Thursday, October 27 , 2016, 9:02 am | Fair 57º


Orcutt Nonprofit Gives an ‘A’ Effort to Raising Funds for Academics

SOAAR (Supporting Orcutt Academy's Academic Resources) supplements state financing for Orcutt Academy Charter programs

Curious looks — some bordering on confusion — were a welcome sign in a classroom at Orcutt Academy High School on a recent afternoon, where students worked to harness a new technology.

The chemistry students were learning the ins and outs of high-tech Student Response System devices, commonly called “clickers,” which allow users to electronically answer a posed question by pushing a button. The results are shown, often anonymously, as part of a real-time tally.

Curiosity denotes learning, which is exactly why a 2-year-old nonprofit dedicated to funding academics and science in the Orcutt Academy Charter program raised $2,000 to buy the devices.

The SOAAR (Supporting Orcutt Academy’s Academic Resources) foundation has been building a network of giving since its creation in spring 2011, when a group of concerned parents and school staff realized state funding alone could not provide the best for the charter.

Orcutt Academy Charter, which is governed by the Orcutt Union School District, includes a K-8 Casmalia campus, the district’s lone high school, and an independent study program.

“Clickers” are just the latest benefit of the nonprofit’s efforts, according to Laurel Ciervo, OAHS dean of student services and counseling.

Ciervo said teachers can use the devices, which were donated this school year, for multiple-choice questions as well as on tests and for data collection.

“They can right away check for understanding,” she told Noozhawk. “It cuts down on a lot of time. (SOAAR)’s really financing school.”

SOAAR raised about $18,000 through grants, donations and fundraisers in its first fiscal year. So far for 2012-13, SOAAR has raised about $7,000, according to SOAAR board member Juliann Hemphill.

The nonprofit regularly supports the high school’s successful Spartatroniks Robotics Team, provides technology equipment and is currently raising funds for computer software.

Joe Dana, district director of charter programs, said SOAAR raises money through grants, organized events, direct asks to parents and families, and business donations.

“We cannot depend on Sacramento to fully fund everything we want to do,” Dana said. “If we want to do some special things, we’re going to have to be innovative and entrepreneurial ourselves.”

He said SOAAR is solely for academics, whereas the PTSA funds education enrichment, athletic boosters fund sports and the Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation supplements arts.

“We are steadily making progress,” Dana said. “We do think that we have found a good reception. They like what it stands for. I think it’s important. Who knows where state financial stability is headed? We have got to look for what we can do.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >