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Harding School’s Reopening Marks Beginning of an Era
Noozhawk’s note: Noozhawk and givezooks! are proud to participate in a project to replace Harding School’s hawk weathervane, which was stolen earlier this summer. Read on to learn how you can help.
Continuing with its tradition of innovation, Harding School, now known as Harding University Partnership School, held a grand reopening ceremony Friday evening and kicked off its new alliance with UCSB’s Gevirtz School.
“We’re so excited for our partnership,” Principal Sally Kingston said as she welcomed Harding children and their parents, Santa Barbara School District officials, and representatives from the Gevirtz School to the Harding campus, 1625 Robbins St. A children’s mariachi band played, and the ribbon to the school was cut by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Mario Hernandez, last year’s student body vice president.
“This is exciting,” Santa Barbara School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Sarvis said. “This is the start of something new and something big.”
The partnership will be a close one, according to Gevirtz School Dean Jane Close Conoley. The graduate school’s faculty and students will be “taking responsibility” in the partnership not just for the children’s academic progress, but for related issues such as their emotional and psychological well-being. In return, Conoley said, the Gevirtz students doing research on innovative methods of child development and education will be stimulated in their efforts.
“The goal is that five years from now the Harding kids are making proficiency levels in their tests and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education is famous for its unbelievable research,” she said, adding that the Harding children, who are typically from low-income and often Spanish-speaking-only families, will receive the same access to educational services as those from more affluent schools.
It’s an idea that evolved over time. Conoley and Kingston were introduced to each other through the Bialis family, active donors at Harding School. The heads of both schools found that they had much in common, including a desire to enrich the education experience for their students.
Little by little they shared ideas, efforts — even staff. When Harding faced the need to restructure as a result of its Program Improvement status, it turned into an opportunity to partner with the university.
The school also took the opportunity Friday to make a pitch for funds to replace its stolen weathervane, a 75-year-old solid metal hawk that was stolen in June. The value of the historic piece has been described as “priceless,” but the cost to replace it is about $15,000.
“Someone stole our hawk. When we found out, it broke our hearts into little pieces,” said sixth-grader Lupita Torres, who hopes to see the bird back on the roof of the school before she leaves for junior high.
Click here to make a tax-deductible online donation to the Harding Hawk Project through givezooks!
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