Friday, June 22 , 2018, 4:13 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º


Goleta Elementary Schools Show Off Programs Embracing College Spirit, New Science Standards

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson visits El Camino, Kellogg Elementary school campuses

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson talks with students at El Camino Elementary School in Goleta Monday afternoon. Click to view larger
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson talks with students at El Camino Elementary School in Goleta Monday afternoon. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

From preparing for college in the elementary school setting to introducing computer programming software in classrooms, Goleta Union School District has implemented multiple courses aimed to help student success at a young age.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara took a tour of El Camino and Kellogg Elementary schools this week to see the impact of regulations and laws that come from the state level.

“These two schools were selected in part to represent the diversity our community and schools,” Superintendent William Banning said. “We are proud of the programs and environment our schools provide to children in our community.”

Nestled between Calle Real and Hollister Avenue, El Camino Elementary School is the district's smallest, and 80 percent of students enrolled are Latino and living with families in poverty, Banning said.

“It starts with the teachers and that we believe everyone can succeed,” said Liz Barnitz, El Camino’s former principal who moved to a district office position supporting Instructional Services with an emphasis on English language development. “We have the responsibility to impact. One of our main goals is to bring hope.”

A big push for triumph beyond elementary and secondary education is preparing for college awareness.

The school is a No Excuses University School, a network focused on supporting a college-going culture and advocates readiness for students as young as five.

“The school focus is on cultivating a culture of achievement through goal setting and growth mindset, plus support for parents in helping kids get ready for college,” Banning said.

The program works side-by-side with college students and graduates to help the children learn how to make their dreams a reality.

A No Excuses University School gets students thinking about what college they want to attend.

Stanford University, Princeton University, UCLA and UCSB are a few top choices students have picked as their educational future. College spirit is felt throughout the campus and inspirational words hang on the classroom walls.

A maroon and white Westmont College banner covers the door of a math classroom.

“Every classroom has picked a college,” Principal Sarah Bautista said. “Sometimes it's a college that is associated with the students in a personal way.”

A Westmont College banner covers the door of a math classroom at El Camino Elementary School. The school is a No Excuses University School, which helps children prepare for potential colleges. Click to view larger
A Westmont College banner covers the door of a math classroom at El Camino Elementary School. The school is a No Excuses University School, which helps children prepare for potential colleges. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

El Camino is led by Bautista, a new principal in the district who arrived this year with three years of principal experience in Oregon.

The school also receives support from QAD, a software company based in Summerland, and a productive partnership with United Way of Santa Barbara, which has recently been expanded to all GUSD schools.

Less than 3 miles north of El Camino, Kellogg Elementary School is known for being one of the district's highest-achieving schools, Banning said.

“A big part (of the success) is the school's demographics, with a lower than average population of students learning English,” Banning said.

The school serves approximately 400 students and has a diverse population that includes a portion of students who are bussed from Old Town Goleta, he said. 

Kellogg is home to the district's autism program. Three teachers provide support and instruction for both an inclusion as well as mainstream model and instructional aide support as needed.

It offers additional programs including aid in speech and language, adaptive physical education and occupational therapy based on an individual child's need. 

The school is dedicated to providing students a well-rounded education and implementing different levels of standards to the existing science curriculum, Principal Kimberly Bruzzese said.

At Kellogg, a science specialist meets with each class once a week and incorporating coding in the computer lab. The school has also raised funds to renovate an aging classroom into a modern science lab.

GUSD has a committee of teachers, administrators and board members who are working to plan the action of Next Generation Science Standards district-wide, Bruzzese said.

“Each school site is implementing different levels of these standards to the existing science curriculum and each taking on different models,” Bruzzese said. “Thanks to the support of the district in updating the portable classroom space and our PTA, we've created a much more functional space with updated technology to assist in student learning.”

Each Goleta school has been granted a minimum six-hour Garden Education Mentor to help provide students the opportunity to learn and interact with lessons within each of the site's school gardens, she said.

The school received two grants last year totaling $2,500 and this year just got a California Native Garden Foundation Summer 2016 Garden Design Grant for $6,500, according to Bruzzese.

“We have a committee of parents and staff who have been committed to pursuing garden grants,” Bruzzese said.

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.

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