with changes due to the Castillo street closure. Benefits of volunteering include the Marshal Party held at 6 PM at the Carriage Museum on Monday, July 31st, where you’ll learn about the modest expectations, and you and a guest will be treated to dinner and drinks. You’ll also receive a very exclusive invitation to Horseman’s Rendezvous following the parade where you’ll mingle with the horseman, dignatarios and all those that make the Desifile Historico possible. Please let the Parade Committee know if you’re interested or have any questions by contacting them via phone at: 805.692.4400; by email, or visiting their website at:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Santa Barbara Unified Adopts $161 Million Budget for

Fiscal Year 2017-18

The adopted budget fully supports the Local Control and Accountability Plan.

Santa Barbara, Calif. – Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees adopted a $161 million budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18, an overall increase of approximately $1.4 million from last year. The budget reflects a commitment to exceed the State of California’s minimum recommended reserve requirement and to fully support the priorities of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP is a three-year plan that describes how the district intends to meet annual goals for all students, with specific actions developed through community outreach to respond to state and local education priorities.

“The District’s adopted budget recognizes our employee’s dedication to improve practices that maintain quality education programs and services for our students,” said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. “We made necessary cost reductions this year and recognize that continued reductions will be a priority in the years ahead. This means that over the next three years we will proceed with caution yet remain steadfast to our top priority – quality education for every child.”

District leadership began working last November to develop a fiscally sound budget for 2017-2018. This budget reflects challenges and opportunities the district will face over the next three years. Primarily, the budget indicates Santa Barbara Unified’s continued prioritization of its mission and purpose to provide quality instructional education. It also identifies decreases in school enrollment (based on future population forecasts), reductions of local revenue (expiration of Measures A and B), and loss of some federal funding. The budget’s demonstrated strength is its investment in employees, a reserve of all funds of approximately 9%, exceeding State standards, and spending of one-time state funds for planned investment in instructional technology and common core state standards. Moving forward, the budget signifies Santa Barbara Unified’s commitment to fulfilling the community’s support for creating and maintaining 21st century learning environments and ensuring the equitable success of all students.

Board President Kate Parker expressed appreciation to Santa Barbara Unified employees, “Santa Barbara Unified School District staff have clearly demonstrated their commitment to equity and to improving practices that will lead to a high level of academic excellence for our students and our community. While we invest in preparing our students for life, learning, and work in the 21st century, we also recognize the Board’s commitment to encouraging continued collaborative work to reduce deficit spending and strengthen our reserves.”

To review the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Adopted Budget documents from the June 27th School Board meeting, go to: For more information about Santa Barbara Unified School District, go to:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Class of 2017

This month Santa Barbara Unified School District joined with many of our families and staff to celebrate a major milestone in the lives of thousands of our students as they either promoted to junior high and high school or graduated as the Class of 2017. There were many inspiring moments from the promotion and graduation ceremonies that we shared on social media — you can search for them through our hashtag: #sbunifiedgrad17 OR you can catch highlights by watching this video of the 2017 promotions and graduations:

We appreciate the support of our educators, administrators, families, and community in helping our students reach their full potential, thank you!

Summer Meal Programs

The 5th annual Summer Meal Concert Series kicked off this month, celebrating the importance of making sure our children in Santa Barbara County have food they need even when school is out. The summer concert series began in 2013 as a coalition effort alongside actor and musician Jeff Bridges. Since its inception, participation in summer meal programming increased more than 30 percent. But the majority of children who rely on free and reduced meals during the school year are still going without them in the summer. That is why Santa Barbara Unified School District is proud to partner with the City of Santa Barbara, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Community Action Commission to increase opportunities where children can receive a meal without paperwork or enrollment forms! To make it easy to find out where summer meals are served in your neighborhood, you can text SUMMERFOOD to 877-877.

For locations that our SBUnified Food Services will be at, see the 2017 Summer Food Service Program Flyer. (Click here for Spanish flyer)

Click here to watch a video on the SBUnified Food Service Facebook page.

Celebrating South Coast Mathematics Superbowl Winners

Congratulations to Liam Avolio of Santa Barbara Charter School for placing second place in the South Coast Mathematics Superbowl 4th grade individual competition. Another congratulations goes out to their 6th grade team for placing second place in the 6th grade team hands-on competition. Opportunities like this would not be possible without the support of family volunteers who coached these students this year, specifically recognizing the support of Paul Avolio, Jennifer Bosso, Ed Togami and John Hartman.

Two Sisters Work Together to Organize a Summer Coding Program

During the summer, some of our high school students volunteer to facilitate camps and programs to engage younger students in summertime educational opportunities. One of these programs this year is being organized by two sisters: Michelle and Sophia Qin, students at Dos Pueblos High School. The Qins are a part of Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and have won the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing award. Their program entitled “Coding Together” is focused on working with 5th to 11th grade girls, teaching them to learn to use MIT’s programming tool Scratch and Google Computer Science programs at Dos Pueblos High School. According to NCWIT, by 2024, 1.1 million computing-related job openings are expected. We celebrate our high school student’s initiative to be innovative by providing opportunities to explore, grow, and learn the field of computer science.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Santa Barbara Unified Announces Selection of the New Principal of Adams Elementary SchoolFriday, June 2, 2017

Superintendent Cary Matsuoka announced the selection of the new principal of Adams Elementary School, Kelly Fresch. Fresch currently serves as the Principal of Guin Foss Elementary School at Tustin Unified School District in Tustin, Calif. Her contract begins July 1, 2017.
The selection of Fresch as the new principal of Adams Elementary school followed a competitive and collaborative recruitment process comprised of Adams Elementary school parents, teachers, staff and district officials.

“Principals serve as the educational leader and chief administrator of their school,” said Matsuoka. “Fresch’s 22 years of educational and administrative experience is a natural fit for Adams Elementary School. Her successful leadership in building teams and integrating technology while cultivating a diverse and positive school culture is what set her apart during the recruitment process.”
Fresch holds a master of arts degree in Educational Leadership and Administrative Services Credential from Azusa Pacific University. She received a multiple subject teaching credential from the California State University of Fullerton and a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from San Diego State University. She completed a Spanish immersion program from the International University for Language in Cuernavaca, Mexico and has dedicated her life to working with children.

“I am excited to join Santa Barbara Unified School District, and specifically, Adams Elementary School,” said Fresch. “It is an honor to be a part of a school that has a reputation of fostering community around a love of education. I look forward to ensuring that each and every child at Adams feels valued and has opportunities to reach their true and full potential. I bring a sense of passion for education and will model what I expect of others, that is to always be kind, thoughtful, giving and understanding.”
Fresch is a godmother to three children, and served as a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation for 8 years, as well as a Board Member for the Tustin Public Schools Foundation. She grew up in Orange county and values living a healthy lifestyle whether that is running every day, reading or taking opportunities to travel and relax on the beach.

About Adams Elementary School:
Adams Elementary School opened its doors on September 14, 1954. The elementary serves students in preschool through 6th grade. It is located in Santa Barbara’s Northside between the community golf course and the Earl Warren Showgrounds. Adams teachers and staff provide a challenging academic program for all students, with additional support in English language development, speech, vocal and instrumental music, art, library, computer literacy, Gifted and Talented Education, and special education. Adams was an early adopter of digital literacy and learning materials, a 1:1 iPad pilot school and offers families a Montessori program of choice education alternative.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Graduation Season

Congratulations to all of SBUnified Junior High and High School Awardees who were recently recognized for their academic, community service, and scholarship achievement. These award ceremonies take place prior to promotion and graduation events. They are a significant part of our student’s experience in Jr. High and High School as the Award recognition is an opportunity to congratulate and celebrate positive academic and personal achievements with family, friends, and educators. Next week is graduation week for SBUnified. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see photos and hear stories of some of our graduates.


Students from Dos Pueblos High School and La Colina Junior High School Earn Gold Medals at Le Grand Concours

Five SBUnified students: Eric Lindheim-Marx (DPHS), Rafael Saavedra (DPHS), Allison Mintzer (DPHS), Matthew Lindheim-Marx (DPHS), and Jennifer Gonzalez Hernandez (La Colina) took home gold medals from Le Grand Concours, a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. SBUnified students were evaluated for their written, oral and listening comprehension skills in French. The SBUnified students ranked among the 95th percentile of more than 85,000 students in all 50 states that competed in the 2017 event. Le Grand Concours participants are recognized for embracing an appreciation for other cultures, strive to continually learn and improve, and value the study of French.

Monroe Mural Rededication

Monroe’s art teacher Shannon Jaffee, known for her mural on Cabrillo Boulevard with the Postcards of Santa Barbara Project, championed a renovation project of the Monroe Elementary Mustang Mural and helped organize a rededication ceremony featuring student artwork. The initial mural dedication was in 2002, and the mural had suffered weather damage.  Beth Amine, the original director of the mural, participated in the restoration project launched this year. Over 75 students worked over 8 weeks to bring back to life the mural’s artistic scene featuring Santa Barbara in the night and day time as well as various horses and creatures representing the different types of students in the school. Approximately 200 people watched our Facebook LIVE video of the Monroe Elementary Mustang Mural rededication ceremony and student art showcase.

Click the link below to watch the video that included some of the students talking about their work.


SBUnified Classified Employees Honored

Last week we celebrated Classified School Employee Week. Please join us in congratulating two of our SBUnified classified employees who were recognized by the local California School Employees Association chapter. Christie DeGiacomi (left) received the Unsung Hero award. DeGiacomi is known for her contribution to the overall health and viability of SBunified as a Payroll Technician and has been with the District for 21 years. Vivian Rangel (right) was selected as the Employee of the Year. She is recognized for her invaluable service as a Bilingual Office Assistant and Special Education and English Language Development Assistant at San Marcos High School and has been with the District for 14 years.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

San Marcos Entrepreneurship Academy (SMEA) Holds First Ever Business Plan Showcase & Fast Pitch Competition

Recently, twenty-five student teams from the SMEA showcased their new business ventures to families and members of the community. The evening was held at Impact Hub SB, a shared work-space for local entrepreneurs and start-ups. Following the preliminary showcase round, the top five teams were selected to compete in a Fast-Pitch Competition; winners were awarded start-up capital or scholarship money. With a packed house at the Impact Hub, the students left the audience members impressed and inspired. Watch highlights from the evening:


Santa Barbara High’s Computing and Robotics Summer Camp Sign-Ups

Santa Barbara High School’s Computer Science Academy invites you to sign up for their summer 2017 Creative Computing Camps for Art & Design as well as Robotics & Applications. For more information on dates and activities of each camp or to register, visit

District Teachers Honored at SBCEO Teachers Network Education Celebration

A very special recognition of four of our Educators awarded last night at the SBCEO Teachers Network Education Celebration that supports and recognizes preK-12 public school teachers throughout Santa Barbara County. Congratulations to Caleb Chadwick, Construction Technology Teacher, Santa Barbara High School on receiving the Marvin Melvin Career Technical Educator Award; Shawn Carey, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools, Eduardo Lara and Emily Pariseau of San Marcos High School on receiving Venoco, Inc.’s Crystal apple Educator Awards.

In addition to the award recognition, over 20 of our educators received grants for their work on everything from Instructional Strategy Teams to QAD TeachNet Technology to Care for Our Earth. Exciting to see so many of our quality educators and classified employees being recognized by local businesses in our community.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos High School’s New Assistant Principals, Matthew Stockton and Shannon Yorke, Named

Superintendent Cary Matsuoka announced the selection of two Assistant Principals for Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos High Schools. Matthew Stockton will join Santa Barbara High School and Shannon Yorke at Dos Pueblos High School. Stockton is currently serving as Dean of Students at Monte Vista Middle School in Camarillo. Yorke is currently the Dean of Students at San Marcos High School. They will formally assume their positions on July 1, 2017.

Assistant Principals promote high expectations for students and staff; they are responsible for the supervision of students, supervision of certificated and classified employees, campus activities and extracurricular events,” said Matsuoka. “Stockton and Yorke were selected following a competitive recruitment process. Both candidates demonstrated the leadership, experience and innovation that bring about positive school leadership and growth.”

Stockton holds a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Long Beach and a master’s degree in Education from the University of La Verne. He earned his Administrative Services Credential through the Santa Barbara County Education Office. He is recognized for having a strong background in teaching English and Social Science, as well as coaching varsity athletics at both the high school and middle school level. Stockton lives in Carpinteria with his wife, Courtney, and daughter Josie.

“Stockton’s passion for education and a genuine interest in educational leadership will be a welcomed addition to our Santa Barbara High School community,” said John Becchio, principal of Santa Barbara High School. “Stockton’s experience, knowledge and commitment to further the proud tradition of our Dons already makes him a valuable member of our leadership team.”

Shannon graduated from University of California Santa Barbara’s Teacher Education Program. She has worked in education for nine years, seven of them as a science teacher at La Colina Junior High School. Recently, she enjoyed her time as Dean of Students at San Marcos High School working with the intervention program, Royal Time, to provide support to ensure the academic success of students participating in the program. Yorke lives in Ventura with her husband, who is a high school science teacher in Ventura. If not working with students, they can be found enjoying the outdoors, experiencing new foods and traveling.

“Yorke’s experience as a school administrator and highly-successful science teacher at La Colina will be especially important to our Dos Pueblos High School leadership team as we transition to next generation science standards,” said William Woodard, principal of Dos Pueblos High School. “Yorke’s a talented, hard-working educator who is committed to engagement and will be a welcomed addition to our school and community.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Health Fair and Family Fun Day!

It’s this weekend!! You are not going to want to miss this 5th annual Neighborhood Health Fair and Family Fun Day THIS Saturday, May 20th, from 10:00am – 1:00pm at Westside Boys & Girls Club and at Bohnett Park. Santa Barbara Unified is partnering with the City of Santa Barbara and community partners to host this popular fair and family fun day. Confirmed speakers at the event include our very own SBUSD School Board Member Ismael Ulloa, Mayor Helene Schneider, County Supervisor Das Williams, Congressman Salud Carbajal, Board Member Ismael Ulloa and Superintendent Matsuoka.  All FREE to the community- health screenings for the entire family, lunch provided by SBUSD Mobile Café, MediCall enrollment, fitness classes, fun activities for children, bike safety workshops by Bici-Centro, bicycles and computers will be raffled.

Striking Gold

Dos Pueblos High School, La Colina Junior High School, and Santa Barbara Junior High School were among the three Santa Barbara Unified School District schools to receive the California Gold Ribbon Award. School Board Members Dr. Jacqueline Reid and Wendy Sims-Moten joined district awardee school principals, Superintendent Cary Matsuoka and Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools Shawn Carey at a California Department of Education’s California School Recognition Award Ceremony in Los Angeles. Superintendent Matsuoka commented on receiving the award, “the commitment of our school administrators and educators to quality teaching, collaboration and building equity is what makes Santa Barbara Unified School District schools exceptional.”


Friday, May 12, 2017

We Are Grateful for Our Educators

Thank you for helping us celebrate teacher appreciation this week. In the words of Albert Einstein, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Watch this video message from Superintendent Matsuoka reflecting on the impact teachers make in the lives of students.

Click here to view media.

Congratulations to Amy Alzina

Amy Alzina, principal of Adams Elementary, was unanimously appointed as Cold Spring School District’s new Superintendent/Principal. Alzina has been with Santa Barbara Unified School District for 18 years and leaves a legacy of being a strong advocate for children and families from revitalizing and fostering relationships at Adams Elementary, where she has served as principal the last 8 years, to providing support and mentorship for incoming principals. Please join us in wishing Amy Alzina a well-deserved congratulation as she begins this next leadership adventure.

In regard to what’s next for Adams Elementary, the district is moving forward on recruitment for a new principal with the goal to have someone in place by mid-June, in time to participate in management meetings before the start of the school year.

Spotlight: Things Got a Little Rocky for Some of Our Secondary Science Teachers


Dr. Tanya Atwater, Prof. Em., UCSB recently volunteered to lead a local geology field trip for Santa Barbara Unified School District secondary science teachers. Teachers explored local rock formations: their characteristics and physical properties, their place in the geologic time scale, and the tectonic movements that have caused the formations to fold into our unique topography. This opportunity helped add a local perspective to science education that will benefit classroom learning. The trip started with a drive up Gibraltar road to look at the Sespe, Coldwater sandstone, Cozy Dell shale, and Matilija sandstone formations. A highlight of the trip was lunch on top of La Cumbre Peak which included a lesson about the tectonic plate movements that created our special East-West trending coast line and Transverse Range.

Pictured from left to right are: Michele Duan (student teacher), Kaitlyn Swift (student teacher), Rob Goettler (science teacher, SMHS), Kim Miller (science teacher, GVJH), Nellie Hill (science TOSA), Dr. Tanya Atwater (Geology Prof. Em., UCSB), Jarrod Bradley (science teacher, SMHS), Peggy Lubchenco (UCSB Gevirtz School of Education), Marilyn Garza (science teacher, SBJH), and Steve Gaines (UCSB Bren School)

Track and Field Meets College Life at the 5th Annual “All SBUSD Elementary Schools Track And Field Meet.”

Santa Barbara Unified School District students from eight elementary schools competed this week in track and field events before gathering together for lunch at Westmont College’s Dining Commons. Russell Smelley, the Westmont Track and Field Coach, and Amy Alzina, Adams Elementary Principal, started this event five years ago with the goal to introduce students to the sport of track and field and a college experience. The partnership has been a success. Congratulations to Washington Elementary School who placed first in the meet!


5th Annual Neighborhood Health Fair and Family Fun Day, May 20

On Saturday, May 20th from 10:00am – 1:00pm, Santa Barbara Unified is partnering with the City of Santa Barbara and community partners to host the Neighborhood Health Fair and Family Fun Day. This year, the event will be held at the Westside Boys & Girls Club and at Bohnett Park. All FREE to the community- health screenings for the entire family, lunch provided by SBUSD Mobile Café, MediCall enrollment, fitness classes, fun activities for children, bike safety workshops by Bici-Centro, bicycles and computers will be raffled.

SB Health Fair May 2017 Flyer (English)

, May 11, 2017

The Gaucho Experiment – La Cumbre Junior High Schoolers to Hold Science Fair at UCSB, May 25th with help from UCSB Outreach Group

Over the past few months, 72 La Cumbre Junior High students have been working diligently on unique science projects they have been building, with direct guidance from UCSB mentors in a group called The Gaucho Experiment. Their projects range from levitating cars to mutating bacteria, and best of all, they are entirely middle-school student initiated. The Gaucho Experiment pairs college mentors with middle school students during weekly visits, with the intention of making an open, creative environment where 7th and 8th grade students can discover and pursue a genuine interest in the sciences.

The students begin by discussing topics that interest them, which can be anything from soccer, to Netflix, to whether or not plants could grow on the moon. After finding a topic of interest, they request a “grant” from The Gaucho Experiment, which entirely funds every science project from research materials to their final poster boards. The students’ projects end up flourishing into fascinating, and more importantly, unique projects that stem from the students’ interests! One project, involving the mutation of glow-in-the-dark bacteria using ultra-violet rays is being used as a pilot to potentially teach to college biology students at UCSB labs.

Soon, we get to show off these students’ amazing accomplishments at the science fair at UCSB’s Corwin Pavilion on May 25th, from 12-3PM. Everyone is welcome to join, with plenty of food, UCSB faculty judges, and various science booths to learn from. Lastly, the entire project wouldn’t be possible if not due to the generosity of community members, including Dylan Peterson, a La Cumbre alumnus who now manages UCSB’s bacteriology labs, or Danny (another La Cumbre Alumnus!), Darin and Sierra of Jump on the School Bus. Please stop by and check out these students’ hard work – everyone is welcome!

Top graduating senior in ‘crazy race to the finish line’

Great Story about Grant Schroeder, a former student of La Colina and a graduate of Dos Pueblos High School:


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In The Spotlight: Santa Barbara Unified School District Awarded a 2017 NAMM Designation for Best Communities for Music Education

SBUSD was once again named by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) as among the best in the nation for music education. The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made and support music education a core component of the curriculum. The designation is awarded to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. Dr. Ronzone, VAPA Director and Karen Dutton, SBJH music teacher completed an extensive and in-depth application describing the SBUSD’s TK-Grade 12 music program, which included descriptions of the elementary music program in all schools, music electives at the secondary schools, the elementary after-school Bravo! program and the partnerships with local arts organizations such as the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s Leni Fe Performing Arts Fund.  527 school districts nationwide were recognized this year. Congratulations to the SBUSD music teachers, district and school site leaders who make music a critical aspect of our students’ education every day.

Science Champions

Congratulations to La Colina and Santa Barbara Junior High students that received 5 of the 8 Santa Barbara county awards at the California State Science Fair. The 2017 California State Science Fair was held on April 24-25 at the California Science Center. This year there was 927 participants from 400 schools throughout the State presenting 814 projects in competition for nearly $60,000 in total awards. Santa Barbara Unified School District student award recipients include:

• Sydney Carlson (La Colina Junior High), 3rd place, Zoology

• Mia Chou (La Colina Junior High) 3rd place, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

• Zoe Flanagin (Santa Barbara Junior High) 4th place, Cognitive Science

• Neve Greenwald (La Colina Junior High), 2nd place, Materials Science

• Li F Meinhold (La Colina Junior High), 2nd place Toxicology

• Honorable Mention:

• Austin Roberts (La Colina Junior. High) Honorable Mention Zoology

• Rachel Lin (Goleta Valley Junior High) Honorable Mention Physics & Astronomy

Interesting in reading any of our student’s projects? Click here to connect to the California State Science Fair 2017 results page.

Opening night for “Damn Yankees” is tomorrow, Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 pm.

Opening night for the San Marcos High School spring musical, “Damn Yankees” is tomorrow, Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 pm. The show will also run on May 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13 at 7:00 pm. Don’t miss this time-honored comedy full of classic songs, upbeat dancing and outstanding acting, accompanied by a fantastic student orchestra.

Tickets will be for sale at the door before each show and in advance at the San Marcos website General admission tickets are $14, students/seniors $10, and with a Royal Card, $6.

Get social

Do you follow Santa Barbara Unified School District on social media? Get connected to your #sbunified District news by following us on Facebook, Twitter and our newly introduced Instagram! Are you a student or staff member and have a photo to share on our new Instagram? Send them to us at

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dos Pueblos High’s Hacking Team wins Impressive National Competition

The four students: Paul Grosen, Kenyon Prater, James (JP) Roney, Kenzie Togami, and Nathan Wachholz will be invited to Carnegie Mellon in May to receive their $5000 award in person. This is the third time DPHS has won this competition (Gunn HS from Palo Alto finished 4th).

Here is the press release:

Monroe Elementary School’s Music Recital

On April 24th, Monroe School hosted its first music recital and it was fantastic! Twenty-six musicians showcased their musical talents and entertained everyone by performing a variety of acts. The audience heard piano tunes, singing, instrumentals including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion and of course a drum solo. Huge kudos to Monroe’s Music Teacher Liz Caruso for organizing this well-attended event and for preparing the musicians! Everyone is looking forward to the next recital in 2018.

Opera Santa Barbara presents La Rondine Performed at the Granada Theatre on Sunday April 30th at 2:30pm

A woman with a past is given a second chance when she falls in love with a young student. From the sumptuous salons of belle epoque Paris, to bustling nightclubs and the romantic French Riviera, we follow the beautiful Magda – “the swallow” – in her bittersweet journey to recapture the innocence of youth in Puccini’s only “operetta.”  Tickets are only $25 through SBEF, to buy go to:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tonight, Free Screening of Resilience

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention month, the Santa Barbara Unified Community of Schools project has partnered with the Santa Barbara County Child Abuse Council to promote “Community in Unity” by hosting the screening of the documentary Resilience: the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope. Local experts will discuss enhancing supports for children. The free event will be held on Thursday, April 20th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at La Cumbre Jr. High, 2255 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara, CA.

