Vision and Philosophy

We come together as a community of people who share educational interests and goals. We nurture the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of the child and help students achieve academic goals through multi-sensory experiences.

We value student-led learning and are committed to building a child’s sense of self by facilitating the academic and social success of each student.

Santa Barbara Charter School is a materials-based program. Our deepest and most important underlying assumption is that the most powerful learning takes place when students create their own meaning and understanding through their interactions with materials and other people. Our goal is to provide an educational program with breadth and depth for students with different learning styles and types of intelligence. It is the teacher’s job(s) to notice how each child interacts with people and things around him/her, and ask questions or provide materials and instruction that lead to the next structured step in cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. SBCS offers both classroom-based and homebased options.

Language Arts

The SBCS Language Arts program focuses on developing a wide range of communication skills. Students are encouraged to become speakers and listeners, as well as readers and writers. They learn to communicate content, articulate opinions, and express themselves creatively. An evidence-based approach is emphasized when evaluating literature, participating in discussions, making presentations, writing essays, and doing research.


Research indicates that ongoing interaction with concrete materials, representational models, and investigative activities are the best preparation for higher mathematics. Math facts fluency develops through deep conceptual understanding, repeated practice, and experience with identifying and creating patterns. Students are encouraged, throughout their school experience to develop the spirit of inquiry and curiosity through the study of each mathematical domain.


At SBCS we know that developing skills in visual and performing arts creates joy and encourages creative expression. A solid arts education can lead to success in other disciplines. Students are taught to appreciate artistic expression for its own sake. Sometimes art is used as a vehicle for learning about other disciplines. Classroom teachers often integrate visual arts, fiber arts, crafts, music, movement, dance, and drama into the daily program.


Science at SBCS is built around the theme of “Inquiry, Interdependence, and Reasoning as a part of a Scientific Community.” Students study Physical, Life, and Earth Science. We seize teachable moments for scientific investigation. The program is both “minds-on” and “hands-on.”

Social Studies

Social Studies at SBCS includes the study of interactions of human beings with each other as well as their environment. During the earliest years, students focus on self, family, and community, moving outward as they progress through elementary school. Literature, writing, art, and music are integrated into social studies instruction. The curriculum goes well beyond the usual content standards, and includes learning communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.

Physical Education

Our Physical Education program recognizes the mind-body connection, and addresses students’ physical, emotional, and intellectual health. P.E. is a vehicle for learning movement, cooperation, teamwork, and human physiology. Students build a sense of community, confidence, and self-esteem through their participation in the program.


Computer literacy is mandatory for success in the twenty-first century so we incorporate the use of computers and tablets throughout the school. Students have the opportunity to use computers and tablets for word processing, Internet research, movie production, slide shows, graphic design and Power Point presentations. Beginning in 2014, students will have access to educational applications on tablets. Statewide testing will be done electronically.

HomeBased Education

HomeBased education is founded on the recognition that children learn all the time and everywhere. The SBCS HomeBased partnership is a program through which homeshooled children attend school at least one day per week. Many take advantage of rich elective offerings by specialists.

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