My child attended Laguna from 1st through 8th grade and I would not recommend the school to others. My child excelled in all subjects but was not allowed into the middle school portion of the library because those were "not age appropriate books" for a third grader. I was a single parent and this was pointed out to my parents and allowed to be a negative topic of conversation among teachers and students. In 4th grade there was a faculty member that became very upset at the phrase "that's sucks" and made such a big deal about it that many, if not all, of the kids learned what that woman believed the origin of the expression was. NOT the kind of knowledge I expected faculty to teach. When real problems arose it was hard to get faculty to listen. My child received all A's until a teacher gave a C in spelling. I asked for a conference to see how this happened since all the tests up to that point were A's and my kid was upset. The faculty would not justify the grade so I complained to the Headmaster. He would not go against a teacher or require the teacher account for how grades were calculated. That teacher was promoted. I would accept this culture better if I was free.
High academic expectation. The Board of Trustees and administration are very open and approachable. Loads of parents show up to events. Happy kids. No complaints.
Stop basing any of your decisions on reviews, good or bad, on a website. Instead, do the following for each school you are considering: - Visit the school and observe some classes. Talk to the students and faculty if you can. - View the list of college acceptances from previous years. - Inquire about test scores and AP offerings. - Investigate qualifications of the teachers via biographies on the school website. - Attend a varsity sports game. - View all of the school's facilities, including computer labs, library, classrooms and athletic facilities. - Check out student artwork and performances. - Have the prospective student visit for a day with a current student. Do all of these dutifully for each school you are considering or else you are not being a wise consumer. Do all of these dutifully, and you will see why Laguna Blanca has been one of the top college preparatory schools in the region for decades. No need for anonymity on this review, as we at Laguna truly stand by the strength of our school community and the education we provide. Stop by our newly renovated, state-of-the-art library and say hello over a cup of coffee! Blake Dorfman '02 Coordinator, Isham Library
I have read the previous reviews - believe mine. When we started we were promised "that all classes are taught at GATE level". Not true. In fact, one lower school teacher confirmed that the curriculum is decided by the teacher - whatever that is. There is NO continuity between the grades and the curriculum is quite boring. My child, who is extremely bright, was forced to sit through daily addition lessons (even though he was more advanced) - no matter how hard we tried to make this better; we were shut down. As for the upper school; we had one teacher publicly humiliate our older child and all he received was a "note" in his folder. If you think that by paying a lot of money and viewing the nice campus your child will receive a stellar education; you are mistaken. Don't be fooled. As for "College Prep" - 6 graduates this year are attending Junior College. The college counselor will direct your child NOT to the school in his/her best interest; but, rather to an "affiliate". Both of our "host" families left before us. Sadly, we should have listened and left; but, tried to hang on. Like many families who live close to this school; we send our children elsewhere.
I am a parent of 3 Laguna Blanca students one of whom recently graduated and is prospering in a top University. Laguna Blanca provides a solid college preparatory educational foundation that is unmatched in other Santa Barbara schools. We are particularly impressed with Laguna's English and Literature programs which provide the critical skills to read with comprehension and to write persuasively. Laguna also provides a safe environment for students to explore and to challenge themselves in whatever academic, artistic or athethlic pursuits that interest them. One of our children played 3 varsity sports in one yea. One of other children plays in a varisty sport and also enjoys the art programs. We were also impressed with the college preparation help that Laguna provides. Laguna Blanca has a terffific reputation with Colleges and Universities throughout the US and the faculty and staff provide much needed assistance in providing college application guidance and meaningful letters of recommendation. A visit to Laguna Blanca is the best way to form your own opinion.
We had our son at Laguna for all of junior high and it is not as bad as some of the reviews say, but it is also not as good as the positive reviews would lead you to believe. We decided to pull our son out mainly because he became so uninspired. Laguna is good for a specific type of kid. Possibly a kid who is very regimented, mathematical, and not too "outside the box" or inquisitive.