Check Out Our Mobile Café at Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival April 22nd and 23rd.

Santa Barbara Unified School District takes its commitment to going deliciously green one step further this weekend at Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival by introducing plant-based meat-free entrees as part of its Food Service’s Mobile Café menu options.

Check out this video link of Santa Barbara Unified School District Food Services Director Chef Nancy Weiss creating her signature Chile Chicken Verde Burrito from Hungry Planet’s 100% plant-based ground chicken (will be offered at Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival)  

San Marcos High School presents Damn Yankees

Written by Jack Boyd, Eva Moschitto, Lily McWhirter and Eli Wright, performing arts students.

The San Marcos High School Performing Arts department presents the 1956 Tony Award winning musical comedy, Damn Yankees. Directed by Riley Berris, with a book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop, and with music and lyrics written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the show will run on May 4th, 5th and 6th and May 11th, 12th and 13th at 7:00 pm.

Damn Yankees, set in the 1950s, is the tale of Washington Senators baseball fan Joe Boyd (Stockton Haws), who trades his soul to the devil (Jason Gonzales-Larson) masquerading as a cunning salesman by the name of Mr. Applegate, in exchange for a new life as a baseball prodigy named Joe Hardy (Alex Marquis). He leaves home to play for the Senators and give them a shot at beating “those damn Yankees” and winning the Pennant. However, Joe soon encounters difficulty explaining who he is to the press and being apart from his wife, Meg (Lily McWhirter), not to mention resisting Mr. Applegate’s attractive mistress, Lola (Lana Kanen). In the end Joe must decide: is his baseball dream worth the price of his soul?

Director Riley Berris says that “rehearsing for this musical has been one of my favorites thus far; the cast has incredible energy, the music is beautiful, sultry, and fun, with a story itself that is zany and full of colorful characters. Also, it has been an interesting process having the students research and discuss the time period. It allowed them to find the many parallels and stark differences between our modern day and the 1950s. And of course, the artistic team of collaborators I get to work with is inspiring and always a delight. I think that as SMHS students bring this absurd comedy to the community, crowds will leave laughing, humming, and truly astonished by the talent we have here. “

Tickets will be for sale at the door before each show and in advance at the San Marcos website:

May 4th, 5th and 6th and May 11th, 12th and 13th at 7:00 pm.
Tickets: General $ 14.00, Students/Seniors $10.00, Royal Card $6.00

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Join Us, Your Voice Counts

Santa Barbara Unified School District invites parents, educators and the community to give your input on our Local Control Accountability Plan, a blueprint for the District’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions for excellence.

You can attend 1 of 3 community meetings on this topic. The Local Control Accountability Plan meeting date and locations include:

  1. Franklin Elementary School this Wednesday, April 19th at 6pm, or
  2. Goleta Valley Junior High School, Monday, April 24th @ 6pm, or
  3. La Cumbre Junior High School, Wednesday, April 26th @ 6pm

Please note that The District will provide free dinner and childcare for children under the age of 18 years old.

More information on Local Control Accountability Plan, click here.

Meeting dates and locations are also posted on our website.

4th Annual Night of Stars

Last Thursday night the Santa Barbara Unified School District honored forty-four employees for their hard work and dedication to the mission of the district and its students and staff. Thank you for all you do!

“Night of Stars is about recognizing that no matter what our function, role, or job title is at Santa Barbara Unified School District, we matter to the growth and learning of all our students in our schools,” said Mitch Torina, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.  “There are two types of people working in the District: students and everyone else. Together, we celebrated the investment of our teachers and staff in what many of our hard working students value, leadership that builds up our students every day.”

Click on the link below to see pictures and a list of names of the recipients form the event.

Free Screening of Resilience

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention month, the Santa Barbara Unified Community of Schools project has partnered with the Santa Barbara County Child Abuse Council to promote “Community in Unity” by hosting the screening of the documentary Resilience: the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope. Local experts will discuss enhancing supports for children. The free event will be held on Thursday, April 20th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at La Cumbre Jr. High, 2255 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara, CA.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Elementary Students Experience the Power of Storytelling through the Arts

On Friday, April 7th over 1400 SBUSD elementary students in grades 1 through 6 attended the State Street Ballet’s performance of Cinderella at the Granada Theater. Attendance and transportation costs for all SBUSD schools were covered through the generosity of Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s Leni Fe Bland Performing Arts Partnership. The purpose of the partnership is to promote equitable access to the arts in education. Dr. Ronzone, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, notes that the performance and accompanying study guide were aligned with ELA standards, in particular storytelling. The guide provided teachers with background information and pre and post instructional activities designed to help students make connections between the text of a story/drama and the visual presentation of the text/drama. Cecily Stewert, the State Street Ballet’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, welcomed the students, provided introductory remarks and a mid-performance mini-lesson where students had the opportunity to practice some dance moves. She also led a question and answer discussion with students following the performance. As students left the theater, they expressed enthusiasm for the performance. One student noted to Dr. Ronzone that she “…had never been in a theater before and that coming to a professional performance made her feel special and oh! rich!!” The student asked that whoever helped get “all these students to a beautiful theater to see people dance the Cinderella story earned a big thank you!” Many thanks to the State Street Ballet, Principals, teachers and the Leni Fe Fund for providing this opportunity to our students.

Congressman Carbajal Honors 2017 Women of the Year

March 27, 2017 Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) honored a group of exceptional women from communities throughout the 24th Congressional District during Women’s History Month.

The Congressman honored five women from across the Central Coast including:

• Suzanne Curtis, the Volunteer Coordinator at the American Red Cross in San Luis Obispo and sole contributor to a scholarship at Cuesta College for veteran women.

• Dawn Addis, honored for being one of the co-founders of the Women’s March San Luis Obispo. Through her leadership approximately 10,000 people marched in solidarity with women around the world and took part in the larger national conversation.

• Brenda Galvez, working in the Orcutt Union School District as a liaison for Spanish speaking parents and the founder of Padres en Acción, a committee whose mission is to keep Spanish speaking parents informed about school matters to aid student success.

• Sylvia Barnard, Executive Director of the Good Samaritan Shelter in Santa Maria, who after overcoming personal challenges as a single mother wrote a book to empower other women called “One Mother to Another.”

• Nancy Weiss, who has revolutionized her position as Director of Food Services for the Santa Barbara School District by ensuring students have the healthiest meal options.

Congressman Carbajal entered a special tribute to each woman into the Congressional Record, which is attached, and will present these tributes to each woman.

“It was an honor to recognize these admirable women and to show our appreciation for their extraordinary service,” said Carbajal. “It was truly inspiring learning more about what individuals are doing in the 24th District to improve our community. There are so many individuals across the Central Coast that are making a positive impact in our communities, and I was proud to recognize five of them today in Congress.”

These honorees come from all backgrounds and professions and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our communities. While there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Carbajal looks for women to recognize who, through their work or volunteerism, have improved the quality of life for our community.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Congratulations to our Dos Pueblos High School Econ Challenge Team

The Dos Pueblos Econ Challenge Team qualified for the So Cal Finals by virtue of their top ten finish in an online preliminary competition. The team members are:

Hannah Kleidermacher
Christopher Lane
Kenyon Prater
Maya Reese

The team will be traveling down to the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles to compete on Monday, April 10th. If they win there, they will move on to the National Semi-Finals.

The Dos Pueblos Theatre Company Presents: The Addams Family

Dos Pueblos Theatre Company will present The Addams Family on April 7, 8, 21, 22 at 7:00 pm and April 8 and 22 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students, children, and seniors (65+). Tickets can be purchased online at (A small service fee is applicable for all online orders) or at the Box Office Monday-Friday 3:00pm-5:00pm. For more information, call (805) 968-2541, ext. 4670.

The Addams Family Musical (at Dos Pueblos High School) is the perfect tonic for a nation divided by political, ideological and moral issues. People from both parties have difficulties understanding the opposing party’s point of view. It’s as if the “other side” were from Mars, or in the case of this play, “the Swing State of Ohio.” Like Kaufman and Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You, this play revolves around the clashing of two very different worlds with radically different worldviews: The Addams’ and the Beineke’s. Although at first they couldn’t be more different, both families come together when they find common ground. Of course, like many musicals, “love conquers all,” but in this case the Addams Family’s dead ancestors literally can’t return to their graves until they help the two young lovers get together.

In addition to the humor that comes from the clash of two worlds (a classic Addams Family device), one of the many things that make this play so funny (and topical) are all the modern day references (including one about Charlie Sheen). According to Director Clark Sayre, “there are lots of winks and nods to the audience in this one.” In fact characters regularly break the fourth wall to comment to the audience. But perhaps the Addams Family’s greatest gift to us all is their ability to defy and embrace the darkness of death – our most primal fears approached with lightness, wit and sarcasm. In fact one song “Death Is Just Around The Corner” deals with this impending gloom through a rousing show stopping Broadway chorus number.

As foil to the morbid and wacky Addams Family, the Beineke’s seem pretty normal except for mom’s (Nicole Trujillo’s) inexplicable habit of speaking in rhyme. Casting these roles also breaks stereotypes with Lucas Beineke (Nolan Montgomery) being much taller than his father Mal Beineke (Cooper Jasiorkowski.) Much of the same production team from Broadway World Award Winners Mary Poppins and Legally Blonde return for this production: Director Clark Sayre, Musical Director John Douglas, Choreographer Gioia Marchese, Set Designer Scott Aranow and Lighting Designer Leigh Allen. Joining the team are Technical Director/Producer Noel Greer, and Vocal Director Courtney Anderson.

Tickets Available From The Santa Barbara Education Foundation

Santa Barbara Symphony Presents: The Best of Grieg and Sibelius, Saturday April 15th at 8pm and Sunday April 16th at3pm- Surround yourself with the gorgeous melodies of Grieg and Sibelius. This incredible Scandinavian program features Grieg’s popular Piano Concerto, Arvo Pärt’s Festina lente, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.

Opera Santa Barbara: La Rondine, Friday April 28th at 7:30pm and Sunday April 30th at 2:30pm- A woman with a past is given a second chance when she falls in love with a young student. From the sumptuous salons of belle epoque Paris, to bustling nightclubs and on to the French Riviera, we follow the beautiful Magda -“the swallow”- in her bittersweet journey to recapture the innocence of youth. This production will be staged by Tara Faircloth and Kostis Protopapas conducts the OSB premiere of Puccini’s only “operetta.”

SBEF has a limited amount of tickets for only $25, purchase at

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Adams Sixth Grade Students Apply Their Biking Skills

Last week the 6th graders at Adams Elementary School took their biking skills to the streets of Santa Barbara. Each day, a dozen 6th grade students left campus with physical education teacher, Julie Churchman, and rode through the Samarkand neighborhood, over to State Street, and down Sate Street to Stearns Wharf. They then got to ride through the fog along the bike path to East Beach, where they took a break before heading back to school.

This confidence building street ride tests the skills that they have been learning on the school’s blacktop since they were in second grade. Five years ago, Mrs. Churchman discovered that fifty percent of the schooled students entered junior high school not knowing how to ride a bike. Adams Elementary School has been partnering with SBBike and BiciCentro since then providing refurbished bikes on which the students learn. Two years ago a fleet of Specialized mountain bikes were acquired through a grant with CycleKids. Last year, the Audacious Foundation heard what was happening at Adams and purchased a new fleet of bicycles for the school. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade now receive bicycle education during their physical education classes.

San Marcos High School Performing Arts; Damn Yankees

San Marcos High School performing arts students welcomed a special guest to their stage. Tab Hunter was in the auditorium last Thursday sharing his experience and wisdom with the cast and crew of the upcoming production of Damn Yankees, which runs May 4, 5, 6, and May 11, 12, 13 at 7:00 pm at San Marcos High School. Mr. Hunter is the star of the 1958 movie made from the Tony-award winning play of the same name. Speaking about the movie, Mr. Hunter said that while he loved working with everyone in the cast, which included Gwen Verdon and Jean Stapleton, the fact that George Abbott, one of the directors of the film, had wanted to cast the actor who played the starring role on Broadway, rather than him, made filming somewhat challenging. Mr. Hunter went on to say that one thing he loved about Damn Yankees is that “It’s so guileless. We need that in this day and age. We need to lift spirits, and this show does that.”

Students had the opportunity to ask Mr. Hunter questions on a range of topics from how he got started on his career –“I was discovered mucking out stables”– to what it was like to be under contract to Warner Bros. –“Good and bad. If they had appropriate material for you, it was good. If not, it wasn’t.” Along the way, they were treated to asides about some of the famous stars he worked with: “The good was working with Natalie Wood. I loved Natalie – she was like my kid sister.” And “Fred Astaire had something we don’t see too much of nowadays — style. There was a simplicity about Fred that was beautiful – in his dancing, his singing, and his acting.” How Mr. Hunter dealt with being a celebrity during his time as a major heartthrob also came up. During those early years, he got thousands of fan letters, most of which were dealt with by a third party, but Mr. Hunter did say “I was very appreciative of it, but you can’t live on that alone. That’s like living on hot fudge sundaes, and don’t get me wrong, I love a hot fudge sundae, but you can’t have it morning, noon and night.” He went on to make a broader comment about Hollywood celebrity saying “That’s how the industry can dilute you physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

When asked what one piece of advice he had for actors, Mr. Hunter recounted that while filming a scene with Sophia Loren in the movie That Kind of Woman, the director, Sidney Lumet said, “’You’re playing it safe. If you play it safe, it’s the dullest thing you can do. You might as well stay in bed all day.’ That stuck with me,” he said, and then, looking straight at the students, he added, “Don’t be afraid to take it to the next step and go for it.”
Cast members then had the opportunity to perform a number from the upcoming show for Mr. Hunter, who was clearly delighted.
The student audience will surely incorporate his inspiring advice into their performances this May.
Tickets will be for sale at the door before each show and in advance at the San Marcos website.

An Evening with Kathy Griffin at the Granada Theatre

Tickets available for An Evening with Kathy Griffin at the Granada Theatre on Saturday April 1st at 8pm. Two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winner, New York Times bestselling author, and broadway darling Kathy Griffin is bringing her critically-acclaimed “Celebrity Run-In” Tour to The Granada Theatre for a night of take-no-prisoners laughs.  A towering figure on television, on tour, and in publishing Kathy Griffin breaks through the entertainment clutter with her universally recognized brand of pull-no-punches comedy.  Face value of tickets are $64, but only $25 through SBEF!  To buy your tickets, visit

Thursday, March 16, 2017

San Marcos Wins the County Mock Trial Championship

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  On Saturday, March 4 twenty one students from San Marcos competed against Dos Pueblos for the title of Santa Barbara County mock trial champion. This is San Marcos’ second championship in the last three years. Students from the prosecution and defense teams matched wits with their opposition in the case of the People v. Cameron Awbrey.  Awbrey was charged with taking advantage of an immigrant worker who was a cook in the defendant’s restaurant.  In the championship trials the defendant was found not guilty of human trafficking and false imprisonment.  The San Marcos team is lead by teacher Luke Ohrn and attorney volunteers, Hilary Dozer, Leila Noel, Neil Levinson, Barry Cappello, and Joel Kriner.

Next up for these litigating Royals is the State Championship competition in Riverside during the weekend of March 24-26.

Tri-County GATE Council Awards Luncheon

On Thursday, March 9, a group of SBUSD parents and educators were recognized at the annual Tri-County GATE Council We Honor Our Own awards luncheon. Honorees were recognized for making significant contributions supporting the academic and social-emotional needs of students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)/Advanced Learning Program.

Awards were presented by Teresa Koontz, Elementary GATE Program Coordinator, to the following individuals:

• Brian Naughton, Principal, Monroe Elementary School

• Roberta Daigle, 2nd grade teacher, Santa Barbara Community Academy

• Patrice Warwick, 3rd grade teacher, Roosevelt Elementary School

• Kate Parker, Parent, SBUSD School Board President, and Parent-Teacher Council Member

• Catherine Oliverio – Parent and Parent-Teacher Council Member

• Rebecca Armstrong – Parent, Parent-Teacher Council Parliamentarian and Member

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

San Marcos High School Senior Gabriela Goldberg Honored

Congratulations to San Marcos High School Senior Gabriela Goldberg for being honored as a Prudential Spirit of Community Award 2017, Distinguished Finalist and receiving the Presidents Volunteer Service Award signed by Barack Obama.

Gabriela created a non profit called “Santa Barbara Speaks” that has provided a platform for local teenagers to share their ideas and experiences through open mics and other events, and in April 2016 hosted a TEDx Youth event featuring four teens who spoke about their experiences with music, science, martial arts and business.  Gabriela, who was selectively mute for five years as a child, created her organization to empower other young people to share their voices with others.

La Colina Jr. High School 2017 Math Con Competition

The MathCon results are in! Once again our students did a wonderful job. 11 of our students have been invited to compete in Chicago on April 22nd and 7 have been placed on the “Substitute” list. To get an invitation to Chicago, the student had to be in the top 0.5% in the country, and to be on the “Substitute” list, in the student had to be in the top 1%.

The 8th graders invited include:

Andrew Qin
Tetsuto Katsura
Srikar Madineni
Neve Greenwald
Owen Pearson
Samuel McCarty
Daniil Golenchenko

The 7th graders invited include:

Evan Davis
Alexander Hellman
Ryan Belkin
Craig Cultice

Adams Elementary Open House/Art Show/Science Fair/Book Faire

The Adams Elementary School Open House / Art Show / K-5 Science Fair is Thursday, March 23rd from 5-7:00pm. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to visit the Adams classrooms where you will have an opportunity to view student work and meet the teachers. Students will have their science projects on display in their classrooms, and a beautiful student art installation will be set up in the auditorium. Families can also visit the Scholastic Book Faire that will take place in the library.

Goleta Valley Junior High Technology Students Strike Gold at UCSB’s MESA Day

Saturday, March 4 was an exciting day of STEM activities for Mr. Moore’s MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) Team who attended the 18th annual event. After motivational talks from Raytheon Engineer Juan Zepeda and Assemblymember Monique Limon, students were off to a number of competitions including math, craftstick bridges, mousetrap car races, and egg drop packages. Between competitions, students were able to participate in a wide variety of science workshops ranging from lava lamps, solar cars, lasers, electromagnetism, REEF touch tanks, liquid nitrogen ice cream making, coding, and more! To top it off, our own Munan Yin won first place in both her bridge and mousetrap car design.March 7, 2017

Pi Day at the Public Library

Celebrate all things Pi, and Pie! Enjoy measuring, pattern and counting activities, a photo booth, Lego Robotics, math art, and more well-rounded activities at this free family event. Special guests include the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Mr. Numbers, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Van, and ARF! Animals + Reading = Fun. Tuesday March 14, 3:30-6pm pm in the Faulkner Gallery, Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101 Questions,  please contact Gwen Wagy, Children’s Librarian (805) 564-5621

March 7, 2017

Monroe Science Night and Fair

A Celebration of Discovery – FREE EVENT for the entire community! Wednesday March 8th from 5:30-7:30pm at Monroe Elementary School, 431 Flora Vista Drive, Santa Barbara.

Monroe Elementary School will host their 32nd annual Science Fair and Science Night of Discovery. At Monroe all students in 4th, 5th and 6th grade complete a science fair project as part of the regular curriculum, and enthusiastic TK-3rd grade students and classes have the option of participating as well. Monroe student science projects will be on display in the cafeteria.

Monroe PTA will be selling pizza and drinks to fundraise and support the event.

Exhibitors from throughout Santa Barbara will have stations set up in classrooms around the library quad for students, parents and the community to experience many wonders of science. Come discover with us at Monroe!

The event is FREE and open to the public.

Santa Barbara High School Virtual Enterprise Firm

SBHS’s Virtual Enterprise Firm, Power Up, competed in the state business competition in Bakersfield, CA on January 18th and 19th. At the CA State Trade Show, Power Up competed against 150+ other schools to place in the top 8 and become a finalist to represent CA at the national level.

On April 3rd, they will move on to The National Business Plan competition at the Youth Business Summit in New York City. Power Up will present their business plan to judges, competing against 28 other qualifying top Virtual Enterprise firms from across the nation. These 28 firms have competed against over 500 other participants to become the elite business plan teams in the nation, which include SBHS’s Power Up. The business plan team at Power Up consists of Mario Hernandez (CFO), Ben Badillo (COO), Nicholas Ziliotto (VP of Accounting), and Pablo Do Prado (CEO). These four students have worked tirelessly throughout the year to perfect their business plan. They wouldn’t have been able achieve such great results without the help of the rest of the team at Power Up.

The students in the picture from left to right are: Mario Hernandez (CFO), Ben Badillo (COO), Nicholas Ziliotto (VP of Accounting), and Pablo Do Prado (CEO)

Mark your calendar: Annual COMMITTED Town Hall Meeting

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Youth Services Specialist (CADA YSS), and the Santa Barbara Office of Traffic Safety is hosting their annual COMMITTED Town Hall Meeting,Conversations that Count: Teens and Parents Talk Alcohol.

We invite you to join us on March 23rd from 5:45-8pm at the Elings Performing Arts Center (EPAC) at Dos Pueblos High School, 7226 Alameda Ave, Goleta, CA 93117. The event is for any student and family in the Santa Barbara / Goleta area.

5:45pm – Dinner is served (Child care provided)
6:30pm – Panel of teens, parents, counselors, experts and community members will provide a Q & A to discuss current substance use trends & provide tips to encourage teens to make healthy choices
Event is FREE
Seating is limited
Child care provided
Spanish translation
Ideal for Teens 6th-12th grade
Transportation may be provided if enough families RSVP.
For questions, please email or call 805-722-1320 (Spanish/English)
For more info and to RSVP, find us online at

Santa Barbara Symphony Presents: Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla on Saturday March 18th at 8pm and Sunday March 19th at 3pm.

There is nothing compared to experiencing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons live. The Symphony celebrates the seasons with a magical combination of this work and Piazzolla’s Tango inspired Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. We conclude the concert with Haydn’s dramatic Symphony 101, described as pure heartfelt joy.Tickets are only $25 through SBEF, to order them go to

February 21, 2017

Santa Barbara Unified School District Honor Band Concert

Thursday, February 23rd at San Marcos High School Auditorium at 7:00 PM

This free concert features outstanding musicians from our elementary, junior high and high schools whose musicianship is nurtured by the district’s dedicated music teachers. Elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 6 who participate in the after-school music program, Bravo!, have continued to advance in their musical skills as a result of the partnership with the Santa Barbara Symphony which has supported an expansion of the Bravo! program. Many of these students, representing all of our elementary schools, will be playing Thursday evening’s concert.

February 14, 2017

Our District’s National Merit Finalists

Congratulations go out to our district’s National Merit Scholarship Program finalists:

San Marcos High School
Kento Perera
Emily Pearlman

Santa Barbara High School
William Buchanan
Camille Umoff

Dos Pueblos High School
Ruby Gans
Eric Lindheim-Marx
Kenyon Prater
Rafael Saavedra

February 14: Valentine-grams at Dos Pueblos

Yesterday, the Dos Pueblos High School Choir sold Valentine-grams near the school’s Greek Theatre. The Valentine-grams are one-minute serenades–performed by choir members–that will be delivered today, primarily during fifth period (12:58-1:56 p.m.). The buyers chose from a line-up of five love songs. The Valentine-grams sold for $3 each or two for $5. Proceeds will benefit the choir.

Santa Barbara High Student’s Photo Receives Gold Key Award

Congratulations go out to Santa Barbara High senior Aliah Eichelberger. Aliah, a student at Santa Barbara High, entered five photographs in New York’s 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. Two of her photos received awards at the regional level: “Hide in Plain Sight” received an Honorable Mention and “Paradise Pigs” receive a Gold Key Award. Her photo, “Paradise Pigs” will continue on to the national competition.

