Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District

Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District title=
Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District
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Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District

Santa Barbara Unified School District receives the 2018 California Distinguished District honor, a statewide recognition of California school districts that have implemented model practices that have had a positive impact on student and family engagement, and student outcomes. The honor also recognizes districts’ success in making exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students by meeting state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. The award is a part of an expansion of the Distinguished Schools Program to include the California Exemplary Districts. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, presented the district with the award at a California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony on May 3, 2018 in Anaheim.

(From Left to Right: María Larios-Horton, Sofía Rubalcava, Martha Díaz Anaya, Anélix Díaz-Quiñones, Paula Tomé Pallé), translators and interpreters of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Language Access Unit and Maria Larios-Horton, Director of English Learner and Parent Engagement. 

“We know public school districts in California are being held to higher standards to improve student performance that define a quality education,” said Jacqueline Reid, Ph.D, Santa Barbara Unified Board President. “This recognition is a testament to the positive direction of Santa Barbara Unified to advance all of our schools to meet those standards. We have tremendous pride in the dedicated and talented staff that are a part of our school community who promote these goals every day.”

The 2018 California Exemplary District award specifically recognizes Santa Barbara Unified for its commitment to language access, family engagement and restorative approaches. Examples of the efforts that were honored include:

  • Strengthening student outcomes by employing a Framework for Family Engagement coupled with parent programming, and linguistic access for families who are limited or non-English proficient through translation and interpretation services.

  • Santa Barbara Unified’s Language Access Unit interpreter/translators training of approximately 100 bilingual staff to strengthen the communication between school and home.

  • Expanding Restorative Approaches strategies that aim to promote positive school climate and build strong relationships among members of the school community. Restorative Approaches resolve conflict and repair harm through dialogue in order to allow all parties to be heard, with emphasis on the practical consequences of harm caused more so than punitive discipline.

  • Santa Barbara Unified’s three traditional high schools saw a 40-percent drop in student suspensions this year compared to 2017, a decrease attributed to new dean of student engagement positions created to strengthen the implementation of Restorative Approaches, including proactive and preventative strategies schoolwide.

Laura Wooster Dorfman, Santa Barbara Unified School District Restorative Approaches Teacher on Special Assignment (RA TOSA). Laura Wooster Dorfman coordinates the districtwide implementation of Restorative Approaches. 

Santa Barbara Unified serves approximately 15,000 students in grades preschool through 12. Demographically, the district is comprised of students who are Hispanic/Latino (60%), White (34%), Asian (3%), Black/African American (1%). The district is further made up of students who are low-income/socioeconomically disadvantaged (52%), English learners (23%), students with disabilities (13%), and homeless and foster youth (10%). Santa Barbara Unified provides various programs of choice in its elementary schools that include Core Knowledge (Santa Barbara Community Academy), International Baccalaureate (Harding University Partnership School), and Montessori (Adams Elementary School). In junior high and high schools it offers a wide range of pathways, including Career Technical Education, California Partnership Academies, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment options. The District is committed to the academic and socio-emotional success and well being of all its students. Three priorities frame the district’s work: 1) equity in student outcomes, 2) improving educational and operational practices and 3) evaluating the effectiveness the district’s work.

For more information about the California Distinguished Schools program, please visit the California Department of Education’s Distinguished Schools program’s website at:

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Factotum May 10, 2018 10:52 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District

"Decreased suspensions" is not meaningful data. Unless you are running a very expensive baby sitting program and not a K-12 educational system. Mandating "free education" to those who in turn abuse this public generosity, needs reordering. Education is both a right and a privilege - time to put more emphasis on the privilege part and not let it continue to be a right to get free babysitting with no other accountability other than staying #45 in Nationwide rankings for the public dollars spent. No, you do not passively accept hand you were dealt when the teachers unions are the biggest open border advocates just to protect their own jobs and fill their classrooms.

a-1525978326 May 10, 2018 11:52 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District

Factotum: I urge you to visit some of our school district campuses. You will find students engaged in a solid academic curriculum which should result in a generation of thinkers who will be far more accepting of their fellow human beings than you are. They won't be focused on 'closed borders'. They will be more concerned with the betterment of mankind than the resentment and hatred of the 'other'.

Factotum May 11, 2018 03:14 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District

Prop 98 guarantees 50% of general state tax revenues are automatically dedicated to K14 education. Spread that amount across closed-border student enrollments, or open-borders student enrollments. Why are we spending our own tax dollars providing free education and hiring multitudes of teachers to educate other countries students? Not when that very system is saddling state taxpayers with billions of dollars of CalSTRS debt. 60-70% of K-12 students are classified as "english learners" and we continue to rank only #45 over all in our state's student outcomes. Everyone is getting short-changed by open border policies,, even the current open border students who continue to get only a #45 ranked education, even if it is "free". Which is it not. Gov Brown reported we now spend $17,000 in tax dollars on each student in Calif K-12.

Factotum May 12, 2018 03:04 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School District Receives 2018 California Exemplary District

Open Border enrollments require hiring thousands more teachers that now share the same state Prop 98 guaranteed education dollars. This has now bankrupted the state teacher pension program. Where will the money come from to continue teacher union supported Open Border hiring and enrollments? "The California State Teachers Retirement System reported Thursday that it is facing a $107 billion gap between the cost of pensions promised to teachers and the money currently set aside to pay for them.

As of June 30, 2017, the pension system was 62.6 percent funded, down from 63.7 percent a year earlier. It had $209 billion in assets."

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