Friday, January 19 , 2018, 7:58 am | Mostly Cloudy 55º


Up for Renewal, Santa Barbara Charter School Faces Questions About Student Achievement

Santa Barbara Charter School is up for its charter renewal in October, but district trustees have expressed concerns about the achievement scores and curriculum model for the school.

A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8 with the charter proposal, school administrators and the Circle of Trustees that govern the 20-year-old charter school.

Ultimately, the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Board of Education will decide whether to approve the charter again.

The renewal process itself is strictly outlined by the state Education Code, with 16 specific items to consider, according to Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dave Cash.

“Our analysis is, did they meet it or did they not?” he said.

The K-8 school is housed at Goleta Valley Junior High School’s campus, and has a combination of classroom-based and home-based programs, including independent study.

It has a cap of 285 students, which it often has enrolled, according to the charter proposal.

Many people love the school, but its students have performed lower historically than other schools in the district and other progressive schools, board member Kate Parker said this week.

“It’s a real red flag to me,” Parker said.

At a recent meeting, the board briefly discussed the charter proposal and asked for some more information to be included before the public hearing.

Parker requested more detail about the textbooks and curriculum the school uses, and pointed out that every award mentioned in the report as “evidence that they’re making progress” was before 2008.

There’s also no discussion about how the Common Core State Standards would be implemented, or at least how students would be prepared to meet those standards when they go to high school.

“I expect any application for renewal to have that included,” Parker said. 

Board president Monique Limon asked for enrollment, parent-satisfaction survey answers and student demographics information for the school. 

Santa Barbara Charter School has a history of not reflecting demographic data of the Santa Barbara Unified School District or the Goleta Union School District, and there haven’t been discussions to address that, Parker said.

Santa Barbara Charter is one of three charter elementary schools overseen by Santa Barbara Unified: Peabody Charter School has been a charter school since 1993 and serves students from preschool to sixth grade; and Adelante Charter School, formerly Cesar Chavez, formed in 2010. 

Adelante was created after its predecessor raised major concerns about curriculum and assessment.

The school overhauled its leadership and charter, and the Board of Education approved the new plan with 52 specific conditions before giving the final OK in July 2010. It’s a K-6 dual-immersion language school, the only one in the district.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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 >