Annual School Accountability Report Cards

California public and nonpublic, nonsectarian schools annually provide information to the community to allow public comparison of schools for student achievement, environment, resources and demographics. The district’s School Accountability Report Cards are now accessible online:

News from the District’s Librarians

Santa Barbara Unified’s elementary and secondary library staff recently attended the California State Librarian Association Conference in Sonoma. District Library Media Specialist Jamie Allison said, “We attended sessions from cutting edge California librarians and beyond who shared the latest trends and information. Did you know that there are over 65 current studies showing the link between credentialed teacher librarians and overall improved student school scores?” She continued, “Did you know that the 21st century elementary and secondary librarians act as the heart of the school fostering literacy, digital citizenship, Makerspaces, STEM stations and informational research? Our role has greatly changed. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn from other innovative librarians and districts whom, like out district, understand the value and relevance of our collaborative work. Thank you Santa Barbara Unified School District.”

Mark Your Calendar: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Dos Pueblos High

Dos Pueblos High School will be performing THE ADDAMS FAMILY on April 7, 8, 21, 22 at 7:00 p.m. and April 8 and 22 at 2:00 p.m. You don’t want to miss this fun-filled musical comedy based on the popular tv show and movie. Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, The Hand, and…of course…Lurch.

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) recently presented at the SOLIDWORKS Convention and was highlighted in front of over 5000 industry engineers. Word has it that they did a stellar job. Senior Olivia Epstein is in the highlight video from the event (1:42 minute mark)

UCSB Unveils a New Lecture Series

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education invites you to the debut of a new lecture series, “Fast & Curious: ED Talks from UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School,” which will take place Thursday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu Street. The event will feature eight faculty and alumni from the Gevirtz School giving no more than an eight-minute talk each about their research that is shaping education.

Presenters and titles:

• Jason Duque, Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment, Department of Education and Teacher Education Program, “To Solve Educational Problems, Don’t Focus on Them”

• Tania Israel, Professor and Chair, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, “Free Your Mind: Unlearning LGBT Stigma”

• Don Lubach, Associate Dean of Students and GGSE Lecturer, “Jet Fuel into the Upward Mobility Machine: A Course for Transfer Students”

• Andrew Maul, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, “Educational Testing and Psychological Measurement: One Hundred Years Gone Astray?”

• Yukari Okamoto, Professor, Department of Education, “Speaking of Numbers…Does Language Matter?”

• Russell Rumberger, Emeritus Professor, Department of Education, “Ensuring High School Graduation for All”

• Jill Sharkey, Lecturer with Security of Employment, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in School and Mental Health Systems & Overrepresentation of Youth of Color in Juvenile Justice”

• Ty Vernon, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, “Fitting In: How the Need to Belong Impacts Everything”

While the event is free and open to the public, the Graduate School of Education asks that attendees RSVP for planning purposes to: Please put “Fast & Curious” in the subject line.


February 8, 2017

Progress Report on DPHS’s Tiny House

Rain is slowing down the process but, as soon as the sky clears, work will begin again on Dos Pueblos High School’s tiny house. Chris Mollkoy, the program’s construction technology teacher, says, “We are ready to start cutting the rafters for the roof, sheeting the roof with plywood, installing the vapor barrier around the outside of the house, and putting in some windows within the next month.”

Goleta Valley to Gather Pennies for Patients

Goleta Valley Junior High’s Associated Student Body (ASB) is preparing for a Pennies for Patients drive. All monies raised will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The campaign continues through the end of February.

La Colina Students Score at Musical Theatre Competition of America

This past weekend, 28 students from La Colina’s show choir, Outburst, traveled to Anaheim and Fullerton for the Musical Theater Competition of America, where schools from all over the nation go to share their performances for adjudication and competition.

This is La Colina’s seventh year at the competition and this year they won first place in both the advanced ensemble and musical review categories. In addition, many solo students were awarded trophies including:

• first place, eigth grade solo Daniel Sabraw;

• fourth place, eigth grade solo Kailey Wipf;

• first place, seventh grade solo with a score of 97.5, Ben Watkins;

• second place, seventh grade solo, Will Steinberg;

• fourth place, seventh grade solo Bridget DeVine;

• first place, eigth grade duet Trevor Hurvitz and Daniel Sabraw; and

• fourth place, eigth grade duet Trevor Hurvitz and Neve Greenwald.

Several La Colina students were selected for honors throughout the competition, including:

• Ben Watkins, best dancer in a musical review;

• Garett Bailey, best singer in a musical review;

• Kidus Efrem, best dancer in advanced ensembles; and

• Daniel Sabraw, triple threat award for best combination of singing, dancing, and acting in the junior high divisions.

Finally, the group won overall Sweepstakes Award for junior high schools at the competition. It is the fifth time they have won the Sweepstakes Award.

In May, the group will travel to San Francisco for the Forum Music Festival with two other show choirs from La Colina: VoiceMale Men’s Ensemble and Amore Women’s Ensemble. The groups are directed by Shannon Saleh, theater and vocal music teacher.

DPHS’s CELL-FISHNESS Reflects Communication Changes

Students in Dos Pueblos’ Theater 1 class have created a show called CELL-FISHNESS about how cell phones have changed the way we live. Theater teacher Clark Sayre asked what kind of show the students wanted to present and, after pondering other possible topics, the class reached consensus on creating a show that juxtaposes the pre-cell phone past with the technology reliant present. The show uses cell phones as a thread to tie the various pieces together and ends with “Be My Friend/The Facebook Song” by Lala Land’s Pasek and Paul. Students perform the show for junior high schools and peers.

Rotary Club Selects San Marcos HS Teacher for Special Recognition

On Friday, February 3, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara recognized San Marcos High School guidance counselor Janina Ma for her outstanding job performance and contributions to public education. It is the second of four such awards the Rotarians will present to area educators this academic year. Ma, a special assignment counselor at San Marcos High School’s Academy for Success, is in her third year at the school.

Annual School Accountability Report Cards

California public and nonpublic, nonsectarian schools annually provide information to the community to allow public comparison of schools for student achievement, environment, resources and demographics. The district’s School Accountability Report Cards are now accessible online:

Dos Pueblos Theatre Company Presents Pulitzer-winning “PROOF”

“Proof is evidence so strong it would be statistically unreasonable to deny it.” Russell Targ 

Dos Pueblos Theatre Company and Jeffrey Meek Studio announce their first ever collaboration with a production of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, PROOF, directed by Jeffrey Meek. The play opens Friday, February 10, 2017, and runs through Saturday, February 18, 2017, at the Elings Performing Arts Center, 7266 Alameda Avenue, Goleta, CA 93117. Individual tickets begin at $12 for students/children/seniors (65+) and $17 for adults and can be purchased online at

David Auburn crafts a story about love, loss, genius, and insanity that is rooted firmly in raw humanity. Whether laughing, crying, hating, or loving, all of the characters are fiercely passionate, robustly alive. Exploring ideas of inheritance, relationships, and gender bias, PROOF questions whether or not there is power to choose between the future we want and the one we are given.

Marking the initial collaboration between Jeffrey Meek Studio and Dos Pueblos Theatre Company, the production is an eclectic mix of professional and amateur artists. The cast includes alumni from the Dos Pueblos Theatre Program, as well as other professional actors, and is technically assisted by current members of the Dos Pueblos Performing Arts Program. In order to bridge the gap between professional and amateur theatre, proceeds from the play will benefit future productions at Dos Pueblos High School.

The Dos Pueblos box office is open Monday-Friday, 3:00-5:00 p.m. (cash, check, and all major credit cards accepted). Phone: 968.2541, ext. 4670, Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). Online: (a service fee is applicable for all online orders.)

February 6, 2017

Correction: GVJH Science Night

Science Night at Goleta Valley Junior High will take place this Thursday, February 9, 2017 (not February 16).

Students to Learn about Origins of the Blues

The history of the blues will be the subject of Santa Barbara Blues Society’s and Notes for Notes’ upcoming presentations to junior high and high school students. Each presentation will include a powerpoint and live music. Students will learn about the origins of the blues and the role that the blues have played in American history, how this music influenced every popular music genre–including rhythm and blues, jazz, and ragtime, rock n roll–and how it migrated across the nation.

The following dates, locations, and start times have been confirmed, others are being scheduled:

Santa Barbara High School
February 9, 2017

La Cumbre Junior High
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
1:30 p.m.

Santa Barbara Junior High
Thursday, February 16, 2017
10:35 a.m. and again at 11:25 a.m.

Update: Education Foundation’s Ticket Offer to Shubert and Copland at the Granada

The next Granada Show that the Santa Barbara Education Foundation will be offering tickets to is “Iconic Schubert and Copland” by the Santa Barbara Symphony. There are still a few tickets available for this Saturday, February 11 show at 8:00 p.m.

A monumental program starting with Schubert’s cherished “Unfinished” Symphony followed by the West Coast premiere of American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra – a first for our own Symphony. Completing this majestic program is Copland’s iconic Symphony No. 3.

Tickets are only $25 each, buy them here:

February 3, 2017

Science Night at Goleta Valley Junior High

This Thursday, February 16, is Goleta Valley Junior High School’s annual Science Night. Science projects researched by eighth-graders will be set up for public viewing from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Goleta Valley Junior High cafeteria.

UCSB Administrator to Speak at Dos Pueblos High’s Women in Technology Club

UCSB’s Director of the Research Mentorship Program Lina Kim will be the guest speaker at the lunchtime Women in Technology Club meeting at Dos Pueblos High School on Tuesday, February 7. She will talk about her career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as a female and share her life experiences.

Marjorie Luke Theatre Presents “Valentunes – An A Cappella Showcase”

On Saturday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m., “Valentunes – An A Cappella Showcase” will be performed by very talented a cappella groups from UC Santa Barbara. It will take place at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, located at Santa Barbara Junior High.

You don’t want to miss performances by BFOM, InterVals, and VocalMotion. This entertaining concert is the perfect way to get in the spirit for Valentine’s Day with your special someone, friends, and family. As a special treat, this show will be hosted by hilarious members of UCSB’s premiere improv group, Improvability. For tickets to Valentunes, please visit or call 805-963-0761. This event is brought to our community by the Marjorie Luke Theatre and Montecito Bank & Trust.

CHP: Don’t Let a DUI Sack Your Celebration

A message from the California Highway Patrol

On Sunday, February 5, football fans across the country will gather with friends and family to celebrate America’s most-watched national sporting event, the Super Bowl.

Before the big game, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is reminding all motorists to designate a sober driver in advance. The game plan for the CHP and law enforcement throughout the state is to encourage the public to make arrangements beforehand and prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel after

“Drunk driving continues to be a serious and deadly problem,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “While many will be watching the football game, our officers will be out patrolling the highways to ensure motorists arrive safely at their destination.”

During last year’s Super Bowl, one person was killed in an alcohol-involved collision and 52 others were injured on California’s roadways. That same day, there were 360 arrests made by the CHP for driving under the influence (DUI). Consequences of a DUI arrest are jail time, the loss of a driver license, higher insurance rates, court fees, car towing and repair, and lost wages from time off work.

“There are no excuses when it comes to driving under the influence,” Commissioner Farrow added. “Alternative transportation is easily accessible in California, so celebrate responsibly and plan ahead.”

If you plan on hosting a Super Bowl party this weekend, help ensure the safety of your guests by serving non-alcoholic drinks and helping your guests find a safe ride home. The public can help by calling 9-1-1 if they suspect a drunk driver. Callers should be prepared to give the vehicle’s description, location, license plate number, and direction of travel.

February 2, 2017

Today is 1st Thursday: VADA on Display Downtown

Santa Barbara High’s Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) will be hosted by two venues this afternoon at Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday, February 2, 2017:

• Pinkberry, 742 State Street. 1stThursdayvisitors can view VADA’s sophomore artists work from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Tell them that you are there to support Santa Barbara High and 20% of your purchase will be donated to VADA.

• Brasil Arts Cafe, 1230 State Stree Stop by to get a “Sneak Peek” of the art pieces that will be donated to the annual “VADA Draw.”

More info here:

Tonight: BRAVO! Concert

Tonight’s February 2, BRAVO! Concert will be at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Junior High School. The 5:30 p.m. concert will reflect the collaboration between the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Unified School District‘s after-school program. It will be the first all-string concert of the 2016-2017 school year. Admission is free. For additional information visit or call 805.898.8758.

McKinley Elementary Students Study School’s Emergency Safety Plan

McKinley Elementary School’s fourth grade students have been very busy over the last three months on Project Based Learning. They have been answering the question, “Earthquake Safe?” Following the Great Shakeout on October 20, 2017, students have been busy making observations, collecting data, and analyzing the McKinley School Safety Plan.

Students discovered that their plan references “an emergency bin,” but does not clarify what it should include. Upon further research of the San Francisco Unified School District Earthquake Plan, students came up with needed items and the cost effective solution of pre-made kits. They then created a keynote presentation which they shared with the school’s principal and PTA. As a result, the PTA agreed to purchase the bins. Students distributed bins to classrooms and will continue to fine tune the McKinley Emergency Safety Plan. The students want to help make sure that McKinley School is emergency ready.

Adams Elementary School Students Celebrate the 100th Day of School

Tomorrow morning, Friday, February 3, at 8:45 a.m., Adams Elementary will be celebrating the 100th Day of School with a TK/kindergarten 100 Things Parade. All TK/kindergarten students will be showcasing the 100 things t-shirt they created as they play an instrument and walk through the halls on campus.

VADA Murals on Display in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Forty-three students from Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts and Design Academy’s (VADA) AP/Honors Studio Art classes worked with international mural artist David Flores to create a bold new set of six 8′ x 8′ murals for the exterior doors of businesses on the Yanonali Street side of 131-137 Anacapa Street in the Funk Zone.

The six murals are portraits of influential modern and contemporary artists: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, Diego Rivera, and Ai Wei Wei. Flores, a former Santa Barbara resident, is best known for his large-scale, street-art style murals painted on walls around the world, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Microsoft, Hong Kong’s Time Square, and locally, at the Los Prietos Boys Camp and Church of Skatan/REI.

The murals are prominently featured at: Area 51 Winery, Riverbench Winery, Cutler’s Spirits, and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, on the Yanonali Street side of the Anacapa Project building (also home to The Lark and The Lucky Penny). The murals are best viewed before 11:00 a.m. and after 11:00 p.m., when the businesses’ industrial doors are fully closed. The murals will be displayed for 6-12 months, after which they will be used to fundraise for the VADA program. This project is funded in part by the Community Arts Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture. Additional support was provided by Hayward Lumber and Young Construction.

Previous iterations of the VADA Artist-in-Residence mural project in the Funk Zone have included collaborations with VADA students and lead artists Joe Shea/Yoskay Yamamato, and Michael Matheson. In September 2015, VADA, along with the building’s architect AB Design Studio and Young Construction, was awarded the Santa Barbara Beautiful Hugh Peterson Award for Art in Public Spaces, and the project has also received a state Senate Certificate of Recognition from Hannah Beth Jackson. VADA integrates rigorous academic coursework with project‐based, career‐focused art and design instruction in a supportive and creative environment. VADA serves over 200 culturally and economically diverse students in grades 9-12 and is a California Partnership Academy funded in equal parts by the California Department of Education, the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Friends of VADA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

January 31, 2017

Dos Pueblos Team Competes at Regional Level of National Science Bowl

On Saturday, January 28, 2017, a team of five Dos Pueblos students participated in a National Science Bowl regional competition. The regional competition, held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. brought together four-person student teams from high schools and middle schools. The teams were quizzed on questions pertaining to chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and computer science.

A Dos Pueblos High School team took the second place in pool play–six teams per pool–which, according to team leader Chris Jones, “… allowed us to go on to the double elimination playoff round. The only team we lost to was Fullerton School District’s Troy High School. Chris Jones noted, “…after a lunch break the playoff brackets were announced and we had to play Troy again. We beat them pretty badly in the playoff game and then lost on the last question in the next game to perennial powerhouse Arcadia. We won the next two games in the losers bracket and had to face Troy again. They stomped us and we ended with fourth place.” While Troy High School went on to win, Dos Pueblos was the only team to beat them that day.

Following are two sample questions from the 2016 National Science Bowl (answer at the bottom of eNEWS)

Sample Question #1: BIOLOGY: What is the biological term most often used for the act of a cell engulfing a particle by extending its pseudopodia (read as: SU-doe-POH-dee-ah) around the particle?

Sample Question #2: CHEMISTRY Multiple Choice – An aqueous solution in which the concentration of OH– ions is greater than that of H+ ions is: W) basic X) acidic Y) neutral Z) in equilibrium.

1st Thursday: VADA on Display

Santa Barbara High’s Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) will be hosted by two venues this week at Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday, February 2, 2017:

• Pinkberry, 742 State Street. 1st Thursday visitors can view VADA’s sophomore artists work from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Tell them that you are there to support Santa Barbara High and 20% of your purchase will be donated to VADA.

• Brasil Arts Cafe, 1230 State Stree Stop by to get a “Sneak Peek” of the art pieces that will be donated to the annual “VADA Draw.”

More info here:

Franklin Teacher Fosters Civic Responsibility

Random acts of kindness can take on many forms. Leon Lewandowski has integrated the concept into his third-/fourth-grade Franklin School classroom for the past few years and this year his students stepped up to the plate, creating “Sacks of Hope.” The story is featured on page 53 of the January/February 2017 issue of California Teachers’ Association’s “California Educator.”

The article noted that 25 students gathered donations from local and national companies and then assembled 25 bags for homeless community members. To read the article, go to:

This Thursday: BRAVO! Concert

The location of Thursday’s February 2, BRAVO! Concert will be at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Junior High School. The 5:30 p.m. concert will reflect the collaboration between the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Unified School District‘s after-school program. It will be the first all-string concert of the 2016-2017 school year. Admission is free. For additional information visit or call 805.898.8758.

Santa Barbara Junior High Students Make a Difference

During the fall semester, seventh-grade students from Santa Barbara Junior High organized a Direct Relief Club to conduct a relief drive for victims of Hurricane Matthew, a devastating category 5 tropical storm which left thousands of people in America’s southeast homeless and in need of basic assistance.

In keeping with holiday spirit, students at the junior high wanted to help and organized a one-month drive during first-period classes. Teacher William Zeledon said, “Thanks to the generous and competitive nature of these fabulous kids, the drive collected over $1,000 to help with continued Direct Relief efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Matthew.”

In appreciation, two representatives from Direct Relief, a Goleta-based company dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance around the world, recently visited the campus to accept the check from seventh-grade student Olivia Seltzer, president of the school’s Direct Relief Club, and to share recent experiences assisting people in need on the island nation of Haiti.

Answers to Today’s Science Bowl Questions, above:

Question #1 – BIOLOGY: What is the biological term most often used for the act of a cell engulfing a particle by extending its pseudopodia (read as: SU-doe-POH-dee-ah) around the particle?


Question #2 – CHEMISTRY Multiple Choice: An aqueous solution in which the concentration of OH– ions is greater than that of H+ ions is…


January 30, 2017

Community Comes Together for Harding School Garden

With the help of the community, Harding University Partnership School has a beautiful new garden.

Watch for San Marcos Grad in the 51st Super Bowl

On Sunday, February 5, former San Marcos Royal, now Atlanta Falcon’s center No. 51, Alex Mack will be on the field for the 51st Superbowl. During his years at San Marcos High, Mack was on the football and wrestling teams and was the recipient of multiple CIF recognitions. He was a member of the class of 2004, went on to play for UC Berkeley, turned pro when he joined the Cleveland Browns in 2009 and, in March 2016, Mack joined the Atlanta Falcons.

The National Football League summarized Mack’s strengths:
“One of the best among a top-rated center class. Since taking the reins from all-Pac-10 center Marvin Philip as a redshirt sophomore, Mack has been voted first-team all-conference three consecutive years (won the Pac-10’s best offensive lineman award in 2007) and was a Rimington Trophy finalist each of the past two seasons. An academic standout, as well, Mack was the 2008 recipient of the Draddy Award, college football’s academic version of the Heisman Trophy. Besides smarts and consistency, Mack offers rare size and athleticism for the center position, prompting some teams to view him as a potential guard in the NFL. Had an arm span of 33 inches and a hand span of 10 3/4 inches at the combine.”

According to the NFL website, Alex Mack has played and started in 117 professional games. Next stop…the Super Bowl.

January 27, 2017

Monroe Students Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King

Monroe Elementary School students honored the late Dr. Martin Luther King in two ways. First, during the weeks of January 17-27, the student body participated in its annual Kindness and Justice Challenge. Then, the student body celebrated the culmination this past Monday, January 23, with each grade level presenting a song.

Meanwhile, the sixth-graders set their message to music. Thank you sixth-grade teachers Cory Cordero-Rabe and Jared Wong, for helping the students create this tribute to Dr. King:

Open Enrollment and Interdistrict Transfers for 2017-2018

Tuesday, January 31, is the end of the open enrollment period for Santa Barbara Unified schools.

Update: BRAVO! Concert

The location of Thursday’s February 2, BRAVO! Concert will be at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Junior High School. The 5:30 p.m. concert will reflect the collaboration between the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Unified School District‘s after-school program. It will be the first all-string concert of the 2016-2017 school year. Admission is free. For additional information visit or call 805.898.8758.

Students Excel in PTA Reflections Arts Recognition Program

Earlier this week, almost 250 people packed into the Hope School auditorium to enjoy the “Reflections” reception put on by the Santa Barbara Area Council of PTAs. The Reflections Arts Recognition Program is a national arts recognition and achievement program for students, preschool through high school. Since 1969, over 10 million students across the nation have taken part in this popular PTA program. The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for students, parents, schools and communities is unmatched with the majority of California PTAs participating in the program at all PTA levels. This year’s theme was “What is Your Story?” From hundreds of entries, a select few have been chosen to move on the district level. From those, an even smaller group will go on to state and then national level of competition. Congratulations to all of the participants and Award of Excellence and Merit recipients.


January 26, 2017

Science Night at Adams School

The Adams Elementary School annual Family Science Night is next Wednesday, February 1, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  All students, families and friends are welcome to join in for this evening of discovery, play, exploration and learning about the importance of science and engineering in our daily lives. All science and engineering activities are free and interactive. At this event participants may view the world through infrared cameras, meet local and not so local animals, explore and identify gems and minerals, learn about our ocean’s tidal animals as well as the marine sanctuary, use microscopes to learn about cancer detection, zoom into nanoscience, wire a circuit, print in 3D, identify and experience the laws of physics, and much more.

Additionally, dinner (children free, adults $4) will be available at school until 6:00 p.m. There will also be a bake sale with $1 treats.

San Marcos Students with Disabilities Shine at Royal Gems Cheer Debut

The San Marcos Royal Gems Cheer Team made their debut at a Varsity Girls Basketball in front of a capacity crowd at San Marcos High School on last Wednesday, January 18. This new team, started and led by AAPLE Academy student and San Marcos Varsity Cheerleader Layla Landeros, consists of students with and without disabilities. The team practices together twice a week and will cheer for the first quarter of four more home basketball games this year.

“The students (with disabilities) love coming to practice and have really bonded with their buddies on varsity cheer. They add so much to the team. All of the students are respected and included, regardless of ability. It’s a good thing for the cheerleaders, a good thing for San Marcos and a good thing for our community,” says Landeros.

AAPLE Academy Director Erik Nielsen said, “Layla has set an example for us all and her leadership exemplifies what the AAPLE Academy is all about. I am so proud of her.”

This opportunity is making a significant difference in the lives of students with disabilities. The student-run team started with the support of The Sparkle Effect, a non-profit organization that helps students nationwide create cheer and dance teams that bring together students with and without disabilities. This year Landeros piloted the team at San Marcos High School and plans to make it an official Sparkle Effect Team this summer.

