At the beginning of this academic year, the Santa Barbara Independent launched Top Class, a program to help highlight and support local teachers, students, and classrooms. School looks different this year and teaching processes are evolving. Top Class showcases the creative ways that local classrooms are thriving, as students collaborate and grow, whether they are together in one room or learning from home.

Pre-K through 12th grade classrooms in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are eligible, and can be nominated by a teacher, parent, student, family, or friend. Each month, a panel of judges reviews the entries and chooses one classroom to be recognized as that month’s Top Class.

Top Class honorees from this school year so far include Santa Barbara Middle School’s online cooking class with instructor Pierre Alexandre “Chef PA” Tremblay, San Marcos High School concert band with teacher Michael Kiyoi, Kindergarten Room 101 Mariposas at Adelante Charter School with Maestra Carolina Alcarez, and Mrs. Chang’s Pre-K class at Franklin School.

The Top Class program is sponsored by The Bartron Real Estate Group, who helps choose each month’s classroom and presents them with a check for $500. Bartron Real Estate Group founder Lorie Bartron shares, “We realize the heroic efforts that local teachers are putting forth this year to keep children engaged, safe, and learning despite all that is going on around them. Whether they are in a classroom together or in a virtual setting, teachers and students are facing challenges no one dreamed of. By sharing the stories of their dedication and hard work, we hope to show how classrooms are staying creative and staying connected during the hardest of times. We believe that teachers and schools are the backbone of our community, and we want to support their inspiring efforts.”    

A new classroom will be recognized each month through June. For more information, and to view a photo gallery of previous nominations, or to nominate your favorite class, visit

REALTORS®: Share your industry info in “REAL ESTATE SCOOP.” Email for details.


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