The Barona Band of Mission Indians awarded a $5,000 education grant to Santa Paula High School, thanks in part to the support and endorsement of Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria.

The grant comes at a critical time for Santa Paula High School as it attempts to improve and expand its Advanced Placement course program and its library’s book collection.

Students at Santa Paula High School are in desperate need of more AP course offerings because of the unique way in which they educate and empower students.

“Unfortunately, many of these students come from difficult financial situations,” said Williams, stressing Santa Paula High School’s need for the grant money.

“Santa Paula High School appreciates the $5,000 it has been awarded. The money will go to good use updating our library with materials for all of our students, with a particular focus on adding reading materials for Advanced Placement students,” Principal Elizabeth Garcia said. “With the curriculum rapidly changing to get students college and career ready, we are excited to purchase supplemental library materials that align with the Common Core standards and support rigorous instruction. All students will ultimately benefit.”

Over the past five years, Santa Paula High School has doubled the number of AP classes it offers, and it has tripled the number of students enrolled in at least one of the courses; but there is still more that it needs. With Santa Paula High School’s average copyright date for library books at 1993 and its student-to-book ratio well below the state recommendation, it is clear that an updated collection of library materials is imperative. This grant money will help ensure that a college experience becomes more affordable and accessible for all students at Santa Paula High School.

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.