Anne Hubbard believes strongly in public education’s ability to transform lives. She was once a foster mother to one of her former students — at the time, a 16-year-old dropout — who is now in college and on track to become a teacher, too.
That compassion, optimism and hopeful spirit is likely to guide Hubbard this year as principal at Washington Elementary School on Santa Barbara’s Mesa.
“(I’m) an advocate for kids and a firm believer that education opens doors for students,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard worked as a teacher at elementary and middle schools for 20 years and most recently served as assistant principal for middle schools in Cupertino and Paso Robles.
“The approach is different,” she said of the transition to elementary school administration from middle school. “With elementary school kids, it’s about creating relationships and making sure that they’re learning how to get along in a school setting and enjoying school.”
Hubbard said she’ll be focusing on the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s implementation of the common core standards and increasing students’ access to technology. The common core standards, which take effect in 2014, require students to analyze and synthesize information. Technology, such as electronic tablets, will be integrated into lesson learning to create a more interactive and collaborative environment, she said.
According to Hubbard, every Washington School grade, from transitional kindergarten to sixth, currently has Apple TVs and iPads. Access and application of technology in the classroom is essential, she said, adding that schools must stay current with the needs of students to prepare them for the future.
“The jobs that are going to be there for kids in elementary school right now — I can’t even imagine them, I have no idea what they will be,” she said. “Technology and access to education has changed so drastically. We have to focus on kids and where they’re at and the world they’re living in now.”
Instead of focusing just on factual information, education and the incorporation of technology will encourage different methods to reach the same ends, she said.
“I envision a group of kids in sixth grade working on solving a math problem, and being able to use a tablet and illustrate their process for getting the answer to the math problem,” Hubbard said.
She explained that the Apple TV would be used to display each group’s process from their tablet and each group would be able to show their steps and justify their reasoning.
In Cupertino, which is home to Apple, her previous school is moving toward a program that would provide each of its students with an iPad, Hubbard said.
“Virtually 95 percent of kids had a smartphone,” she said. “At that particular school, kids would be asked to pull out their phone and use that technology in class. Kids responded well to that — that’s their world, what they’re used to.”
She said she hopes a similar transformation can take place at Washington.
Hubbard said she believes strongly in technology’s ability to deliver an individually tailored education. She used an example of an electronic textbook that would be structured to the student’s particular reading level and be updated with videos and other media to provide an interactive learning experience. Technology would not only serve practical functions, but would also provide new forms of keeping students engaged in course material, she added.
“I would like Washington to be a leader in that movement in meeting the kids’ needs, for how technology is changing the world,” Hubbard said. “I would like us to be on the forefront — look at what they’ve tried and the success they’re seeing.”
Although California may issue more trigger cuts to public education this year, Hubbard says she’s optimistic that other funding methods will help with technology access.
“We at Washington are fortunate to have an incredible parent-teacher organization,” she said. “Through their wonderful fundraising capabilities, they are able through their blood, sweat and tears to continue to provide enrichment courses.”
Originally from San Jose, she received a master’s degree in educational leadership and a credential in administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2009. She said she knew she wanted to be a teacher since the sixth grade.
“The kids are just awesome,” Hubbard said of her new students. “I can’t even tell you many hugs I got today.”