I had the pleasure of writing the Santa Barbara Independent special “Schools of Thought Issue once again in fall of 2022. To read the entire issue online, click here. I
Born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, cover artist Yumiko Glover MA ‘17 took a circuitous route to finally following her passion.
“When I was applying for college in Japan I didn’t have a mentor to support me,” Glover recalls. “I wanted to go to art school and of course, my parents worried that it was ‘non job promising.’ So, I gave up and I majored in something else.” But the desire stuck with her. She took as many art classes as she could while working in the import-export business for more than a decade before returning to school to follow her dreams of becoming an artist. She completed a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in 2011 and then came to UC Santa Barbara to complete her masters in fine arts in 2017.
“I was not a good student in Japan in college because I was not really interested in the field. But when I went back to school, I was very serious,” laughs Glover, who is now a visiting lecturer in the UC Santa Barbara Department of Art, as well as a graphic designer and fine artist who has her work in collections at the Honolulu Museum of Art and on view at LAX, among other venues.
Over the years her style has evolved, but current events continue to influence her art.
Her “Unfold” series was inspired by President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima in 2016. The first sitting president to visit the city destroyed by an American atomic bomb during World War II, Obama brought origami paper cranes that he folded himself. “Crane origami is a symbol for peace, wishing the best for others, and healing for challenging times,” says Glover.
Working on the premise that with each fold they make in an origami crane, people are thinking about others’ wellness or sending them good wishes, Glover drew geometric forms and combined them in different ways to create elements. “I thought that matched well with what we are going through in the pandemic,” she says.
Her ongoing series “Transience” also fits in thematically. “Living through the pandemic completely shifted everybody’s life, including myself, especially my perspective on approaching art,” says Glover.
“Transience comes from the Japanese term, mono no aware, which means the transience of life that is the aesthetics of impermanence — nothing lasts forever but there is preciousness to it. I created new paintings during the pandemic; one inspired by the cherry blossom season. As you know the cherry blossom has an intense and precious life and death cycle, which is mirrored by the impermanence of our nature and material world that we took for granted for so long.”
She continues, “During the pandemic, as everything that we thought would last forever became uncertain and our perspectives about life, including the subjects for the magazine — education, economy, mental health, work and environment — everything has changed and also affected me and the way I think, so when I received the concept of the magazine design, I could apply those ideas that I was going through during the pandemic to the design.”
I am the managing editor of a brand new publication, UC Santa Barbara Magazine. A glossy print publication and website offering a birds-eye view of the spectacular seaside university. From the people, programs, scholarly pursuits and trends that make UC Santa Barbara a world-class institution, to the sports, arts and culture, natural environment and vibrant students and vital alumni communities that enrich our campus experiences, UC Santa Barbara Magazine offers insight into the rich complexity of the university and its impact on the larger world around it.
Read the entire magazine online here. In addition, here are links to some of the stories I wrote.
“Like any of your senses — the act of listening to a song can conjure up feelings and, in this case, a love of your college days,” says Darla Bea ‘03 . As Stevie Wonder once said, “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”
Sporting slews of rave reviews from national wedding websites and voted Santa Barbara’s favorite DJ for six years in a row, Bea has made a career out of homing in on the visceral, emotional connection that tunes play in our lives. “Rock it Properly,” her weekly radio show that’s been running on KCSB since 2007, is a meticulously researched round-up of fun facts and musical magic.
When last year’s All Gaucho Reunion had to go virtual, Bea helped to make it memorable by creating seven different GauchoBeats playlists, curated by decade, from 1939 to the present. From Bill Haley & His Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” and The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” these Spotify playlists of feel-good tunes (alumni.ucsb.edu/events/all-gaucho-reunion#gauchobeats) brought some much-needed positivity during some rather grim days.
Of her time at UC Santa Barbara, Bea says, “The magic and music were always a thing that drew me out to hear bands play in Isla Vista and at UCSB, and of course I knew I was going to get an excellent education. I just wanted to be part of that.”
