Dear SBMS Community,

For over 46 years, the Santa Barbara Middle School journey has begun with a Deal Meeting between the Head of School and every one of our students. Meeting in our Kiva, every student promises to “go with gratitude,” to give their full effort, be kind, and contribute something authentic to our school community during their time at SBMS. In return, SBMS promises to challenge, inspire, and guide each student on their journey of self-discovery and toward the realization of their unique gifts and potential. We promise to go the extra mile to see and understand each student deeply, forge meaningful relationships, and provide an environment where our students feel a sense of belonging and purpose. I am increasingly impressed and proud of the efforts of our students, staff, and community to honor and exceed the school’s “Deal” commitments.

Each summer, we choose a theme for the year ahead to help us fulfill our mission of “...cultivating in our students passion for life and life-long learning, a deep sense of trust in themselves, strength and courage to succeed at life’s challenges, and compassion and respect for others.” I am excited to share that our theme for the 2023-2024 school year is... "Becoming Us: Metamorphosis and Magic." It's a theme that, among many other things, represents the change that middle school students undergo and the magical transformative process we get to play a small part in.

Ultimately, a Middle School student’s experience is a journey of self-discovery that prepares each student not just for the years of school ahead but to build lives of purpose, passion, and promise. We know well that these middle school years are a “messy business of becoming” and that they require courage, compassion, and community to elevate above the drama of the day to achieve lasting growth and real transformation.

On June 7th, 2023, our Middle School community gathered together again in Godric Grove to honor our 2023 graduating class in our unique and intimate Rites of Passage ceremony. We took our time listening to teachers, mentors, coaches, siblings, parents, and family members celebrate each student with words of wisdom, insightful anecdotes, and stories of triumph and personal achievements. Each presentation was similar to a three-minute Ted Talk, illuminating the journey of our children into adulthood. Individually, each honoring gave me renewed hope that these young adults have undergone an incredible transformation and are now prepared for much more than just the coming years of high school; they are poised to become catalysts for change and builders of their communities in the years ahead.

Throughout the year, our collective stories will undoubtedly be filled with magical moments where metamorphosis is seen in all its beauty. These moments inspire us and are the reason we love what we do here at Middle School.

With Gratitude and Hope,

Brian McWilliams
Head of School
Santa Barbara Middle School