Layla Landeros will continue leading the team next year at various home football and basketball games. Everyone is invited to attend the cames and cheer for the Royal Gems. Royal Gems donations will be used for uniforms, bows, poms and other items to help the cheer team.

San Marcos Prepares for Mock Trial

Over the Martin Luther King weekend, students from San Marcos High School hosted the 13th annual San Marcos Mock Trial Invitational tournament at the Santa Barbara Superior Court. More than 150 students and coaches from eight schools across the state presented their legal arguments and portrayed attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs and court clerks in a series of trials on Saturday and Sunday. In the case of People v. Cameron Awbrey the defendant is accused of human trafficking and false imprisonment. Students around California have been working with this case since September in preparation for upcoming county and state competitions. The San Marcos team is led by Luke Ohrn, along with local attorneys Barry Cappello, Leala Noel, Neil Levinson, Hilary Dozer and Joel Kriner. Local schools will compete in the Santa Barbara County competition on February 25 and March 4.

Kudos to our Tech Coaches

Congratulations to Tech Coaches Amy McMillan, an English teacher at Goleta Valley Junior High, and Helen Murdoch, a social studies coach, for recently becoming Google for Education certified trainers. The certified trainer is part of a professional development program offered by Google to help schools effectively implement Google in the classroom.

The Certified Trainer training and exams ensure that candidates have the skills to support, plan, and implement professional development for teachers on Google tools. Through two themes: (1) Create and Deliver Inspiring and Effective Training Plans and (2) Help Educators Use Transformative Google Technologies, certified trainers develop mentorship mindsets and coaching practices that will help educators redefine teaching and learning with technology.

Our district recognizes their achievement in supporting teacher professional growth. In education, strong professional development leaders are needed to help educators integrate technology into classroom teaching. It’s inspiring how they’ve stepped into this role and inspired faculty to learn more about technology for education.

Safety First: Childrens’ Car Seats

Cottage Hospital will hold a free car seat safety event this Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. According to registered nurse Gena Topping, Cottage Hospital Trauma Services, “We will inspect your child safety seat and help you install it correctly. No citations will be issued. We will not be checking driver licenses nor vehicle registrations.” For more information, call 805.722.0480.

Tonight: “Embracing Dyslexia” Free Film Screening at the Public Library

There will be a free, 50-minute film screening of “Embracing Dyslexia” at the Faulkner Gallery-Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu Street, tonight, January 26, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. This 50-minute film explores dyslexia from an insider’s perspective. The Spanish language version will be shown at the same time in the Adult Literacy Center, main floor of the library. The film will be followed by a discussion in the Faulkner Gallery.

Mark Your Calendar: Free BRAVO! Concert

On Thursday February 2, 5:30 p.m., there will be a free reflecting the collaboration between the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Unified School District‘s after-school program BRAVO! This represents the first all-string concert of the 2016-2017 school year. For additional information please visit or call 805.898.8758.

Grandparents Day at Adams School

Adams School will be honoring students’ grandparents with a morning “Coffee with the Principal” on Thursday, February 16, from 8:15-10:30 a.m. Following the coffee, children in grades TK/K through 3 will sing. Grandparents will then be invited to visit their grandchild’s classroom. Principal Amy Alzina said, “We are very excited to welcome and honor our grandparents for all the love and the support they show our children.”

January 24, 2017

Santa Barbara High’s MUSIC OF THE NIGHT Opens this Week

Santa Barbara High School Theatre’s annual Broadway Revue, MUSIC OF THE NIGHT, will include numbers from Broadway musicals such as HAMILTON, HEATHERS, GUYS AND DOLLS, NEWSIES, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and more. The cast of 23 students will perform MUSIC OF THE NIGHT on January 26 and 28 at 7:00 p.m. as well as January 28 and 29 at 2:00 p.m. in the Santa Barbara High School theatre, 700 E. Anapamu Street. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $25 for reserved orchestra seating. All proceeds will benefit Santa Barbara High School Theatre’s upcoming spring musical, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. For ticket reservations and more information please call 805.966.9101, ext. 5029, order tickets online For more information visit

Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation Art Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to students who participated in the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation’s high school art competition. Eighteen of the 20 winners are from our district’s high schools:

Christina Anderson, Dos Pueblos
Andrea Caudillo, Dos Pueblos
Raven Condron, Dos Pueblos
Keylin Davenport, Santa Barbara
Josie Doughty, Dos Pueblos
Sira Eriksen, Dos Pueblos
William Fader, Dos Pueblos
Mia Franco, San Marcos
Rose Hillebrandt, Dos Pueblos
Larissa Landeros, Dos Pueblos
Jack Landis, Dos Pueblos
Allison Larinan, Dos Pueblos
Emmanuelle Lewis, Dos Pueblos
Angelina Lusto, Santa Barbara
Emily Sam, Dos Pueblos
Chloe Stevens, San Marcos
Caius Sztuk, Santa Barbara
Margaret Wilde, Santa Barbara

Education Foundation’s Ticket Offer: Shubert and Copland at the Granada

The next Granada Show that the Santa Barbara Education Foundation will be offering tickets to is “Iconic Schubert and Copland” by the Santa Barbara Symphony. There are two shows, one on Saturday February 11th at 8pm and one on Sunday February 12th at 3pm.

A monumental program starting with Schubert’s cherished “Unfinished” Symphony followed by the West Coast premiere of American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra – a first for our own Symphony. Completing this majestic program is Copland’s iconic Symphony No. 3.

Tickets are only $25 each, buy them here:

Thursday: “Embracing Dyslexia” Free Film Screening at the Public Library

There will be a free, 50-minute film screening of “Embracing Dyslexia” at the Faulkner Gallery-Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu Street, on Thursday, January 26, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. This 50-minute film explores dyslexia from an insider’s perspective. The documentary weaves together interview with parents, adults with dyslexia, researchers, educators, and experts to portray a learning difference that affects up to 15-20 percent of the population. The Spanish language version will be shown at the same time in the Adult Literacy Center, main floor of the library. The film will be followed by a discussion in the Faulkner Gallery.

MakerSpace Open Lab at the Public Library

Every Monday, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., the Santa Barbara Public Library offers a MakerSpace Open Lab. All ages are welcome. Learn 3D design, print your own creations on the library’s 3D printer, and tinker with technology. It all happens on Mondays at the library, 40 E. Anapamu Street.

City Offers Dare to Prepare for Teen Drivers

On February 7, from 6:00-8:15 p.m., Dare to Prepare is a free pre-permit workshop for parents and teens that provides information teens need to know before they take the wheel. This interactive program, geared toward pre-permit drivers (14-15 years of age) walks attendees through the steps necessary to obtain a permit and driver’s license, an offers useful tools, tips and resources to help parents and teens during the learning-to-drive process and beyond.

Sign up today as reservations are required. Pre-registration by February 6

Why Attend Dare to Prepare?
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes of death for teens
1 of 5 teen drivers will be in a crash during their first year of driving
Dare to Prepare helps parents and their teens safely navigate the learning-to-drive process.

What Will You Learn?
State and national statistics on teen driving and information on why teens crash
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) components
State requirements for obtaining a permit and liense
Parents and teens roles and responsibilities
What to look for in a driving school.

The event is hosted by Santa Barbara Youth Council. Dare to Prepare will be held at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina Street, Santa Barbara. For more information call (714) 885-2312.

January 18, 2017

District Choral Showcase to Celebrate Student Talent

The fourth annual District Choral Showcase on January 23, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., will feature individual elementary school choirs from Adams, Franklin Harding University Partnership, Monroe, Santa Barbara Community Academy, as well as a combined elementary school choir. Students will perform classical, ethnic, folk, musical theatre, jazz or pop music during a joyful, hour-long performance.

Santa Barbara and La Colina junior high schools will feature their select auditioned choirs at this event. The combined high schools will sing “Earth Song,” a beautiful selection with poignant lyrics “A cry for peace in a world torn by war”

San Marcos High School Director of Vocal Music Carolyn Teraoka-Brady said, “The third- and fourth-grade choirs will fill your hearts, you will be inspired with the energy and talent in our secondary school choirs.” San Marcos High School auditorium, 4750 Hollister Avenue, 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

SBHS Theatre Season 2017: MUSIC OF THE NIGHT

Santa Barbara High School Theatre’s annual Broadway Revue, MUSIC OF THE NIGHT, has been a part of student culture at Santa Barbara High School for the past sixteen years and is now returning for its seventeenth season. It was created in 1999 by students Blake Berris, Ashley Rodgers, and Evan Hughes as a way to celebrate student ownership of their theatre education. Over the years it has become a full blown stage production, with costume and light design, sophisticated videos, and a live band. It is cast, directed, choreographed and produced entirely by student directors (Hazel Brady, Sarina Wasserman, and Ben Zevallos) under the supervision of Artistic Director Otto Layman.

This year, the cast of 23 students will perform musical numbers from Broadway musicals — among them, HAMILTON, HEATHERS, GUYS AND DOLLS, NEWSIES, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and more.

MUSIC OF THE NIGHT 2017 will be performed January 27 and 28, at 7:00 p.m. and January 28 and 29 at 2:00 p.m. in the Santa Barbara High School theatre, 700 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $25 for reserved orchestra seating. All proceeds will benefit Santa Barbara High School Theatre’s spring musical, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. For ticket reservations and more information please call 805.966.9101, ext. 5029, order tickets online For more information visit

Goleta Valley Junior High’s Upcoming Theatre Performances

Friday, January 20, 7:00 p.m., Goleta Valley Junior High Choir Performance, Goleta Valley Junior High auditorium. Admission is free.

March 17 and 18, 7:00 p.m., and March 19 at 2:00 p.m., FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Goleta Valley’s all-school musical performs with a live orchestra in the school’s auditorium. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Ticket information will be available next month. Highlights Dos Pueblos Theatre’s Clark Sayer

Broadway World Santa Barbara is currently running the story “Student Plays at Dos Pueblos High School.” To view the story go to

January 13th, 2017

Tomorrow: ANYTHING GOES at Goleta Valley Junior High

On Saturday, January 14, 2:00 p.m., Cole Porter’s musical, ANYTHING GOES, will be performed by Goleta Valley Junior High’s seventh grade performing arts class. The production will take place in the school’s auditorium. Admission is free.

Rapid Influenza Spike in California

A message from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department urges the community to get vaccinated. A steep increase in influenza activity has been recorded in California over the past three weeks.

Although January and February are typically the peak of influenza season, the rapid increase is unusual. An alarming increase in influenza outbreak in healthcare facilities, particularly skilled nursing facilities, has been reported. The severity of illness this year has also increased. This is due to the predominant circulating strain, Influenza A / H3N2, which typically causes more severe disease particularly in the elderly and immunocompromised.

The good news is the current influenza vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and community members can still get vaccinated. Early treatment of hospitalized influenza patients can reduce the severity of illness. The benefit of treating with oseltamivir, an anti-viral medication, is greatest when the medication is started immediately after symptom onset. No resistance to this medication has been reported in California. Individuals who believe they may have the flu should seek medical care if they have underlying health conditions which predispose them to more severe illness.

There is an adequate national and state supply of both the vaccine and the anti-viral medication. Additional influenza vaccines are still available for clinics who administer them, including the Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers. Community members can take important steps to prevent influenza illness and outbreaks. All persons aged six months and over are encouraged to get vaccinated. Persons who are ill should stay home and have minimal contact with others, particularly those who have chronic health problems and are at increased risk for severe disease. Those who work in schools and healthcare facilities should practice frequent handwashing and avoid touching their faces and mouth. For more information about flu, visit To find flu vaccine near you, visit:

January 12th, 2017

Congressman Carbajal’s Visit to Monroe Elementary School

Congressman Salud Carbajal recently paid a visit to Monroe Elementary School. He spoke to students in grades 4-6 about his own background and the struggles and challenges he faced when he was growing up in a family of ten. The family lived in a small copper mining town and his father worked in the mines. Following the closure of the mines, the family moved to Oxnard, where his father worked in the fields. Congressman Carbajal encouraged students to set goals, dream big, and follow their dreams. The speaking engagement was coordinated by sixth grade teacher Corey Cordero-Rabb.

Dos Pueblos High’s Sophia Qin Recognized for Tech Achievements

Congratulations go out to Dos Pueblos High School senior Sophia Qin. Sophia is one of 400 U.S. high school women recognized as a 2017 National Award Winner for their technological achievements by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). She will join the other 49 national winners at the Bank of America headquarters on an all-expense paid celebration of her accomplishments. Sophia’s win marks the second year in a row that Dos Pueblos students have won this prestigious national accomplishment. Megan Handley was a 2016 national winner.

Roosevelt Educators Awarded Grant for Environmental Instruction

Congratulations go out to Roosevelt Elementary School’s second-grade team Michelle Brunkhurst, Lovenneea Marchetti, and Terri O’Donnell for receiving the SBCEO Care for Our Earth grant for their innovative and effective approach to teaching young students how to minimize water waste.

Their students will get hands-on experience learning about the importance of conserving natural resources. Roosevelt School is fortunate to have teachers who strive to educate students about complex environmental issues while having the vision to prepare students to be good stewards for the environment. To help bring these topics into the classroom, their project will be supported by The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and The Santa Barbara County Water Agency. They will be recognized at the annual Education Celebration in Santa Ynez this May.

Update: The iLearn Team

There are fantastic things that are happening in our Tech Integrators’ classrooms across the district. These featured posts are all available on the district’s iLearn Initiative Blog.

The iLearn Team has selected 4 featured blog posts from the month of December from Elizabeth Trainor, a first grade teacher at Adams School; Katie Booser, a 3rd grade teacher at Franklin School; Tracy Womack, a Math teacher at La Colina Junior High; and Melanie Jacobson, a Social Studies teacher at San Marcos High School.

Katie explains a method of implementing technology in the classroom with students roles and strategies in her blogpost how to effectively use technology in her 3rd grade classroom. Elizabeth uses Epic Books to allow students to read online books based on students interests. Tracy’s post is about using NEO Discussion in a math class. Melanie Jacobson reviews a new Scantron phone app called ZipGrade and explains how she uses it as a rapid feedback loop in her tutorials and intervention period.

January 11th, 2016

La Cumbre Students Experience a Journey to The Planets and Beyond

La Cumbre Junior High began this calendar year with a vision to explore future careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). On January 3, 40 eighth graders from La Cumbre Junior High School—together with their CORE teacher, Josephine Moore, and science teachers, Andrea McKeehan and Kimberly Ramirez—experienced an amazing “Journey to the Planets and Beyond” at NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Students began the 2.5-hour tour with a multimedia presentation that provided an overview of the laboratory’s activities and accomplishments. Students also had close-up views and hands-on interaction with various model probes and rovers, including Curiosity, the most recent addition to Mars exploration. In the Space Flight Operations Facility, students witnessed the 24-7 operation and monitoring of incoming data from the far and away universe. Additionally, the Spacecraft Assembly Facility showed the actual process where the ideas of the scientists and engineers become reality.

Santa Barbara High Launches Dons Hall of Fame

Plans have been unveiled for an official Dons Athletics Hall of Fame honoring decades of talented athletes and achievement on the playing fields of Santa Barbara High School.

Over the years, Santa Barbara High (SBHS) has produced dozens and dozens of outstanding athletes who have represented the Dons in success, sportsmanship and tradition. From football to basketball from baseball to tennis, SBHS has also sent an incredible number of athletes on to the professional ranks as well as on to representing our nation in the Olympics.

“It is fitting that an athletics department so rich in history, tradition and success establishes a Hall of Fame to honor these outstanding achievements,” said SBHS Principal John Becchio.

The official SBHS Dons Athletics Hall of Fame, presented by the Ye Ole Gang, will hold its first Induction ceremony on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

To kick off the official Dons Hall of Fame, officials have assembled the previous honorees from the annual Ye Ole Gang gathering, spanning the past 43 years, and will officially induct this distinguished group into the newly created SBHS Dons Athletics Hall of Fame.

Established in 1974 by a group of former Dons celebrating everything special that is SBHS athletics, the Ye Ole Gang has honored each year those worthy of Dons Hall of Fame status.

This illustrious group of outstanding Dons will be joined by 2017 fellow inductees Peter and Gerd Jordano (special achievement), Alison Hardey (tennis), Randall Cunningham (football), and Ryan Spilborghs (baseball).

Tickets are available for the Dons Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner by visiting the  Ye Ol Gang website, or by calling the school at (805) 966-9101, ext. 5006.

Monroe’s Hall Safety Monitors Keep Things Flowing

There’s a new team on the beat at Monroe Elementary School. Meet Monroe’s hall safety monitors, a dedicated squad of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. Their official badge and sash make them identifiable to everyone on campus.They are dispatched at various high traffic hallway locations to help enforce Monroe’s school motto “Take Charge!”


December 16th, 2016

Santa Visited Harding School Today

Santa with three students










This afternoon, December 16, 64 Harding University Partnership (HUPS) students and families were invited to campus to receive a special holiday surprise. As they entered room 18, they were greeted by Santa Claus and multiple Harding staff members. With the assistance of Santa helpers, each child was presented with her/her own “Santa Sack.” Each sack was filled with 10-15 personalized, wrapped gifts. Then, at the end of their individual visit with Santa, each child was treated to as cookies and hot chocolate.

This holiday event is possible because of the generosity and support of Hanna Drier and HUPS teacher Kimberly Lynch. Ms. Lynch networks with HUPS teachers to develop a list of students and their personalized needs. She then provides the list to Ms. Dreier who networks with extended friends and family involved to make each recipient’s Christmas a holiday to remember. More than 50 families adopted one or more children to provide about 1,000 personalized, wrapped and delivered gifts. Principal Veronica Binkley said, “The amount of coordination, dedication and generosity is astounding, but worth it all to see the joy and surprise on so many little faces. It was a magical moment and an amazing way to launch our holiday season.”

Wellness Committee Welcomes You

Are you interested in student wellness? Beyond nutrition education and good eating habits, wellness includes physical activity, physical education and mental wellness. You are invited to join the Wellness Council to learn more about how you can promote wellness for your students. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, January 11, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Please note the change of location for this meeting: La Colina Junior High’s staff room. For more information, contact Monica Scafide,

Rotary Club selects SBHS teacher for special recognition

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara recently recognized Santa Barbara High School special education teacher Eric Nichoson for his extraordinary contributions to public education. It is the first of four such awards the Rotarians will present to area educators this academic year.

Nichoson is a resource specialist, teaching grades 7-9. This year he is co-teaching American government, economics, U.S. History, and algebra 1. He has been at Santa Barbara High School for 12 years. Prior to teaching at Santa Barbara High, Nichoson taught in the San Diego City school system for two years.

Since 1986, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has honored outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a high school, junior high, elementary, and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.

“Our teachers are second to none and perform daily heroic acts on behalf of students and families,” said County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “We appreciate the vision, caring, and commitment of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara in making annual awards that recognize the contributions of outstanding teachers, while providing resources that enable them to enrich their classroom environments.”

“The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is committed to supporting the Santa Barbara County Education Office, and it gives us great pleasure to recognize the efforts of outstanding teachers like Nichoson,” said Mike Bieza, chairman of the Teacher Recognition Committee of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Rotary of Santa Barbara and Rotary International members know that educators like Eric Nichoson have a tremendous impact on their students, who one day will be the leaders of our community.”

Nichoson took an unconventional path to the classroom. “I didn’t complete my undergraduate work until I was in my mid-30s because I was not ready to commit to being a ‘student,’” he says. “When I did, I treated it like a job.” He completed his education at UCSB in 18 months and graduated summa cum laude. He subsequently earned his teaching credentials at California Lutheran University.

“I can attest to the fact that he is one of the truly great people that works with our communities’ kids,” said Santa Barbara High School principal Dr. John Becchio. “As a special education teacher he is motivated by the fact that he gets to positively influence and help the students in our community who need it the most, and they are often the ones who want to be at school the least because school has always been hard for them due to their disabilities.”

“Mr. Nich,” as he is affectionately called, was himself inspired to become an educator by one of his high school teachers. He has been seen at local thrift stores buying dictionaries for his students, proctoring a special exam session on a Saturday so he can read the test to a student with dyslexia, attending athletic and extracurricular events so his students know he is interested in them beyond the classroom, and roaming the hallways with his quirky ties saying hello to everyone he passes.

“Mr. Nich is certainly one of the bright spots in his students’ school day,” Becchio continued. “It is my honor and privilege to call him a colleague. He truly makes a difference, every day.”

December 14th, 2016

District’s Four New Board Members

School board members

Ms. Laura Capps, Ms. Wendy Sims-Moten, Dr. Jacqueline Reid, Kate Parker

At last night’s meeting, the oath of office was administered to our district’s three new board members: Dr. Jacqueline Reid, Ms. Wendy Sims-Moten, and Ms. Laura Capps. They join Kate Parker, the newly-elected board president.

With the vacancy created by the resignation of incumbent board member Monique Limon, the board intends to appoint a board member to fill the vacancy.

Interested applicants must reside in attendance boundaries of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, meet all requirements of law, and comply with the district’s submission requirements. The application deadline is 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Late applications will not be considered. Qualified applicants will be interviewed by the board on January 9, 2017. The board reserves the right to make a decision to appoint that night or defer the decision to another special board meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. Please visit the district’s website for instructions on how to apply to serve on the school board, or call Mr. Cary Matsuoka, superintendent, at (805) 963-4338, ext. 6202.

Principal Shawn Carey to Serve as Assistant Superintendent

Shawn CareyThe Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education approved the selection of Shawn Carey, current principal of Dos Pueblos High School, to serve as the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education. The vote was 4:0. Ms. Carey succeeds Assistant Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati, recently appointed as the superintendent of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Dr. Drati’s last day in the district was December 9, 2016.

Ms. Carey brings 20 years of teaching and administrative experience to the assistant superintendent’s position. She is recognized as an effective written and oral communicator, an instructionally focused leader, a creative problem-solver and mediator, an experienced community builder, and a champion for equity. Ms. Carey has served as the principal representative on Santa Barbara Unified’s Cultural Proficiency and Equity Committee as well as faculty member for the Institute for Equity in Education. She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish fluently.

Shawn Carey will begin work as the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education, effective January 1, 2017. Bill Woodard will serve as Dos Pueblos High School’s interim principal through June 2017.

Calendar for 2017-2018

At last night’s meeting the board of education approved the district’s 2017-2018 school calendar, as presented.

Winter Concert

Monroe Elementary School’s Winter Concert, Thursday, December 15, at 6:00 p.m. in the Santa Barbara High School theatre. It is a free event.

Student Exits Alta Vista to the Sound of the Bugle

Last week, Alta Vista student Andrea Macias completed her high school graduation requirements in mid-year and, as is tradition at Alta Vista, she did it to the sound of the bugle. As Andrea exited the campus in her graduation cap and gown–diploma in hand–Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck opened the school’s main door and, played the bugle. One can’t help but have a smile on their face when La Cuesta’s unique rite of passage takes place. As for the future that awaits, Andrea’s immediate plan is to study other language, travel, and raise enough money so, hopefully, by summer 2017 she can go to Japan, where she would like to attend graduate school. In the short term, Andrea plans to polish her writing skills and study animation and literature. Her hope is to one day become a writer and open her own bookstore.

McKinley Students Receive an Early Holiday Gift

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, 22 McKinley Elementary School students received a bicycle for Christmas. Several organizations (Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, Bici Centro, COAST, Santa Barbara High School Bicycle Club, Cottage Hospital) came together in a community effort to give first-, second-, and third-graders a bicycle and gear. Santa Barbara High’s Bike club repaired bicycles so they could be given to elementary students. Cottage Hospital supplied brand new helmets and goody bags full of supplies. Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, Bici Centro, and COAST organized the event and volunteered to help get children rolling on their new bikes the day of the event.
McKinley School is in its second year of the bicycle program. The program teaches students in grades 2-4 how to ride as well as the rules of the road. The McKinley School staff and families are very grateful that their students are learning valuable life skills and thankful to all of the organizations that are supporting this unique opportunity.