A Santa Barbara native who lived at home during college, she says, “I did not have a car, had a bus pass. I spent a lot of time on campus in the library and the bookstore. I loved looking at all the media out there; it was a really good bookstore. And every once in a while I’d have to call my dad to get me because I missed the last bus.”
Known for her colorful wigs, kicky costumes and eclectic mixes, Bea still comes to campus every Sunday to host her radio show, and says one of her goals is to, “expand your narrow way of thinking about music. The world is a lot smaller when you can grasp a culture, or an era, through their music.”
Between the bicycle-friendly weather, the relatively flat terrain, and the environmentally-conscious ethos on campus, it’s no wonder that UC Santa Barbara has long been known for its bicycle culture. More than 10,000 people bicycle-commute between their homes and the university on a daily basis. With seven miles of Class 1 bike paths and more than 20,000 bike parking spots on campus — not to mention designated skateboard lanes — expect to see those wheels keep on turning for years and years to come.
Where were you in ‘62?
This photo of a student dressed for success and riding a bike near the library was taken on October 7, 1962, just four years after the campus moved from the Santa Barbara Riviera to its current location.
Today’s students make their way around the League of American Bicyclists’ certified Platinum-level Bike Friendly University, where backpacks are now ubiquitous and comfortable athleisure wear is de rigueur both on campus and in many professions.
Admiring Santa Barbara Public Library’s Adult Literacy Programs
Pivoting, but still paving the way to knowledge, despite budget cuts and so many services shut down during the pandemic, the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Adult Education Programs have found creative ways to provide service during the past year. I recently joined the City Library Advisory Board and was impressed with all of the free programs they still offer, despite their physical doors being closed to the public.
Headed by Devon Cahill, an adult education librarian and former volunteer tutor, the Adult Literacy Program trains volunteers to work one-to-one with learners to help them achieve language literacy and other adult education goals. Prior to the pandemic, the tutor-learner pairs would meet up at the library to work on their language skills together. Since last spring, they’ve switched to 100 percent remote and have about 50 tutor-learner pairs
Though it’s challenging, Cahill said that pandemic learning has been a success. Grants provided funding for Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots for those that needed them. “Our success rate normally is over 90 percent with learners reaching the literacy goals that they have set,” he said. “During the pandemic, we’re working with fewer learners and tutors, but our success rate has gone almost up to 100 percent—it was at 98 percent last quarter.”
Rachel Altman, a retired grant writer, has been a tutor for the past four years, working the entire time with Cecilia, a native Spanish speaker. Part of Cecilia’s motivation is that she works as a housecleaner and her employers want to be able to leave her written instructions. In addition, she is in her fifties and would like to be able to find less physically demanding work eventually, explained Altman, who was partially motivated to volunteer because her own parents were immigrants who learned English as a second language.
The two women meet for about an hour twice a week (one hour a week is the minimum requirement). They are currently meeting by phone, which is a bit more challenging than in person or on Zoom, but Cecilia is not computer savvy. Rather than read side-by-side, Altman mails materials to Cecilia from the variety of resources the library offers. “She’s very interested in history and current events,” Altman said.
While being apart isn’t ideal, there are some upsides. “I think the biggest advantage to the phone is we talk more … and she needs to practice more conversational English,” said Altman. “It seems like the phone allows for that a little more, rather than just going right to the book.”
Improving her conversational English was also one of the reasons Sebnem Vural joined the program about a year ago. “I have always struggled with my English pronunciation in the past, so I decided that it would be a good idea to obtain an environment where I could hear the language more often,” said the native Turkish speaker. “I’ve had tons of people supporting me and encouraging me all throughout my journey. I can’t explain how helpful
this program was.”
The tutors go through eight hours of initial training, with an emphasis on a learner-centered peer tutor approach, patience, cultural competency, and empathy. The nuts and bolts of how to help a learner achieve their goals depend on the person and what they want from the program. Learners’ goals run the gamut, Cahill explained, from being able to read a story to their children or help with homework to passing a citizenship test or getting a GED or driver’s license to shopping at a retail store, improving digital literacy, or being able to read and write in graduate school in a second language.
