This past year has been a wildly successful time of transition, growth, and accomplishment that has clearly demonstrated the resilience, commitment, and character of our entire Santa Barbara Middle School community. We couldn’t have achieved these successes without the guidance and support of all of our past and present SBMS families, students, alumni, trustees, teachers, staff, and friends. We are especially grateful to the class of 2012 who, like the three decades of ninth-grade leaders before them, “honored the deal” and did it right. See them all on page 4 of our Summer 2012 edition of The Diamond newsletter. The SBMS creed continues to define us, lighting the way for our incoming students and future generations: “Because of them, us; because of us, them.”
The pages of our Summer newsletter are filled with stories of achievements and gratitude mixed with previews of new programs, staffing, and possibilities for the upcoming year. From the classrooms of SBMS to the peaks of the Oregon Cascades and Mt. Tamalpais, it’s clear that it has been a year of tremendous opportunity and transformation. Yet there is always work to be done, room to grow, and new heights to reach in our efforts to provide the best education for our students, balancing the core elements of our four-sided diamond curriculum with innovative ideas and enhancements.
The theme for our thirty-sixth year of Santa Barbara Middle School is:
Larger Voices Calling: Opportunity, Service & Wisdom. What are the larger voices that guide, caution, and lead us on the inward and outward journeys of our lives? In this accelerated and amplified world, distilling the inner voices of our intuition, reason, and passion may be a lifelong odyssey, but it is a practice that our children begin during these critical middle school years. As a teenager growing up in Santa Barbara, I didn’t always appreciate the many resources and unique perspectives of this community. Looking back on my middle school years, it’s clear that the opportunities I had to serve others through school volunteer programs enhanced my education. They gave me purpose, perspective, and a sense of responsibility that we must do something meaningful with what poet Mary Oliver called “our one wild and precious life.” The accumulation of knowledge without authentic experiences, global perspectives, and the effort to develop a grounded sense of self misses the opportunity of this age to convert literacy and scholarship into true wisdom. Kahlil Gibran encouraged us to cultivate a wisdom balanced by compassion, purpose, and reverence when he said,
“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh,
and the greatness which does not bow before children.”
Now that we have settled into our new home, we are primed and prepared for our best year ever! We will continue to provide the opportunities for our students to learn and serve, and to cultivate the wisdom built upon scholarship, experience, and a clear sense of self. I look forward to the new year and a journey filled with laughter, tears, learning, and wonder.
Head of School
Santa Barbara Middle School