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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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?

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.

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.

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 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?

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.

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.

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…

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.

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!

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….

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 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).

GeneralTree May 25, 2022 06:01 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

What is it you are not getting Duke? "Restorative justice empowers students to resolve conflicts on their own and in small groups, and it's a growing practice at schools around the country. Essentially, the idea is to bring students together in peer-mediated small groups to talk, ask questions, and air their grievances. (This four-part tutorial from the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation is a wonderful primer.) For the growing number of districts using restorative justice, the programs have helped strengthen campus communities, prevent bullying, and reduce student conflicts. And the benefits are clear: early-adopting districts have seen drastic reductions in suspension and expulsion rates, and students say they are happier and feel safer."

GeneralTree May 25, 2022 06:20 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Duke - listen to Kavya Suresh's whole speech. Very well spoken and well thought speech. We may not all agree with points like the school safety officer etc - but don't kill the girls speech by deeming it as "silliness" based on the one small quote taken out of her entire presentation.

dukemunson May 25, 2022 08:20 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

GT - I think I got it now! The source is the Santa Barbara education foundation… so they grabbed the one quote they really liked and appealed to them. Comes across as silly in both the words on their own and the implied (by virtue of being the only student quote) singular emphasis on this as a primary issue/concern. Read and interpreted as charitably as possible… Restorative justice (in any capacity) is not a primary concern for our local high schools.

a-1653451928 May 24, 2022 09:12 PM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

I don't have kids but support public education. The situation with SB Unified is obviously critical. I intend to write to the school board to pay attention to the district employees.

These are must reads:

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/dos_pueblos_faculty_senate_sends_demand_letter_to_school_board_over_hilda_m

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/leadership_changes_sweep_santa_barbara_unified_school_district_20210807

https://www.independent.com/2021/12/02/santa-barbara-unified-teachers-survey-highlights-dissatisfaction-with-superintendent-school-board/

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

Alex, so what would you propose that we could enact TOMORROW to help prevent the next incident? The SB Bowls has better security and other preventive measures in place than a high school. Any type of meaningful firearm reform will take time, and even then, won't stop sociopath's and criminals from breaking any law in the way. And even then, there are simply too many guns out there to keep them out of the hands of criminals intent on doing harm. Take away all the guns? Great! But that's like saying lets address climate changing by having all cars run on unicorn farts, it simply isn't possible and not based in reality. Whatever firearm reforms are proposed, think, if this was in place would it have prevented X,Y, and Z tragedy? To have these calls to "do something", then bash the idea of having armed security personnel, single points of entry, things we could do tomorrow without major political reforms, is absolutely nuts. It's almost like people would rather lash out about it than actually do something about it - something politicians thrive on.

sacjon May 25, 2022 08:33 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Problem with people like VOICE and other Repubs is that it always has to be all or nothing. Same with masks. If it doesn't cure covid, don't even bother trying to reduce risk. Same here, if it doesn't prevent ALL shootings, don't even bother trying to save maybe even 1 life. It's time for the political cowards in office to ball-up and ignore the screaming, howling gun worshipers and makes some meaningful legislation to help save ANY lives. Nothing will prevent gun violence 100%, but that's not an excuse to not even try. Enough is enough.

You're either OK with this or you support sensible gun laws.

Voice of Reason May 25, 2022 09:29 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Incredibly inaccurate Sacjon. " Same here, if it doesn't prevent ALL shootings, don't even bother trying to save maybe even 1 life." weren't you the one just bashing the idea of armed guards? Apply those same standards to yourself. "Howling gun worshipers", do you even hear yourself, you have no idea how more than 1/2 country's feels or what they believe and are seemingly incapable of appreciating other peoples views and thoughts, even when they want the same thing (like preventing mass shootings!).

dukemunson May 25, 2022 09:41 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

Sac - that’s actually kind of a silly comparison. If anything it’s completely the other way around. We needed sensible mask rules and when they were a complete charade (walk into bar with it, then Remove) it was time to end that charade. It’s the same with guns. It’s too easy to get and have them… we need to (sensibly) make them harder to get, keep and have. Change ridiculous and nonsensical rules. Let’s get rid of assault rifles and require masking in nursing homes. Let’s not demand everyone mask at all times and allow any/all guns to just about any/all people. Sensible rules and laws. The mask rules quickly became farcical… much like our gun worshipping laws.

dukemunson May 25, 2022 09:44 AM
SB Unified Superintendent and Students Present at the State of Our Schools

There is an obvious problem with allowing bars to be open while schools are closed. That you can sit eat and drink in a coffee shop but you need to order with a mask on. Same goes for our current gun laws. The problem is the people who are so blinded by ideology that they refuse to note the madness of that mask mandate… or of the insane ease of getting assault weapons at age 18. It’s the problem with Libs and repubs… they are so beholden to their political party that they end up making, enforcing and allowing insane rules and laws.

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