Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

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By Allison Turkish

Imagine an elementary campus where the children are happy, eager to learn, and love to come to school every day. They are heard by their peers and teachers and get to make choices about what and how they study.

These are just some of the goals of a proposed free non-profit charter school for TK-6th grade students in the Santa Barbara area named Thoreau Community School (TCS).

SBUSD’s School Board will vote on the TCS charter petition on Tuesday, February 23.  If you would like a school like Thoreau to come to our area, would you please write to the Board members and share your opinion?

As part of the Founding Group, I am excited to have the opportunity to bring this school to Santa Barbara. I believe Thoreau Community School will inspire this current generation of children to have a lifelong appreciation of the world around them while learning to be smart, compassionate, creative, and uniquely themselves.  What a gift to our community!

TCS understands the importance of educating the WHOLE child, attending not only to academic needs but also their social and emotional development. 

1.    Our school climate will be characterized by safety, kindness, and joy in learning where every student is known and cared for.
2.    Our nature-based program includes outdoor classroom spaces, frequent participation in a school garden, day trips to spend time in places of wild character. Students will learn to care for themselves, others, and the environment. 
3.    Children will engage in hands-on activities and projects in order to have authentic, meaningful learning.  In addition, our students will have many opportunities to express their creativity through arts education (art, drama, music, dance, etc).
4.    We celebrate diversity and will teach about different cultures.  We believe in JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion).

We will be a most awesome school.  If you would like to learn more, please visit our website at https://www.thoreaucommunityschool.org/ (available to read in English or Spanish), call or text 805-243-8940, or email [email protected].


Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at [email protected] The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.

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GoletaMan Feb 23, 2021 10:07 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

I was interested until I read #4. If I wanted my child indoctrinated by left wing politics and ridiculous ideology that actually promotes racism to grade school children....I'd just send them to public school.
Imagine a school without petty politics of adult children...when you mention Shakespeare and Pascale before describing to me your feelings about "inclusion" and "diversity"...then I will listen. And please stop with the "children get to make choices about what and how they study...." The whole point of school is to teach our children how to think critically and how to study. Letting them decide what they think is important at 10 years old is a recipe for disaster.

sacjon Feb 23, 2021 10:13 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

GOLETAMAN - Gross. Thinking inclusion and diversity and learning about other cultures is "left wing politics" is pretty 1950s. Would you prefer we never discuss other cultures, or racial injustice? You know, just ignore everything that isn't white?

GoletaMan Feb 23, 2021 10:31 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

sacjon, thank you for reinforcing my points. You know nothing about me, history, racial injustice; or the 1950's for that matter. My kids will not participate nor will they be affected by this ideology. I wish you and your children all the best.

letmego Feb 23, 2021 10:42 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

I can't speak for all local elementary schools, but "justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion" are being taught in my kids' regular public elementary school. And it's been that way for many years.
- Justice - treating all students equitably so that they feel safe and secure
- Equality - equal access to opportunities to enable students to fully participate in the learning process
- Diversity - accepting and embracing different cultures
- Inclusion - An inclusive classroom is a general education classroom where students with and without learning differences learn together

What on earth is controversial about all of that?

sacjon Feb 23, 2021 10:56 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

LETMEGO - for racists and simpletons, those ideas are very threatening. God forbid our kids learn to treat others the same regardless of sex, race, religion. How dare us leftists try to teach our kids common decency and acceptance of others?

PitMix Feb 23, 2021 01:21 PM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

VOR, exactly right, and kids start learning racism from the adults around them from day one. I grew up as a white kid in Hawaii, and it looked to me like dark skin ruled in our community. Then one day a black kid from a military family showed up at our school, and I figured they would crown him king. But instead they called him the N word. Where did those hawaiian and filipino kids learn that stuff if they were never around black people and didn't have access to TV in those pre-cable days? Gotta be from their parents from day 1.

dukemunson Feb 23, 2021 01:23 PM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

...which is why teachers unions spend millions of dollars lobbying against them. But hooray...Teachers unions!!!! Fighting to keep our schools closed and to limit kids educational options and opportunities!!!!

SBLetsGetAlong Feb 23, 2021 02:24 PM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

Public schools cost more because it is government full of bureaucrat & extra staffing that private schools do not need nor have.
Teachers Union fights private and charter schools because the districts don’t want you, the parents & public, to know what a lousy job they are doing. They hide behind “lack of funding” yet our district pays 6 figures to the numerous administrators. While teachers complain about not being paid enough.
And the layers of assistants in public school is ridiculous. And now classrooms have “assistants” also known as Curriculum Specialists. This shows that the public schools know they have too many needy underperforming kids that need extra help.

Instead of reallocating resources to help they shovel tens of millions into buying more property, building multi million dollars football stadiums, etc.
instead of fixing, repairing and maintaining the existing schools.

Local Teachers Union donates tens of thousands to their school board choices instead of helping teachers and schools with what they need.

Public school is a travesty laced with curriculum designed to not educate your children for success. Public schools are government job security with a lot of “poor me” from those employed at the district.

You knew the shortcomings before becoming g a public employee. Stop whining about it and do your job which is to do what is in the children’s best interest, not yours.

lovesbalot Feb 23, 2021 02:52 PM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

Letmego The CAASP scores have been stagnant for decades for the most vulnerable groups. They have gone up incrementally here and there by a couple points. But when student with learning differences go from a negative 113 to negative 111 on a year they are still failing dismally and are more than 2 years behind. Look at this slide straight from DOE , Likes use original sources and not personal spreads. Here is a link in this article.. go to slide 6 and you will see students with learning differences, english language learners and foster youth have been failing for years actually decades. If you drill down on schools you'll see juniors that only 4% of the juniors at La Cuesta could read at grade level. No A- G for them. No 4 year university and probably won't finish SBCC. Look at graduation rates for these sub groups. Our public schools are legally obliged to give a free and appropriate education with meaningful progress annually. Is 4% literacy rate for a junior in high school acceptable to you? It is not equity or just but yet they keep on doing the same old thing expecting different results.

letmego Feb 24, 2021 09:34 AM
Op Ed: A New Community School for Santa Barbara Children

The CAASPP scores have not been "stagnant for decades", the test has not been in use for decades. I have spreadsheets that show the gradual improvement with the actual test score numbers for a variety of local individual schools and grade levels. I will not argue with you about students with learning differences but I WILL argue about the general trend. It's going up and has been going up. You can argue whether or not it's "fast enough" or not, but the trend has been improving at most schools, and that's a fact.

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