Wednesday, January 24 , 2018, 2:55 am | Fair 45º


First Day of School Arrives for Santa Barbara Unified School District, SBCC

Students head back to class as other districts scheduled to start school in the next two weeks

Students head to Goleta Valley Junior High for the first day of school Monday. Click to view larger
Students head to Goleta Valley Junior High for the first day of school Monday.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Thousands of Santa Barbara Unified School District and Santa Barbara City College students returned from summer break on Monday morning. 

This year, nearly 14,000 preschool through 12th-grade students were welcomed back to SBUSD, district spokeswoman Lauren Bianchi Klemann said. 

At Goleta Valley Junior High School, buses rolled up, and students in the adjacent neighborhoods walked and biked onto the campus in Goleta.

By 8:30 a.m., the opening bell rang and the seventh- and eighth-graders were immersed in their first lessons. 

A new principal greeted the young scholars and their parents as they tricked into campus.

Principal Mauricio Ortega said he’s looking forward to “community and relationship building, and a big focus on instruction, teaching and learning.”

Ortega was selected to serve as the principal in May.

He said preparing students with college- and career-ready skills were his priorities, and he also pointed out the voter-approved Measure I funded facilities project that renovated the school’s asphalt parking lot and playground.

In the parking lot, parents like Maricela Garcia, whose 12-year-old son, Richard, attends Goleta Valley Junior High, congregated at the front entrance to watch children reunite with friends and meet faculty.

“I dropped him and took a selfie with him — he gave me a hug and a kiss, but it was a quick one,” Garcia said. “He was eager to start. He memorized his classes and route around the campus.”

Washington Elementary School students put on glasses to safely view the partial solar eclipse Monday morning. Click to view larger
Washington Elementary School students put on glasses to safely view the partial solar eclipse Monday morning.  (Sierra Loughridge / Santa Barbara Unified School District photo)

Several schools made a lesson out of Monday's partial solar eclipse, which was visible (fog permitting) from the South Coast in the morning. 

At the SBCC campus, fall enrollment numbers were at 14,673 Monday, a decline from the previous fall's headcount of 17,608, said SBCC spokeswoman Luz Reyes-Martin. That number is likely to change and won't be final until later in the semester, she noted. 

The SBCC Foundation also reports more than 1,500 students enrolled in the SBCC Promise program, which is providing local high school graduates with the opportunity to attend SBCC full-time for two years for free.

Classes at Goleta Union School District start Wednesday and the first day for Hope Elementary School District is Thursday.

The fall semester at Westmont College begins Aug. 28, and UC Santa Barbara students start fall quarter Sept. 24.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

Students gather at Cleveland Elementary School for the first day back Monday. Click to view larger
Students gather at Cleveland Elementary School for the first day back Monday.  (Raul Ramirez / Santa Barbara Unified School District photo)
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