Being able to read to kids or talk to their teachers is a common goal, said Cahill. Malena Mackinlay, whose first language is Spanish, joined the program about four months ago. “I’ve always found motivation in wanting to be able to communicate in English, but my one-year-old granddaughter inspired me to continue learning,” she said. “My experience has been amazing. I got the best tutor, and I’m finally able to enjoy each of my lessons.”
Working remotely has been a plus in some cases, Cahill said. He’s been able to record his Zoom tutor trainings, so if someone isn’t able to attend, they can make it up later. In addition, “Sometimes that one hour a week that the tutor and learner meet is the only hour
that that learner has to work on their English because they’re so busy working multiple jobs or caring for kids,” he said. “This really frees up all that extra time it would take for the tutor or the learner to get back and forth to the library.”
He anticipates they will continue to offer a hybrid option for training and tutoring sessions when the pandemic is over.
Library technicians also run weekly English and Spanish conversation groups, which are open to all learners, with no registration required.
To learn more, call (805) 564-5619 (English) or (805) 962-7653 #3 (Spanish), email email@example.com, or visit santabarbaraca.gov.
Here are the links to all of the stories in this special section:
Montecito Campus Embraces Its Outdoor Superpowers
Hope Ranch Campus Provides Proper Home for Project-Based Learning
Students Create App to Connect Kids with Nonprofits
O’Connor Family and AHA! Engage Students on a Hope Ranch Annex Property
101-Year-Old Tradition Offers a Holistic Approach to School
Riviera Campus Finds Creative Challenges to Keep Kids Active
Developing Well-Rounded Students with Time-Tested Techniques
Irises—and Intellect—Bloom When the Garden Is a Classroom
Historic S.Y.V. Outdoor School Is Great Fit for Today’s Teens
Independent School Welcomes Diverse Backgrounds
An Update on the College’s Signature Project
Helping Students Begin School with the End in Mind
Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 19, 2020. To read the section as it appeared in print, please click here.
Our Annual Education Guide Looks at Schooling in the Time of COVID-19
What a difference a year makes, particularly when that year is 2020.
As I revisited some of the latest news and trends related to education in Santa Barbara County for the second year in a row to prepare this special issue, priorities have shifted dramatically. Outdoor space is at a huge premium — not only for its educational value and the boost to our Zoom-fatigued spirits that nature provides, but also simply because being
outside has a much lower risk for COVID-19. With depression and anxiety at high levels for people of all ages, social-emotional learning and strategies that embrace the whole child as a priority over straight academics are also more important now than ever before. And as always, so is keeping in step with the latest technologies, both programmatically and with new facilities.
Unfortunately, like just about everything else in 2020, the pandemic has amplified the inequities in education even further. I’m a public school daughter of two public school teachers, and I’m a big believer in and supporter of our public school system. That being said, if I had a K-12 age child at home right now, this would be the year I would be scrimping and saving to send them to an independent school. For one thing, they’re
actually able to open.
And make no mistake, the inequity here is not about political will — it’s all about the money. The independent schools simply have drastically fewer students to worry about with far more resources to take care of them right now, which translates to much better teacher/student ratios and the ability, in some cases, to devote separate teachers to online and on-campus teaching cohorts. They enjoy much more outdoor space to spread out and be physically distanced, and they have the money to make facility improvements more easily — both indoors and outdoors — to accommodate health and safety concerns. They also have more resources to test and regulate student and staff health and to enforce consequences on those who don’t follow the safety rules.
That being said, Midland Head of School Christopher Barnes summed up the way I think most everyone in every kind of educational institution is feeling these days. “With all of my
heart and soul, I’m pouring everything I can into our particular little project, but also being a participant with other schools … that aspire mightily to follow all of the recommendations of public health, and be their partner, not their adversary,” he said. “Do I have too much stuff to read and figure out? And does it sometimes contradict itself? Yes, absolutely. In any case, we’re dealing with a global health pandemic. This is not some little thing.”
For this special section, we asked the issue’s sponsors about what’s exciting in their schools and organizations, and then produced the editorial content independently.