San Marcos High Braces for a Poetry Slam

The annual San Marcos High School Poetry Slam is underway this week. Students in the AAPLE Academy (Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment) are running the December 13-15 event. The students’ goal for this event is to provide a platform for their peers that allows them to share their voices on relevant social issues. Fourteen students signed up to participate and a dozen judges, ranging from teachers to local poets/storytellers to UCSB English literature professors.

December 12th, 2016

Adams School’s Hour of Code

Students using a iPadAll of Adams Elementary School’s students joined the tens of millions of students in 180+ countries by participating in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11. The purpose behind the Hour of Code is to introduce students to computer science, to show students that anybody can learn to code, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.

AB 540 College Night 

All local immigrant students and their families are invited to the 12th Annual AB 540 College Night at La Cumbre Junior High School, 2255 Modoc Road, on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. The event will take place from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

AB 540 College Night will educate students about AB 540 legislation, the Dream Act Application Process (AB 130 and 131), college admission for AB 540 students, and information about the financial aid options.

Immigrant students are strongly encouraged to attend and begin planning for college. In addition to presentations, many community non-profits and other resources will be available to answer questions and distribute information. This event will be presented in Spanish and English.

Sponsors include the Santa Barbara City College, Adsum Education Foundation, AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP, and Carpinteria Unified School District.

Music and Shakespeare Performances at Goleta Valley

Goleta Valley Junior High will host a music concert and two performances of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The music concert will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, and features the first-semester exploratory band, the beginning and advanced bands, the orchestra and the jazz ensemble. Thursday and Friday nights, December 15 and 16, the eighth-grade performing arts class will stage Shakespeare’s comedy with 7:00 p.m. performances in the auditorium.

Check Out What’s New in Science

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program funds locally relevant, authentic experiential learning for K-12 audiences through Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). MWEEs are multi-stage activities that include learning both outdoors and in the classroom and aim to increase understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

NOAA funding is provided to support student investigation of environmental topics both locally and globally that are of interest to them, leveraging local STEM assets and STEM professionals. Students identify actions to address these issues and understand the value of those actions, enabling them to help to understand, protect, and restore watersheds and related ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Following is a list of this fall’s NOAA B-Wet grant events:

  • California Islands Symposium, Ventura CA, October 4-6, 2016. Fourteen secondary science teachers attended to learn about current science research conducted in the Santa Barbara Channel and at the Channel Islands. New research was presented on local phenomena including: bald eagles, kelp forest monitoring, the Arlington Man, ocean acidification, Santa Rosa Island Torrey Pines, and much more.
  • NOAA Shearwater Research Vessel trips to Santa Cruz Island, October 29, 2016, and Santa Rosa Island (December 3, 2016). Twenty-five Santa Barbara Unified science teachers and UC Santa Barbara student teachers participated in full day field trips learning about the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands. The trip included a unique opportunity for place-based education about local ecosystem protection and research in the Santa Barbara Channel and in the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary. Teachers conducted plankton tows, measured ocean pH, and had fantastic opportunities for marine mammal viewing (whales, dolphins, and sea lions). Cliff Rodriguez from the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps led interpretive hikes on both islands helping teachers to learn about the interplay between human settlements and the island ecosystems.

Dr. Tanya Atwater and teachers studying plate tectonics and geologyFollowing is a list of Santa Barbara Unified’s Sponsored Professional Learning:

  • October 31, 2016: All secondary science teachers gathered together at Santa Barbara High School to engage in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) professional learning facilitated by Nellie Hill, Marilyn Garza, Mike Lynch, and Kim Tilton. Teachers participated in two sessions on the 5E Instructional Sequence from the statewide NGSS Rollout #2 Series, which is a collaboration of California Department of Education, CSTA, K-12 Alliance and CCESSA.
  • November 14, 2016, Professional Learning Day for eighth-grade science teachers: Teachers had a unique opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of the new Museum of Exploration and Innovation (MOXI). Teachers were thrilled to learn about the physical science exhibits and opportunities for student visits to the museum.
  • November 15, 2016, Professional Learning Day for seventh grade science teachers: Dr. Tanya Atwater, emeritus professor of geology and geophysics [and Santa Barbara High graduate], UCSB, worked with Santa Barbara Unified teachers for three hours, teaching them about plate tectonics and geology in our local area. Dr. Atwater shared education resources with teachers, including: maps, manipulatives, and animations.

And the Parade Winners are…

Congratulations to our district’s 15 outstanding entries in last Friday’s 2016 Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade. The parade results are in and recognitions from the district are:

  • Most Spirited Entry: Adelante Charter School
  • Best School Dance/Cheer Team: Dos Pueblos High School Marching Band, Cheer, and Leadership
  • Best Band – High School: Dos Pueblos High School Marching Band, Cheer, and Leadership
  • Best Band – Middle School: Goleta Valley Junior High Marching Band and Dance Team

Honorable Mentions from SBUSD: Franklin School, San Marcos High School Marching Band & Dance Guard, Santa Barbara Junior High, Santa Barbara Unified School District Bravo Elementary Band, Santa Barbara High School Cheerleading

According to the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, more than 65,000 spectators line State Street in downtown Santa Barbara each year in anticipation of Santa Barbara’s only nighttime parade.

Public Review of Sonday, A Reading Intervention Program

Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Special Education Department will be hosting a review of Sonday, a reading intervention program. This program was recently voted on by special education teachers to pilot in select schools after the new year. The review will take place from January 3-13, 2017, in the district’s Parent Resource Center from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Parents, staff, and members of the community are invited to come review the program materials and provide their input. Please check in with the Office of Special Education when you arrive to review the materials. If you have any questions, please call (805) 963-4338, ext. 6224.

December 8th, 2016

Tonight: Winter Music Program at SBCA

Santa Barbara Community Academy will be hosting the Annual Winter Music Program on Thursday, December 8, 2016, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. Everyone is welcome to see the students showcase their musical talent.

McKinley Moms Support their School

The McKinley School holiday festival is taking place this Friday, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and, as they do each year, groups of mothers come together, roll up their sleeves, put on their hairnets, and prepare tamales. It is a labor of love, with generous amounts of laughter thrown in.

The community is welcome to join in the PTA-sponsored holiday festival. There will be food, games, face painting, dancing, and holiday music. There will be barbeque too, prepared by honorary chef/former principal Michael Gonzalez. Everyone is invited to join the fun.

Cleveland Students Delight in Holiday Donation

Students wearing sweatshirtsThe parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Montecito provided every one of Cleveland Elementary School’s 350+ students with a new blue sweatshirt–complete with the school’s dolphin logo–and a $20 gift card to a local shoe store.

Adams Students and Families Give Back to the Community

The Adams Elementary School Student Council is promoting and supporting a school-wide penny drive to benefit the Unity Shoppe. The penny drive will end Friday, December 8, 2016. The goal is raise $1,000.

Adams School will also participate in supporting the American Heart Association through a “jump rope for heart.” Principal Amy Alzina said, “Our students have the opportunity to raise funds for the American Heart Association to fund research and educational materials to lower the risks of America’s number 1 and number 5 killers: heart disease and stroke.

All students will jump rope during their regular scheduled physical education class during the week of December 12-16, 2016.


December 6th, 2016

December 8 – Winter Arts Showcase at Harding School

Harding Elementary School will host its annual Winter Arts Showcase and Kermes Festival on Thursday, December 8, 2016, 4:00-7:00 p.m. From 5:30-6:30 p.m. there will be music concerts by all students in grades K-6, an art show, food, and photos with Santa. All money raised will benefit the Harding School Foundation. Everyone is welcome.

La Cumbre Junior High School Awarded Ocean Guardian School Status

La Cumbre Ocean Guardians

La Cumbre Junior High School teachers Chris Greeley and Cha Mckeehan received a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They designed a program to teach students ocean conservation through environmentalism and a love for surfing. Students will receive water safety training from county lifeguards and surf instructions from the teachers.Explore Ecology is partnering with the program to collect and analyze marine debris. This information will be posted in a passive education display designed and constructed by the students as a permanent structure at Arroyo Burro Beach. The display is aimed at educating the public as to the types of marine debris, amount of debris, and corresponding peak periods.

The student group is called GROMSS (Getting Real On Marine Science and Surf!). La Cumbre Junior High’s student population does not frequent local beaches often. The goal is to give the students a reason to keep local beaches clean. Greeley and Mckeehan believe that the surf lessons and water safety training play a significant role in the program’s philosophy. They hope to create lifelong citizen scientists through education and fun.

San Marcos Marketing Students Put their Skills to Work

Royals Got Talent flierStudents in Dual Enrollment Marketing 203 (Marketing Communications) at San Marcos High School have been working on marketing for Royals Got Talent (RGT), the annual showcase of San Marcos High School vocal talent. The winner of RGT will open for Grammy Nominated artist Gavin DeGraw and the Kids Helping Kids Gala Concert on Saturday, January 14, 2017.

The final RGT advertisement was selected by students from among 20 advertisements created by all Marketing 203 students. Created by Samantha Avelar, Izabella Garfias, and Melanie Rosales-Lagunes, the design utilizes a retro microphone graphic, complimentary pastel colors, and a modern sans serif font. Students in Marketing 203 also conducted a comprehensive pricing survey, developed videos of contestants, and utilize social media to generate interest in the event. Marketing 203 is the second course in the comprehensive three-year Entrepreneurship Academy taken by sophomores.

Dos Pueblos and San Marcos High Schools’ VE Program Recognized in San Diego Trade Show

Congratulations go out to San Marcos High’s and Dos Pueblos High’s Virtual Enterprise teams. Both teams did an exceptional job at the 16th annual San Diego Trade Show on December 1-2, 2016.

Dos Pueblos placed four categories:
Silver Standard: Trade Show Flyer Design
Silver Standard: Catalog/Menu Design
Bronze Standard: Video Commercial
Bronze Standard for Creative Trade Booth Design

San Marcos placed in two categories:
Silver Standard: Creative Booth Design
Bronze Standard: Video Commercial and Catalog

December 9 – Celebrate the Holidays with San Marcos High’s Mujercitas and Cruisers

On Friday, December 9, San Marcos High’s Mujercitas and Cruisers holiday celebration will present Moy Ochoa, and also feature James Toscano and DJ Chen Reyna in the San Marcos High cafeteria, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. There will be music, dinner, dancing, loteria, a pinata, gingerbread houses, a photo booth, and face painting. Food–tamales, mole, taquitos, and desserts–will be sold at $5 per plate.

December 5th, 2016

Holiday Festival at McKinley School

McKinley Elementary School’s PTA is holding a Winter Celebration this Friday, December 9, from 3:00-6:00. There will be food, games, face painting, dancing, and holiday music. Everyone is invited to come join the fun.

Academy Showcase at the Earl Warren Showgrounds on December 14, 2016


Organized much like a trade show, the fourth annual Academy Showcase, will provide an opportunity for academy students to talk about, and demonstrate, the curriculum in our district’s seven academies and the IB program:

  • Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment Academy at San Marcos High
  • Computer Science Academy at Santa Barbara High
  • Engineering Academy at Dos Pueblos High
  • Entrepreneurship Academy at San Marcos High
  • Health Careers Academy, at San Marcos High
  • Multimedia Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High,
  • Visual Arts and Design at Santa Barbara High
  • International Baccalaureate at Dos Pueblos High

The Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Academy Showcase will be held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. It is a free, family-friendly event that takes place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Parking is free.

SBHS Virtual Enterprise Off and Running at San Diego Trade Show

Virtual enterprise students










Santa Barbara High School Virtual Enterprise Program had a strong showing at the San Diego Virtual Enterprise Trade Show on December 2, 2016. The program took third place in “Novice Booth Design” and placed in the top five in two gold standard categories: “Salesmanship” as well as “Product Catalog.”

Instructor Brandon Holle said, “Our students have done a great job in various competitions to showcase their business skills on projects they have been working on all year. Students obtain experience in every aspect in the business world and are able to attend trade shows and buy and sell with other virtual companies. They design a virtual company from the ground up.” He added, “Santa Barbara High’s company this year is Power Up, where they sell electric bikes, scooters, and skateboards in the virtual marketplace. Santa Barbara High’s Virtual Enterprise class will attend the state competitions in Bakersfield on January 18 and 19, where they will compete in 15 different business competitions.”

Padres en Accion Supports Parent Involvement at Cleveland School

Cleveland Padres en Accion










One way that Cleveland Elementary School parents are helping their children succeed in school is the establishment of Padres en Accion. This program empowers parents with knowledge and tools, such as information on parents’ rights, the difference school system between Mexico and United States, requirements for entering college/universities and, most important, the importance of communication between the teacher, student, and parents.

 December 1st, 2016

December 2, 2016 is National Special Education Day

Special Education Day marks the anniversary of the nation’s first federal special education law–signed into law on December 2, 1975. Special Education Day began in 2005. That year marked the 30th anniversary of the IDEA–the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

McKinley Students Step Back in Time

Students construct a teepee











McKinley Elementary School’s sixth-grade classes created a living museum to teach the rest of the school about what life was life for early humans. The playground was split into four stations inspired by the sixth grade text, Maroo of the Winter Caves. They made the book come alive. At the White Mountain station, students learned about early man’s spirituality, animals that were existed at this time, how fire can be made, and how an igloo insulates. At the Winter Caves station, students learned about the importance of storytelling, cave painting, and drumming in early society. At the Camp, student learned about gathering food and how early man utilized what they found to make useful tools. The Autumn Hunting Grounds taught early man’s hunting strategies, technologies, and theories behind mammoth and mastodon extinction. Six classes made it through the museum. Students had to design sets, costumes, research their topic, then present. Sixth-grade teacher Brendan Fereday said, “We also had groups of students responsible for guiding the classes through and others coordinating the event.”

Save the Date: BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is Coming to Santa Barbara High

Bullets Over Broadway poster











Santa Barbara High School is the first high school in the country–and the second group of any kind, overall–to get the rights to perform BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, which will be performed April 29-May 7. Theatre Director Otto Layman said, “BULLETS OVER BROADWAY closed on Broadway in 2015, and we are proud and excited to be selected to be the first high school to put on this amazing show.”

Loaded with big laughs, colorful characters and the songs that made the 1920’s roar, the musical BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is coming to Santa Barbara High this spring. Based on the screenplay of the 1994 film by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath, this six-time Tony-nominated musical features hits from the 1920s, including “Let’s Misbehave,” “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do” and “There’s a New Day Comin’” After the original Broadway production of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY closed August 2015, Santa Barbara High School is the first high school in the U.S. to acquire the rights to this new and energetic musical comedy.

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY revolves around David Shayne, a straight-arrow playwright who plans to stand firm against compromising his work but quickly abandons that stance when his producer finds a backer to mount his show on Broadway. There is just one catch: the backer is a mobster who sees Shayne’s play as a vehicle for his ditzy, talent-free girlfriend. Throw in an aging diva, a savant hit-man, and a bevy of beautiful chorus girls, and this is a show you won’t want to miss. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is a love letter to the Golden Age of Broadway, filled with unforgettable songs that audiences remember and love.

Brick Squad Team Advances to FIRST Lego League’s Regional Championship

Several current/former Washington Elementary School students spent their Thanksgiving holiday competing in the Los Angeles Region FIRST Lego League. According to the League’s website, the FIRST Lego League “introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic play surface.” With team names like Circuit Breakers, WildBots, Robo-Rebels, and a Santa Barbara team called the Brick Squad, student teams (ages 9-14) create and program robots using specific LEGO products.

On December 10, the seven-member Brick Squad will head to the FIRST Lego League Regional Championship in Los Angeles. Congratulations Foster Young, Everett Young, Leland Sutter, Julian Barthel, Aiden Comrie, Marshall Pickett, and Austin Jaimes.

For additional information see article see Noozhawk’s article on the Brick Squad Team #4439

November 29, 2016

Santa Barbara Holiday Parade Line-up

At 6:30 p.m., Friday, December 2, 2016, Downtown Santa Barbara will kick off the 64th Annual Holiday Parade. This year’s parade theme is “Holiday Under the Sea.” More than 65,000 spectators are expected to line State Street. Our schools/students will be represented as follows:

  • Entry #9: San Marcos Marching Band and Dance Guard
  • Entry #14: Adelante Charter School
  • Entry #25: Santa Barbara High School Don Riders
  • Entry #31: La Cumbre Junior High Marching Band
  • Entry #35: SBUSD Bravo Elementary Band
  • Entry #38: Santa Barbara High School Cheerleading
  • Entry #47: Franklin Elementary School
  • Entry #51: Goleta Valley Junior High Marching Band and Dance Team
  • Entry #61: Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir
  • Entry #73: Santa Barbara High School Marching Dons
  • Entry #81: Santa Barbara Junior High School
  • Entry #85: La Colina Junior High School
  • Entry #86: Santa Barbara High School Baseball Team
  • Entry #91 Dos Pueblos High School Marching Band, Cheer, and Leadership

November 18th, 2016

District Bids Farewell to Four Board Members

District Bids Farewell to Four Board MembersPrior to last night’s meeting of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education, friends, family, community members, and district staff gathered to honor the service of four board members: Ed Heron (elected 2008, 2012), Monique Limon (2010, 2014), Dr. Pedro Paz (2012), and Gayle Eidelson (2012). Superintendent Cary Matsuoka spoke warmly of each board members’ commitment to our district’s students. There was plenty of laughter as staff and several guests recalled personal anecdotes. Thank you board members Heron, Limon, Paz, and Eidelson for your service.

Astronaut Scott Kelly Pays Visit to Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy

Astronaut Scott Kelly spoke at a UCSB Arts & Lectures event at the Granada Theater on Monday evening November 14. Prior to that event, he toured the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) with Academy Director Amir Abo-Shaeer. He then spoke for about 30 minutes to students in the Elings Center for the Performing Arts on the Dos Pueblos campus. The visit was sponsored by the Las Cumbres Observatory.
Astronaut Scott Kelly

La Colina and San Marcos Teams Score in Latin 

La Colina and San Marcos Teams Score in LatinThe La Colina Junior High and San Marcos High School Latin clubs had a great time participating in the Southern California Regional Amici Madness competition last Saturday, November 12.

Hosted by Crossroads School for the Arts this year, there were 14 delegates from each school. The teams are still awaiting results from their academic entries, but in athletics our students had a strong showing:

  • San Marcos High School students competed in academic tests on vocabulary, geography, mythology, and other subjects. Students Alexi Gill and Bryan Shott won the first place ribbon in doubles ping pong.
  • La Colina Junior High students competed in academic tests ranging from daily life, mythology, history, and Latin vocabulary. Student Mason Tuttle placed fourth in the overall singles ping pong competition.

The students enjoyed a day based on fellowship and fun with 900 other students from Southern California who share an interest in classical studies and Latin.

San Marcos Band and Guard are SCSBOA Standouts

The San Marcos Band and Guard have had a great season. They placed first at both the Hart and Simi Valley Field Competitions. They also qualified for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Championships in Division 1A. Out of the 37 competing bands only 12 qualify for Championships. This year’s show, Elasticity, was an original design showcasing great visual ideas and exciting music.San Marcos High School Band and Guard

What’s New with our Tech Integrators?

Check out some of the great things that are happening in our tech integrators’ classrooms across the district. These featured posts are all available on the district’s iLearn Initiative Blog.

The iLearn Team selected four featured blog posts for the month of October from Chloe Milligan, a first-grade teacher at Adams School; Tammi White, a fifth-grade teacher at Washington School; Kristin Pettit, a social studies teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High; and Samantha Mooneyham, a math teacher at Dos Pueblos High School.

Chloe took on the task of using the app Green Screen with her students to produce fun projects while Tammi shows how she uses Newsomatic to help her students understand the world around them via kid-friendly versions of New York Times articles and videos.

Kristin’s post is very timely and covers using social media, specifically Snapchat in the classroom; it’s a great way to hook our students. Samantha tried out EdPuzzle, an online formative assessment tool using videos.

Using the Green Screen to Learn and Share in the Classroom – Chloe Milligan

Making the Most of Newsomatic – Tammi White

Social Media in the Classroom – Connecting with students where they are – Kristin Pettit

EDpuzzle is the answer! – Samantha Mooneyham

Save the Date: Academy Showcase

The fourth annual Academy Showcase is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, 2016, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Earl Warren Showgrounds.

UCSB Reports on FUSE Night at La Colina

Twice a year, Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE), a program operated by UC Santa Barbara’s Center of Science and Engineering Partnerships, brings parents and students into junior high classrooms, particularly science classrooms. FUSE Night enables families to take three 25-minute classes, plus activities, that demonstrate how science and technology impact everyday life. To learn more about FUSE Night at La Colina Junior High, go to:

Franklin School’s A-OK! Folklorico Performance

Franklin Folklorico students Franklin Elementary School’s After School/Expanded Learning Program’s (A-OK!) folklorico recently danced  at the Santa Barbara Bowl’s Dia De Los Muertos Community Day.

Harding University Partnership School’s A-OK! Everybody Dance Now students also performed at the Seventh Annual Edge-up Expanded Learning Conference in Buellton. Attending the conference was Michael Funk, California Department of Education Expanded Learning division director, as well as many other division staff plus key Expanded Learning leaders locally and from across California.

SBHS Computer Science Academy Students Visit JPL

Field trip students at JPLSanta Barbara High School’s Computer Science Academy students recently visited Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. While touring the facility, students had the opportunity to view Mission Control for all NASA non-manned missions, seeing the “Ace” reviewing and monitoring the code being sent and received from space. Students also visited the clean room where Curiosity and many other JPL robots were assembled before heading off to space to begin their missions.

Computer Science Academy Announces Formation of an Industry-led Visioning Committee

Santa Barbara High’s Computer Science Academy announced the formation of its founding visioning committee. Created to help align the Academy’s computer science curriculum and experiential programming with industry trends and student needs, the SBHSCSA Visioning Committee comprises corporate and academic leaders in the fields of computer programming, application development, information technology services, information security, entrepreneurship and corporate finance. The committee will assist Academy Director Richard Johnston with long-range strategic planning, curriculum development and selective fundraising, primarily led by the Computer Science Academy’s Foundation Board.

The Academy’s mission is to expose a diverse range of students to computer science and computer-related careers through engaging courses, extracurricular activities and outreach events, so graduates will have the computer skills to seek broad opportunities for post-secondary education as members of the 21st Century workforce.

“This year, we have expanded our program to include specialized clubs, including robotics, security/hacking, Girls Who Code, and game development. We have also expanded experiential opportunities through job shadowing and paid internships at area companies. Underwriting for such programs will come from grants and other parent-led fundraising,” Johnston said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of software developers is projected to grow at a pace of more than two and a half times that of all other occupations (projections 2014-2024) due to the overall demand and growing applications for computer software. Median pay for application developers is also nearly three times that of all other occupations, or over $100,000. Knowledge of programming and computer science can lead to a variety of careers in technical, management and entrepreneurial arenas.

Dos Pueblos Grad Wins Music Award

Dos Pueblos High School theater/music alum Malynda Hale won the Hollywood Music in Media Award as Best Female Vocalist for her song “We Run.” Listen to her music by going to:

November 4th, 2016

San Marcos Students to get Lesson on Distracted Driving

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is sponsoring an impaired and distracted driving education program and simulator at local high schools. The Arrive Alive Tour® from UNITE will visit San Marcos High School on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

UNITE’s Arrive Alive Tour® program uses a high-tech simulator, impact video, and a number of other resources to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and intoxicated driving. The simulator allows participants to experience the potential consequences of impaired and distracted driving in a controlled environment.

