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Paul Wellman

A Survey of Santa Barbara Schools

From Kindergarten to College Counseling, Options Abound


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.

• Elementary School Options: Sending a child off to elementary school can be a daunting task, but the opportunities abound in S.B.

• Middle School Solutions: The old myth about everybody hating junior high has bit the dust at these schools.

S.B. High School Options: At the nexus of childhood and pre-adulthood, 8th graders approaching high school must decide which school to attend.

• The Role of High School Counselors: Though several people play important roles in the process of getting into college, high school counselors deserve a nod for the versatile work they do.

• Getting into College: The Santa Barbara Independent sat down with UCSB admissions director Lisa Przekop to find out what colleges are looking for.

• School Survey Listings

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