School Details

Santa Barbara Montessori School

7421 Mirano Drive, Goleta, CA 93117
(805) 685-7600

(out of 10)

Private Grades PK-8 127 students 11 students/teacher (CA avg is 21)

Test Scores by grade

About this school

Santa Barbara Montessori School is a private middle school in Goleta. The principal of Santa Barbara Montessori School is Jim Fitzpatrick, whose e-mail is 127 students go to Santa Barbara Montessori School and identify primarily as White, non-Hispanic; Asian/Pacific Islander; and Hispanic. The ratio of students to teachers at Santa Barbara Montessori School is 11:1. Santa Barbara Charter Middle School is one of the nearest middle schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Dance
  • Orchestra
  • Theater drama
  • Video film production

Languages Taught

  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Spanish


  • Baseball
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Martial arts self defense
  • P.E. classes
  • Volleyball
  • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
White, non-Hispanic 93% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 4% %
Hispanic 2% %
Asian 13% %
Black, non-Hispanic 1% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 0% %
Multiracial 0% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Community ratings & reviews

  • (7 months ago)

    A fantastic school! The teachers and staff are completely dedicated to creating the best experience for each individual student. I wish there were more schools like SBMS all over the world!

  • (11 months ago)

    My grandchildren have been going to SBMS 10 years. They are in the Junior High program at the school (7th 8th 9th) and my husband and I honestly couldn't be happier. They are so academically prepared and have loved going to school every single day! The Montessori method is understood and utilized at this fine school. The teachers also place a strong emphasis on emotional development problem solving and community building. They work with children on social skills and working together in groups to create and develop their projects and follow up work to lessons. I so appreciate that they are in an environment where they feels safe heard and respected. The Montessori learning materials help the children truly understand concepts as they go from the concrete to the abstract . These materials and the teachers that introduce them with so much enthusiasm and excitement create truly extraordinary as well as beautiful classroom environments. I also like the multi-age aspect. There is so much inner mentoring going on in the classrooms. We are so happy with SBMS and would encourage anyone to check out this school for their child/ren. Submitted by a parent

  • (1 year ago)

    If zero stars were an option I'd give it. There is definitely a favoritism in this school (as a reviewer stated below). Whoever gives the most money is it. The communication between teachers and parents is very minimal. Basically if it doesn't have to do with their fund raising efforts you don't hear much about how your child's progress. They do not welcome parents to help in the classrooms- as a matter of fact they discourage it. I think it says something if the "official of the school" feels the need to "lash out" on this website at the negative reviews. Sadly this school has given Montessori education a bad name.

  • (2 years ago)

    Excellent school! Don't believe the naysayers. SBMS is the school you wished you went to growing up. Warm loving environment. Solid education based on proven methods. We have been at SBMS for 5 years and feel blessed to have found the school. We are a modest family and have found no favoritism to any children or families. We have always felt welcomed and part of the community. A fundamental part of SBMS is 'follow the child' to tailor the learning to the child's interests. But also 'a child needs freedom within limits' Therefore if a child's interests is in hitting other children SBMS might not be for you. SBMS has high expectations of your children and you should too. These expectations are not just grace courtesy but also actual learning. I saw some results from last years standardized tests For every level SBMS was 2-4 grade level ahead. Meaning SBMS 1st graders were testing as 3rd to 5th graders in other schools. And SBMS does not even focus the tests. You can ask the HOS for details. From my own experience my 5 yr old was reading and addition (with carry) in the 1000s. My 6 year old was loving his multiplication work. SBMS is a great school producing great results!

  • (2 years ago)

    There are so many things to say about this school I don't know where to begin. I'll bring up a few topics I feel to be the most important for people to be aware of. Our previous Montessori school was very community oriented with dynamic teachers and a lot of family supportand warmth but we never really felt accepted at SBMS. It felt like there was favoritisim among the staff and children of the elite families. The favored children were never disciplned while children who "weren't choosing work" had to sit in chairs all morning and stare into the corner. In this day and age? Really? It was never even considered that maybe the "work" just wasn't that interesting. This was quite contrary to our previous experience where we were encouraged to appreciate our child's personality and interests whatever they may be. While certanly charming to look at and lovely SBMS seems really behind the times to us as far as actual education. If you do tour this school ask a lot of questions and weigh the answers carefully. Assuming all Montessori schools to be similar in discipline and education style (as well as education level of teachers) we were shocked to find out how untrue this is.