Independent School Welcomes Diverse Backgrounds
Founded as an all-girls Catholic school in 1938, Marymount School is an evolving educational story. Over the decades, according to Head of School Christina K. Broderick, the Riviera campus has made “this slow progression from an independent Catholic school to an independent school with a Catholic tradition to an independent school with a couple of Catholic traditions to now where we are as an independent school that really focuses
on the cultural and spiritual diversity of every background.”
Kaleidoscope, the school’s signature curriculum developed more than a decade ago in collaboration with UCSB, “uses the top 10 world religions to allow students to find out about how we decide on our moral decision-making and ethical decision-making through
the lens of different ethnic cultures and backgrounds, both religious and nonreligious around the world,” said Broderick.
“We are really here to welcome all faiths and traditions and to make sure that we have a very inclusive and welcoming community to all faiths and ethnic backgrounds,” said Broderick, who recently formalized the inclusive values of Marymount with new Mission
& Vision statements.
Discipline also looks a bit different than the old-school ways. “It’s not about disciplining kids — it’s about restorative communication,” she said. “My middle schoolers here at Marymount will always know that Mrs. Broderick will say ‘self-reflection leads to self-correction.’ We don’t really do detention here or punitive discipline. It’s all about how we figure out how we made a mistake based on our own ideas about something. And how do we then restore ourselves and the community and say I’m sorry, change your actions, move on.”
Marymount also recently announced a forward-thinking policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), while expanding its offerings to include 3-year-olds. A new director of student wellness and DEI and a licensed clinical social worker, a full-time learning specialist, a full-time school nurse, and a full-time director of student wellness are available
to work with all students and families.
“We don’t have a traditional org chart,” said Broderick. “We have learning and leadership teams, and we all make very collaborative decisions. It’s fun — it’s a lot of fun.”
Though she admits it sounds “super smarmy,” Broderick is proud that her favorite social media hashtag is #HappyKidsLearn. “If they’re happy, their brains are going to be open, and they’re going to be able to take in all the information we’re going to give them,” she
said. “But if they’re anxious or they’re worried about their social interactions or worried about stuff at home, they’re not going to be paying attention in class. There’s a ton of research to support that, but whether the discussion is inclusivity or social emotional wellness or the pandemic, we want these kids to feel comfortable and safe.”
Historic S.Y.V. Outdoor School Is Great Fit for Today’s Teens
While every school struggles with COVID restrictions, Midland School’s 2,860-acre campus and nine decades of outdoor-minded, college preparatory education lends itself to an easier pivot than most. Students returned to the boarding school for grades 9-12 in late October.
“I’ve never seen a senior class that’s more vested in our collective good,” said Head of School Christopher Barnes, who’s been working round the clock for months to make their return to the Los Olivos campus possible. “The seniors are like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to make sure everybody wears their mask.’ Inside of these challenging moments are also these incredible opportunities for students to learn how to tolerate adversity, to find the grit and really evaluate what the needs are versus the wants, and really discover the very best version of themselves. That is profoundly exciting as an educator.”
Clearly Midland’s experiential, place-based curriculum is more desirable than ever right now. With health guidelines in place, students will still be able to work on the farm and in the garden, ride horses, go hiking and camping, and all of the other special things they normally do.
Enrollment is up at least 10 percent from last year. “The phone was ringing through the summer, and we definitely had to tell some people no,” said Barnes. “As much as I would love to welcome even more kids, we’re sort of at capacity relative to the situation we find ourselves in now. It leaves us with a few spare cabins for isolation or quarantine if needed; we need to reserve some of that bandwidth for that.”
They’ve gone “very deep into the four Ws,” said Barnes. “Wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, and, finally, we are in this together.”
He’s excited to be an educator at such a pivotal time. “We are living through some major inflection points in history, and at the same time we’re not just dealing with a global health pandemic,” said Barnes. “We’re dealing with Black Lives Matter and a profound shift in perspectives with regard to social justice issues — and we are and want to continue to be a participant in that. We are in the midst of a straight-up economic depression, and we’ve had to dole out lots more financial aid and double down in terms of supporting our families
and make sure that we can honor our promise for them.”