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June 25th, 2019 at 11:00 am

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A Quick Guide to Understanding Santa Barbara School Districts

Santa Barbara is home to spectacular landscapes, crystal-blue waters, and endless activities to enjoy. It’s also home to 20 distinct Santa Barbara school districts.

If you’re planning to move to the area but don’t know where to start, learn everything you need to know with our quick guide. From Carpinteria to Cold Spring, there’s an area here for everyone.

Ballard School District

Located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard School District teaches students from kindergarten to sixth grade.

It was officially formed in 1882 and has won awards as both a California Distinguished School and a California Gold Ribbon School. Ballard offers unique enrichment, like yoga, music, gardening, and arts outreach.

Blochman Union School District

Home of The Bobcats, Blochman Union School District is nestled in the hills of Santa Maria off Foxen Canyon Road. The school was established in a tent on the ranch of Lazarus E. Blochma in March 1909, before the second two-room school was built in 1923.

The district is known to provide high academics and is home to Benjamin Foxen Elementary School (referred to as Blochman School), the Family Partnership Charter School, and Trivium Charter School. Student resources include Google Classroom, Infinite Campus, and Accelerated Reader.

Carpinteria Unified School District

Carpinteria Unified School District works alongside parents and the community to further the brief that all students can learn and be successful. They pride themselves on a commitment to an education program that is both caring and positive, one that promotes self-esteem and respect.

The district serves approximately 2,200 grades TK-12 students with nine schools: one comprehensive high school, two small alternative high schools, one middle school, and four elementary schools.

Schools within the city and district include Aliso Elementary, Summerland Elementary, Canalino Elementary, Carpinteria Middle School, Carpinteria High School, and Carpinteria Family School.

Cold Spring School District

With a website that highlights a Maya Angelou quote and references creativity and innovative thinking, Cold Spring School District works to ignite an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.

Parents love this district because it strives to foster the balance of academic achievement, healthy personal development, and social and environmental responsibility.

Between art, PE, technology, and even STEAM (the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), this district equips students with the knowledge needed to become innovators and leaders.

College School District

College School District in northern Santa Barbara County is one of California’s oldest school districts and was originally formed in 1844 as the Santa Ynez Mission’s seminary.

In 2018, the elementary school received a grant from the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, which included 15 brand-new musical instruments for its students.

It offers an ASES (After School Enrichment and Safety program), which provides literacy and academic enrichment through local museums, movie theaters, and field trips to students in second through eighth grades.

Cuyama Joint Unified School District

The Cuyama Joint Unified School District, located in New Cuyama in the Cuyama Valley, has a mission to work together alongside students, the community, and staff.

In doing so, it hopes to nurture an environment that expands its students intellectual, creative, and social horizons.

The district is a small, rural TK-12 district with an enrollment of roughly 210 students. The students come from the towns of Ventucopa, Cuyama, and New Cuyama. They have a dedicated academic and athletic staff that strive to help their students achieve their dreams and goals.

Goleta Union School District

As their website states, the mission of the Goleta Union School District is “to maximize academic, intellectual, and personal growth in order for each student to prosper in, and positively influence, a diverse and dynamic world.”

The district serves 3,571 elementary students in grades K-6 across their nine schools. Four schools receive schoolwide Title I support and three schools host district transitional kindergartens.

There are three state preschools located in the district, too, including Learning Tree Preschool — which enrolls both special education students and general preschool students.

Guadalupe Union School District

Guadalupe Union School District includes Mary Burin Elementary and Kermit McKenzie Junior High, with an enrollment of approximately 1,157 students.

It is located in northwestern Santa Barbara County and works to provide each student with the academic and social skills that will help them to become independent thinkers, lifelong learners, and productive members of society.

Hope Elementary School District

Comprised of Hope Elementary School, Monte Vista Elementary School, and Vieja Valley Elementary School, the Hope Elementary School District has a variety of programs (like GATE) and focuses on student wellness.

It recognizes the link between nutrition education, the food served in schools, and the connection between a healthy diet and a student’s ability to learn and grow.

