SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools  title=
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools
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Source: Santa Barbara Education Foundation 

Speaking to community members at the Elings Park Amphitheater, Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado and students addressed the community during the State of Our Schools presentation.

In years past, the event has been an informative and sometimes data-driven presentation. This year, Dr. Maldonado invited student leaders to share the stage to report their perspectives on Santa Barbara Unified schools to the community.

In introducing the student panel, Maldonado explained, “I would be remiss if I didn’t do this in collaboration with who I work for. And that is why I have students with me today.” She then quipped, “I have all these bosses. I have 13,000, today, I only brought five!”

But aside from the joking, Maldonado started by looking at the Santa Barbara Unified’s mission “to prepare students for a world that has yet to be created,” and asked the question of what is the best way to prepare students to take on tomorrow’s challenges.

The superintendent admitted that there was still much work to do to get the District to where it needs to be. She then highlighted the progress made with a lengthy list of some of the recent improvements to classrooms, facilities, and resources for teachers. She emphasized the District’s investment in increasing the staff-to-student ratio with the addition of counselors, tutoring services, and family engagement liaisons at every school site.

Dr. Maldonado then passed the microphone to students so that attendees could hear directly how District policies and efforts are affecting them and their peers.

The student panelists included Dawson Kelly (San Marcos High School), Kavya Suresh (San Marcos High School), Emily Pineda (Santa Barbara High School), Isabella Mireles (Dos Pueblos High School), and Finnegan Wright (Dos Pueblos High School). The students spoke on mental health, campus safety, inclusivity, diversity, and student advocacy. Many of the students highlighted what was working in terms of services for students and used examples from their own experiences.

But students didn’t just celebrate only what was working well. They also spoke about where they thought the District had room for improvement and made calls to action.

San Marcos High School sophomore and incoming Santa Barbara Unified Student School Board member Kavya Suresh shared student survey data on what is seen as an appropriate response for school safety at all three Santa Barbara Unified high school campuses. 

“As a student closely involved in the campaign to reimagine school safety as something to be achieved without the active involvement from law enforcement, I urge the District to continue to investing in mental health professionals, social workers, and campus security to protect our students’ mental, emotional, and social well-being.”

Suresh went on to say, “We deserve to be in learning environments that grant equitable access to restorative justice and rehabilitation for all students and staff to help us prepare for a world that is yet to be created.”

To watch the entire State of Our Schools presentation, please visit sbefoundation.org/state-of-our-schools-tickets.

SBEF also wishes to recognize and thank State of Our Schools sponsors, including 19six Architects, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Future Leaders of America, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Oniracom, and Jeannine’s.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system in 19 schools. For more information, visit www.santabarbaraeducation.org

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dukemunson May 25, 2022 11:13 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

MM - I'm not bashing her at all. Pointing out that someone said something nonsensical isn't bashing...it's being honest. Too often we blindly go along with statements and actions that make no sense...

What perpetrator and what victim are you referring to to seek out mediation towards restorative justice?

I wish this girl nothing but the best and look forward to her thoughts maturing towards something that can manifest logically for the good of all. I commend her for trying (while still humorously noting the sheer nonsense of the statement).

mm1970 May 25, 2022 09:59 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Wow, way to be mean about a 16 yo girl (who happens to be my son's classmate - I've never met her, but she seems really sweet!) Let me break it down for you:

"We deserve to be in learning environments that grant equitable access to restorative justice and rehabilitation" - Learning environments where ALL students, not just the "good" or the "white" or "whatever" students are given the benefit of the doubt.

"Restorative justice" = mediation between the perpetrator and the victim. Offenders must take responsibility for the harm that they have done. This has actually been something that has been emphasized since elementary for many years. The goal is to prevent it from happening again.

"for all students and staff" This should be obvious. Everyone should get a second chance to do better.

"to help us prepare for a world that is yet to be created.” I don't know about you, but the world as it is right now is FAR different than it was when I was in high school back in the dark ages. The type of work and jobs that most high schoolers will end up doing don't actually exist right now.

dukemunson May 25, 2022 08:30 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

It’s truly not though…

What’s interesting how people will defend something obviously unintelligible by trump, Tucker carlson, Biden, etc… out of bizarre almost religiously zealous allegiance to a political party. It’s ok to be a progressive (or conservative) and have the honesty to note when something by someone you support says something wrong or unintelligible. Give honesty a try here….

dukemunson May 24, 2022 07:29 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

I can’t blame them, per se… I certainly remember saying some pretty wild things sophomore year of high school. Feel bad though as it’s obviously not a real, genuine (or intelligible) thought… It’s California though… may help with a UC Berkeley application in 2 years!

sacjon May 24, 2022 01:31 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Given the horrific tragedy unfolding as I type this at an elementary school in Texas where 2 children have been shot to death and 13 others are fighting for their lives in a hospital, what do our local schools plan to do about the ever present and predictable threat of gun violence at our schools?

