2019 Schools of Thought: The State of Education in Santa Barbara

In taking a look at the latest news and trends related to education in Santa Barbara County, it’s clear that there is an impressive breadth and depth of learning opportunities here in town. From the readers and writers workshop model to incorporating mindfulness practices, social-emotional learning, Latin studies, highly experiential learning, and meshing digital design with fine art traditions, educators are working hard to develop strategies that work for the ways individual students learn best. 

This special section was developed by asking the issue’s sponsors to suggest story ideas based on people, projects, or trends that they’re excited about in their schools and organizations. From that list, we selected stories that represent a wide variety of learning experiences in Santa Barbara and produced the editorial content independently. 

We hope you enjoy it and learn something new about learning! 

African Adventures for Laguna Blanca’s Zack Moore

AHA!’s Peace Builders Put Social-Emotional Education First

Bodhi Path Offers Enlightened View of Technology

Fielding Grad Mallory Price Leads for Literacy

Providence Launches Innovative Design Program 

Raising S.B.’s Next Generation of Teachers 

Saint Therese Academy Provides a Latin Advantage 

SBCC Auto Tech Gears Up For The Future

SBCC Brings the World to the Kitchen

S.B. Middle School Brings Its Best to the Table

The Joy of Experiential Learning at Crane School

The Montessori Method’s Many Success Stories

Unplugged Yet Connected at Midland School 

Leslie Dinaberg is currently the editor in chief of Touring & Tasting magazine. She spent the last 11 years as managing editor of Santa Barbara Seasons, has also edited national business and college student magazines, and writes regularly for a number of publications. Leslie has also authored three nonfiction children’s books and is the coauthor of Hometown Santa Barbara: The Central Coast Book, an insider’s guide to her hometown. See lesliedinaberg.com or follow her on Instagram (@LeslieSDinaberg) and Twitter (@lesliedinaberg). 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

CALM at Heart: Awakening

CALM supporters stand up loud and proud to give financial support to the nonprofit at this week's luncheon. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

CALM supporters stand up loud and proud to give financial support to the nonprofit at this week’s luncheon. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

A fun afternoon to celebrate and reflect on the healing work of CALM was just what the doctor ordered this week.

CALM—which is an acronym for Child Abuse Listening Mediation—takes on the critical mission to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County. The nonprofit provides comprehensive services for children, families and adults, and has done so since its inception in 1970.

Celebrating this organization at the beautiful Coral Casino was a heartwarming affair. K-LITE’s Catherine Remak served as master of ceremonies, introducing a new video highlighting the organization’s work throughout the county, with offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc providing prevention and early intervention programs, treatment programs and clinicians who work closely with individuals, families, teachers, administrators and law enforcement.

The theme was an afternoon of mindfulness, and it truly was.

Images of CALM at Heart: Awakening event at the Coral Casino. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Images of CALM at Heart: Awakening event at the Coral Casino. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

CALM staff members spoke from personal experience about their prevention programs across Santa Barbara County help parents and children heal from their traumatic pasts. CALM Chief Executive Officer Alana Walczak gave a moving presentation about the importance of being there and being leaders for our community’s most vulnerable people. Jennifer Freed, PhD, co-founder of AHA! (a local nonprofit committed to transforming the world by empowering teens to create peaceful and connected communities), was the keynote speaker, focusing on mindfulness practices.

CALM was founded in 1970 to reach stressed parents before they hurt their children. CALM continues to be the only nonprofit agency in Santa Barbara County focusing solely on preventing, assessing, and treating child abuse and family violence through comprehensive, cutting-edge programs. CALM offers children, families, and adults a safe, non-judgmental, caring, and strength-based environment to heal and increase family well being. For more information about all of CALM’s services, please call 805/965-2376, or visit http://calm4kids.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 11, 2016.

Nonprofits Wow and Woo at Fast Pitch SB

(L-R) Chief Energy Officer Seth Streeter, Mayor Helene Schneider, Fast Pitch SB Winner Bethany Markee of Solvang Viking Kitchen, Jose Hutton of Hub 81, courtesy photo

(L-R) Chief Energy Officer Seth Streeter, Mayor Helene Schneider, Fast Pitch SB Winner Bethany Markee of Solvang Viking Kitchen, Jose Hutton of Hub 81, courtesy photo

Organizers from Social Venture Partners say inaugural event will become an annual opportunity for local nonprofits to gain exposure, refine messages and win money.

