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

The Montessori Method’s Many Success Stories

Montessori School, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Montessori School, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Melanie Jacobs of Montessori Center School Explains Why Success Comes to Alumni 

As head of the Montessori Center School, Melanie Jacobs believes that the Montessori method — which nurtures students’ natural curiosity and gets them interested, engaged, and invested in their own education — is ideally suited to empower children to succeed in the evolving economy. She explains why for us below. 

How does the Montessori method’s creative learning strategy apply to the way business is conducted today? This model of collaboration, creativity, independence, and self-motivation lends itself well to the way business is conducted in today’s world. In many work environments, employees are asked to “think out of the box,” have strong executive functioning skills, and work effectively in a collaborative, ever-changing environment. Working in a Montessori classroom encourages strong time-management skills, focus and concentration, self-regulation, organization, confidence, the sharing of ideas, and problem solving, which are all necessary skills to have in a modern workplace. 

How does science, technology, engineering, art, and math, also known as STEAM, relate to the Montessori method? While STEM and STEAM are the buzzwords used today to emphasize the importance of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, these concepts have been integral parts of the Montessori curriculum for decades. The engineering aspect is supported beautifully through work with our sensorial materials, which includes geometry as well as representations of the decimal system that promote exploration, beginning in our youngest classrooms. Some of these same materials are utilized in more advanced ways in our older environments, creating strong understanding and connectivity. 

I feel proud to be part of such an innovative method of teaching. 

I’ve heard that many prominent people were educated in the Montessori method. Can you name a few of them? Besides the cofounders of Google (Sergey Brin and Larry Page) and Amazon (Jeff Bezos), I would also add Katharine Graham (Pulitzer Prize–winning author and former owner and editor of the Washington Post), T. Berry Brazelton (pediatrician and author), Julia Child (author and chef whom I had the pleasure of meeting when she visited our school), Joshua Bell (Grammy Award–winning violinist), and many more. They have had significant and positive impacts on our world, effectively sharing their knowledge and gifts for the greater good.

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