The Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s summer school program still has spaces available for local high school students.
Santa Barbara Unified School District schools always offer remedial and credit recovery courses for students who have fallen behind, but the foundation’s summer offerings include electives and enrichment courses.
The fee-based program offers for-credit classes at San Marcos High School in six-week and three-week sessions. Santa Barbara Unified’s board unanimously approved the foundation’s facilities use agreement and agreed to accept the courses for credit.
“People are so happy we’re offering this,” Santa Barbara Education Foundation executive Director Margie Yahyavi said. “Some parents told us their child is really excited about going to summer school, and that makes me feel good. We’re putting together a program that we haven’t had for a decade.”
The registration deadline is this Friday, and a final roster will let the foundation and its program administrator — teacher and coach Alex Sheldon at San Marcos — finalize how many classrooms to book for the summer sessions. The agreement with the district allows the program to use textbooks, technology and other school resources for the classes.
“We just have to look at this year as getting our feet wet, seeing what works and seeing what’s popular and not popular,” Yahyavi said.
Most classes will be hosted in a block of rooms on the campus to keep students together, though some, such as theater and physical education, will be held elsewhere, Sheldon said. Once the student roster is finalized, he will figure out a process for checking out textbooks and other supportive services.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for some students who don’t go to San Marcos to see what a great campus we have, though I think the program would be successful at any campus,” he said.
San Marcos was chosen out of the three district high schools for its central location and accessible bus stops.
There’s mixed interest from students so far, but the health science class filled up so quickly that the foundation is offering another section of it, which may also fill up by the end of the week, Yahyavi said.
Each class needs 25 students enrolled to move forward, so the schedule won’t be final until after the registration deadline. The six-week session starts June 17 and ends July 25.
The foundation is putting up the financial backing, including the fee per classroom for the district, paying teachers and offering scholarships for students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch. It hasn’t been able to find community support to help pay for those scholarships this year, but hopes to for future programs, Yahyavi said.
It costs $290 for each five-unit class and $580 for each 10-unit class, while the scholarship students will pay only a $25 materials fee. So far, about 25 or 30 percent of the enrollees are those students, Yahyavi said.
Teachers from all of the schools have applied to teach, and some classes, such as American government and U.S. history, had more than 10 teachers apply, Yahyavi said.
“It’s pretty cool that kids from other schools can take classes from amazing teachers who they wouldn’t normally get to take classes from,” she said.
Not every position has been decided, but Daniel Barnett, director of Santa Barbara High’s Visual Arts and Design Academy, will be teaching the color and design class and Dos Pueblos High School’s Visual Arts teacher Jacqueline Kelemen will be teaching the photography class.
Other courses offered include American government, U.S. history, world history, biology, Spanish, French, Latin, playwriting, theater arts, mixed chorus, physical education, introduction to economics and freshman seminar/health science.
“I had no idea what to expect; I woke up in the night with nightmares of, ‘What if I can’t find a teacher?’” Yahyavi said. “Those are just your mind running away with bad what-ifs, and they don’t usually come true. It didn’t come true in this case — someone applied for everything, and then some.”
Classes are targeted at SBUSD high-schoolers, but any student age 12 to 18 can take the classes for noncredit. Students from other districts can also sign up, but should check to see if their home districts would accept the classes for credit.
Enrollment for Santa Barbara City College’s dual enrollment program summer session, for high school students who want to take college courses for credit, starts May 20. The summer’s session runs from June 17 to July 27.