Thursday night’s inaugural Fast Pitch SB—a Shark Tank style competition for nonprofits to make three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a live audience for cash awards was an exciting, successful event for all concerned, but Solvang Viking Cafe was the big winner of the night. Founder Bethany Markee—a former professional chef who took over the lunch program at the local elementary school cafeteria at Solvang School—now has an additional $26,000 in prizes to expand her program to feed more students.

Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara (SVPSB) chose the ten finalists out of  a field of more than 100 applications from nonprofits looking to receive personal coaching and communications training from experts in the field.

Enthusiastic Fast Pitch audience, courtesy photo

Enthusiastic Fast Pitch audience, courtesy photo

 

The award winners are:

$5,000 Mission Award: Angels Foster Care

$5,000 State Award: A Different Point of View

$10,000 Audience Award: Solvang Viking Café

$15,000 Grand Prix Award: Solvang Viking Café

Plus, each of the ten finalists received a $1,000 SVP Award:

A Different Point of View

AHA!

Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara

Talented teen Jamey Geston entertained the crowd. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Talented teen Jamey Geston entertained the crowd. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

CASA of Santa Barbara County

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

Santa Ynez Fruit and Vegetable Rescue (“Veggie Rescue”)

Sarah House Santa Barbara

Solvang Elementary School’s Viking Cafe

The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens

Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara

For more information about the program click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on May 17, 2014.

Fast Pitch Santa Barbara Semi-Finalists Announced

Fast Pitch SBFast Pitch SB—a Shark Tank style competition for nonprofits to make three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a live audience for cash awards, including a $25,000 Judges award and two $10,000 Coaches awards—is off and running.

Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara (SVPSB) has chosen the following semi-finalists out of  a field of more than 100 applications from nonprofits looking to receive personal coaching and communications training from experts in the field:

A Different Point of View, whose mission is to engage, inspire and transform underserved youth using flight lessons as a launching pad.

AHA! is dedicated to the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence, and social conscience in teenagers.

American Indian Health & Services is committed to empowering our community delivering accessible, socially responsive, and culturally appropriate health care.

Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara places infants and toddlers in loving homes throughout Santa Barbara County.

C.A.R.E.4Paws works to reduce pet overpopulation and keep animals out of shelters in Santa Barbara County.

CASA of Santa Barbara County: The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every abused and/or neglected child by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.

Family Care Network, Inc. operates family-based treatment programs as an alternative to group home or institutional care for children and youth and  serves over 1,400 children, youth and families annually in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria provides programs for girls 6 to 18 years old that focus on science, math, and technology; health and sexuality; economic and financial literacy; sports skills; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy.

Hospice of Santa Barbara, whose mission is to care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

Just Communities advances justice by building leadership, fostering change, and dismantling all forms of prejudice, discrimination and oppression.

Leading From Within provides leadership development for the nonprofit community offering programs for executive directors, emerging nonprofit leaders, and helping to build the capacity of the nonprofit sector, nurture and sustain committed community leaders, and develop the next generation of engaged and involved citizens.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, which advances creativity and inspires critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art of our time.

Sama Group, a family of impact enterprises dedicated to ending poverty and promoting social and economic justice.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, a countywide advocacy and resource organization that promotes bicycling for safe transportation and recreation.

Santa Ynez Fruit and Vegetable Rescue (“Veggie Rescue”) redirects or “gleans” local produce from farms, farmers markets, home gardens, and orchards  and deliver it to charitable organizations and school lunch programs in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and Santa Maria—all at no charge.

Sarah House Santa Barbara, which provides a home and end-of-life care for people with low income.

Solvang Elementary School’s Viking Cafe,  a brand new lunch program that is reforming the old school re-heated foods into farm fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.

The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens works to preserve and operate Fairview Gardens, the historic and educational farm in Goleta.

Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers of Santa Barbara has been providing a distinctive continuum of care for mentally ill and co-occurring disorders adults since 1976.

The ten finalists will be announced on May 9.

Those groups will present their three-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of judges at the Music Academy of the West on May 15. There will be a live audience populated with potential investors, donors and community members, as well as satellite voting and viewing locations set up throughout Santa Barbara. 

For more information about getting involved with Fast Pitch SB click here. To read a Santa Barbara SEASONS story about Fast Pitch SB click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 28, 2014.