Pixel Tracker

Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 3:45 am | Fair 48º


Susan Salcido: Recovery, Healing in Our Schools and Community

It is heartening to see the daily progress in ways large and small in the Montecito community. We know there is a long way to go, but the direction is positive and promising.

As I listen to the community and talk with residents of Santa Barbara County, a common theme has emerged: the desire to help.

In fact, help has already been delivered by many people, from first responders, to neighbors who opened their homes to displaced Montecito residents, to colleagues and friends giving grace and space to those who need time to get their bearings.

Help has been offered from throughout our county. In North County, people have asked me how they could provide support, be it social and emotional assistance for students and staff, donations of clothing and supplies, or financial aid.

Residents of Cuyama, who rely on Highway 166, were inundated with traffic rerouted through their small community.

However, the people I visited in Cuyama gave little thought to any inconvenience they experienced during that period. Instead, they expressed grave concern and deep sympathy for their neighbors to the south.

A general thank you is in order for those who have helped in ways large and small. Every effort has made a significant difference. Other ways to lend support will continue to emerge.

One bright light in these past few weeks is that each local school district responded as a community for its students, parents and employees.

Teachers, staff and administrators did all they could to get to their sites, making school a comforting and welcoming place for their students, and acting on the knowledge that routine and the comfort of normalcy is very important for children.

Parents played an enormous role in keeping their families focused in a positive direction. They have supported their children and their schools at every turn.

We are mindful that teachers and staff have been tending to multiple needs simultaneously: They have been rising above the tragedy and staying strong for the children, nurturing the students who are entrusted to them each day, and planning lessons that get back to instruction without overwhelming the system.

Yet, teachers and staff need nurturing, too.

Hundreds of school personnel traveled on trains, boats and buses, and taken hours-long detours to get to their schools and their students. They all talked about how grateful they were to see their students during and after the tragedy.

When I visited Cold Spring, Montecito Union and Carpinteria school districts recently — those most directly hit by tragedy — I heard first-hand from teachers and staff about the joy they felt at the sights and sounds of children playing, laughing and learning together once again.

But when I was able to talk directly to teachers or staff members one-on-one, their abiding concern for the children was clear. They are aware of how long the healing process will be.

Teaching has always been a balance between an academic focus and an awareness of the emotional challenges our students face. Those challenges exist among children in every corner of our county and have impacts in every classroom.

We are so grateful we have such caring and dedicated teachers. We know that attitude of caring and service that was demonstrated after this recent tragedy is replicated in classrooms countywide.

Our unending sympathy goes to all who suffered so greatly. We also thank all of those who have provided or offered assistance, and all the parents and friends who have worked so hard to keep our families strong.

Finally, we remain grateful for teachers and staff members who will continue to navigate the challenges faced by their students in the aftermath of disaster.

With a spirit of compassion, determination and optimism, we will move forward as a community, with our eyes focused on a brighter future.

— Susan Salcido is the Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are her own.

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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 >

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.