Back to school at La Cumbre Junior High
Students head to their classes at La Cumbre Junior High School on Tuesday, the first day of the 2019-20 school year for the Santa Barbara district. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Unified School District on Tuesday morning kicked off the 2019-20 academic year.

This year, more than 15,200 students in preschool through 12th grade are enrolled in district schools, including charter schools, according to SBUSD spokeswoman Camie Barnwell, who added that the enrollment number will be finalized Sept. 4.

On Tuesday morning, students walked on to the campuses of the Santa Barbara Community Academy and La Cumbre Junior High School in Santa Barbara. Skateboarding and biking also were popular modes of transportation. Many students had backpacks over their shoulders.

The excitement was noticeable. Bradley Brock, the new principal at La Cumbre Junior High School, stood outside near the front of the campus to greet students, families and parents with “Good morning!”

“We are trying to build a connection with our community, and that is what La Cumbre is about,” Brock said. “I’m excited to be here.” 

Brock replaced Jo Ann Caines, who died in 2018. Brock officially began his new position July 1.

“I’m a first-year principal,” he said. “I’m probably just as nervous as the kids are on the first day, but we have an amazing team, and we are working together to make this a great first day for our kids and our community.” 

Santa Barbara Community Academy, which opened in 1999, shares the campus of La Cumbre Junior High School at 850 Portesuello Ave. in Santa Barbara.

The academy is serving students in kindergarten through sixth grade, and anyone in the Santa Barbara Unified School District attendance boundaries can choose to enroll at the school, according to the district.

Back to school at Santa Barbara Community Academy

Students at Santa Barbara Community Academy mingle with their peers as the new school year begins Tuesday. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“We have always been a year-round school, but this is the first time SBCA is on the traditional calendar, so we are starting on the exact same day as La Cumbre,” Principal Anna Scharfeld said. “It’s exciting to be back because we have a full, new design that we are going to be implementing this year.

“We have two new kindergarten classes and a new first grade. We are looking forward to knowing our new students.”

Scharfeld said she is excited for the students to get engaged in relevant learning and to work through the design thinking process. She’s also thrilled for the students to build a sense of belonging that makes them feel like they are part of a community.

Students in the Goleta Union School District will begin their new school year on Wednesday. The district educates more than 3,500 elementary students in nine schools. 

Classes in the Hope Elementary School District will begin Thursday. The district serves more than 1,000 students in Santa Barbara.

The school year will kick off Monday for about 2,200 students in the Carpinteria Unified School District.

Also on Monday, students at Santa Barbara City College will begin the fall semester. All enrollment numbers will be released on the first day of classes, according to SBCC spokeswoman Luz Reyes-Martin.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.