School News 2017-18

2017-18 School Calendars

2017-18 Traditional Calendar

2017-18 Year Round Calendar


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Five High School Students from Santa Barbara Unified School District Named Semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Five high school students from Santa Barbara Unified School District were among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists announced today who qualified for the 2018 National Merit® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Semifinalist may be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship if they advance to the Finalist standing in the competition, which is determined by February. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)—which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

Santa Barbara Unified School District High School students named Semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit® Scholarship Program, are:

Dos Pueblos High School
Francis Pan
James Roney

San Marcos High School
Kadin Donohoe
Junna Faessel

Santa Barbara High School
Thomas Everest

For more information about the National Merit® Scholarship Corporation and Program, visit:



Monday, September 11, 2017

Santa Barbara Community Academy Principal, Alicia Saballa-Santana, Announces Retirement

Santa Barbara Community Academy Principal, Alicia Saballa-Santana announced she will retire on October 6, 2017 after six years of service with Santa Barbara Unified School District and 32 years in education. Saballa-Santana began her service with Santa Barbara Unified School District on September 2011 as Principal of Santa Barbara Community Academy.

“Santa Barbara Unified School District is fortunate to have had the leadership of Alicia Saballa-Santana over the last six years,” said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. “Saballa-Santana’s compassionate and steady voice for student and parent achievement has benefited those she served – families, educators, and staff. We are appreciative of Alicia Saballa-Santana’s contributions throughout our District and wish her well in her retirement.”

Saballa-Santana, a daughter of migrant farmworkers, began her educational career as an instructional aide, advancing to become a teacher, multilingual programs coordinator, director of a migrant program, and school administrator. Her education career spans 32 years, where she served 17 years as a kindergarten through eighth grade teacher, and most recently, 15 years as a school administrator. At Santa Barbara Community Academy, Saballa-Santana is recognized for her work to strengthen parent engagement, oversee facility improvements, and help SBCA become one of the first schools to implement Guided Language Acquisition Design, an instructional model to support teachers by providing strategies to integrate instruction in English and grade-level content for a diverse, mainstream classroom.

Santa Barbara Unified School District will begin to recruit and hire for a permanent leader for Santa Barbara Community Academy. Michael Gonzalez, a former Assistant Superintendent, Principal, and Assistant Principal of Santa Barbara Unified School District will begin to serve as an interim beginning early October. Gonzalez retired in 2010, and since then has assisted the district by serving as a consultant, and most recently, as interim Principal at McKinley Elementary.

Santa Barbara Community Academy opened on July 19, 1999 and is currently located on the campus of La Cumbre Junior High School. This transition provides an opportunity to explore the synergy between these two schools. To ensure the most effective transition, Superintendent Cary Matsuoka and Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Educational Services, Dr. Raul Ramirez, will be working with staff and families to review the Academy’s year-round schedule, curriculum, and structure to determine how best to meet the needs of families going forward and to support selecting the next leader for the Academy.


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.


© Copyright Santa Barbara Education Foundation | 1330 State Street, Suite 201, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | (805) 284-9125 |