Santa Barbara and Goleta school officials met Wednesday to hear what their educational counterparts are doing, and to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The dialogue between the Santa Barbara Unified and Goleta Union school districts during joint board of education meetings focused on math, science and technology, as well as the Gifted and Talented Education program.
How well curriculum gels between the two districts was a key component, and officials seemed happy with presentations on the subjects.
“It’s so important because we know that students in Goleta end up in our secondary schools,” said Santa Barbara board of education president Ed Heron.
It was Goleta Union Superintendent Bill Banning’s first joint meeting, and he discussed the GATE program and how its testing type — the CogAT — was more recently brought in line with what Santa Barbara schools use.
Both districts emphasized the importance of focusing GATE programs on the individual student beginning as young as kindergarten.
Officials also stressed articulation of Goleta sixth-graders into junior high and high school, when they move into the K-12 Santa Barbara district.
About 10 percent of Goleta’s K-6 population is in the GATE program, staff said.
In Santa Barbara, where testing has been expanded to more grades, there are 337 GATE students in grades 3-6, 1,541 in junior high and 4,168 high schoolers in advanced or honors courses.
Officials spent more time on math and science curriculum related to new Common Core standards.
Several Santa Barbara Special Teachers on Assignment (TOSAs) — jobs that recently were recreated in the district — helped Superintendent Dave Cash explain the complex switch aimed at better preparing students for college and careers.
School board members questioned whether work was overwhelming students or parents, who have been invited to attend Common Core information nights.
Heron suggested that perhaps some parents just want to intervene.
“Common Core is a slightly different language for something we’ve been trying to do for a very, very long time,” Goleta board member Richard Mayor said.
As for technology, Banning was proud to announce that Goleta Union recently decided that its classrooms would use Chrome book devices and iPads, with Chrome books already on the way for every sixth-grader and teacher.
The next step, of course, is deciding how teachers can best use them, he said.
“I think we have to be very careful to make sure we know it’s not going to solve our problems,” Banning said.
Santa Barbara’s chief educational technology officer, Todd Ryckman, talked about the district upgrading its infrastructure and network to accommodate using more iPads, and teachers trying to experiment with them in the classroom — each outfitted with its own HDTV and Apple TV.
Ryckman described the technology as an education initiative, since it’s more encompassing than just adding equipment.
Board members agreed, and said they were grateful to see similarities between the districts.
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.