It also founded The Hope School District Educational Foundation Purpose, a community-based nonprofit that works to promote academic excellence, innovation, and financial support to enrich student learning.

Lompoc Unified School District

The LUSD serves students K-12 who live n Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mesa Oaks, Mission Hills, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and other rural areas near these communities.

It prides itself on having specialists at all levels who can provide support for bilingual children, migrant kids, gifted, and handicapped children. As such, the district notes that it has created an atmosphere that is both cooperative and collaborative.

For a fun Lompoc tidbit — the area is known as the flower seed capital of the world and produces more than half of the world’s entire supply of flower seeds.

Los Olivos School District

Home of the Spartans, Los Olivos School District is known for being a welcoming, small-town community of creative and connected learners. The school was recognized in 2016 as a National Blue Ribbon school and takes pride in academic excellence and enrichment programs like after-school art, computer programming, chess, and robotics.

Los Olivos Elementary is a five-time California Distinguished School with a community of 150 students kindergarten through eighth grade. As the school has been around since 1888, some students are fourth- and fifth-generation Spartans from nearby ranches and vineyards.

Montecito Union School District

Montecito Union School District is a highly rated public school district. From the Math SuperBowl to its chorus program, the school works to encourage curiosity and thirst for learning.

There is one school that serves kindergarten through sixth grade with a teacher-to-student ratio of 1 to 18 in each classroom. The staff specializes in art, music, physical education, Spanish, and reading.

With a location that rests on eight acres between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this school is a beautiful part of the Montecito community.

Orcutt Union School District

Orcutt Union School District’s mission is to believe that opportunities for learning are limitless. Through nurturing, educating, empowering, and inspiring, children can learn to navigate in the ever-changing world.

Located in the Santa Maria Valley, this district is known for its inclusive culture and its innovative 21st-century curriculum.

Santa Barbara Unified School District

The mission of the Santa Barbara Unified School District is to prepare students for a world that is yet to be created. It was established in 1866 with traditions that are rooted in the 18th century Spanish era.

It is home to a wide array of elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools like Franklin Elementary School, Peabody Charter School, La Cumbre Junior High School, and Santa Barbara High School.

Schools in this district boast everything from the Multimedia Arts and Design (MAD) Academy to the Health Careers Academy in partnership with Santa Barbara City College.

Santa Maria-Bonita School District

Santa Maria-Bonita School District has four junior high schools and sixteen elementary schools. With close to 17,000 enrolled students, it’s the largest school district in Santa Barbara County.

Activities vary from school to school but include the arts, physical education, and homework support. The district also provides Primary Jumpstart, Winter Intersession, Saturday School, Summer School, and Newcomer classes.

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is home to four high schools in the Santa Maria area.

It has 7,900 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 23 to 1 — and is comprised of Delta High School, Ernest Righetti High School (known for its band program), Pioneer Valley High School, and Santa Maria High School.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District

The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District ranks as one of the highest-performing high school districts in California.

With a dedicated team of staff and students, Santa Ynez High School and Refugio High School have strategic initiatives in place to cultivate a prime place for learning.

They explore and adopt innovative and flexible learning systems and leverage available technology that allows them to enhance student creativity and critical thinking.

Solvang School District

The Viking Warriors of the Solvang School District work within a rigorous curriculum of strong critical thinking and academic skills.

Known for their safe and caring environment, the schools boast a Spanish/English Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program for incoming kindergartners and have received national recognition for its STEM career program.

Vista del Mar Union School District

Vista del Mar Union School District was established in 1926 and is in Gaviota, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. The school is surrounded by foothills, sycamore and oak trees, and coastal sage. Its motto is “learning for life.”

It is a transitional kindergarten through eighth-grade school with a small student setting and personalized attention to help kids grow. There is a focus on environmental consciousness and unique educational programs.

Santa Barbara school districts

Whether you’re moving to the quaint Danish village of Solvang or the charming beach streets of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County is a beautiful place to live and explore.

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