Wendy Sims-Moten | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara Unified moved one step closer to building a summer learning program that will help students make up for any learning loss stemming from a tumultuous past academic year in the pandemic.

There are four different types of summer programs that a student can get invited to. There’s learning recovery and enrichment, which focuses on math and English and building core subjects; the newcomer program, which is meant for students who have been in the country less than three years; the extended school year program, which aims to address regression; and the bridge program, which is meant for students who are transitioning into a new school, such as transitional kindergarten to kindergarten or 6th grade to 7th grade.

For a typical elementary day, the focus will mainly be on literacy, math, and STEAM subjects in the morning and additional enrichment and social-emotional learning in the afternoon. For junior high students, the focus will either be on the same core subjects, or on “getting used to junior high” if the student is in a bridge program. In high school, the main focus will be on credit recovery only.

Students must be invited to the summer programs in order to join. The district looks at grades to determine which students would benefit from summer school the most. The district is looking to support 64 elementary and 105 secondary students in the newcomer academy, its newest summer program.

Although there were fears initially that the district wouldn’t be able to fully staff such a large summer program, those concerns are quickly evaporating. As of Friday, 181 teachers have applied to teach summer school and more applications are coming in. 


The district reported on Tuesday night that it’s had an uptick in student COVID-cases and has so far seen 172 total student and staff cases since late September 2020. 

“Despite the fact that we have positive cases, our schools remain safe with only one known student-to-student transmission since September and no known student-to-staff or staff-to-student,” said Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck.

Susan Klein-Rothschild, assistant deputy director of Public Health, said the increase could be seen all across the county, not just at Santa Barbara Unified. She said part of it could be attributed to spring break and people growing tired of protocols, but the increased testing in athletes since sports have resumed is also part of it. 

Of the 172 cases since September, 65 were students and 107 were staff. Ten of the transmissions were presumed to have happened on campus. 

Wageneck said the district has also given well over 9,000 COVID-19 tests as of this week. Of those, 41 tests have been positive — or 0.47 percent. The county’s positivity rate is 1.5 percent. The vast majority of positive cases in recent weeks have been student athletes. 

Eighty-two percent of employees are either totally or partially vaccinated now. Wageneck said the district is taking buses of students 16 and older who obtained parental consent to Goleta Cottage Hospital next week to vaccinate them. The district is focusing on students who have barriers to transportation or can’t bring a parent or guardian with them to get vaccinated.

“We need to treat vaccinations like college, that level of excitement,” said Boardmember Wendy Sims-Moten about the vaccination busses. The district will be taking students from the three traditional high schools first and the alternative high schools in the coming weeks.

Wageneck also said that the district has seen an overall net decline of 217 students since August 2020. 

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.