Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

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Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy
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By the Santa Barbara Education Foundation

On Thursday, September 29, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation hosted the Love of Literacy Luncheon to highlight the need for support for students struggling with reading in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. 

The outdoor lunch in Elings Park's Godric Grove raised over $30,000 in funds to train Santa Barbara Unified teachers in methods to identify and more effectively teach students who are struggling with reading, emergent multilingual learners, and students with disabilities, including those displaying characteristics of dyslexia.

Santa Barbara Unified School Board member Wendy Sims-Moten served as the event's emcee, which featured speakers who highlighted literacy efforts in our local classrooms and shared their personal literacy journeys. 

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart shared his perspective on the importance of literacy as a son of an elementary school teacher and a librarian. Acknowledging that not all students have the same opportunities, he emphasized, "We need to have a system that embraces everybody and their learning needs."

Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado compared the District’s approach to staff development in literacy to giving teachers options or road maps to help students reach the ultimate goal of meeting standards. “We want teachers that understand that they are all teachers of academic language and literacy and that they continue to affirm the unique gifts every student brings to school while building their capacity to become a more proficient reader,” said Maldonado.

The program reached an emotional high point when Santa Barbara High School student Eva Zackrison shared her story of making gains in her reading skills under the challenging circumstances of remote learning and a post-covid return to the classroom. Zackrison proudly proclaimed, “I feel more comfortable and confident with my words per minute going up. I started 7th grade with 30 words per minute and ended 10th grade with 140 words. Thank you, Santa Barbara Unified School District, for making this possible!” Guests in attendance stood up and applauded Zackrison for the progress made due to her hard work and dedication.

To support literacy for all Santa Barbara Unified students, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation is committed to continuing to fundraise for this important professional development project.

SBEF also wishes to recognize and thank Love of Literacy Luncheon sponsors, including Pillar Sponsor: Montecito Bank & Trust; Ambassador Sponsors: Chevron, Jersey Mike’s, McGillivray Construction, and Tisha Ford; Champion Sponsors:  19six Architects, Arroyo Seco Construction, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, Cottage Health, First 5 Santa Barbara County, KBZ Architects, Lazy Acres, Montecito Journal, Mosher Foundation, and Santa Barbara City College Foundation, with additional support provided by San Marcos High School Culinary Arts Program.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara's public education system, serving over 12,000 students in 18 schools. For more information, visit

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edney Oct 16, 2022 06:41 PM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

I think the leadership and bureaucracy have become distracted away from their core mission by prioritizing things in reverse. Reading and math can be taught in an atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance, inclusion and diversity but get lost when the core mission is teaching acceptance, tolerance, inclusion and diversity in a secondary atmosphere of reading, and math.
Stop doing things backwards and it will all work out

edney Oct 16, 2022 06:49 PM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

The only reason for schools to have bake sales to buy books is if the District spent all the money on other things. In Santa Barbara, it isn't due to lack of tax dollars, it is in the allocation of those tax dollars.
Every $100,000 a year position in the district should be seen as a $200,000 dollar position because of the benefits packages. For every person you see behind a desk at School HQ, there is someone retired and drawing a check. Conclusion: Maybe SB Schools payroll has too many $100,000 jobs that do not contribute to the core mission.
But those kinds of thoughts are considered heretical

lovesbalot Oct 16, 2022 01:48 PM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

Our district needs to change the entire culture around reading. This article illustrates how the system is failing many of its students. A 7th grade reading score of 30 words is less than first grade level, The average reading rates for kids in grades 1-3 are 80 words per minute, 115 words per minute, and 138 words per minute respectively. Grade 4 and 5 kids have 158 and 173 words per minute, respectively. Lastly, grade 6 students have an average reading speed of 185 words per minute. ( The district needs to be proactive in automatic testing for all students, switching to science of reading approach instead of using the failed approach called balanced literacy, and we need to train teachers in the science of reading since they are trained in the failed approach in universities currently. Our district needs to hire reading interventionist in the community to teach reading. Teachers have their hands full and waiting two years to train them will mean that so many are not getting to learn to read . Our community needs to offer interventions to all who want it in the approach the scientific approach . Last year and year before only allowed a small portion of the students that need it get extra support. Ours reading scores for most vulnerable were already painfully low pre pandemic and now with learning loss they are only going down. So sad and avoidable if they spent money from special LCAP fund ( local control accountability fund that state gives us for english language learners , foster youth, homeless, students with socioeconomic hardship and those with learning differences. Lastly why does our district refuse to say some kids are dyslexic.. and jargon it up with kids that show characteristics of dyslexia... Well thats so they are not forced to pay for costly interventions. Also stop the term students with disabilities... its students with differences ... ( special needs). There is nothing disabled about these students. It is the system that is disabled because it refuses to use science and invest in interventions early.. Sad and avoidable.

Benicee Oct 16, 2022 12:33 PM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

Have two kids in the system. That being said I feel very concerned that if anyone brings up common sense ideas that go against the statues quo that they are immediately called out as being a right wing nut job. We all want the best for our kids. Please let’s all work together to make that happen. If people want to make this a political issue it should be a bipartisan one.

sacjon Oct 17, 2022 11:58 AM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

Deja vu as in you posted the exact same comment, word for word, in another thread. --

Not off topic at all, as it's directly related to the TWO IDENTICAL posts you made on different articles. Explain how that's off topic?

Voice of Reason Oct 17, 2022 08:26 AM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

Let’s say the government wants to help hungry people. So what do they do, they open up 10,000 government grocery stores all across the country and then you’re assigned one based of your address which you have to use by law unless you can afford an alternative. Now, you don’t have any say over what groceries you get, that will be decided by a government approved board, and if you want to make any sort of meaningful change, you're facing a multi-year battle at your local, state an federal levels in order to try and make that happen. BTW, all the people working at this government grocery store will not be rewarded based off their creativity, ingenuity, results, or work ethic, they will only be rewarded based on their seniority. Doesn’t sound like a very good way to solve the problem but that’s exactly how were handling public education.

salsipuedes Oct 16, 2022 08:25 AM
Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $30,000 for Student Literacy

I hate to think how much worse it would be if they didn't have a "Love of Literacy." What Maldonado failed to say is that the "balanced literacy" instructional approach of SBUSD is the cause of so many unnecessary reading struggles. Enlightened educators have learned about the scientific research on how the brain learns to read. They have shown leadership in eliminating "balanced literacy" in countless districts and multiple states across the country, because it fails half the kids. Everywhere, including here. They just announced a new PIO getting a salary of $180,000 while they're begging for dollars from the community to teach the teachers to teach kids to read, without addressing the underlying reason is their failed teaching approach? And by the way, through the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), the district is required by Federal law to provide a "Free Appropriate Public Education" for those children with disabilities, including those with dyslexia. It's not an add-on to justify asking generous donors to fund what is the district's responsibility. There is so much terribly wrong here.

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