A once great school is now reduced to a shell of its former glory. I am almuni and a parent of two children enrolled at Laguna. I had high hopes for my children since my education had been so good when I went there a million years ago. Over the last five years or so, Laguna Blanca has fired all their best teachers (or they quit), eliminated all leadership, and now simply hope they will attract families from reputation alone. I am embarrassed that my beloved school has been reduced to a farce of a good education. I don't know how this has happened and I truly regret to have to write a negative review, but someone, somehow needs to bring Laguna Blanca back to what it once was.
We love this school and more importantly so does our Daughter, we couldnt be happier, from teachers, overall leadership, caring for childrens well being to exciting and impressive new capital improvements, I cant think of another school that has this blend and we looked long and hard when moving to the area. I was shocked to see a couple of negative views on this site and had to read them twice to make sure they were talking about the same school, not sure what happened in their particular instances but couldnt be further from our and hundreds of others expeariance. Our daughter has strugged in the past with keeping up and fully understanding what was being taught but all this became a thing of the past at Laguna, the safety net and support structure is amazing and keeps students on track when they 'slip' or get behind, and more importantly its done in a really suportive and caring way, year after year the graduates get in and excell in some of the countries finest Colleges, the stats are truly impressive...there are always Allum at the school or in the comunity and to a person they rave about how well they were prepared for college and their days on the Laguna campus.
I don't normally write reviews on things but our experience with Laguna Blancta has been so bad that I felt the duty to inform other parents considering this school. I believe it used to be good but now it is terrible. They teachers are burned out and uninspired (except the art teachers), they are firing the headmasters one after the next, teachers are running and quitting as fast as they can. All the best teachers are gone and now the secretary is teaching English! We pulled our child out of there as fast as we could.
We moved to Santa Barbara from central California for one reason: LAGUNA! Please don't allow a few comments change your opinion! It is true some teachers have left: they were pregnant and wanted to be home! I can assure you the quality you seek is there as I have a son upper school and many friends with kids in middle and lower school. Academics are first rate here . You will be surprised at how hard these teachers work with your child to help him/her have academic and social success in school. I'm friends with recent families who have graduated their kids off to some pretty amazing schools. These folks reminisce about their great Laguna experience and directly reflect on preparedness for college. Laguna is wonderful! We love it here!
I have been a parent in Laguna's high school for 7 years. It is the best college prep program in the region. The level of teaching and faculty/student engagement is like a small liberal arts college. Students are challenged academically in a very supportive environment. There is a wide range of extracurriculars like sports, the arts, theater, music - students have the chance to be a part of so many things. The sports teams are consistently in the CIF playoffs, the student newspaper wins national awards, students films appear in the Film Festival, etc. Graduates face college prepared academically and knowing how to seek and secure help and support from faculty to manage they success. The School has had leadership change in the lower school but now has an excellent lower school head. The prior headmaster did much to move the school forward and now the school is seeking a new leader to take it further. The best way to measure the school is the success of its students - whether they attend K-12 or just lower, middle or high school. Ask parents of graduates and you'll hear praise. Don't make decisions based on rumor and gossip - visit the school and talk to students and faculty.
Laguna Blanca has been a perfect fit for our son. He started 7th grade knowing only one other student and quickly made friends and adjusted to the academically challenging environment. His teachers are more like mentors and caring family members as opposed to strict professors; this makes all the difference in the world for him. He feels that the teachers are on his side and actually rooting for him. Laguna also allows him to build confidence by playing in the band, participating on sports teams, and taking art classes. As he nears the end of his high school years I realize that his father and I have less and less influence. Now it's his peers and teachers that have more influence on him. This is one of the main reasons we chose Laguna. There he is surrounded by other academically motivated kids and kind, caring adults. Laguna Blanca provides our son with an educational experience that feels both intimate and expansive at the same time.
