When first arriving at Santa Barbara Charter School, I was impressed with the acknowledgment and acceptance that not all kids learn the same way and they were allowed to determine what worked best for them. I was also struck by how this teaching approach felt individualized, fostered independence and self-motivation, yet at the same time the class was working as a group. The teacher had time for each student individually and the classroom had the feel of getting down to the business of learning and fun at the same time. If a child finished work and was waiting for the teacher he/she would move to unfinished work, read a book, or play with blocks. I didn’t observe disruptive behavior. It’s not that this group of students didn’t act goofy as kids do; it’s that their silliness was easily absorbed into the overall atmosphere and they respected the learning environment. The approach was subtle yet incredibly effective.
We are at Santa Barbara Charter School because of:
* The teachers: they are fabulous, dedicated to the students, and providing a wonderful and rich environment for the kids to come and learn in.
* The academic program: we appreciate the focus of the school, and the approach to the curriculum. It is clear that students develop a love of learning while going to SBCS.
* The community of parents: it is clear that SBCS parents are very invested in the education of their children. Their participation in the running of the school reflects that commitment. The support they provide to the teachers is second to none, and the overall feeling of community is felt at so many levels.
“Amazingly committed, loving teachers. I have been move to tears during classes, observing the respect and attention to each child. This school helps children retain their love of learning and develop into confident individuals.”
Our son loves science. He has been given a materials-base learning curriculum that has allowed him to pursue his love for scientific reasoning and analysis. He is already talking about what he will do for the school’s science fair this spring. In a recent art lesson about the Scottish artist, Andy Goldsworthy, famous for his sculptures and land-art situated in natural and urban settings, my son remembered he has seen Mr. Goldsworthy’s art before in a book. When asked what he noticed about Mr. Goldsworthy’s sculptures, he said, “He uses proprieties of nature like gravity, weather, and space to make his art.” I was working in the classroom that day and was so thankful for a lesson that allowed him to see the complexities of art and how it required an understanding of other disciplines in order to be successful.
There are many reasons we LOVE Santa Barbara Charter School:
The first that comes to mind is the emphasis on building relationships. Children here are taught how to deal with conflict. Obviously bullying is not acceptable anywhere; but the manner in which it is dealt with makes the difference. For instance, instead of sending a child to the principal’s office due to a “no tolerance” policy, the entire class takes the time to discuss and work through the conflict. Many times my children are able to work through disagreements on their own and my intervention is not necessary. As a parent I’m sure you would agree to the value of such skills. Children here are encouraged to be unique, to be themselves, and accepting of others. The whole child, emotional and intellectual, is nourished and celebrated.
As a former teacher with over a decade in experience and a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University, and as a parent who has spent countless hours in the classroom, I can testify that Santa Barbara Charter School provides a quality education following the best research based practices. Throughout the country schools are beginning to recognize the importance of providing social and emotional instruction and are struggling to implement approaches. SBCS has a long-standing and successful program in this area that could be a model for other schools.
We couldn’t be happier with our choice of Santa Barbara Charter School. They teach the whole child, not just the skills found on a standardized test.
Working in technology, I am continuously reminding my team that while engineering skills are the cost of admission, collaboration and communication skills are what will drive their careers forward. It is in this area that Santa Barbara Charter School really stands out: the focus on social and communication skills at SBCS is giving its alumni skills that will open doors for them in the information age, where collaboration and communication are central. My children have been well served by their years at SBCS. Please visit and learn more about a school that is delivering on its mission to teach key skills like writing and math, and more than that, to deliver the soft skills that are absolutely foundational to success in the 21st century.
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