UNITE brings health and wellness programs to high schools, colleges, and communities across the nation. The programs are designed to heighten awareness to the dangers and consequences of impaired and distracted driving. These events have a powerful impact on students to reinforce the subjects that schools and parents teach them daily. For more information about the Arrive Alive tour contact Patrick DeGrasse at 888-436-3394.

Medal of Honor Recipient to Speak at San Marcos for Veterans Day Assembly

Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis, also known as the “real Forrest Gump,” will give a special presentation to students on Thursday, November 10, at San Marcos High School during the school’s Veterans Day assembly. Students will be able to ask Davis questions about his story of personal bravery and self-sacrifice. The presentation will include a color guard, bagpiper and the National Anthem performed by the San Marcos High School Vocal Department.

Mr. Davis is sponsored by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. The PCVF is committed to honoring the men and women who have served in U.S. military efforts. PCVF does this by supporting veterans and active duty members in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as well as preserving military history and legacy.
This assembly will also introduce the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a resource designed by teachers to provide students with opportunities to explore the concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship and how these values can be exemplified in daily life.

Author Francisco Jimenez Engages La Cumbre Students

Dr. Francisco Jimenez, Principal Jo Ann Caines, and teacher Katie PelleOn Wednesday, November 2, 190 La Cumbre Junior High’s eighth-graders sat in rapt attention as they listened to noted author Francisco Jimenez, author of “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.” The book is required reading for La Cumbre’s eighth graders. Dr. Jimenez opened his presentation by thanking students for the heartfelt letters they had written to him about the impact of his book. It was evident he had been deeply touched by the students’ words. A professor emeritus at Santa Clara University, earlier this week Dr. Jimenez accepted UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.

Principal Jo Ann Caines said, “It was such a thrill for our eighth graders to meet and hear from the author of ‘The Circuit,’ a gripping story of a migrant child. Dr. Jimenez brought his story to life. Students were spellbound hearing from this award-winning man.”

Santa Barbara High to Display and Celebrate PTSA’s Reflections Art Program

The public is invited to attend Santa Barbara High School’s PTSA’s Reflections National Art Program Awards Celebration on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

Peabody Superintendent/Principal Represents Santa Barbara in meeting with US Secretary of Education on Making Schools Future Ready

Future Ready Superintendents with U.S. Secretary of EducationOn October 28, 2016, Peabody School’s Superintendent/Principal Demian Barnett and 12 other administrators from around the nation met with US Department of Education Secretary John King and his staff to discuss the department’s Future Ready Schools effort. The Future Ready Schools initiative is focused on helping school districts to prepare students for academic, professional, and personal success.

Mr. Barnett was one of the superintendents chosen to the attend the Superintendent’s Briefing at the US Department of Education. “It was an honor to share with Mr. King the work that Peabody Charter is currently undertaking to ensure that all students are academically and personally ready for secondary school and beyond,” Mr. Barnett shared.

Last year, Peabody co-created a guiding document called the Learner Profile using input from all of the school’s stakeholders. This document outlines what the Peabody community feels are the essential skills and dispositions necessary for success in the 21st century. Peabody helps students prepare for their future with a diverse curriculum and includes a focus on hands-on, project based learning in the upper grades, and the purposeful development of attention and focus using mindfulness for all students.

Demian Barnett has been an educator for more than 25 years, serving as a teacher, school site administrator, district level administrator, university instructor, and most recently as superintendent/principal of Peabody Charter School, the 21st charter in California and the largest K-6 elementary school in Santa Barbara.

About Peabody Charter School: Peabody Elementary School has been serving the Santa Barbara community since 1927. A charter school since 1993, Peabody Charter School serves 750 students in grades K-6. Peabody Charter School’s mission statement is: “Peabody Charter School strives to be innovative in developing academic excellence and the full potential and well-being of each student.”

Educator Ashley Cornelius to be Honored at “A Salute to Teachers”

Santa Barbara High biology and medical biology teacher Ashley Cornelius was highlighted in Noozhawk for her selection as one of Santa Barbara County’s distinguished mentors. On November 5, she will be among the honorees at the Santa Barbara County Education Office and Cox Communications “A Salute to Teachers.” Congratulations Ashley.

November 1st, 2016

Save the Date: Academy Showcase

The fourth annual Academy Showcase is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, 2016, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Earl Warren Showgrounds.

Author Francisco Jimenez to Speak at La Cumbre Junior High

Students holding letters


After reading “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child,” students in teacher Katie Pelle’s Core Knowledge class at La Cumbre Junior High, wrote to author and educator Dr. Francisco Jimenez about their impressions of the book. In the students’ communication with the author Dr. Jimenez noted an upcoming visit to Santa Barbara and an opportunity to meet these young readers. Dr. Jimenezis scheduled to visit and speak to the school’s eighth graders at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, in the school auditorium.

As a child, Dr. Jimenez worked alongside his parents in the fields of California. The La Cumbre students have been reading his autobiographical, award-winning book “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.”

Dr. Jimenez, received a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, attended Harvard, and received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Columbia University. He is chairman of Santa Clara University’s (SCU) Modern Languages and Literatures Department and serves as the director of the Division of Arts and Humanities at SCU. Among his many awards, he is the recipient of UCSB’s Luis Leal Award for Distinguished Chicano/Latino Literature as well as the John Steinbeck Award, given to “…writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and believe in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes.”

Students with letters

Santa Barbara High’s Visual Art and Design Academy Junior Artists to Participate in First Thursday Event

This Thursday, November 3, the Visual Art and Design Academy (VADA) will participate in Santa Barbara Downtown Organization’s First Thursday Showcase. This week will feature junior VADA students at the Hotel Santa Barbara.

Hotel Santa Barbara has partnered with Game Keeper and Santa Barbara Toy Company to provide food and family friendly games for visitors to play. You are invited to stop by anytime between 5:00-8:00 p.m. to view their work, have a snack and play games. It’s a great family night and all ages are welcome.

SBHS Grad in CNN Docu-Series

Last year, Santa Barbara High graduate Makala Hieshima’s Computer Science Academy team was followed by a camera crew at a hack-a-thon for the CNN docu-series “This is Life With Lisa Ling: Episode 5 Silicon Valley Savants.” A segment of that report is accessible on CNN.

Makala was in the Santa Barbara High class of 2015. She is currently a sophomore at Carleton College.

Dos Pueblos Hall of Fame: Steve Meister

As part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration this year, Dos Pueblos High School has created a Hall of Fame, celebrating several of its graduates.

Steve Meister served as Dos Pueblos assistant principal and was a long-time activities director. He instituted lasting DP traditions like the grease pole climb and rallies where teachers entertain the students with musical skits. In these events, Mr. Meister’s dedication and school spirit continue to inspire future students toward greatness.

As one long-time staff member puts it, “His student-centered approach to administration, and his enthusiasm for all things DP made him the heart and soul of Dos Pueblos High School for a many years.” Steve always saw the good in people, no matter the circumstance and that is why he is and always will be an inspirational Charger.

October 25th, 2016

No School on October 31, 2016

This is a reminder that Santa Barbara Unified’s professional training day for all teaching staff will take place on Monday, October 31. On that day there is no school for students. It is a student-free day at all grade levels.

Santa Barbara Unified Science Teachers Attend California Islands Symposium

In early October, 17 science teachers from Santa Barbara Junior High, La Cumbre Junior High, Goleta Valley Junior High, Santa Barbara High, and San Marcos High attended the California Islands Symposium in Ventura. Sessions included strands focused on anthropology, geology, ecology, climate science, and more. All costs were covered thanks to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) B-Wet Grant aimed at helping Santa Barbara Unified science teachers engage in professional learning on science in the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands as the teachers transition to the new Next Generation Science Standards.

Santa Barbara High’s Upcoming Day of Remembrance

At 11:45 a.m. on November 10, Santa Barbara High School will honor Veterans Day with “A Day of Remembrance.” The ceremony will begin with a US Marine Corps presentation of colors, followed by the SBHS Madrigals’ “Star Spangled Banner,” ASB President Ben Zevallos leading the Pledge of Allegiance, an opening speech delivered by US Marine Sgt. James Nieves, guest speaker US Army (ret.) Capt. Joe Danely, commemorative remarks by Fred Razo, and “Taps” by SBHS band member Sergio Rodriguez. The event will take place in front of the JR Richards Gymnasium.

Science Teacher Magazine gets a Local Voice 

Tiare Dodson and Michele JohnsonLa Cumbre Junior High teacher Tiare Dodson and UCSB’s Michele Johnson have co-authored and published in the September edition of Science Teacher Magazine. Their article “Scaling Up: Using plant growth to understand climate change” centers on the carbon unit which uses plants as a model for explaining the impact of carbon dioxide gas not only for plant growth but also on climate change.

Students are given the opportunity to test all the major variables that effect a plant’s mass like water, soil and carbon dioxide gas. They track the flow of energy and check to see if mass has permanently changed as they research and explore using lessons based on the learning progression model. As students come to the conclusion that plant growth is mainly caused by the intake of carbon dioxide from the air they also learn more about this invisible gas and its impact on the environment. Ten years ago, the carbon unit was first piloted in California at La Cumbre Junior High School by Brad Hufschmid and Tiare Dodson. It has now been taught in nine states by over a hundred teachers to thousands of students. It was taught last year in all four of our district’s local junior high schools and California schools from Arroyo Grande to Newberry Park.

Their article is available on the Browse Journal section (.99 cents for non-members):

Dos Pueblos High School Hall of Fame: Alex Filippenko, Class of 1975

As part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration this year, Dos Pueblos High School has created a Hall of Fame, celebrating several of its graduates. In the days ahead, Dos Pueblos Hall of Fame profiles will appear in eNEWS.

Alex FilippenkoAlex Filippenko is a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. An elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, he is one of the world’s most highly cited astrophysicists and the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research. He was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the universe, an amazing discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members. In 2006, Alex received the US National Professor of the Year Award, and he also won the 2010 Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in college astronomy teaching. At UC Berkeley, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Donald S. Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Physical Sciences. Moreover, the Cal student body has voted him a record nine times as their “Best Professor” on campus. He has produced five astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 television documentaries. In 2004, he received the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.

Last Chance to Bid on La Colina’s Performing Arts “Sing For Your Supper” Online Auction

“Sing For Your Supper” is the annual La Colina Performing Arts fundraiser. Each year this event raises money to pay for transportation, supplies, and other costs associated with the school’s performing arts program. A feature of the event is an online auction. Interested persons can bid through October 30, 2016. To browse the items and bid go to:

On November 3, 2016, there will be an additional silent auction with different items at La Colina. Buy tickets

October 13th, 2016

Franklin School Teachers Visit MOXI

As part of the sixth grade monthly Professional Learning Community training, Franklin Elementary School teachers were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the new MOXI Museum in downtown Santa Barbara. They learned about exhibits, school programs, and events. The museum will open in early 2017. Franklin’s teachers are excited to use the Next Generation Science Standards and technology to connect our students to MOXI, a new jewel in our community.

October 12th, 2016

Distinguished New Educator Award: La Colina Math Teacher Profiled in Noozhawk

On November 5, second-year math teacher Manjot Singh will receive the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) Distinguished New Educator Award at SBCEO’s Salute to Teachers gala. Congratulations!

Congratulations also go out to Megan Heffernan, Peabody Charter School, also slated to receive the Distinguished New Educator Award at the Salute to Teachers.

Dos Pueblos Prepares to Celebrate its 50th Anniversary

This month’s Homecoming Weekend at Dos Pueblos High School is going to have special significance. Friday, October 21 will mark the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding.

From 3:30-5:30 p.m., Dos Pueblos will host visitors to campus, including returning and current staff, students, and community members. Student talent will be showcased at the Elings Center for Engineering Education, Elings Performing Arts Center, and the Elings Aquatics Center.

In the gymnasium, visitors can take a “Walk Down Memory Lane” that includes artifacts and memorabilia spanning five decades of school history.

Beginning at 6:00 p.m., there will be a pre-game show in the stadium that features a parade of former homecoming kings and queens as well as performances by the school’s cheer and song, marching band, and choir.

At 7:00 p.m., the excitement is sure to ramp up on the football field when Dos Pueblos plays Santa Barbara High.

A highlight of the 50th anniversary celebration will be the induction of 16 inaugural members to the newly-created Hall of Fame.

Seven Staff Members Complete “Interpreting for Social Justice” Training

Congratulations to our district’s “Interpreting for Social Justice” participants. Director of English Language and Parent Engagement programs, Dr. Jacqueline Mora, said “Equity and access continues to be one of our district goals and we continue to be excited and energized by the commitment and passion our colleagues have to providing language access to our families. The work of providing language access to our families would not be possible without our collective efforts. We appreciate our continued partnership with Just Communities and the support of our leadership and staff.”

Facilitators: Lena Mora and Jose Navarrete


  • Anita Pulido, counseling office assistant, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Irene Morales, health tech, Santa Barbara Junior High School
  • Mario Rodriguez Cortez, special education paraprofessional, Santa Barbara High School
  • Susana Gutierrez, bilingual office assistant, Goleta Valley Junior High School
  • Blanca Castro, office assistant, Santa Barbara Community Academy
  • Mario C. Rodriguez, science teacher, Santa Barbara High School
  • Miriam Carreon, health assistant, Open Alternative School

October 11th, 2016

Reminder: SafeLaunch takes place on Monday

Correction: The SafeLaunch event will take place on MONDAY, October 17.

The SafeLaunch mission is to protect youth from drugs and alcohol because the adolescent brain is up to 600 percent more susceptible to addiction than one that is fully developed. This coming Monday, October 17, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. SafeLaunch and Santa Barbara Unified School District will present renowned brain researcher and author D.C. McGuire at the historic Marjorie Luke Theatre.

Community resource tables will open at 5:30. Early bird dinner from El Zarape Restaurant will be provided from 5:30-6:00 p.m. for $5 per person.

All parents will have the chance to win $25,000 and other great door prizes at this informative, entertaining talk. Why? Because parenting can and should be fun.

D.C. (Donna-Christine) McGuire, will inspire parents with insights from her research on cognition, behavior and decision making. She will demystify the complexity of brain science.

Ms. McGuire has been engaged in research and clinical practice for over 10 years with a particular focus on the effects of dopamine on the human brain. She has worked with individuals and businesses, as well as numerous public and private organizations applying neuroscience-based solutions to challenging issues.

The Marjorie Luke Theatre is located on Santa Barbara Junior High School campus, 721 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara.

Time: 5:30-8:00 p.m.

This presentation is made possible through a partnership of SafeLaunch and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and sponsored by Marborg, DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara and Paradise Cafe. For more information contact or 805.283.7233.

Dos Pueblos High’s Band and Guard take First Place in first Field Competition

On Saturday, October 8, the Dos Pueblos Marching Band and Dance Guard traveled to Royal High School in Simi Valley to participate in their first field competition of the year. Out of the seven division 2A bands the Dos Pueblos Chargers took first place with a score of 64.8. First place awards also went to members of the dance guard and percussion sections, a clean sweep of first in their division. Instrumental Music Director Dan Garske said, “It was an exciting day for the band and they hope to qualify for SCSBOA Championships by finishing in the top 10 Southern California bands at the end of November.”

Dos Pueblos High School’s field show is entitled “Behind the Walls” and uses abstract frame props to convey the idea of a dollhouse expanding and the elements inside escaping. The band will perform at Dos Pueblos High School during halftime of the Dos Pueblos High vs Buena High football game on October 14. The band’s next competition is at Valencia High School on October 22 at 2:00 p.m. The program is under the direction of Dan Garske; original music composed by Lozell Henderson; dance guard choreography by Idonarose Orr; and marching drill design by Eric Salas.

La Colina Junior High Career Day

Students in the classroomLast Friday, October 7, La Colina Junior High School welcomed approximately 50 community volunteers who spoke to students throughout the morning about their career paths. La Colina staff worked in collaboration with Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Partners in Education to bring the annual Career Day to students.

From special agents to orthodontists to Ancient Egypt specialists, Career Day presenters represented a wide variety of career fields. In the afternoon, teachers guided students through career interest activities designed to get students thinking about careers in which they may be interested.

Preschool Health Fair on October 14

Santa Barbara Unified’s annual Preschool Health Fair is scheduled for this Friday, October 14, at Franklin Preschool from 8:30-noon. The program has all 340 children screened for vision, hearing, dental, and body mass index. There will be more than 95 volunteers at the event, including volunteers from the Lions Club, Cal State University Channel Islands Nursing School, local dentists, Santa Barbara County Public Health, and 14 community-based organizations.  Parents in attendance are offered free flu shots, glucose and blood pressure screenings, and information on healthy habits.

October 10th, 2016

Parent Training on Dyslexia Awareness

This Wednesday, October 12, 2016, Santa Barbara Unified School District will present “What is dyslexia and how can we support individuals with dyslexia?” This parent training on dyslexia awareness will be led by Program Facilitator Dr. Gary Renis. The training will begin at 5:45 p.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. Location: La Cumbre Junior High School, Room 111, 2255 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara. Childcare will be provided in room 107 until 7:00 p.m. A complimentary dinner of chicken pasta alfredo will be provided in the cafeteria from 4:30-6:15 p.m.

Latino Fatherhood Forum on Saturday

The Latino Fatherhood Forum to be held this Saturday, October 15, at McKinley School from 8:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. To register, contact: Debi Badger, Santa Barbara Unified School District, or call 965-4633, ext. 6506

The agenda includes:

8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:45  Keynote: Dr. Ricardo Araiza, “Empowering Parents for Student Success.”
10:00-10:45 Workshop #1
11:00-11:45 Workshop #2
12:00-12:45 Lunch
1:00-1:45 Panel

Workshop choices are as follows:

  • Discipline or Guidance: Eduardo Cortes/Family Service Agency
  • Technology Safety/Social Media: Julio Carrera, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Educational System/Common Core: Mauricio Ortega, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Pathway to College/Reclassification: Dr. Jacqueline Mora, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Importance of Bonding/Attachment Right from the Start (0-5): Jose Moctezuma/CALM

Community agencies will have resource tables and staff will be available. Childcare will be provided.

University is Possible! Workshops at Franklin School

The Franklin Service Center, in partnership with Cal-Soap and UCSB Pathways, is hosting a series of University is Possible! workshops. The first workshop will be held on October 13, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Franklin cafeteria. The workshops about higher education are for Spanish-speaking parents. English translation will be provided for non-Spanish speaking parents. As parents are learning, there will be a simultaneous youth workshop about careers in law enforcement provided by Sgt. Camarena from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. The youth workshop will take place in the Franklin School library from 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Ongoing Service: The Franklin Service Center also has a Medi-Cal representative every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The representative can assist the public with the Cal-Fresh and Medi-Cal application process.


Save the Date: Safe Launch to Provide Parenting Info Plus a Chance to Win $25,000

Safe Launch Healthy Futures and Santa Barbara Unified School District will hold a parent meeting on Thursday, October 17, 2016 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High. Renown speaker and researcher Donna Christine McGuire will share insights from her research on the biochemistry of the brain and its profound influence of cognition, behavior, and decision making. Her insights can take some of the mystery out of parenting, and empower parents to take steps toward healthier, happier, more successful life outcomes for their families. Parents and district staff are invited to attend.

Admission is free. Plus, all adult attendees will receive a chance to fly a paper airplane through a target and win $25,000 cash.

Schedule: 5:30 p.m. An early bird dinner will be available for $5 per person, maximum number to be served, 100 people; 6:00 p.m. presentation in the Marjorie Luke Theatre; 7:30 p.m. airplane toss; 8:00 p.m. event concludes

 For more information, contact Safe Launch at (805) 283-7233 or


UCSB’s Our Material World at Dos Pueblos High School

UCSB’s Material’s Research Laboratory representatives will be at Dos Pueblos High’s Elings Performing Arts Center tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11, to present “Our Material World: From Made-to-Measure Medicine, to Metals with Memory.” The presentation, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at about 8:00 p.m.

The program (appropriate for ages 12+), will include the following presentations:

  • “Nanoparticles and gene therapy: Make your medicine work for you”
  • “Clear power: Transforming glass windows with transparent photovoltaics”
  • “Using materials research to create project-based learning in the K-12 classroom”
  • “Metals with memory: How these amazing materials remember their shape”

Dos Pueblos High School is located at 7266 Alameda Avenue, Goleta.

October 7th, 2016

There is Still Time to Register for the Latino Fatherhood Forum

Registrations are still being accepted for the Latino Fatherhood Forum to be held on Saturday, October 15, at McKinley School from 8:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

The agenda includes:

8:30-9:00  Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:45  Keynote: Dr. Ricardo Araiza, “Empowering Parents for Student Success.”
10:00-10:45  Workshop #1
11:00-11:45  Workshop #2
12:00-12:45  Lunch
1:00-1:45  Panel

Workshop choices are as follows:

  • Discipline or Guidance: Eduardo Cortes/Family Service Agency
  • Technology Safety/Social Media: Julio Carrera, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Educational System/Common Core: Mauricio Ortega, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Pathway to College/Reclassification: Dr. Jacqueline Mora, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Importance of Bonding/Attachment Right from the Start (0-5): Jose Moctezuma/CALM

Community agencies will have resource tables and staff will be available. Child care will be provided.

For more information, or to register, contact: Debi Badger, Santa Barbara Unified School District or call 965-4633, ext. 6506


Wellness Council Meeting Dates

In school year 2016-2017, our school district’s Wellness Council will meet Wednesday, October 12, January 11, and April 5.

All meetings will be held from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Board Room, District Office.

If you are interested in promoting health and wellness for your students and co-workers, you are encouraged to join the district’s Wellness Council. Anyone is welcome to attend. For more information, contact Monica Scafide email: or call (805) 968-2541. ext. 4627

October 6th, 2016

La Cumbre Students Help Launch Art Museum’s 75th Anniversary

Students outside the art museum












La Cumbre Junior High School’s Core Knowledge students, 180 seventh and eighth graders, helped celebrate the 75th anniversary at Santa Barbara’s Museum of Art on Friday, September 30. In 1941, when the museum first opened its doors, La Cumbre students were one of the first to view the incredible collection this local museum offers. Students, along with their teachers Valerie Galindo, Katie Pelle, and Chris Greeley, viewed art from World War I, and British Modernist artists, and then created their own triptych of realism, impressionism, and modernism pieces. The Core Knowledge students had studied British Modernism and WWI in their Core Knowledge class and were excited to see this history come to life through the eyes and hearts of various artists.

Save the Date: Latino Fatherhood Forum

Ricardo AraizaDr. Ricardo Araiza, principal of Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula, will be the keynote speaker at the district’s Santa Barbara Latino Fatherhood Forum to be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at McKinley Elementary School, 350 Loma Alta Drive, Santa Barbara, CA.

Dr. Araiza grew up in the inner cities of Santa Ana, California and Tijuana, Mexico. His keynote address is entitled “Empowering Parents for Student Success.”

For more information contact Debi Badger, Santa Barbara Unified School District,, 805.963.4338, ext. 6506.

Parcel Tax and Bond Oversight Committee Openings

Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Board of Education is seeking qualified, interested individuals to serve on either the general obligation bond or parcel tax Citizens’ Oversight Committees. These seven-member committees monitor expenditures (parcel tax Measure A2012 and B2012 support instruction; bond Measure Q2010 or Measure R2010 support building modernization, renovation, and repair).

School year 2016-2017 marks the final year of parcel tax Measure A2012 and Measure B2012.

There will be 3-4 meetings annually, each lasting about 30-60 minutes. Click here to view committee reports and documents, and to access the committee application. For more information, please contact Barbara Keyani at

October 4th, 2016

Community of Schools partners with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

La Cumbre Junior High School, in partnership with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, will be providing free flu shots on campus on Tuesday, October 4, and Tuesday, October 11, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. These events are part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Community of Schools initiative for parent and community involvement. These clinics are the beginning of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics services at La Cumbre Junior High School.