  • (3 years ago)

    The true measure of a school is in the people it produces. At the end of the school year during the "flying up" ceremony each and every graduate from SBMS's Erdkinder (7th-8th grade) class gives a speech. It's a joyful day and a sad day -- a day I've seen each year since my daughter was 4. Every single speech was inspiring and each young man and young woman was remarkable. I can't quantify my measurement or make a comparison with other schools based on it -- but for me a dad seeing the results with my own eyes has been invaluable. At the end of this school year I will watch my daughter give her speech. It will be joyful capping a remarkable decade of her growth and learning. And it will be sad. Santa Barbara Montessori does not offer a 9th grade class.

  • (4 years ago)

    Our experience at SBMS began 6 years ago and we could not be happier. The experience and opportunity that our children have on a daily basis are extraordinary. The education is like no other. To see what my children are capable of at 8 and 5 years old is remarkable! Most importantly it has been so gratifying to witness the confident caring people that our daughter and son have become - we owe this in large part to their experience at SBMS. Thank you Jim for giving our children this gift!

  • (4 years ago)

    Our children are receiving a truly remarkable education at Santa Barbara Montessori perhaps just as importantly they come home from school every day happy and confident. They are growing as individuals and receiving one of life's best lessons that learning is fun it's interesting and it is its own reward.

  • (4 years ago)

    We have been at SBMS for 4 years now and could not imagine our child any place else. Our daughter loves to learn loves to go to school loves her teachers simply loves everything about it. All the staff are qualified extremely passionate caring and committed. We see what our daughter is doing who she is becoming and we have SBMS to thank for so much of that. The education your child will receive is like no other in town. And trust me we did our research. It you are curious at all about trying out a non-traditional approach to education this is a school worth looking into. Both my husband and I wish we were given this opportunity as children.

  • (4 years ago)

    When we first enrolled our daughter she was 22 months old. The school told me not to be surprised if she didn't want to go into the classroom the first day. I dropped her off and she said over her shoulder bye mom. I scratched my head the teachers said wait 2 weeks and she may balk at going to school. It is over 4 years later and she asks to go there on Saturdays. It is a wonderful loving school it is too bad that people had a negative experience just don't let someone else's experience mar your own. Take a tour it will work for you or it won't. We love it and are happy there.

  • (4 years ago)

    Finding the right educational environment for your child is one of the biggest and often most stressful decisions a parent will make. You owe it to your children to tour this school. The large classrooms are filled with light warmth and beautiful learning materials. The children are engaged in purposeful hands-on learning experiences and treat each other with respect and courtesy. The teachers are intelligent dedicated individuals who truly care about their students. The atmosphere on this campus is always calm respectful and inviting. Santa Barbara Montessori is a gift not just for your children but for your entire family.

  • (4 years ago)

    There seems to be some confusion circulating on this site about SBMS--this a somewhat difficult form of communication to moderate or even consider for accuracy or information. Despite its shortcomings there is in this "greatschools" site this opportunity for a school official to respond to 'reviews' of the school. So after reading one of these negative reviews my response is "You must be kidding right?" I mean as founder (along with my wife and fellow teacher) I have been at times described by others as 'The Great Communicator.' Since I am responsible for the school's written communications its text for websites weekly bulletins monthly newsletters as well as video and other presentations I take personal as well as professional pride in all of SBMS's communicatons--to have it suggested that there is 'little communication' with parents at SBMS is well it's silly. Certainly there are aspects of any school's programs that can be misconstrued or mis-understood and as a Montessori teacher and administrator over the past 40 years I've had parents and families occasionally express their confusion as to how "Montessori" works--'What does my child do all day I don't get it?' is a familiar refrain because a real 'Montessori' program doesn't look like a traditional school's classroom. In fact 'parent education' in a Montessori school is essential for the school's programs to succeed with the children--the parents' understanding is vital to their child's classroom success. So this review claims "There is very little communication with the parents..." Really? The review also claims "Lack of parent participation... high attrition rate..." Really? SBMS now in its 36th year may want to address these issues otherwise the school's long list of alumni families and students especially those attending our local high schools or colleges and universities including Harvard UC Berkeley Stanford UCLA USC UCSB or those developing their own businesses or living and studying around the world or contributing to this and the global community with their skills and expertise--they may all want to reconsider their time at a school where creative thinking hands-on learning and project-based activities fill each day in preparation for an appreciation for learning as an individual and in collaboration with others. As a parent if you want to find out why and what the truth is about SBMS drop by any time my door is always open; I'd be proud to show you what a Montessori school looks like and if you have the time I'll gladly explain why I think it's the type of educational experience you've always promised to provide for your child.

