Santa Barbara Charter School serves a wide-range of students including those who are academically gifted as well as challenged in some ways. The rich variety of artistic, interpersonal, and intellectual activity allows every child the opportunity for excellence in some arena. When we are concerned about a student’s performance, we pull out the student’s collection of work that we have saved over time and are always amazed as we uncover and focus on the gifts that are apparent in the student’s work. This process of individual assessment and intervention is equally vital when working with gifted students. We have a number of students who are extraordinarily bright and have little to gain from a prescribed curriculum. Our project-based approach keeps these students stimulated.
At the same time as we work to meet the needs of students who have been traditionally low-performing or high achieving, we have been particularly pleased to discover that there is no such thing as an average student. We find than each child has unique intellectual gifts. We value working in a setting where those gifts are obvious to everyone including the child.
In response to the needs of our students, we provide support to students who are struggling whether or not they have been formally identified. We begin intervening long before a child fails; consequently many of the affective issues that often create obstacles for low achieving students never develop. This approach allows a love of books and learning to remain alive in nearly all of our students.