I'm a Laguna Blanca graduate and thought highly enough of the place to send my children there, too. For all of the naysayers out there, things are rarely as bad--or as good--as they may seem. Laguna has been a phenomenal place for academics, athletics and loads of other extracurricular activities and they haven't deviated from those pillars over 80 years. Yes, there was a change of headmaster, but I'm in the camp that thinks that change can be good. Certainly the change of the head hasn't affected my kids in the slightest. There isn't a school on earth that doesn't have occasional issues. Don't let a few negative posts on an anonymous computer bulletin board dissuade you from sending your children to Laguna! It's a choice you'll never regret!
Laguna Blanca is a wonderful community with the most dedicated teachers and faculty. Although it's small, if offers a wide array for students to get involved in and take leaderships roles in, if desired. The academics are top notch with experienced and enthusiastic teachers. Students in the upper school (9-12) all know each other well and have many opportunities to mix among grades. Sports, art, theater, music, journalism and community service projects are just a few areas that our kids have been able to enjoy and participate in at Laguna Blanca. I highly recommend it!
We can't say enough good things about Laguna Blanca! The level of caring and commitment by the staff, teachers and administrators is outstanding. They provide the right tools, expectations and an environment that leads students to the ideal college choice. They provide plenty of challenge and enough guidance to help the students succeed. The students are mature and accomplished; they support and inspire each other with their ambition and success. The setting is idyllic, the people are friendly, the academics are great!
The two pillars of great academic preparation are writing and mathematics, and Laguna shines in these two areas. My wife and I chose Laguna for our son based on the reputation of the school in these two areas, and we have been very happy. Laguna also has a friendly, supportive chemistry between the faculty and students, and I appreciate that teachers and coaches welcome students into programs and onto teams without having an exclusive "cut" policy. The Hope Ranch address can make it feel exclusive and snooty, but my wife and I have experienced nothing but a positive and welcoming environment from all of the other families. I highly recommend the school if you are serious about sending your son or daughter to college and serious about giving them the tools they need to excel once they get there.
As a parent of a Laguna Blanca graduate who is a freshman at a top liberal arts university, I am overwhelmed by how well-prepared he is for the rigor of the academics and amazed at how he can manage his time and balance sports, social and student leadership. Laguna provided him so many opportunities with clubs, athletics, music and leadership. Our son had close relationships with the teaching staff and the administration and is able to mirror that in college. Laguna Blanca prepared him to take on challenges and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
we were one of many throughout the last couple of years who had to pull our child out. This school has a very fixed mindset, no flexibility, no interest in growing and learning, no interest in childs well being. Good teacher comes to school to learn, Not to teach! Good teacher looks at each child as an individual! Things have gone bad in this school since the new had master came. Good private schools do not fire half of their staff, especially a great staff who were very connected to kids. And if you ask why..no one will talk about it. they are not allowed!
I love this school, especially the Middle School and the warm and wonderful Head of the Middle School Durward Brandis. He has a 'Hello' and smile for everyone he sees on campus. They have solid academics and a terrific line up of performing arts. The technology at the school is awsome, everyone has a projector, a smartboard or some cool gizmo to use with students. The computers classes are lead by a passionate, knowledgeable teacher and the kids learn how to be safe and smart on the internet. I do wish there were more tech classes offered, however. The school also has a new headmaster and I hear he is doing great things to make the school even better!
My children started in 4th grade and we loved the elementary school - great teachers, fantastic parental involvement, strong curriculum. Middle school was tougher but I tell parents that middle school anywhere is tough and the athletic participation was fantastic for hormonal boys. The relationships with teachers and emphasis on lots of writing was key. High school was over the top. I cannot say enough things about the curriculum, teachers, headmaster, college preparation, student diversity, acceptance and camaraderie. My son was tutoring others his freshman year in an elite 'little ivy' due to his preparedness from Laguna. My second child went to public high school - did AP and honors- but Laguna was soooo much better I am sorry he had to leave it ( due to sports). I am an unequivocal supporter of LBS.
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