The following is The Santa Barbara Independent’s first attempt to survey the extraordinary range of educational opportunities available from the Santa Ynez Valley to Carpinteria for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The first obstacle in this heady task we encountered was the sheer volume of information available.
Our longtime news writer Brandon Fastman, who has a young child soon to enter his first years of schooling, spent time interviewing and examining the educational opportunities in the elementary grades; Executive Arts Editor Charles Donelan, who is himself a teacher, took a survey of the wide range of middle school opportunities; and reporter Kelsey Brugger, who has recently taken on the education beat, interviewed high school students who have made decisions that are working for their individual needs. Brugger also examined the role of school counselors and interviewed one of the top college admission officers at UCSB.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of this project was assembling, for the first time anywhere, a complete listing of all public and private schools from K-12. That duty fell to our brave calendar editor, Terry Ortega.
Altogether, it made an amazing picture of how grand and varied the selection is of schools in our region. It also emphasized how educational thinking is shifting more toward meeting the needs of individual students.
Spending time with only a few of the many thousands of dedicated parents, students, teachers, and administrators who fill our area’s schools left the distinct impression that the student-centered learning revolution is alive and well and living (and learning) in Santa Barbara.