Astronomy Night at Goleta Valley Junior High

Goleta Valley Junior High students showing their graph of a supernova light curve

Goleta Valley Junior High students showing their graph of a supernova light curve

This Thursday, October 6, is Astronomy Night at Goleta Valley Junior High School. At 7:00 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, Chuck McPartlin, the current outreach coordinator of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit astronomy club, will share his knowledge with the school’s families. Then, from 8:00-8:30 p.m., guests can view stars, constellations, planets, distant galaxies and more from high-powered telescopes set up on the blacktop.

Kids Helping Kids Takes on a New Project

San Marcos High School’s Kids Helping Kids is launching a new project this fall. The Foster Resource Center is a campaign started through a partnership between Kids Helping Kids and San Marcos’ own Mr. Frank Koroshec, who runs the program RFASST (Resource Family Association Student Support Team). “With 500 foster children in Santa Barbara, foster parents do not receive much support when they house a foster child. Our Foster Resource Center is meant to be a place they can turn to when they are in need of supplies,” said Entrepreneurship Academy Director Jill Heckman. She added, “We would appreciate your support by donating your used and loved items to our resource center. Items for any age including–or not limited to–strollers, walkers, high chairs, clothing, etc.” Donated items can be dropped off at room I-07 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Julia McMahon, Kids Helping Kids director of outreach, is operating the project and can be reached, or at

October 5 is Walk to School Day

Tomorrow, October 5, Santa Barbara Unified School District will join schools from around the country to celebrate National Walk to School Day. At multiple elementary schools, this event will be conducted in partnership with the Santa Barbara Police Department to send unified traffic safety messages to our community.

Students from our local elementary schools will be walking and biking to school along with parents, teachers and community leaders. The Santa Barbara Police Department will be deploying traffic/patrol officers to the neighborhoods near schools to enforcement traffic laws, reminding everyone the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety this day and every day represents.

Walk to School Day events raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling. It also emphasizes the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment. The events build connections between law enforcement, families, schools and the broader community.

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety continues to be a priority for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Along with participating in the Safe Routes to School program, the department will be conducting numerous pedestrian and bicycle safety operations over the course of the next year.

Important Safety Reminders

For pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.
  • If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
  • Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smart phones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
  • Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.

For drivers:

  • Look for pedestrians everywhere. Pedestrians may not be walking where they should be or may be hard to see—especially in poor lit conditions, including dusk/dawn/night and poor weather.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk or where pedestrian crosswalk signs are posted.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They may be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
  • Slowdown and look for pedestrians. Be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit; slow down around pedestrians.
  • Stay focused and slow down where children may be present, like school zones and neighborhoods.
  • For additional information, please visit these websites:
  • Walk to School Day in the USA –
  • National Center for Safe Routes to School –

 October 3rd, 2016

District’s National Hispanic Scholars

Eleven high school students in our the Santa Barbara Unified School District scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test takers. Each year, the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) recognizes about 5,000 of the 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the test. The College Board reaches out to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year
  • Are at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino
  • Achieve the minimum required PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score (this qualifying level may vary by state, region, and territory each year)
  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year

According to the NHRP website, “The College Board’s NHRP program is an academic honor that can be included on college applications. It’s not a scholarship, but colleges do use this program to identify academically exceptional Hispanic/Latino students.”

Congratulations go out to:

  • Rafael Saavedra, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Christina Rice, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Nicholas Mata, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Cesar Plascencia Zuniga, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Matteo Vega, Dos Pueblos High School
  • Noelia Ramirez, San Marcos High School
  • Grace Quittner, San Marcos High School
  • Bryce Quezada, San Marcos High School
  • Benjamin Spievak, San Marcos High School
  • Diego Curiel, San Marcos High School
  • Ben Zevallos, Santa Barbara High School

Santa Barbara Latino Fatherhood Forum’s Keynote Speaker

Ricardo AraizaDr. Ricardo Araiza, principal of Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula, will be the keynote speaker at the first Santa Barbara Latino Fatherhood Forum to be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at McKinley Elementary School, 350 Loma Alta Drive, Santa Barbara, CA.

Ricardo grew up in the inner cities of Santa Ana, California and Tijuana, Mexico. He has 8 brothers and sisters. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego; his master’s degree from San Diego State University; and his doctorate from the University of La Verne. Dr. Araiza’s keynote is entitled “Empowering Parents for Student Success.”

For more information contact Debi Badger, Santa Barbara Unified School District,, 805.963.4338, ext. 6506.

September 30th, 2016

Shakespeare’s Globe Brings The Bard to Life for SB Unified Students

Professional development workshop participantsDirector of the Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Donna Ronzone reports that in support of our students’ access to the performing arts, The Léni Fund, a signature program of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, teamed up with the world-renowned Shakespeare’s Globe to bring the magic of Shakespeare to our local students. On September 19-22, two artist-teachers from England’s Globe Education–Adam Cunis and Tas Emiabata–led 15 workshops in our school district’s junior high and high school classes over the course of several days, plus a storytelling session for sixth-grade students at Washington Elementary School. The four-day event reached more than 1,000 students. Through participatory exercises that involved every member of each class, the workshops immersed the students in the plots and themes of Macbeth with the aim of demystifying centuries-old language and fueling a love of literature. Macbeth is read by all 10th graders in the district, and this experience primed students to dive in with confidence.

Rich Lashua, a performing arts teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High, said “By the end of the 90 minutes, my students were not only able to clearly articulate the essential plot elements of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, they were also able to successfully decode a lengthy soliloquy from the text and bring it to life.” One of his students enthused, “I never thought Shakespeare could be so fun!”

Fifteen teachers  from across the district representing English and theatre arts departments also participated in a professional development workshop led by Tas and Adam. The session  focused on themes of social justice and mercy in Shakespeare’s plays as well as techniques for teaching Shakespeare to students across disciplines.

Shannon Saleh, La Colina Junior High theatre arts and vocal music teacher, encapsulated the impact on teachers and students who participated: “My students were exposed to so much good theatre technique as well as new thought processes, new language, how to view characters as three-dimensional human beings, how to play with unfamiliar wording and pronunciation, how to see each other as teammates and themselves as valuable contributors, how to step emphatically into the skin of another person by playing games that allowed inclusion, exclusion, emotional levels, strategy and metacognitive investment. I love to be challenged to be a better teacher and this workshop showed me in all of the best ways, several ways to make tangible and immediate improvements.”

As an added bonus this fall, Ensemble Theatre Company presents Macbeth to open its 2016-2017 season—the first Shakespeare play it has produced in more than 20 years. The company is offering student matinees to school groups, and hundreds of our district’s high school students will attend in October, further solidifying their sense of connection with the play.

The Léni Fund provides access to professional performing arts for students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and is a signature program of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF). SBEF is the only organization dedicated to supporting all 22 schools and 15,000+ students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. To learn more, visit or contact SBEF Executive Director Margie Yahyavi at (805) 284-9125.


Free Flu Shots at La Cumbre JHS

La Cumbre Junior High School, in partnership with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, will be providing free flu shots on Tuesday, October 4, and again on Tuesday, October 11, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the school. These events are part of the Community of Schools initiative for parent and community involvement. These clinics are the beginnings of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics’ services at La Cumbre Junior High School.

September 28th, 2016

LOUD Program Goes to La Cumbre After School Program

Students on stageThe LOUD Program performed at a La Cumbre Junior High School assembly on Tuesday, September 20. The program is designed for an after school program aimed at enriching students’ lives by providing students a musical opportunity. LOUD focuses on a rock band curriculum, taught by professional musicians. The LOUD session familiarizes students with the guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and voice. Each session the students learn songs as in a band in addition to fundamental skills for succeeding in music.

Adams School Students Take to the Water

Children in the poolAll of the sixth grade students at Adams Elementary School have been participating in weekly swim lessons at the Santa Barbara YMCA. The swim lessons are incorporated into the students’ Tuesday physical education class. The two-hour swim lessons began September 13, and will run through October 18. Adams School Principal Amy Alzina said, “We are extremely grateful to be the recipients of a $12,000 YMCA grant that makes this possible for our students as they learn a very important life skill. These swim lessons are also in preparation for their Catalina Island Marine Institute camp experience in November.”   

September 27th, 2016

Santa Barbara High Choir to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

On October 8, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Santa Barbara High School’s choir will hold a fall picnic. Bring a blanket and dinner for a picnic in the Quad. There will be games, performances, and food. Or, if you prefer, pizza, beverages, and goodies will be available for purchase. This is an event open to the whole family. Admission is free.

September 26th, 2016

Adelante Charter School Prepares to Welcome New Principal

David BautistaThe Adelante Charter School Board of Directors is delighted to announce the selection Mr. David Bautista as the school’s new executive director/principal. “Adelante is a pearl in the Santa Barbara community,” said Mr. Bautista, who most recently served as assistant superintendent for the Oregon Department of Education, where he oversaw the Education and Equity Unit responsible for English learner programs and outcomes. He was instrumental in establishing numerous dual-language and multilingual programs offered throughout the state of Oregon, focusing on closing the opportunity gap for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Mr. Bautista earned dual bachelor’s degrees at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and a masters of arts degree from the University of Arizona. He has administrative experience as a PK-12 charter school director, a superintendent and assistant state superintendent.

Mr. Bautista brings extensive knowledge and expertise in multilingual education as well as a passion and vision for world-class education where proficiency in more than one language is essential. He has worked with seminal researchers in the area of dual-language education and has contributed to numerous publications and projects. ,“From theory to practice, the development of two or more languages is my passion,” said Mr. Bautista, who envisions Adelante as a “model charter school in California and in the nation.”

He will be joining the Adelante community on Monday September 26, 2016. “Adelante Charter School is poised for our next phase of growth and Mr. Bautista has the passion and skills to help us become the premiere two way immersion school on the Central Coast,” said Adelante Charter School Board President Dominic Paszkeicz.

Mr. Bautista will succeed Juanita Hernandez who led the school through tremendous growth for almost seven years. Ms. Hernandez relocated to San Diego to be closer to her family.


September 23rd, 2016

Student Maxwell Sagermann an International Art Contest Winner

Colorful drawing of a man surrounded by waves and trashWhile a student at La Colina Junior High, then eighth-grader Maxwell Sagermann entered the 2016 Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Art Contest. His entry, “Strangled Seas,” was one of two award-winning middle school entries in the art category of the competition (there were more than 2,100 submissions in the categories of art, poetry, prose, and film). He entered the contest when he was an eighth-grade student in Nicole DeLeon’s art program at La Colina.

Maxwell informed Ms. DeLeon that the school’s art program will also be awarded a prize for Maxwell’s accomplishments. To view Maxwell’s award-winning piece, go to  Maxwell is currently a ninth-grade student at San Marcos High School.

Congratulations National Merit Semifinalists

Results have been received and eight students in Santa Barbara Unified have been identified as semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship competition.

Dos Pueblos High School

  • Gans, Ruby I.
  • Lindheim-Marx, Eric W.
  • Prater, Kenyon B.
  • Saavedra, Rafael M.

San Marcos High School

  • Emily Pearlman
  • Kento Perera

Santa Barbara High School

  • William B. Buchanan
  • Camille Umoff

September 23 is California Native American Day

Today, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson speaks at California Native American Day festivities at California State University San Bernardino. He said, “The event is a good time to remember that the new History-Social Science Framework, adopted in July by the State Board of Education, will give students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past. The new document includes significant revisions to Native American history in the state, including suffering that took place in many California missions and an ‘extremely high’ death rate among Native Americans in this period resulting from the introduction of diseases for which the native population did not have immunity. The State Board of Education is scheduled to adopt recommended textbooks and other instructional materials in November 2017 after working with publishers for the next year to align their materials with California’s new framework.”

Air Quality Warning for Santa Barbara County in Effect Through Weekend

A Message from the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District

Today, September 23, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District announced the Air Quality Warning for Santa Barbara County will remain in effect through the weekend. Residents are urged to use extra caution to protect their health.

Many areas of the county have experienced elevated particle levels due to high winds, and smoke and ash from wildfires. On Thursday, September 22, every District monitoring station recorded levels of coarse particles (particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, or PM10) over the state standard, and short-term levels of fine particles (PM2.5) considered “unhealthy” were recorded at the Lompoc monitoring station.

Depending on winds and weather conditions, the next few days could see continuing elevated particle levels, and forecasted high temperatures could result in elevated levels of ozone. Use common sense to protect your health and your family’s health by limiting time spent outdoors and avoiding outdoor exercise. If you see falling ash, avoid activities, such as using leaf blowers, that will stir particles into the air.

If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to poor air quality, contact your health care provider. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

See to check air quality in your area, and see for updates. For recorded advisory updates, call (805) 961-8802.

September 19th, 2016

United Way’s 25th Annual Day of Caring

Volunteers paint a tree planter at La Cumbre Junior High

Volunteers paint a tree planter at La Cumbre Junior High

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, United Way of Santa Barbara held its 25th Annual Day of Caring. Several of our schools were the beneficiaries of this important community effort as volunteers helped with campus clean-up, painting, and other helpful tasks.

At La Cumbre Junior High, students, parents, La Cumbre junior High staff and volunteers from Montecito Bank & Trust showed up in work clothes to help beautify the campus. They painted all the student seating area, railing, trash containers, and planters in the lunch patio.

Across town at Goleta Valley Junior High, students and parents participated in the United Way Day of Caring. Principal Mauricio Ortega reports, “In total we painted the anchor, did gardening, and painted some benches and marquee.

Students pose outside Goleta Valley Junior High School

Disability Awareness Day is Coming to Santa Barbara Junior High

On September 27, seventh-grade students at Santa Barbara Junior High will gain an understanding of abilities and disabilities by experiencing and interacting with hands-on activities that simulate a variety of disabilities, including physical/visual/hearing impairment and autism. Eighth-grade students will receive a multimedia presentation and participate in a discussion on people living with disabilities

A Salute to Santa Barbara County Teachers

News release from Santa Barbara County Education Office, September 19, 2016

Eight exemplary educators in Santa Barbara County will be honored November 5 at the fourth annual “A Salute to Teachers” event hosted by Cox Communications and the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO). Three teachers have been chosen as Distinguished New Educators, while three others have been recognized as Distinguished Mentors. Additionally, Santa Barbara County’s nine 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools will be recognized. Capping the evening will be a performance by the students of the 2017 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year, Brett Larsen, and a special recognition of the 2017 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, Michelle Minetti-Smith.

The gala event, emceed by Andrew Firestone, will be held once again at the historic Lobero Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara. A Salute to Teachers partners SBCEO with Cox and a variety of sponsors, including Fielding Graduate University, Montecito Bank & Trust, Anthem-Blue Cross, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, and others. Cox has sponsored a similar celebration for 26 years in San Diego, and is honored to continue this great tradition of teacher recognition for Santa Barbara educators.

The Distinguished New Educators, nominated by their peers and chosen by a committee through the SBCEO, are:

  • Megan Heffernan — Peabody Charter School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Amy Porter — Carpinteria Family School, Carpinteria Unified School District
  • Manjot Singh — La Colina Junior High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District

The Distinguished Mentors, selected in the same fashion, are:

  • Terri Cox — Cuyama Valley High School, Cuyama Unified School District
  • Kevin Baldizon — Kermit McKenzie Junior High School, Guadalupe Union School District
  • Ashley Cornelius — Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Also being recognized at the event are the nine elementary schools from throughout the county that recently earned California Gold Ribbon School Awards. These awards recognize elementary schools that have made great gains in implementing State Board policies and their Local Control Accountability Plan. Ballard Elementary School, Cold Spring School, Santa Ynez Elementary School, Hope School, Monte Vista School, Leonora Fillmore School, Manzanita Charter, Franklin Elementary School, and Alvin Avenue School were all named Gold Ribbon Schools in the spring of 2016.

“We welcome the opportunity to celebrate outstanding teachers and teaching excellence in Santa Barbara County, ” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone. “A Salute to Teachers gives us a chance to honor high quality education throughout our county — a celebration made possible by the generous support of business partners from throughout the community.”

To register for the event, please visit For more information about the awards or the event, contact Steven Keithley, SBCEO Director of Teacher Programs and Support, at 964-4710, ext. 5281.

“A Salute to Teachers 2016” will be broadcast in its entirety on Cox Channel 8 later in the year. At that time it will also be available for viewing online at

September 16th, 2016

This Saturday: United Way’s 25th Annual Day of Caring

From 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, September 17, 2016, United Way of Santa Barbara will hold its 25th Annual Day of Caring. For more details and to register, go to the United Way website:

All volunteers are invited to attend the kick-off breakfast at 8:00 a.m. at the Page Youth Center. Our schools are the beneficiaries of this important community effort as volunteers help with campus clean-up and other helpful tasks. While several schools have volunteer coverage, there is still a need for volunteers to help at Franklin, San Marcos High School, Goleta Valley Junior High, La Cuesta, Harding Elementary, Monroe Elementary, La Cumbre Junior High, and Dos Pueblos High School. If you are interested, you are welcome to attend the breakfast, register to help, pick up an event t-shirt, and support this worth cause by volunteering your time.

Save the Date: Kinko’s Founder Paul Orfalea to Speak on October 13

Paul OrfaleaOctober is Dyslexia Awareness Month and special guest speaker Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s, will talk about how dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity did not deter him from pursuing his goals. Rather, his learning differences served to challenge him to “get it done” and find solutions. A captain of industry, Mr. Orfalea will talk about his business and life experiences.

This free community event will take place on Thursday, October 13, 2016, from 7:00-8:00 p.m., Elings Performing Arts Center, Dos Pueblos High School, 7266 Alameda Avenue, Goleta. This event is sponsored by Santa Barbara Unified School District and Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Swedish Barbershop Quartet Ringmasters Performs for Dos Pueblos Students…Next Stop Marjorie Luke Theatre

Dos Pueblos vocal teacher Courtney Anderson coordinated the September 14 performance of the Barbershop Quartet Ringmasters at Dos Pueblos High School. Teacher John Dent said, “Students cheered loudly as they were wowed by the vocals of this group, and had a chance to interact, get advice and feedback about their own performances.”

At that same assembly, a Dos Pueblos High School quartet performed for the Ringmasters:

The Ringmasters quartet will perform again at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School on Saturday, September 17, 2016. On that day, they will be one of the groups performing in the Pacific Sound Mens’ Chorus, a cappella performances by several championship quartets and choruses. For more details about the September 17 event, visit the Marjorie Luke website:

September 13th, 2016

San Marcos High’s Erandi De Silva Recognized at National Conference

Erandi DeSilvaSan Marcos High School Health Careers Academy student Erandi De Silva attended a 2 1/2-day National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists conference over the summer and received the Award of Excellence in recognition of her academic performance, leadership, and dedication to serving humanity through the profession of medicine.  At the conference, Erandi had the opportunity to hear from Nobel Prize winners. She plans to pursue her studies at UC Berkeley or UCLA.


Goleta Valley’s Coding Class

Girl sitting at computerOn Friday, seventh graders in Kim Miller’s coding class at Goleta Valley Junior High were highly engaged as they focused on creating animated computer images and sounds. Students were experimenting with sprites [animated objects], costumes, backdrops, looks, and sounds to create an interactive Scratch [a programming language] project, described as “a project that helps other people learn more about you and ideas, activities, and people that you care about.” According to Ms. Miller, “Scratch was developed at the MIT Media Lab as a networked, media-rich programming environment, designed specifically to enhance the development of technological fluency among students and provide an opportunity for students to learn how to express themselves with new technologies.”

The class was one large support group as the students eagerly helped each other find coding solutions. Isabella Valentine said, “This is the first time I have coded. I want to learn how to make a block and create an interactive game program.” From the activity on her computer screen, she is well on her way.

This 18-week junior high curriculum prepares students for the high school’s “Introduction to Computer Science” class.


Patriotic Display at Dos Pueblos High School

Hundreds of small flag planted in the grassThis morning, Dos Pueblos students arrived at school to see a sea of flags beneath the flag pole. A club on campus created the September 11th tribute.


September 8th, 2016

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Director to Speak at Next Generation High School Summit

Amir Abo-ShaeerDos Pueblos High School educator Amir Abo-Shaeer, director of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, has been invited to speak at the Second Annual White House Next Generation High School Summit on September 12, 2016. Amir, along with DPEA 2016 alumni Madison Pickett, will travel to Washington DC to be part of a panel discussion in connection with the NOVA: School of the Future documentary. Pickett is currently a freshman at MIT, majoring in mechanical engineering.

In addition to being a panelist for the documentary, Amir will be speaking in sessions about project-and design-based education in the United States. The all-day event highlights students, educators, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs who are reinventing the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy, and prepare students for success in college and career. US Department of Education and White House staff will be among the participants.

Local Santa Barbara and Goleta community members are invited to a live screening of NOVA: School of the Future to be held at the Elings Performing Arts Center at DPHS on Wednesday evening, September 14, 2016. Amir will speak at 8:45 p.m. about his trip to Washington and the screening will follow at 9:00 p.m.

Link to the documentary trailer regarding PBS School of the Future:

Adams Student Challenge Themselves Both Physically and Mentally

Last Friday, Adams Elementary School sixth-grade students, teachers and the principal participated in a full-day of team building with the Nature’s Bridge staff at Forest Home in Ojai, California. The students also challenged themselves by participating in a rock climbing course and zip line adventure through the camp.

“This day gave us all a wonderful opportunity to really get to know each other and to connect on a deeper level as many students pushed themselves to go beyond their physical and mental limits” said Adams School Principal Dr. Alzina.

Gina Shapiro Named a Broadcom Masters Semifinalist

Yesterday morning, the names of 300 Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public identified 300 semifinalists in the sixth annual Broadcom Masters science, technology, engineering, and math competition. Gina Shapiro is among them.

Currently a student at Dos Pueblos High School, Gina was a student at La Colina Junior High when the competition took place. In a news release, the event organizers said, “As the students apply project-based learning to the scientific method and the engineering process through hands-on challenges and competitions, they learn the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.”

September 2nd, 2016

Olympian Neushul Encourages Young Swimmers

Two boys looking at Kiley's Olympic medalYesterday, Olympian Kiley Neushul paid a surprise visit to the UCSB pool where second- and third-grade students in Santa Barbara Community Academy’s A-OK program were finishing the last of their swim lessons. After completing a 25-yard final swim, students received a certificate of participation and the opportunity to hear from an Olympian and touch her gold medal.

Dos Pueblos Graduates Share their Olympic Experiences

Nick Scarves, Sami Hill, and Kiley on stageFormer Dos Pueblos graduates Sami Hill, Kiley Neushul, and Nick Scarvelis could not have spoken before a more enthusiastic crowd than the one they faced yesterday. The Elings Performing Arts Center at Dos Pueblos was packed. All eyes were on the young Olympians who competed in Rio. Sami and Kiley proudly wore the gold medal they each earned as members of Team USA Women’s Water Polo. Nick, an American born UCLA graduate, represented Greece in the shot put.

The Olympians took questions from the audience following their presentation. One point that came across was the tremendous dedication and rigorous training it takes to become an Olympian.

August 31st, 2016

Vons’ Donation Benefits Monroe Elementary

At this morning’s ribbon cutting and grand opening of Vons on the Mesa, Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions Southern California President Lori Raya presented a $1,000 check to Monroe Elementary School Principal Brian Naughton. The donation will be used to support student needs.

Two Harding Students Win Reading Challenge and Chaucer’s Shopping Spree

Harding students and Chaucer's employeesReaders at Harding University Partnership School were challenged over the summer to read as many books as possible. Principal Veronica Binkley made sure that all Harding parents were aware of their children’s reading level so that all children would be able to improve their reading over the summer. The Harding School library was open all summer long for students to go in and take Accelerated Reader tests. The tests count the number of words read.

