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Best Schools in Santa Barbara | 🏫Top Elementary, Private, High Schools

If you’re relocating to Santa Barbara with children, you’ve likely spent hours deliberating which school you’ll enroll them in. While California once boasted some of the best public schools in the country, education has taken a back seat in recent years. For instance, in 2021-22, the four-year statewide graduation rate was 83.6%. Therefore, doing your homework before deciding where to send your kids to school is necessary.

To help you decide, we’ve rounded up ten of the best schools in Santa Barbara. A myriad of Santa Barbara schools make stellar marks for their education, fine arts, and athletics. It’s simply a matter of finding the right one — including some of the public schools. Santa Barbara Unified School District is the public district in this city. The district is composed of 12 elementary schools, four junior high schools, and five high schools. 

Our comprehensive guide to the best schools in Santa Barbara offers information on highly rated public schools as well as private schools worth considering.

Best High Schools in Santa Barbara 

The high school you send your child to can dictate the outcome of their college acceptances and beyond. Here are some of Santa Barbara’s most promising high schools

Dos Pueblos Senior High School – National Blue Ribbon School in Santa Barbara Unified School District 

Though this school’s address is in Goleta, northwest of Santa Barbara, it is a member of the Santa Barbara Unified Public School District. This high school boasts a 25:1 teacher to student ratio, which is impressive

Dos Pueblos Senior High is distinguished as it is a National Blue Ribbon school. It has had several recent renovations including enhancements on the football stadium, the creation of a Broadway sized theater, a 12,000 square foot facility for engineering, and an Olympic sized pool. A 2012 Newsweek article ranked the school as 597 in the top 1000 schools in the entire nation, and 127 in the state. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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San Marcos High School – Gold Ribbon Winning High School in Santa Barbara 

San Marcos High School is part of the Santa Barbara Unified Public School District. It has an accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This high school was named a California Distinguished School in 1994 and again in 2005. It also was named a Gold Ribbon School in 2015. 

This high school offers a myriad of student-led clubs and organizations in addition to 56 interscholastic athletic teams. San Marcos High School also offers a nationally recognized performing Arts Program, two Mock Trial teams that compete at state and county level, and a school newspaper that is released ten times yearly.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Santa Barbara Senior High School – A public school that offers your child the opportunity to specialize in a certain academy  

Santa Barbara Senior High School offers a 40-acre campus and is ranked by US News as #528 in the state, which considering how large California is, is an accomplishment. It has an extremely diverse enrollment, as 65% of students identify as a minority. The school employs 92 full-time teachers and offers small learning academies on various subjects including Visual Arts and Design, Multimedia Arts and Design, and Computer Science. 

The school’s performing arts department is especially well-known, as it has been in operation continuously for more than 100 years. The school has a graduation rate of 91%.

Best Elementary Schools in Santa Barbara

We’ve compiled a list of the best elementary schools in Santa Barbara so you can be confident you’re sending your child to the best. 

Montecito Union Elementary School – Offering an excellent teacher to student ratio 

Montecito Union offers a teacher to student ratio of 11:1. State test scores reveal that 85% of students are proficient or above in math and 87% in reading. It is a member of the Montecito Union School District, and is a public school. 

By looking at the test scores of students who attend this school you will notice that they progress faster than those at other schools in the state of CA. This is a testament to the robust education your child will receive here. 

Cold Spring Elementary School – Where students excel on state tests 

Cold Spring Elementary School’s students outperform the state average reading and math scores significantly. 92% of this school’s attendees are at least proficient in both subjects. This school has the same teacher to student ratio as Montecito Union: 11 to 1. 

The school prides itself for balancing academics, personal development, environmental and social responsibility. 

Peabody Charter School – A larger school with above average scores 

This school has a larger enrollment number but still a relatively good ratio for teachers to students (25 to 1). Test results from Peabody are also above the state average. This is also a rather diverse school; 57% of students identify as members of a minority group. 

The school is known for its robust environment that enables students to flourish and develop skills in ceramics, movement, physical education, and beyond. 

Private Schools in Santa Barbara

If you’re considering sending your children to private schools in Santa Barbara, here are four options you should consider. 

Laguna Blanca School – Private school featuring exceptional STEM program 

Laguna Blanca is a costly private school — tuition is $29,230. However, the school does have evidence to prove its students go on to succeed: 100% of graduates will continue their education at a four year university or college. The school is independent and co-ed. 

This school offers pre-kindergarten so it’s an excellent institution to enroll your child in early and allow them to continue to grow with their classmates. The school is spread across two campuses: one in Montecito, and the other in Santa Barbara. 

Many parents enjoy how this school adequately prepares their child for college and the small class sizes that allow individualized attention. This is an excellent place for students who thrive with plenty of one on one teacher interaction. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Bishop Garcia Diego High School – A Catholic high school 

Bishop Garcia is a Roman-Catholic private high school in Santa Barbara. 65% of graduates from the school continue their education at college or university. There’s a student to teacher ratio of 12 to 1. Students enjoy the faith based community that they find when they attend this private Santa Barbara high school.

The majority of students who attend Bishop Garcia Diego High received some form of financial assistance to make the institution more accessible. 

Providence School – Christian private school in Santa Barbara

This Christian private school in Santa Barbara also offers an excellent teacher to student ratio (9 to 1). Similar to Laguna Blanca, 100% of attendees will go on to college after graduation. Many students enjoy opportunities to participate in extracurriculars such as sports at Providence. 

The Providence School also offers pre-K so if you’re seeking an educational institution where your child can enroll early and continue to grow, this may be the place. In addition, a sizable portion of attendees receive financial aid to make the school more accessible. 

Anacapa School – An immersive outdoor educational experience 

Because Anacapa School caps enrollment at 72 students, all attendees get specialized attention from their educators. The school also offers an extremely unique outdoor education program. Like Providence and Laguna Blanca, 100% of students continue education in a college setting after graduation. 

The Anacapa School is not only renowned for its rigorous academic curriculum, but also how it promotes civic involvement, thanks to the school’s downtown location. 

Santa Barbara Schools Frequently Asked Questions 

Does Santa Barbara have good public schools? 

Yes! Santa Barbara is home to several top-rated public schools, including those at the high-school level. Dos Pueblos Senior High, a Santa Barbara Public School, is a National Blue Ribbon School.   

What is the public school district in Santa Barbara called? 

The public school district in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara Unified School District. It is grades K-12. 

How many schools are part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District? 

There are 21 schools in the Santa Barbara Unified school district.

How many students are enrolled in the Santa Barbara Unified School District? 

There are approximately 13,188 students enrolled in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. 

Now that you’ve found the perfect Santa Barbara school for your children to attend, you can take the next step and make your move. Give Cal-Safe movers a call today at 805-000-0000 to get a free quote for your move.

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