Santa Barbara Unified Teachers to Get 71 Grants

By the Santa Barbara Education Foundation

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will award 71 grants to SB Unified teachers totaling $100,000 to help meet the needs of their students.

Since 2018, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has offered SB Unified teachers grants between $250 to $5,000 to promote innovative teaching and purchase classroom supplies. With this grant cycle completed, SBEF has awarded over $475,000 to teachers over the past five years.

This year’s grants will help purchase a wide variety of items, including Spanish language books, field hockey equipment, printmaking supplies, a field trip to the La Purisima Mission, and a music recording studio.

For some teachers, it’s an opportunity to bring tech into the classroom with subject-specific funding like the Gretler Foundation STEM Grant. This year the grant will fund an LED Light Project for 6th graders at Adams Elementary and robots for a coding project at McKinley Elementary School’s STEAM lab.

For Diana Hemsley, an art teacher at Goleta Valley Junior High School, the grant will fund a project to teach students that their ideas have a place on their campuses and community. ” This grant will provide the funding necessary to purchase the materials and supplies needed to complete a mural for the school. The mural will be designed, painted, and installed by students. This project was designed to involve all students in beautifying and creating pride and spirit in their school and contributing to their community.”

Although there is much to celebrate for the Santa Barbara Education Foundation with another round of funding completed, there are hopes to grow the program to address growing needs in local classrooms.

According to SBEF Programs Manager Katie Szopa, “This year, we saw an overwhelming amount of well-deserved grant applications totaling over $330,000 in requests. With only $100,000 to distribute this year, my hope is to fundraise significantly more next year to fund as many of these teacher grant requests as possible. “

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will host an awards presentation to celebrate the Teacher Grant recipients on Wednesday, January 11.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation started in 1985 when a group of concerned parents came together to support teachers by offering small grants for classroom supplies.  Today, SBEF promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system and serves over 12,700 students in 19 schools. For more information, visit


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