SANTA BARBARA — Superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Hilda Maldonado emphasized equity in a “State of Our Schools Address,” presented by the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.
“We have a significant disproportionality issue to address in Santa Barbara Unified: our Latino students in grades K-3 are three times as likely to be as identified as a student with special education needs,” she said during Tuesday’s event. “What we are seeing is an overidentification and sometimes misidentification of our Latino students as students with special needs.”
Although Latino students comprise 60% of the district’s population, only 45% are prepared to enter a four-year university, she said.
Of the 35% of students that are white, 75% are prepared.
She also noted that Santa Barbara County has the second highest child poverty rate in the state.
She hopes to increase partnership with families and community members, including providing a parent university. She’d like to improve teaching to become more inclusive, including social and emotional learning.
“We want to better prepare our teachers to be responsive to our students’ diverse needs,” she said.
Superintendent Maldonado also desires for more sustainable district policies.
“What we have accomplished during the pandemic in this past year proved to me, all of you and others that we have everything we need here in Santa Barbara. We are that group of thoughtful, committed individuals who can change the world for all of our students,” she said.
— Annelise Hanshaw