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Change Coming to Santa Barbara Unified School District

Change is coming to the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and the superintendent says it will be a lot of work.

Dr. David Cash spoke to a crowd at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion during his second annual State of Our Schools address.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District is made up of 22 schools and 15,000 students. And the status quo that got the district this far is about to do an about-face.

“Change is what is happening in K-12 education in California, and it is stomach-churning big-time change for all of us,” said Superintendent David Cash.

The big change on the list for all California schools is the Common Core. That’s the new way of teaching children that officially kicks off next year.

“Not everyone needs to go to Harvard. We need plumbers, we need electricians. I need someone that’s going to fix the plane I’m going to get on next week and fly to Sacramento. We need standards that prepare kids for colleges and careers that are essential for our community,” said Cash.

He acknowledges that will this be a change not only for teachers and students, but for their parents.

One of the parents in the audience during the State of Our Schools address was Denise Diller, who has a special-needs third-grader. She was glad to hear about the superintendent’s plan.

“It’s just nice to know, you know, put a name and a face together. Knowing that he is very committed but there are a lot of changes,” she said.

Craig Price with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation said the shifts in teaching, like adding technology to the classroom, will help students.

“Really meaningful change. We are not talking about more gimmicks. We are talking about doing things that are going to improve the way that children learn,” said Price.

Cash emphasized the need for cultural proficiency. He acknowledged strides have been made to increase the number of Latino students in advanced-placement classed, but he said much more needs to be done.

“We’re not going to stop asking the tough questions about this issue, of ourselves and of our community. This is not an easy topic because we are changing the status quo. But from our perspective, the status quo needs to change because it has to be every child, every chance, every day. Not just the ones that look like us or act like us, but it’s every single kid,” he said.

While there are a lot of new initiatives for the district, Cash highlighted progress. Both student suspensions and expulsions dropped by 25 percent last year.

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