Santa Barbara Education Foundation Awards Over $100,000 to SB Unified Teachers

By Giving List Staff   |   December 14, 2021
Christy Lozano’s students at McKinley Elementary School using Ultimate Sandbag Training, which was paid for by a teacher grant last school year

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will award 64 grants to SB Unified teachers totaling $100,000 to help meet the needs of their students.

Since 2018, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has offered SB Unified teachers grants between $250 to $5,000 to promote innovative teaching and purchase classroom supplies. With this grant cycle completed, SBEF has awarded approximately $375,000 in funding to teachers over the past four years.

According to SBEF Programs Manager Katie Szopa, “The Teacher Grants committee is always amazed by the diverse requests from our teachers.  They are constantly striving to provide students with new learning opportunities, experiences, and materials to strengthen the whole child.”

This year’s grants will help purchase a wide variety of items, including school gardens, physical education equipment for special education students, new speakers for the band room, and a field trip to Santa Cruz Island.

For Dylan Aguilera, the Instrumental Music and Band Director at Santa Barbara High School, the grant will allow for some long-overdue upgrades for his students’ performances. “The Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s grant programs have just gifted us with much-needed electronic sound equipment. We have been using outdated materials for many years, with many tech-scares mid-performance. But now that we have funds specifically given to us to update our hardware, we can rest at ease, knowing that our electronics will carry our students to new experiences.”

April Salas, a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Specialist at McKinley Elementary School, is using her grant to better support and provide access to essential curriculum. “Literacy in both English and American Sign Language is crucial yet challenging for our Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students in SBUSD. With the help of the SBEF grant, our program is able to utilize specialized curriculum and assessments that best support the significant language needs of our students. These materials not only help build critical literacy skills but also allow for accessible learning. When learning is accessible, students are successful!”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will host an awards presentation to celebrate the Teacher Grant recipients on Wednesday, January 5.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 12,700 students in 21 schools. For more information, visit


Santa Barbara Education Foundation

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Executive Director: Pedro Paz


Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) provides and supports programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of all students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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I have always been impressed with Keep the Beat as it fosters a love of music in children that can last a lifetime. I learned to love music when I was young and wanted to help our young folks experience that same love in their formative years.
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The agenda for the 2022/2023 school year is to close the gap and achieve more funding for Teacher Grants while focusing on literacy development and mental health. Despite the $223,000 gap that the Santa Barbara Education Foundation is currently experiencing, their diligence and thoughtfulness bear every single student in mind.

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Arnesen Family Foundation
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J.M. Lind
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