  • (4 years ago)

    I can't say enough about this school. The teachers the classrooms and campus the students and parents are all so wonderful. Every year is better than the last. Sure I have had questions and moments of doubt because it is not a traditional school (which is what I'm more familiar with) but the teachers and Head have always had answers and been very open to educating me about Montessori. I wish every child could experience SBMS from the toddler to the junior high it is THE BEST.

  • (4 years ago)

    We have had our children enrolled since they were toddlers at SBMS and have enjoyed 10 years at this wonderful school. Our children are happy and eager to go to school each day. The teachers are knowledgeable informative and always available to meet with us if we have questions or just want to 'check-in' about our children. I marvel at the way in which all subjects are explored without the need for interrupted specialized classes. My children view all subjects as interrelated and have a love for learning that I envy! This is the finest Montessori School in town. Thank you SBMS for an incredible education.

  • (4 years ago)

    After experiencing this school for the last ten years I couldn't be more excited that my children are attending this particular Montessori school. I've been involved in many parent education nights observations parent/teacher conferences and continue to be amazed by the Montessori approach and just how luck my children are to experience it. I wish I had been as fortunate to have gone to a school like this. As for the teachers they work with the specific needs of my children and answer any questions or concerns that I have. They support me as a parent and inspire me to be an event better parent.

  • (4 years ago)

    Like the other writer I regret sending my children to SBMS! The problems at this school run deep and reach all levels; from poor leadership to the teacher's limited understanding of teaching modalities outside of the Montessori philosophy to the school's lack of enrichment programs - the school is without real and formal art music science foreign language and physical education programs. The attrition rate is very high as a result enrollment is down from 140+ to 107 in just 3 years! There is no parent involvement except for fundraising. If you are 100% sure that your child is a perfect match for a strict Montessori environment you may consider this school but their other downfalls should make you think twice. If you desire straight forward feedback about your child DO NOT enroll your child here.

  • (4 years ago)

    Sent my daughter there during preschool age. I believe you had great introduction to early childhood education. We decided to pull her out for personal reasons.. Leadership is very questionable but I believe it was great place for my daughter to start school nevertheless.

  • (4 years ago)

    Not a good place. Deeply regret sending my children to this school. I started out with a positive idea about Montessori but have left with a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • (4 years ago)

    Incredibly happy with this school. Our son has been there for a year now and is thriving. Admittedly it took a while to understand the school but counter to a previous review you can ask questions and I strongly recommend that you do. Not because there is anything you should be concerned about but because your child will have a better experience if you understand the Montessori experience. I recently had a job offer in another town that had many Montessori options. After touring them (and having already seen the ones in Santa Barbara) we are so happy with the wonderful environment of SBMS. So much so that we are not moving after all.

  • (6 years ago)

    We've had one or more children there every year for the last 12 years -- LOVE this school. The faculty are the best the community of children so respectful of each other. It's a very nurturing environment in which children thrive. Our eldest is now a junior in college and calls his SBMS years the best college prep education possible because of the personal responsibility discipline and love of learning that evolve in the child through this true Montessori education. Third child is entering their junior high class now and experience has taught us that this is the very best place for a pre-teen to grow into their very best selves.

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Overall score

(based on 22 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement


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