Last week, with the help of Chaucer’s staffers Lana Haskett and Blanca Orozco, grand prize winners fourth grader Charlotte Richardson and fifth grader Brenda Martinez Rios selected books during their shopping spree. The staff at Chaucer’s greeted the winners as the true champions that they are and threw in an unexpected lesson in gift wrapping. Principal Binkley will continue the challenge throughout the year.


Parcel Tax Committee Openings

There are two vacant seats on the Parcel Tax Measure A2012 Citizens’ Oversight Committee. This committee oversees Measure A2012 parcel tax projects and expenditures. Year 2016-2017 marks the final year of the parcel tax. There will be 3-4 meetings this school year, each lasting about 30-60 minutes. Click here to view committee reports and documents, and to access the committee application. The parent representative seat is currently vacant, and the community member seat will be vacant at the end of this month. If you are interested in serving, please contact Barbara Keyani at

UCSB ScienceLine Answers Your Questions

If students or staff have a science or engineering question and need help from a scientist, UCSB has a new ScienceLine. There are more than 5,000 questions and more than 9,000 answers in UCSB’s database.

ScienceLine is an Internet based “Ask a Scientist” service for students and teachers to submit science questions. Examples of questions in that database: “If you sent a marshmallow into space without a spacesuit, would it explode or implode?” or “Why are the planets round?” or “Why is gold soft?” Examples of questions and answers are posted in their database archive:

August 30th, 2016

Back to School Safety Tips from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

Now that school has started for most schools in Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Office wants to take this opportunity to remind parents of important, life-saving tips to go over with their child or children at the beginning of the school year. Please review these safety tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We believe this is information that every parent and child should know:

At Home

  • Teach children their full name, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
  • Make sure children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
  • Teach children how and when to use 911, and make sure they have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
  • Instruct children to keep the doors locked and not to open doors to talk to anyone when they are home alone.
  • Choose babysitters with care. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children about their experience and listen carefully to their responses.

Going to and from School

  • Walk or drive the route to and from school with children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help.
  • Remind children to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school and to stay with a group at the bus stop.
  • Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is okay to do so in each instance.

Out and About

  • Take children on a walking tour of the neighborhood, and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
  • Teach children to ask permission before leaving home.
  • Remind children not to walk or play alone outside.
  • Remind children it’s okay to say no to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Teach children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
  • Teach children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
  • Practice “what-if” situations and ask children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
  • Teach children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
  • During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet should you get separated.
  • Teach children how to locate help in public places. Identify people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards, and store clerks with nametags.
  • Help children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.
  • Teach children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

On the Net

  • Learn about the Internet. Visit for more information about Internet safety.
  • Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited, and establish rules for Internet use.
  • Know what other access children have to the Internet at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.
  • Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users, and make sure screen names don’t reveal too much about children.
  • Encourage children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
  • Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.

Parents are encuraged to also watch the Sheriff Department’s short Back to School Safety video:

“We wish everyone a happy and safe school year.”

SMHS Entrepreneurship Academy Students Hear from Grad/Facebook Program Manager

On Friday, August 26, Facebook’s Small Business Policy Program Manager Tasha Zuzalek visited the Marketing 101 class at San Marcos High School. A 2004 graduate of San Marcos, Ms. Zuzalek spoke about her rise from scheduling coordinator for Lois Capps to her position at Facebook and the corporation’s mission “make the world more open and connected.”Entrepreneurship Academy students asked questions of Ms. Zuzalek, including what the perks of working at Facebook are, what her typical day is like, and how her degree helped her in her various positions. Ms. Zuzalek sent t-shirts to the students and encouraged them to explore the world, take risks and learn from their mistakes, and develop and maintain relationships with everyone you meet. Her unique path from UCSB to Washington, D.C. reinforced her view that “it’s the people you meet and the relationships you keep that help you succeed in life.”

Sophomore Izabella Garfias added, “Ms. Zuzalek showed us that taking risks changed her life, and showed my peers and I that we should step out of our comfort zones, to not have boundaries, and shoot for anything we dream of becoming.”

August 26th, 2016

Franklin School in U.S. News and World Report

StudentsThe August 24, 2016 online issue of U.S. News and World Report includes an article on elementary schools that are promoting financial literacy (“How Teachers Are Bringing Financial Literacy Lessons to the Classroom”).

Franklin School teacher Leon Lewandowski’s year-long financial unit includes monitoring of stocks; job interviews; employment applications; and lessons related to the virtual buying, selling, and rental of the students’ school desks.

To read the complete article, go to:

National Hispanic Scholars

Congratulations go out the following 11 students. They have been selected as a National Hispanic Scholars. These students scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test takers in our region.

  • Dos Pueblos High School: Rafael Saavedra, Christina Rice, Nicholas Mata, Cesar Plascencia Zuniga, Matteo Vega
  • San Marcos High School: Noelia Ramirez, Grace Quittner, Bryce Quezada, Benjamin Spievak, Diego Curiel
  • Santa Barbara High School: Ben Zevallos

SMHS to Announce MVP Award Recipient to Honor Former Principal

Tonight’s San Marcos and Santa Ynez game will have a Most Valuable Player (MVP) named after the game. The MVP trophy will be called The Norm Clevenger MVP Award. The award is named after former Santa Ynez and San Marcos Principal Norm Clevenger, who is suffering from cancer.

The school will announce the award recipient at the end of the 7:00 p.m. game. There will also be a perpetual plaque that will be kept at the winning teams display case.

Suzette McCormick Now Part of the San Marcos Team

Suzette-McCormickToday, San Marcos High gave a warm Royal welcome to new Assistant Principal Suzette McCormick, shown here sporting her Royal gear. For the past 20 years, Suzette served as a Franklin Elementary School teacher. Her children attended Santa Barbara High and her brother Phillip attended San Marcos.

Science Teachers Prepare for Rollout of Next Generation Science Standards

Teachers sitting at a tableSecondary science teachers from across the district participated in a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Statewide Rollout Session focusing on the NGSS practices of modeling, argumentation and explanation. Statewide Rollouts are a collaboration of the California Department of Education, K-12 Alliance, West Ed, and California Science Teachers Association. This session was co-facilitated by Nellie Hill, Marilyn Garza, and Kim Tilton.

August 24th, 2016

Back to School Nights, Fall 2016

Mark your calendar, it’s time for Back-to-School Night in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Back-to-School-Night provides a great opportunity for parents to visit their child’s school and classroom, meet their child’s teacher(s), and learn about the educational experience their son or daughter will receive. Following is the district’s upcoming Back-to-School Night schedule.

Elementary Schools
Washington Elementary, Tuesday, August 30, 5:30 p.m.
Franklin Elementary, Wednesday, August 31, 6:00 p.m.
Adams Elementary, Thursday, September 1, 5:00 p.m.
Harding University Partnership School, Monday, September 12, 5:30 p.m.
McKinley Elementary, Tuesday, September 20, 5:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Elementary, Monday, September 26, 5:30 p.m.
Monroe Elementary, Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 p.m.
Open Alternative School, Thursday, September 29, 5:00 p.m.

Junior High Schools
Goleta Valley Junior High, Wednesday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.
La Colina Junior High, Thursday, September 8, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Junior High, Monday, September 19, 6:00 p.m.
La Cumbre Junior High, Thursday, September 22, 6:00 p.m.

High Schools
Dos Pueblos High, Tuesday, September 6, 6:30 p.m.
San Marcos High, Wednesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara High, Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.
La Cuesta Continuation, Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m.

August 22nd, 2016

Adams Elementary School Partners with Costco

TGirl with a backpackoday was an exciting day for Adams Elementary School students in grades K-4. Costco donated more than 400 backpacks to the school. Each backpack contained school supplies. Costco has generously participated with Santa Barbara Unified for the past several years to bring the backpack program to local elementary schools.

District’s Flags on State Street

State-Street-FlagsAs part of the district’s yearlong 150th anniversary celebration, Santa Barbara Unified is included in the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization’s weekly Flags On State Street program. Beginning last week, 120 flagpoles along State Street, from Cabrillo Boulevard to Sola Street, are flying the flag. Having successfully completed the approval process, our district has the opportunity to participate annually during the next several years.

Many thanks to Santa Barbara High VADA teacher Nicole McKee Barr for the concept sketch and webmaster Linda Steele for working on the production of this project.

San Marcos High Prepares for Year 2 of Academy for Success

SMHS-Academy-for-SuccessAs the inaugural cohort of the Academy for Success completed up its first year at San Marcos High School, there is much success to celebrate. Modeled after The Academy for Success at Dos Pueblos High School, and mentored by Kelly Choi, 32 students, who had previously been unsuccessful in the school system, were recruited at the end of their ninth-grade year to begin this three-year program.

Through personalized attention and support from a dedicated team of five teachers and a counselor, these previously struggling students are blossoming. Last fall, SMHS Academy for Success students traveled as a cohort to English and World History classes. In the spring, students took science and math classes. All year long, students participated in Guided Studies, a study hall where they were paired with student mentors, to check grades and receive tutoring. During the last period of the day, students took their elective class with the general population. In addition to academic support, students are also given the option for one-on-one therapy with a licensed MFT. The results so far are inspiring as there have been noticeable improvements in attendance, grades, and behavior.

Two SMHS Academy for Success students have also recently received recognition from the larger Santa Barbara community:

  • On May 23, Jessica Villegas Lazaro was recognized for her leadership in the academy at the Annual Youth Leadership Awards event. As a key member of the student-run San Marcos High Academy Senate, Jessica acts as a spokesperson and group leader, meeting with both students and faculty members alike to discuss and refine academy policies.
  • On June 2, Jennifer Gomez Delgadillo received the prestigious ACSA Every Student Succeeding award. Jenny was recognized for her fortitude and grace in overcoming some incredibly difficult situations. Through the support she has received in the academy, Jenny has continued to make even more impressive gains, both academically and personally.
    On Monday, August 22, the SMHS Academy for Success will welcome students back for their second year in the program.

For more information and photos of the SMHS Academy for Success, visit For those interested in supporting the program, contact: Kelly Choi at

Franklin Teacher’s Random Acts of Kindness Project in NEA Today Magazine

Franklin Elementary School third-grade teacher Leon Lewandowski is featured in National Education Association’s “NEA Today Magazine,” available online:

The article, “A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way: Nine ways to introduce students to random acts of kindness,” describes an annual April class exercise. “At school, the Random Acts Of Kindness (RAOK) project crosses the curriculum and offers lessons in social studies and current events, math (the students graph different RAOK types), writing, and speaking. (They give class presentations using the Haiku Deck app).” Lewandowski’s eight tips for starting an RAOK project are included in the article.

August 17th, 2016

La Cumbre Junior High is Highlighted in Facilities Upgrades & Retrofit Magazine

La Cumbre Junior High School’s auditorium modernization was featured on the cover of the July 2016 American School & University, “Facilities Upgrades & Retrofit.” The digital edition can be viewed at

DP Engineering Academy to be Featured in PBS Special

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy is going to be featured in a NOVA special airing September 14, 2016. Watch for a trailer, which should be available soon.

Back to School Nights, Fall 2016

Mark your calendar, it’s time for Back-to-School Night in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Back-to-School-Night provides a great opportunity for parents to visit their child’s school and classroom, meet their child’s teacher(s), and learn about the educational experience their son or daughter will receive. Following is the district’s upcoming Back-to-School Night schedule.

Elementary Schools
Washington Elementary, Tuesday, August 30, 5:30 p.m.
Franklin Elementary, Wednesday, August 31, 6:00 p.m.
Adams Elementary, Thursday, September 1, 5:00 p.m.
Harding University Partnership School, Monday, September 12, 5:30 p.m.
McKinley Elementary, Tuesday, September 20, 5:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Elementary, Monday, September 26, 5:30 p.m.
Monroe Elementary, Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 p.m.
Open Alternative School, Thursday, September 29, 5:00 p.m.

Junior High Schools
Goleta Valley Junior High, Wednesday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.
La Colina Junior High, Thursday, September 8, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Junior High, Monday, September 19, 6:00 p.m.
La Cumbre Junior High, Thursday, September 22, 6:00 p.m.

High Schools
Dos Pueblos High, Tuesday, September 6, 6:30 p.m.
San Marcos High, Wednesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara High, Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.
La Cuesta Continuation, Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m.

School Wellness Summit Grant

Following is information and a link to the $5,000 School Wellness Summit grant. The deadline has been extended to Friday, September 16, 2016.


  1. Program must encompass either workplace wellness, student or community wellness, food literacy, nutrition, or physical activity and be consistent with the values of the School Wellness Summit by creating, supporting, and sustaining a culture of health and wellness in the Santa Barbara County public school community.
  2. Application must specify what target population will benefit from the program.


This grant opportunity is currently only open to Santa Barbara County public schools.

Call for proposals are currently open to teams only in Santa Barbara County (i.e., comprised of administration, teachers, wellness committees, PTOs, PTSAs, food service) consisting of at least five members (preferably from different departments) responsible for program implementation.

Each team must have one designated presenter available to attend and present at the School Wellness Summit on October 26, 2016, at the Alisal Guest Ranch 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


 August 4th, 2016

Back to School Nights, Fall 2016

The start of school is just around the corner. On August 22, 2016, over 14,000 students on the traditional calendar will begin the 2016-17 school year at Santa Barbara Unified School District. Our year round schools are already in session.

Mark your calendar, it’s time for Back-to-School Night in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Back-to-School-Night provides a great opportunity for parents to visit their child’s school and classroom, meet their child’s teacher(s), and learn about the educational experience their son or daughter will receive. Following is the schedule for:

Elementary Schools
Santa Barbara Community Academy, Thursday, August 11, 6:00 p.m.
Washington Elementary, Tuesday, August 30, 5:30 p.m.
Franklin Elementary, Wednesday, August 31, 6:00 p.m.
Adams Elementary, Thursday, September 1, 5:00 p.m.
Harding University Partnership School, Monday, September 12, 5:30 p.m.
McKinley Elementary, Tuesday, September 20, 5:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Elementary, Monday, September 26, 5:30 p.m.
Monroe Elementary, Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 p.m.
Open Alternative School, Thursday, September 29, 5:00 p.m.

Junior High Schools
Goleta Valley Junior High, Wednesday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.
La Colina Junior High, Thursday, September 8, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Junior High, Monday, September 19, 6:00 p.m.
La Cumbre Junior High, Thursday, September 22, 6:00 p.m.

High Schools
Dos Pueblos High, Tuesday, September 6, 6:30 p.m.
San Marcos High, Wednesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara High, Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.
La Cuesta Continuation, Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m.

July 26th, 2016

News from the iLearn Initiative

A message from the iLearn Team.

We all know student learning should drive the use of educational technology. You can see how Santa Barbara Unified teachers are putting this idea into practice on the iLearn blog:

This summer the iLearn team selected four teacher blog posts to spotlight:

  • Michelle Brunkhurst, a second grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, uses Evernote to monitor her students’ reading fluency. For more on how she does it, click here:
  • Megan Cotich, a science teacher at La Colina Junior High School, writes about the different ways teachers and students can annotate images using digital tools. Read more about her experience at the following link:
  • Matt York, a world history teacher at Dos Pueblos High School, describes how his students use Actively Learn to read and interact with texts. To learn more go to:
  • Jerolyn Fikes, a math, AVID, and computer science teacher at San Marcos High School, explains how she uses the powerful graphing app Desmos in her math classroom. Go to:

Adams Elementary School is Recognized as an Ocean Guardian School

Principal Alzina with studentsAdams Elementary School has successfully met the grant requirements for their 2015-2016 Ocean Guardian School project year, and has been officially recognized by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as an Ocean Guardian School.

The primary goal of Adams Elementary School’s 2015-2016 Ocean Guardian School grant was to reduce waste with a focus on the reduction of single use plastic cups in the cafeteria. The student body (grades TK-6) was introduced to marine debris and plastic pollution and how it impacts their local watershed and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. All students learned about daily conservation measures to reduce their impact on the environment. An existing water fountain at the school was retrofitted with a water refill drinking system. All students had the opportunity to buy a refillable water bottle at a reduced rate of $2 per bottle to use rather than the single use plastic cups that the school provides in the cafeteria. 
The project accomplished the following goals:

  • educate the entire student body about marine debris and plastic pollution and how it impacts the marine environment;
  • educate the entire student body about daily conservation measures they can use to reduce their impact on the environment, including the ocean; and
  • reduce the use of plastic cups by nearly 100 percent.

The students switched to using compostable paper cups in the cafeteria, which also helped in the school’s reduction of single-use plastics in the cafeteria. The students promoted the switch during a Zero Waste Week.

Looking ahead, Adams School plans to accomplish the following during the 2016-2017 school year:
Receive another grant for the 2016-2017 school year. The Ocean Guardian School grant will support the school’s initial efforts to reduce waste on campus through increased use of reusable items, composting and recycling, all with the aim of moving towards a zero waste cafeteria and other school-based areas. The upper elementary Montessori students will lead the school-wide project, including periodic waste audits throughout the year.

At the 2015 international Our Ocean Conference, President Obama remarked how “our economies, our livelihoods, and our food all depend on our oceans, and yet we know that our actions are changing them. Because this affects every part of the world, we all have to play our part at home.”

Dr. Amy Alzina, Adams, principal, credits this accomplishment to Adams parents Claire Fackler and Monica Kaderali for writing the grant; Donna Nelson, the school’s 4th-6th grade Montessori teacher; and students for their leadership in implementing the goals of the grant. Dr. Alzina is grateful for the school’s commitment to the preservation of our planet.


July 22nd, 2016

News from the California Department of Education

Results of the Healthy Kids Survey for 2014-2015 school year have been released by the California Department of Education (CDE). According to CDE, “Drug and alcohol use dropped among students and school safety increased, according to the new California Healthy Kids Survey…The survey evaluates how well schools met students’ needs for school safety, drug and alcohol prevention, mental health, and other factors that influence learning. The survey is conducted every two years.” Results are available here:

Getting a Head Start at the PEAC Summer Institute

The Santa Barbara Unified, Program for Effective Access to College (PEAC) offers students a head start prior to transitioning to seventh and ninth grade. The recent PEAC Summer Institute ran a three-week program where entering seventh-grade students were enrolled in math, English, and science enrichment and entering ninth grade students completed the health class for high school credit. Students received an orientation to junior high and high school requirements, college readiness strategies, college field trips, and team building activities.

Group of students

Community of Schools: A Pathway to Success

Santa Barbara Unified is focused on a vision, mission, and core values to close the achievement gap and do whatever it takes to improve all children’s chance at success in school and life, from birth to college graduation. Through an intentional private-public partnership between the Santa Barbara Unified schools and the philanthropic sector, as well as local colleges, business, and stakeholders serving the community, children and their families are being supported.

The aim of the Community of Schools is to significantly change the educational trajectory of children who have not typically been afforded opportunities that result in school readiness, by providing them with a clear pathway and support to achieving their goals. The Community of Schools aligns with the goals of the district’s strategic plan with a greater focus on early childhood education, school readiness, family and community engagement, and college readiness. The pathway to student success identifies benchmarks and milestones to guide the project.

The Community of Schools strives to change outcomes for children by addressing the five comprehensive components of the project plan: early childhood education and kindergarten readiness; parent education, engagement, and leadership; community school model; college readiness; and collective impact. The plan incorporates continuous program improvement through evaluation and metric-driven decision making. The Community of Schools is supported through blended funding, including school district funds, partnerships with local community agencies and colleges, and private funds at approximately $1million to supplement key strategies and programming to meet the goals of the project.

Adams Prepares for Kindergarten Camp

Incoming kindergarten students at Adams Elementary School will soon be headed to the school’s Kindergarten Camp. The one-week camp begins Monday, July 25, at 9:00 and ends at noon. The camp supports a smooth transition into the school setting. Principal Amy Alzina said, “I’ve noticed that since we started the camp a little over five years ago, it has eliminated the first day of school tears for these students as they are eager to see the friends they made from the camp and the Friday play dates at Henry’s beach that run through the summer from 4:00-6:00 p.m.” She added, “The curriculum includes a lot of play, hands-on project based learning, readers theatre and songs to support oral language.”

Harding School’s Summer Reading Challenge

For the Summer Reading Challenge at Harding University Partnership School, the parents of every incoming student in grades 1-6 received information on their child’s current Accelerated Reading (AR) level from their last STAR test and encouraged them to go to the library to get “just right” books for their child.

Once they read their books, the students are invited to return to Harding and take the accompanying AR test (Wednesday and Friday evening from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the library) which will tally the number of words read.

Principal Binkley has challenged all students to read at their AR level so they can compete for the most words read over the summer. The top two winners (children who read the most words) will win a gift of their choice from Chaucer’s Book Store. The purpose of the program is to continue the reading program over the summer.

 July 12th, 2016

If Robotics is Your Thing, Check Out Riviera Robotics

Students in robotics workshopInterested in robotics? The Riviera Robotics student-run FIRST Robotics Competition team (aka Team 5818) is going into its second year in the fall and is looking for new team members. Founded in 2015 by three Dos Pueblos High School students, the team is off to a flying start. This past season, Riviera Robotics competed in Ventura, Boise, Idaho, and at the FIRST Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. This new program is open to all high school students in Santa Barbara Unified. There is no application process; the program is open admission. Interested high school students can read more about the team and apply at

If you wish to learn more, the team can be contacted

Franklin School’s Summer Session Builds Math, Reading, and Swim Skills

In collaboration with the City of Santa Barbara, Franklin’s Summer School looks quite different. Twenty students entering third grade attend summer school at Franklin at 8:30 a.m. After their summer school session, they change and walk to the Franklin Neighborhood Center where they are transported to City of Santa Barbara pools and have swim lessons provided by City of Santa Barbara lifeguards. After their swim lesson is over, they return to Franklin, have lunch and head home. The collaboration between the City of Santa Barbara and Franklin Elementary School is changing students’ summers to provide life-long lessons by improving math and reading skills as well as swimming skills.

Harding School’s Summer Reading Challenge

For the Summer Reading Challenge at Harding University Partnership School, the parents of every incoming student in grades 1-6 received information on their child’s current Accelerated Reading (AR) level from their last STAR test and encouraged them to go to the library to get “just right” books for their child.

Once they read their books, the students are invited to return to Harding and take the accompanying AR test (Wednesday and Friday evening from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the library) which will tally the number of words read.

Principal Binkley has challenged all students to read at their AR level so they can compete for the most words read over the summer. The top two winners (children who read the most words) will win a gift of their choice from Chaucer’s Book Store. The purpose of the program is to continue the reading program over the summer.

Correction: SBHS Grad Receives All-American Recognition

The July 8 eNEWS included an information on six SBUSD seniors that received All-American water polo recognition. Santa Barbara High graduate Kristina Garcia, made first team (not third team) all CIF going to UC Berkeley. Go Bears!

July 8th, 2016

Adams Summer Maker Challenge to the Community

Everyone is a maker and Adams Elementary School would love to see what you are making this summer. The Adams community is challenging parents and students to make something and share it with the Adams Facebook group community. Adams design teachers Sean Federbusch and Blake Garnand have put together a promotional video that can be found below.

Also, ideas for building can be found at: or

Local Teens Receive All-American Water Polo Recognition

Congratulations to the following district students/graduates for their recognition by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA):

  • Paige Hauschild, San Marcos High: first team All-American
  • Kate Coski, San Marcos High grad (will attend UCSB): third team
  • Kristina Garcia, Santa Barbara High grad (will attend UC Berkeley): first team
  • Sawyer Rhodes, Santa Barbara High: second team
  • Justyn Barrios, Santa Barbara High grad (will attend UCSB): fourth team
  • George Kuesis, San Marcos High grad (will attend UC Davis): fifth team

Dos Pueblos Offers Summer Camps

Dos Pueblos High School is offering summer swim, woodworking camps, cheer and dance camp, and a video/photo camp. For more information or to sign up online go to

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