Britt Hawthorne
Britt Hawthorne

Five of Santa Barbara’s local independent schools — Montessori Center School, Crane, Laguna Blanca, Riviera Ridge, and Santa Barbara Middle School — hosted an anti-bias, antiracist parent webinar for their community members.

Featuring Britt Hawthorne, an anti-racist educator, teacher, speaker and advocate, the Oct. 18 event marked the first collaboration among the five schools, jointly hosting a community discussion on social justice.

The event topic, How to Raise AntiRacist Childrenm incorporated tools and tips from Hawthorne’s 2022 New York Times Bestseller “Raising AntiRacist Children: A Practical Parenting Guide.”

School leaders commented on the program and how their campuses are working for social justice.

“At Montessori Center School, we are committed to engendering a just and equitable school community,” said Vanessa Jackson, interim head of school. “Thank you to our incredible partners at Crane, Laguna Blanca, Riviera Ridge and SBMS for collaborating with us on this important topic.

“This event presented a very powerful opportunity for us to continue our work to disrupt and dismantle our own biases so that our children can grow up in an environment where all human differences are celebrated and supported.”

”At Laguna Blanca, we believe diversity, equity and inclusion is an ongoing practice that demands engagement and lifelong learning,” said Ursula Chan, director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). “This work is rooted in our core values of scholarship, character, balance and community.

“We view this as imperative to creating a better future and invite all members of our community to participate in our conversations and solutions.”

”Crane School is committed to creating and sustaining a community rooted in equity and justice,” said Michelle Holmes, Crane’s director of DEI and belonging. “Through our programming, curriculum, and events like this, Crane and our partner schools affirm our commitment to building an anti-racist future and a community of critical thinkers capable of reimagining and building a truly beloved community.

“As our core value Put We Before Me expresses, we believe deeply in the power of collaboration and partnership to overcome division and the -isms that present themselves and to create a strong sense of belonging,”

“At Santa Barbara Middle School, we are committed to fostering an environment that actively promotes inclusivity of all students, their families, and their identities,” said Bianca Vega, assistant head of school.

“We are honored and proud to be partnering with our fellow independent schools of Santa Barbara to continue this path forward, together,” Vega said. “We look forward to more of these collaborations in the future.”

“The Riviera Ridge School is committed to creating a campus environment that mirrors the cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic composition of our greater community,” said Mario Bucio, director of student wellness and EIB practices.

“With diversity comes a responsibility to honor, value, and celebrate individual differences while providing a safe space of inclusion, belonging, and positive interactions among all School community members.

“We are grateful for being part of this collaboration and we acknowledge the continuous commitment that is needed to have meaningful progress.”

Hawthorne is committed to raising a generation of antiracist children by centering families of the global majority and fostering equitable learning environments for students and children of all ages and backgrounds.

Her work has been recognized by PBS, the National Education Association, Google Edu, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Rice University, and the Association Montessori Internationale.

Montessori Center School (MCS) in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old, compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching. For more, visit

At Crane School, students are taught to find joy in the pursuit, value their voice, cultivate kindness, and put we before me. Crane serves students in kindergarten through grade 8 on its 12-acre campus in Montecito. For more information, contact Erin Guerra, 805-969-7732 ext. 106, or visit

At Laguna Blanca, teachers guide students in the process of self-discovery to ensure success in finding happiness, health and balance. The school has two campuses, early kindergarten through grade 4, 260 San Ysidro Road, Montecito; grades 5 through 12, 4125 Paloma Drive, Santa Barbara. For more, call 805-687-2461 or visit

Riviera Ridge provides student-centered, individualized learning in a nurturing community, inspiring academic excellence and valuing difference. The educational vision is to empower individual potential, inspire purpose beyond self, and cultivate social responsibility. For more, email or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.

Founded in 1976, Santa Barbara Middle School (SBMS), 1321 Alameda Padre Serra, is an independent co-educational day school specializing in grades 6-9. SBMS offers a balanced approach to learning that includes academics, creative arts, sports, building community, and outdoor education. For more, call 805-682-2989 or visit