Alexblue May 25, 2022 07:46 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

VOE--your perspective is so simplistic. Lots of suicidal people who are able to get mental health intervention DON'T kill themselves. Lots of people with homicidal thoughts and feelings who get mental health services DON'T kill others. It is possible to significantly decrease the likelihood that people will kill themselves and others by having an effective mental health safety net. And, yeah, also, when you make it easier for unbalanced people to kill lots of people because semi-automatic rifles are easier to purchase at 18 in Texas than a beer, well, a lot more people die. The culture in this country is sick.

Voice of Reason May 24, 2022 10:47 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

That’s not what was said, there are already plenty of guns our there, more than could ever be taken away, that’s reality. All this talk about doing something , armed officers can be done tomorrow. Have any other ideas that we could put in place tomorrow to try and help prevent this from happening again? We just sent $40B to Ukraine on top of what, $15B already sent. For $40B you can fund 200,000 trained personnel at a cost of $200,000 per year each. There are 100,000 public K-12 schools in the US.Longer term, significantly improve support and mental health care for kids so they can become responsible adults, that will help address many of the ills impacting our society. Will it be 100% effective, no, nothing ever will be, but look at what we put our kids through over a virus that to them is less harmful than the flu, what happened to doing something to protect them rather than nothing? Such short memories…

Voice of Reason May 24, 2022 04:07 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Again, my reply was directly to Sacjon's specific question, doesn't require a fenced/walled in prison complex, and I certainly didn't even insinuate it was a fool proof solution. Weird how you throw out downvotes even when you agree with me while directly answering your question. These type of occurrences aren't perpetrated by ordinary criminals out to enrich themselves, it takes some serious mental derangement to think about, plan and go forward with something like this, especially on young kids. Time and time again the perpetrators have shown they don't care about gun laws, being in possession of an illegal firearm, or gun-free zones. More gun laws won't help, more mental health care will.

a-1653430289 May 24, 2022 03:11 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

@ Voice, the "good guy" with a gun fled the scene at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the "good guy" with a gun in Buffalo was shot and killed early on. This has not worked. Sweeping legislative change is needed then more crackdowns on illegal firearm sales and ghost guns.

sacjon May 24, 2022 03:04 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

VOICE - no it's not at all disgusting, it's frustrated at the lack of any meaningful effort in this country to stop this. But, you're right, my emotion took over there. What could the school do? You're answer: a good guy with a firearm. Well, I agree. That's really all they can do other than keeping school walled and fenced in like prisons, as 1 or 2 on-campus cops/deputies aren't much of a match for a heavily armed gunman. The bigger issue really is though - why should schools have to do anything beyond what they're doing? What other (civilized) nation has armed guards at school? At what point do we, as a nation, make protecting our LIVING children a priority?

SBsurferlife May 24, 2022 02:44 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Mental health care is needed for not just youth but all Americans to address high rates of depression. But most depressed people are not homicidal. Comprehensive gun reform is badly needed in this country. If nothing changed after Sandy Hook, then sadly nothing will change after this tragic incident. Children will keep dying, the NRA will keep lobbying, the GOP will keep receiving donor $$ and the dems will be too chicken sh** to do anything when they have full control. Round and round we go as we all become desensitized to mass murders and shootings like countries ran by cartels.

sacjon May 24, 2022 02:28 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

VOICE - "Other than that, there is nothing the school could have done to prevent this tragedy." Yup. Nothing at all. Absolutely nothing we can do. Carry on folks. It's part of being an American. It's our God-given right as proud 'mericans to shrug our shoulders while children are mowed down by bullets.

Voice of Reason May 24, 2022 02:23 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Sacjon, you're aren't going to like the answer to your question. The only way to stop a suicidal lunatic with a firearm who's intent on killing people, is a good guy with a firearm who's intent on protecting those people. Other than that, there is nothing the school could have done to prevent this tragedy.

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